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Hooniversal Opinion: 2017 North American International Auto Show

Bradley Brownell January 12, 2017 Detroit Auto Show, Featured 20 Comments

NAIAS Cover Image

Welcome to the Hooniversal Opinion covering the 2017 North American International Auto Show. While we did have someone in attendance to offer a couple opinions, we still like to get everyone on staff talking about the new cars launched at each major auto show. This year, the Detroit-based automotive show is perhaps somewhat lacking in excitement. We’ve been covering the show for years, and this one might be the least interesting show we’ve seen lately. Perhaps that is because most cars are hyped well before they actually reach the show floor on social media and advance looks? In any case, here are our opinions on each and every new car shown. Be sure to leave your opinions in the comments below, and share with your friends to see what their opinions are as well.

Kia Stinger

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  • I will remain skeptical until I actually drive one, but the early word is that it drives quite well. Hyundai did a lot of work to make the Genesis sedan chassis much better in its second generation, so I’m hoping that knowledge translates here. I’m not sold on the styling yet either. I’ll have to see this one in person. That lower fender/quarter panel vent just seems wrong to me. Still, I’m not going to ply hate on the type of sedan we’d all like to see built. -Jeff
  • It’s definitely boy-racer on the front, which is a little weird on a car that seems to target the upscale sports sedan market. But hey, they’ve got to make an impact somehow. Kia and Hyundai have been working their way toward this for a long time. If they can make AWD a modestly priced option (vs. the $2,000 that BMW charges on the 3 Series), it could have real pull in northern states. But I, for one, don’t ever want to do any sort of repair on a twin-turbo, AWD sedan. Packaging must be a nightmare. -Alan
  • Genuinely interested by this. Kinda hoping it’ll be South Korea’s car equivalent of what its Samsung Galaxy is to the iPhone – although not bursting into flames would be a bonus. I’m kinda banking on it being brilliant. However, there’s a lot that could possibly get between the Stinger and success, and even if it’s brilliant, pricing it wrong will see it disappear without a trace. -Chris
  • Funny, I remember the concept for this car being a coupe. Regardless, this has me very interested. I think it’s a sharp looking car with some really impressive specs to back it up, but I’m worried it’ll be a tough sell for both the general car buying public and for the enthusiasts this was seemingly built for. But I like it. It would also look great as a coupe.-Greg
  • It looks like a Fisker / Alfa love child from the front doors forward and a quite off the mark Ghibli from the rear ¾. But hey, enthusiasts you keep asking for rear-wheel drive sedans and the Koreans offer up the Stinger. At least it has a cool name, not K450h z-drive all road. -Jason
  • Nothing like a coupe concept ending up as a production sedan. To be fair, though, this is the first time I have ever given a shit about any product in the Kia lineup. And with the rumors that this car will also be Kia’s entry into the Aussie Supercar series my interest has been very much piqued. – Patrick
  • I think the design is exciting for a sedan, but preliminary reports suggest the suspension might have too much roll to be truly sporting. I’d like the opportunity to get behind the wheel. I must say, though, that I really hate the dumb chromed fender vents, and the black (fake) hood vents, they’re unnecessary clutter on an otherwise attractive design. – Brad

Atlas R-Line

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  • Volkswagen needs some wins. I don’t know if this will necessarily provide that, but I do know that I didn’t hate the Atlas when I saw it in person at the LA show. Still, this thing will probably wear a hefty price tag and it would’ve been far more interesting with a diesel mill under the hood. -Jeff
  • I like my three-row SUVs sporty and I can’t lie. You other brothers can’t deny that when an SUV shows up on huge rims and a mild drop in your face, you get sprung! Or maybe you don’t. I don’t. I like my SUVs on all-terrain tires. Shrug. -Kamil
  • I still feel like the Atlas name is a bit on the nose for me, what with this holding up the hopes and dreams of the entire VW group. It’s not a bad looking thing, and I look forward to seeing many of these in the hands of the stylish soccer mom who couldn’t be seen in a Volvo for whatever reason. – Patrick
  • Someone at Volkswagen found the recipes for “Durango” and “Grand Cherokee” and mixed them together. – Brad

Honda Odyssey

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  • Minivans aren’t my thing. This one seems like a good one. I’m sure they’ll sell every one they build. – Jeff
  • Big reveals: Tech that lets you watch and yell at your kids because even your extra-long Dad Arm can’t reach back there to smack ‘em silly. Now you can interrupt the audio in their Bluetooth headphones with an intercom button so you can tell them to stop mashing the goddamn fries into the goddamn carpet—you just had the whole thing detailed fer chrissakes—and if you have to break up their asinine Pokemon argument one more time they’re getting tossed over the nearest goddamn overpass. -Alan
  • I have always had a soft spot for the Honda Odyssey. This one I do not like. The damned thing is just too big. Good lord it’s big. And expensive, too. The old one starts at over thirty grand, and the new one is expected to be more! – Brad
  • Is the vacuum still there? The previous generation was great aside from the infotainment center. -Kamil

