Acura made the biggest splash among the Japanese brands with the long awaited production version of the Acura NSX. The car is stunning, as well as being a technological tour de force. Interestingly, the production design was completed in the US by a team led by Michelle Christensen, the engineering/development was done in the US and the manufacturing will be conducted in a new ‘craft centre’ at the Honda plant in Ohio. Full marks to Honda for allowing the vehicle to be developed outside Japan and in its major market. The final version is faithful to the concept model, even though the packaging went through several iterations to accommodate various different powertrain permutations and the dimensions grew in both length and width. The end result is suitably dramatic from all angles — if only we could drive one.
During the press days Honda displayed their fuel cell concept, presumably to match the one also found on the Toyota stand. Neither car is particularly attractive, but they are distinctive and standing out is certainly an appropriate goal for a vehicle powered by this future technology. Now all we need is a hydrogen infrastructure……..
Honda also demonstrated their racing prowess with a display featuring the Honda powered 2014 Indy 500 winner and the 1965 Mexican GP winning F1 car. We look forward to the return of Honda to F1 this season.
Toyota displayed the FT-1 concept car again — this time with gunmetal grey metallic paint. Frankly it looked a lot better than with last year’s red paint job. The big introduction for Toyota in Detroit was the new mid-sized Tacoma truck. No big design breakthroughs here so let’s move on to Lexus. The signature “bobbin” grilles are getting bigger and bigger, but they are still hard to love. If you can get past the grilles, there are some decent looking products available from this brand — the GSF 4-door and the RCF coupe being two great examples. The ground hugging GT3 racing version of the RCF coupe painted in bright white made a dramatic statement and a strong declaration of intent.
Nissan’s big news was also on the truck side of the business with the introduction of an all-new Titan full-sized pick-up. Neither Nissan nor Toyota have been as successful in the large truck market as they expected, but this is probably another step in the right direction for Nissan, especially with a brand new V8 Cummins diesel available under the hood.
The Infiniti Q60 concept was one of the most interesting designs at the show. The Q60 is 2-door coupe (yes, really!) with strong and interesting design cues from front to rear. The front end is dramatic, with sinister ‘hooded’ headlamps, a bold grille with a large illuminated emblem and two large lower air intakes with integrated fog lamps terminating in bold character lines sweeping up towards the headlamps. The side view is equally strong with big wheels, deep sculptured panels and an interesting quarter window termination. The theme continues in the rear with bold shapes around the exhausts an integrated decklid spoiler and taillamps that echo the “hooded eyes” of the front. Let’s hope they build this one!
It is good to see the success of Jaguar/Land Rover under Tata management. Jaguar introduced the XE sedan (a BMW 3-Series fighter) at the show to complete their range of handsome sedans. The XE has the appearance of being a little bigger than the BMW, but in our opinion it is the best looking of the three cars. Land Rover came to the show with the latest version of the Discovery and some new diesel powered models.