Detroit 2012: My Five Favorite Debuts

2013 Ford Fusion

Maybe it’s because I woke up extra-early to see the car unveiled at 8 a.m. Monday, but I am seriously impressed by the new Ford Fusion. The design, while clearly derivative of Audi, Jaguar, and Aston Martin, is fresh and expensive-looking. The range of five different powertrains intrigues me, as does the level of tech toys that will be available on Ford’s new midsize sedan. I’m not sure whether midsize buyers really want this much style and pizzazz in a family sedan, but I love it.

Acura NSX Concept

My reaction on seeing the new NSX was the same as when I first saw the Audi R8 several years ago -- it looks fantastic, different than anything else on the road, and downright cool. Though I’m not entirely sold on the idea of a hybrid supercar, the NSX does look the part of a go-fast follow-up to the original V-6-powered coupe. I really dig the skinny flying buttresses on the rear of the concept car, and I hope the aggressive proportions make it to production.

2013 Cadillac ATS

The ATS looks like a really solid entrant into its market segment, bringing the angular looks (and hopefully the performance) of the larger CTS to a more manageable size and price. Though the stated goal is for the ATS to compete with BMW’s 3 Series, I see numerous hints of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan in the Cadillac’s design. That’s not a bad thing -- the ATS is very handsome. One disappointment: the backseat is tiny, with poor rear legroom.

Chevrolet Tru 140S Concept

The sleek, futuristic design of the matte-silver Tru 140S grabbed my attention on Chevrolet’s display stand. A car this attractive, though, needs more than the proposed 150 hp on tap -- I would love to see Chevy develop the Tru 140S for production as a fast, affordable, front-wheel-drive hatchback. I was let down by the adjacent rear-wheel-drive Code 130R concept, which looks like a carbon copy of the BMW 1 Series coupe with a Chevrolet Camaro front fascia.

So Volkswagen Thinks it Can Dance?

The earth-saving 2013 Jetta hybrid and E-Bugster concept are solid vehicles, but they didn’t really interest me much. I was more amused by the lengthy dance shows that preceded Volkswagen’s debuts at the Detroit show. Before the Jetta hybrid emerged, a ballet dancer and several breakdancers performed to a hip-hop remix of Beethoven’s Fifth; to prepare the audience for the daring E-Bugster, three dancers flipped and jumped about the stage in time to crashing bass from electronic music. I’m not sure how the performances related to the cars, but they were certainly entertaining.

For more on the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our Detroit Show homepage.

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