Infiniti QX50 Concept

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  • The EX35/QX50 has always been the lame spot in the Infiniti lineup. The recent version is …better. It has a ways to go until it’s good, though, and this seems like a step in the right direction. If Infiniti wants to survive, they’ll definitely need to sell a ton of these. Also, that Variable Compression Engine is pretty neat. -Jeff
  • Jeff’s right, but I wonder how many will care about the clever engine tech. I never saw much success with girls when I boasted about my algebra skills. Does the QX50 have the looks to gain traction against Mercedes, Audi, and BMW rivals? The jury is out. – Chris
  • As a fan of Infiniti’s new design language, this concept was a bit of a question to me. It doesn’t pack the same punch that I feel their other recent efforts have brought to the table. Cool engine tech, though. – Patrick
  • Infiniti has been struggling to figure out who they are and where they belong. This doesn’t seem to help. #KillTheQNames – Brad
  • Have we not seen this before? -Kamil

VW I.D. Buzz

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  • Neat… another VW bus that will never ever happen. I’m glad VW likes to keep messing with our hearts. -Jeff
  • Yeah, this is just an eye-catching shape to attract people to the product under the skin, in this case, VW’s MOIA ride-share service. Think of it as a brightly coloured box for an increasingly familiar breakfast cereal. – Chris
  • At this point, I feel they have to build this thing. Mainly because it’s electric (meaning nobody will be arrested for it) but also because it’s built on this special new platform that they’ve already confirmed for production in the next few years. I think giving this the green light would really help VW’s reputation because a cute happy van that’s electric would maybe make us forget about how VAG killed off their Audi LMP1 and VW WRC team… oh and all that dieselgate stuff too.-Greg
  • This is like some marketing parody. They literally created a prototype called the Buzz. To generate buzz about their brand. If I say anything more, I’m only doing what they want me to do: argue, speculate, and—yep—generate more buzz. -Alan
  • Can I just put the poop emoji a few times for this one? As someone who is far too young to “get” the bus, I can only see this as a cynical move to try to buzz the millennials into caring about VW. – Patrick
  • I am exactly the kind of crunchy granola-eating, cable knit sweater-wearing, NPR-listening, coastal-elite asshole this car is designed to appeal to. Except I hate autonomous cars, and this is likely far too fast to ever emulate a real microbus. It sure looks cool, though. And makes me feel nostalgia-things. – Brad

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe

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  • It probably drives wonderfully. I find myself caring less about Benz products every day, though. Never thought I’d say that… -Jeff
  • It’s the Goldilocks school of vehicle marketing. C-Class is too proletarian, the S-Class too elitist, but the E-Class is just right. In a logical world, the E-Class would be the only sedan-based coupe offered by Mercedes. In a logical world, though, there would be no tattoos and rollercoasters would be smooth, flat and efficient.- Chris

Mercedes Front View

  • One of these is the E-Class Coupe. Can you guess which one?-Greg
  • And people give Aston Martin shit for everything looking the same. -Patrick
  • And people give Porsche shit for everything looking the same. – Brad
  • Have we not seen this before? -Kamil

Lexus LS

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  • A little more sleek. Some strong engine output. An optional back seat that’s as nice as anything from Bentley. If you want to be driven but don’t need the flash… this is probably the car for you. Also in one of the last versions, you could get a Limited Slip Diff, and I ripped off one of my largest burnouts ever. Good stuff. -Jeff
  • I’ve long awaited the next big movement in automotive design. We’ve had “Flame surfacing” and “kinetic design”, now Lexus ushers in the Zorro Swashbuckling era. Those Z-motifs on the headlamps are exactly what the world needs. – Chris
  • The LS has always been a greatly overdone and under-appreciated vehicle. This new gray LS looks to keep that momentum going. -Kamil
  • Lexus continues to make their cars look more interesting. And dare I say it, but that spindle grille is starting to really grow on me. It’s such an awkward thing, but it somehow looks at place on that car. – The Unknown Blogger
  • Agreed, I have really come to like the brand of style that Lexus is pushing these days. I still wouldn’t own one, but that’s neither here nor there. – Patrick
  • I like the idea of this car. Full sized cars appeal to me on an emotional level, because they’re always so damn comfortable. Lexus has always done well with the LS. This one likely will be good. The headlights are a little strange for me and may turn away some of their blue-hair buyers. – Brad

