Detroit 2013 Hits and Misses: Chris Nelson


Volkswagen CrossBlue: This looks like a near-production version of VW’s largest offering. Don’t think the exterior will stray much from the concept’s design, but the interior will probably be drastically different. Looks like there will be plenty of third-row legroom. I’m excited to see what becomes of this boat.

Infiniti Q50: I saw the G replacement before I left the show on Tuesday. As I walked around the car, I discovered a crouched John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, taking pictures of the car’s rear end with his iPhone. Guess he liked it as much as I did.

Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racer: I don’t care about “infotainment,” which isn’t a word, so I’m lured to automakers that prioritize driving. I did a walkaround of this beast with John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports. Three interesting tidbits of information from our conversation come to mind. One, the race engine shares 63% of its parts with the road-going engine, including the block and camshafts. Two, the car threw its belt during testing because of a damper on the tensioner. Three, the diesel fuel comes from animal fat, doesn’t smoke, and doesn’t foam on fill-up.

Mercedes-Benz CLA-class: It wasn’t at the show, but I saw the car on Sunday night at a reveal party. It’s really pretty, though it doesn’t hold a candle to Diane Kruger, who was mingling in the crowd, wearing a jaw-dropping white dress.


Kia Cadenza: Just give us the Quoris already, not a Kia Azera. The Cadenza, a name that Kia has been using in other markets, doesn’t set your loins ablaze. It’s as exciting as the Diane Rehm show.

Shelby American Ford Focus ST: You think you can debut a Shelby-badged Focus ST without engine upgrades, promising that a tune is coming for $500? Paying more for power in a Shelby? For shame. Ford Racing suspension, a Borla catback, some gaudy stickers, and a gaudier interior aren’t worth $15,000. Honestly, I love the guys at Shelby American, but they really need to dig deep and figure out what “Shelby” means.

Lincoln MKC concept: Did this design start with the grille? Maybe the conversation went something like this:

“Grille’s done.”

“Great. Where do we go from here?”

“All right…uh…hmm. Why don’t we make it look like every other luxury crossover on the market?”

“Bingo! That grille and an indistinct design?”

“You know it. Let’s get some coney dogs to celebrate.”