2012 Year In Review: The Ten Most Popular Automotive Spy Shots

Spy shots are always popular, but do certain cars attract more attention than others? You bet. We’ve reviewed the traffic numbers over the past year, and compiled the ten spy photograph posts Automobile readers perused the most.

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#10: Spied: 2014 Chevrolet Impala Eco Gains A Volt-Like Grille

Chevy unveiled the attractive new 2014 Impala at the 2012 New York Auto Show, and made just the slightest mention of a forthcoming Impala Eco model, which will utilize a 2.4-liter I-4 and a mild hybrid system. We only had our first look at the car when we caught this silver prototype out for a jaunt in Michigan. Like many hybrids – including the Chevrolet Volt – the Impala’s grille is partially blocked off to help improve aerodynamics. We expect to learn more next year, as the Impala Eco should roll into showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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#9. Spied: Turbocharged 2014 Jeep Liberty Prototype

We’ve lost count of how many Chrysler models will utilize the new Compact-US Wide (CUSW) platform borrowed from Fiat – or, for that matter, how many Chrysler development mules we’ve seen based on a cobbled Alfa Romeo Giulietta body shell. This particular model bears a seven-slot grille and a taller ride height, leading us to believe it’s the next-generation Jeep Liberty. Further, the presence of an intercooler and a sticker dictating the use of premium fuel suggest this test car utilizes a turbocharged engine. Whether that engine is the Fiat-sourced 1.4-liter turbo-four or a rumored turbocharged variant of the Tigershark 2.4-liter I-4 -- found in the 2013 Dodge Dart -- remains to be seen.

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.#8. Spied: 2015 Ford Mustang Engine Bay Has 5.0-Liter V-8; Curved Frame Rails

For a long time, we’d heard rumors that the next-generation Mustang would be styled much like the shapely Ford Evos concept, but this mule’s tapered support rails – visible under hood – helped reaffirm that rumor. Sure enough, months after these photos ran, we caught another 2015 Mustang mule wearing new front sheetmetal, complete with an Evos-esque front clip. 

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#7. Caught: Camouflaged 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Out Testing

We caught lightly camouflaged 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokees running around in July, but recently snapped a couple of test vehicles wearing no disguise whatsoever. As such, it’s easy to see Jeep’s facelift largely focuses on the front clip, lending the Grand Cherokee a bolder, more intimidating presence. Expect powertrain options to carry over from 2012/2013, although we’ve heard both a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 and an eight-speed automatic will join the lineup.

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#6. Spied: Porsche Macan Crossover Spotted In Public

What will Porsche’s sub-Cayenne crossover look like? Well, uh, a smaller Cayenne, so it seems. This prototype is relatively undisguised, although some vinyl graphics applied to the headlamps, taillamps, and C-pillars may trick you into thinking you’re staring at the larger Cayenne. The Macan will share its platform and engines with the Audi Q5, although there’s talk of the Porsche gaining an exclusive twin-turbo V-6. Macan Turbo S, anyone?

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#5. Spied: 2014 Chevrolet SS Caught On A Super Short Test Run

It’s hard to keep track of the 2014 Chevrolet SS’s backstory, but to summarize, the program has gone back and forth more times than a shuttlecock in a professional badminton game. The idea of selling a Holden-based, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan in the United States as a Chevrolet is once again approved, and we had our first glimpse at an early mule this past summer. Chevrolet says its new 2014 SS NASCAR racer looks quite a bit like the finished product, but we’ll let you be the judge.

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#4. Spied! 2014 Chevrolet Silverado interior Boasts Wild Center Stack

GM itself was all too happy to share “spy photos” of its next-generation Chevrolet Silverado, but the engineer in these photos doesn’t seem so enthralled that we spied the full-size pickup’s new interior. Behold the Silverado’s giant new center stack, complete with large controls (perfect for gloved hands), a touchscreen interface, and a lower switch bank with more buttons than you can shake a stick at.

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#3. Facelifted 2013 Honda Civic Sedan Caught In The Wild

By now you’ve already seen the 2013 Civic in all its glory, but in early November, we had our first look at the refreshed Civic courtesy of a spy photographer. Although the update is rather mild, we had a pretty good look at the new Civic, as this particular test car bore virtually no camouflage.

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#2. 2013 Honda Accord Has Pandora, Manual Transmission

Honda showed us what its all-new 2013 Accord would look like through a concept shown at the 2012 Detroit auto show, but until our spy snapped these shots of the interior, we didn’t have a sense of what lied beneath the surface. We were happy to see this car was packing a six-speed manual transmission (available only with the I-4 on sedan models), but what’s up with the engineer listening to a Celine Dion station on Pandora?

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#1: 2014 Chevrolet C7 Corvette Caught Again With Upscale Interior

As fun and fast as the C6 Corvette was, its low-rent interior drew constant criticism and often ruined the car’s chances at being considered an exotic. As such, we’re not surprised readers are interested in seeing what GM has in store for the C7’s cabin. Although all of our C7 Corvette spy shots have been tremendously popular, our post, which contains some glimpses at the new Corvette’s instrument panel, was by far the most popular.

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