Audi Q8

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  • I really don’t like this segment. I do like the blue paint shown on this concept, but this thing otherwise does nothing for me. -Jeff
  • Audi execs: “We will make our own Range Rover, without the off-road abilities and actual utility!” (cheers and high-fives). -Kamil
  • I actually see the Q8 as a more honest product than the Q7. I reckon the vast majority of buyers of luxe-SUVs don’t really care about utility; it’s just something that comes with the car. The Q8 comes close to offering the personal-luxury one-upmanship that shoppers in this sector wanted all along.- Chris
  • Dumb.-Greg
  • I have always hated the letter Q. It is marginally useful in at least the two languages I know, and it’s awful in Scrabble. -Alan
  • I can’t not think of Avenue Q with this SUV and I have no idea. I bet that interior is the f**king jam, though. -Patrick
  • Oh, that blue is gorgeous. – Brad

Audi SQ5

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  • THIS one, however, interests me greatly. I drove the new Q5 down old Mexico way, and I came away impressed, yet I wanted more because I knew the SQ5 was on the horizon. It adds air suspension and the optional sport diff… and a healthy jump in power. This is one fat wagon that dances delightfully. -Jeff
  • That’s great. It is really is, I love the previous generation. But I would love an S4/RS4 wagon so much more and it’s basically the same thing. -Kamil
  • I’m with Kamil. The only possible justification for buying an SQ5 is to get something “one bigger” than an S4. Athletes usually perform better when they’re not wearing stilts. – Chris
  • I love dumb shit, and this fast Audi is just that. Who needs this much power and ability in an SUV? Nobody! And that’s okay. – Patrick
  • I’m okay with this, but what I really want is the European SQ5. Over in Europe, they are supposedly going to get an SQ5 with a twin-turbo V6 diesel and a 48-volt electric turbo to supplement the exhaust-driven ‘chargers. That electric turbo can supposedly turn some 70,000 rpm and can spin up to full boost in just 250 milliseconds. I WANT THIS TECH! – Brad

Ford F150

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  • The F-150 is, arguably, the best pickup truck on the market. Diesel makes everything better unless you have worked for VW in the last ten years. -Kamil
  • The F-150 isn’t and never will be sold in the UK. It’s another on a long list of things that we’d love to have here if they could be made to fit, like Niagra Falls, the Nevada Desert and the Supersize McDonalds meals that we’re no longer trusted to consume sensibly. – Chris
  • The big news here is that new diesel option. That could be game changing because you no longer have to buy the bigger truck to get bigger torque. And I have to wonder if Ford would have offered this if the diesel Titan XD wasn’t a thing.-Greg
  • Man, Ford managed to ugly this thing right. That new front fascia is f**king horrible, and I can only hope the rest of the lineup steers clear from this design treatment. – Patrick
  • The light-duty turbodiesel V6 is the big news, but that won’t actually be in showrooms until sometime in mid-summer 2018. My stepdad just bought an F150 and it’s a damn big bitch. Why are trucks so big? I hate that trucks are this big. I kind of agree with Patrick that this new grille treatment is horrid. – Brad

Chevy Traverse

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  • Ugly.-Greg
  • I’ve never mentioned it before, but Traverse is a stupid name. I mean, it can only make sense if you place the emphasis on the first syllable, like TRAverse, instead of the second (traverse) like how the word is actually pronounced in conversation. Not that it ever is, I mean, you’d just use the word “cross”. The sole reason for the existence of the word “traverse” is to get rid of a V in scrabble, or as another word for “cross” in a crossword. – Chris
  • Henceforth, I will refer to the game in the Sunday New York Times as a “Traverseword”, thanks, Chris. – Brad

GMC Terrain

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  • Super ugly.-Greg
  • Civic taillights and Veloster grille. Interesting. And gross. -Alan
  • “Bold new nose”. Never too late for Rhinoplasty. – Chris
  • Cars.com

    Cars.com

    Great. Wonderful. Spectacular. -Alan Again

  • The “Invisible C/D-Pillar” treatment is so overdone. BMW started it with the i3, and it’s been used on a bunch of cars in the last handful of years. Why must derivative design exist? Creative people, get more creative. – Brad

Volkswagen Tiguan

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  • When I was in sales I used to absolutely hate the first generation BMW X3. It evidently became a design icon, though, because the Tiguan Allspace looks almost identical. It’s the Tiguan, but with more seats and greater space. Not really much to criticize, nor get especially turned on by. – Chris
  • No, you do not need a three-row CUV. This is a lifted Golf, don’t demand that they find room for a third row. THIS IS HOW TRUCKS GOT AS BIG AS THEY ARE! Segment creep is real, and it is infuriating. – Brad

Ram Rebel 1500 Black

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  • Ram has been making the same truck for 8 years now but here’s a new color package to make you forget about that. -Greg
  • Blake Z. Rong had a really good quotable in his recent review of the Infiniti Q-whatever Redsport for Road & Track: “Dressing in black doesn’t make you Johnny Cash, even if you can play a little guitar.” – Brad
  • I like it, it will sell better. That running board has got to go. -Kamil

Bentley Continental GT Supersports

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  • Tally ho! An even faster Bentley, eh! To be bought by those who want, rather than need. And why not. Bentley do the whole atomic-powered living room thing better than anybody else. Taste and discretion are incredibly subjective, too. Old bean. – Chris. Of course.
  • Ugh, that wing. Why has Bentley decided recently that making their Continental faster must also involve making it look like a chav attacked it with AutoZone stick on parts? – Brad
  • I can’t believe they still make the VW Pheaton. -Kamil

Nissan Qashqai Rogue Sport

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  • I drove a Qashqai once, at a Nissan event in Tennessee. The automaker had a full line event with everything in its US lineup. They also brought out some forbidden fruit and some classics. I remember coming away quite impressed with the Qashqai, as it had a true automatic gearbox and a diesel engine. The interior felt more premium too. I thought that this should be our Rogue. Now it is, but I have to imagine it will be a bit neutered compared to the spec I drove a few years back. Hopefully, I’m wrong. -Jeff
  • The Qashqai and its ilk are, I reckon, pretty much the perfect cars for most people’s everyday needs. Well priced, practical, good to look at, able to deal with crappy road surfaces, economical, they handle acceptably, are comfortable and have a good view out for the driver and passenger. Loads of owners in the UK previously owned regular hatchbacks. My guess is that the Rogue Sport will kill the Sentra. – The Unknown Blogger
  • Something needs to kill the Sentra. What a godawful car. – Brad
  • They’ll sell 200,000 of these. Minimal design and production costs. Winner for the company. -Kamil

BMW 5-Series

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  • It seems like an impressive car all around. I’ve spent a lot of time in the F10 5er and can’t think of a way to make it any more comfortable or pleasant to drive. That comfort and pleasantness did come at the expense of some of the driver engagement, though, and it seems they’ve worked to correct that here all while making it even more comfortable and pleasant. And I think it looks great too. The new office parking lot king has arrived, folks.-Greg
  • The problem I have with the launch of the new 5-Series is that I know I’ll spend seven years looking at it until the next version arrives. I’ll be 42 by the time this leaves production. 42! In a world in which the BMW i3 and i8 already exist, I just really wish the 5er could be a bit more Futurama. – Chris
  • I’m glad they worked so hard to make a 3,700-pound car 137 pounds lighter. -Alan
  • I have no feelings about this. – Brad
  • It’s just like the 7-series, only smaller. -Kamil

Nissan Vmotion 2.0

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  • In 2007 I went out to the Tokyo Motor Show and was wowed by the Nissan Intima concept sedan, with its suicide doors, svelte looks and crystalline detailing. So it’s nice to see it make another appearance here in Detroit a decade later. Though it seems to have become a bit more pointy-looking over the years. – Chris
  • I like this design direction, even if it’s a bit overwrought in this particular application. Make Automobiles Angular Again! – Brad

Toyota Camry

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  • *crickets* -Alan
  • The grille makes me think of vaginas. -Also Alan
  • Yeah, you might scoff but I look forward to visiting the US so I can say “Wow! A Camry!” Over here we’ve not been offered a Toyota sedan as aspirational as a Camry for over a decade. – Chris
  • *more crickets* – Also Chris
  • Look, I kinda like it. Nothing like making the most boring car on earth look super aggressive. The NASCAR version looks badass too. Now that’s a Toyota I would own. – Patrick
  • It’s so bad. Toyota’s recent designs can only be described as eye-wateringly horrific. What did those surfaces ever do to you that you needed to imbue them with so much tension? – Brad
  • “Based on the success of the outgoing model, we decided that the new generation of the Camry will look exactly the same” said Toyota people. -Kamil

And there you have it. Our opinions on this mostly boring crop of NAIAS cars. Thank you for sticking through it all, we hope you enjoyed our banter.

 

 

  • CraigSu

    Mercedes Benz E-Class Coupe. M-B Coupe? Not possible, it only has 2 doors.

    • Alff

      Correct. It must be a shooting brake.

  • Sjalabais

    I am firmly positive to Asian cars, may that be a Toyota, Honda or Kia. But what on earth is going on with Far Eastern design? The Odyssey is such a mess, lines pointing everywhere. Then I scroll down and the Nissan is just…eh…what where they thinking? Not even commenting on the full on assault on aesthetic harmony that Lexus is diving into. If a vehicle is downright ugly, it can be tremendously reliable, practical, or fun to drive, but who will buy it? The GMC Terrain, too, is doing its absolute best to destroy rearward vision.

    • Alff

      It isn’t just the Asians. I’m hard pressed to name any contemporary design that I find appealing.

      Also, WRT to the Odyssey… I think the “minivan” may be no more. Dimensionally, the new ones seem to be more on par with the full-sized American vans of old.

  • Fred Talmadge

    Chris, there is an old saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” Not to dis the Camry, it’s quiet, economical and above all reliable. Still it’s rather uninspiring, even with the new grill.

  • mrh1965

    Mind you, I haven’t seen any of these vehicles in person or anything but..

    I like the looks of the Rogue Sport. Whoever said it’s the appropriate car for most of us is right. I saw the specs somewhere and it seemed like another 20hp wouldn’t hurt, though.

    And I guess I like the Camry although this ‘all new’ car doesn’t look so strikingly different from the current model. New engines are always cool.

    re ‘surface tension’: I was looking at the Camry pic thinking “why are those hoods so creased?”. Damn.

    BMW 5-series: I just don’t care anymore.

    So is a smaller Tiguan going to slot in under the Tig Allspace?

    Audi SQ5 or whatever: I’d really like to have a vehicle with air suspension one day. Sounds awesome. A boulevard cruiser/bruiser with a cushy ride and ginormous motor, hell yeah.

    Stinger: very interesting but that boy racer styling has got to go. I look forward to the refresh.

    • Vairship

      “why are those hoods so creased?”
      Because creases can be used to stiffen the panel, allowing for the use of thinner sheet metal (reducing weight). And because today’s cars are so huge, they need creases to visually break up the otherwise gigantic slabs of plate.

      Audi SQ5 or whatever: I’d really like to have a vehicle with air suspension one day.
      And given VAG-product reliability, that’s exactly how long you’d have it. 😉

      • mrh1965

        The Camry is huge?

        • Vairship

          Yup, it’s about 15 inches longer than it used to be “in the olden days”, 5 inches wider, *and* 4 inches taller. It’s now the size of the 1977-87 BMW 7-series.
          But most of all the ever rising belt-lines mean the steel panels need slashes, dashes and creases to hide their bulk. The Camry isn’t as bad in that department as say recent Lexus models, but it’s still gaining more wrinkles than its drivers.

  • Maymar

    I’m sorry, but the SQ5 irritates the ever-loving hell out of me. Complain about crossovers, and some harumphing dick will quickly remind you “it’s what the buyers really want, so it’s good,” and “no one really cares about handling anyhow.” Except the SQ5 is proof there’s a segment of buyers who want something dynamically better. But, instead of giving us even just a regular A4 wagon, they only want to send us a ‘roided out conspicuous consumption mobile (if it weren’t for the air suspension, I’d say one that probably rides worse than an A4 with similar capabilities, but the air suspension is just another thing to break). So either Audi is the worst, or Audi buyers are the worst for buying this Thing That Should Not Exist.

    The Continental is awful, but it could be redeemed if they could make the whole Bentley Boys thing happen again. Rip out the interior, send it racing, and damn the results. I assume plenty of gin would be consumed as well.

    I really, really want the Stinger to be good, but even then, I’m expecting it to come in slightly more expensive than an Optima 2.0T, which would put it just below the 3 Series Et Al, which are all cars I can’t realistically afford. The Stinger might be less scary off lease though. Still ditch it before it’s 10 years old, though.

    Oh, and having driven an XC90 R-Design, my hypothetical VW Atlas (hypothetical both because I’ll never likely need a 3-row crossover, and because the Odyssey is still preferable) wouldn’t have the R-Line package. You want carsick kids? Because that’s how you get carsick kids.

  • Fuhrman16

    I completely agree with Brad that modern cars and trucks are getting to bloody big! Why do people want to drive stuff so absurdly huge?

  • Monkey10is

    Re: The Audi Squee-five; ‘electric turbocharger’ — isn’t that just a SUPERcharger?
    Or am I missing something?

    • Vairship

      Totally not. Since it’s a VAG-product, it’s definitely an electric G-lader. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-Lader
      Which is totally and completely different from a supercharger, of course, because reasons.