The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is one of the largest and most important annual auto shows in the world. Manufacturers use the Detroit Auto Show as an opportunity to reveal many of their newest cars and trucks to the public for the first time, and often use the event as a chance to refresh the way the public sees their brand.
The 2016 Detroit Auto Show was no different, with almost every automaker present showing something new. Here are some of the best new production cars and trucks we saw while we were there.
2017 Lexus LC500: No boredom
Despite the recent introduction of many new sporty models like the RC-F and the GC-F, Lexus has had a hard time shaking its image as a luxurious but largely boring brand. Lexus hopes to change that with the introduction of the new LC500 Coupe. With concept-car looks, a luxurious interior reminiscent of a Ferrari Testarossa, and a 5.0 liter V8 producing almost 500 horsepower, the LC500 is sure to be anything but boring.
You can expect it to handle itself in the corners, too, as it uses advanced carbon fiber and high-strength steel, resulting in the most rigid chassis Lexus has ever made. Lexus has not yet released pricing, but expect to dish out around $100,000 to get your hands on one.
2017 Lincoln Continental: Confident luxury
The brand-new Lincoln Continental is quite possibly the most important car to wear the Lincoln badge since the 1960s. While competing luxury car brands like Cadillac and Lexus are striving to make a name for themselves as serious performance cars, Lincoln has taken the road less traveled: quiet and reserved, but confident luxury.
Lincoln hopes to court customers that desire a refined driving experience, and are not concerned with zero-to-60 times or Nurburgring lap records with their new flagship. The top trim levels will have power sent to all four wheels from the new Lincoln exclusive 3.0T twin-turbo V6 that produces a perfectly adequate 400 hp and 400 ft-lbs of torque. The Continental will also be able to be had with a turbocharged 2.7L V6 or a naturally aspirated 3.7L V6 in both FWD and AWD configurations.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Family road-tripper
In 1989, Chrysler introduced the Town and Country, which revolutionized how Americans move their families around. Most other automakers scrambled to put their own minivans into production, some very successfully, and some very unsuccessfully. Over the next 27 years, the Town and Country (along with the rebadged Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager) became the 13th best-selling name plate of all time.
For 2017, Chrysler has decided to abandon that heritage, christening their new minivan as the Pacifica, after the forgettable SUV that Chrysler built from 2003-2007, presumably to entice people to minivan ownership in an era when minivans have become "uncool." Naming conventions aside, the new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is the minivan of the future. First, the new Pacifica can be had as a plug-in hybrid, offering up to 30 miles of pure electric power, and up to 80 MPGe. Besides the hybrid tech, the Pacifica is loaded with features, from radar cruise control to touchscreens for your kids with an app designed to answer the question, "Are we there yet?" for you.
The new Chrysler Pacifica may have a questionable name, but it is unquestionably the perfect vehicle for your family on road trips.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt: Range, price combo
The Chevy Bolt is a full electric vehicle that offers the range of a Tesla Model S, but for the price of a Nissan Leaf. With 200 miles of range, and an expected price tag of about $30,000, the Chevy Bolt is the first affordable electric car with a respectable range. When you compare it to its primary future competitor, the Nissan Leaf, it will cost about the same, offer twice the range and be able to carry four adults comfortably.
Range anxiety is still an issue for those who want to take long road trips, but it disappears when it comes to running errands around town, or commuting to a workplace without chargers. For a city car, a 200-mile range is enough that battery life simply won't be an issue, which makes this car an absolute game changer in the electric car market.
No electric car comes close to matching the Bolt on both range and price, and every other automaker is now firmly behind the curve.
2017 Honda Ridgeline: The people's pickup
The new Honda Ridgeline isn't rear-wheel drive, isn't big, and it doesn't particularly look that exciting. That being said, it is the perfect truck for most people. The Ridgeline is no longer the SUV/Pickup hybrid competitor for the Chevrolet Avalanche, but rather a standard pickup truck competitor for the Toyota Tacoma.
Even though it's only available as either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the Ridgeline offers many clever features, such as a tailgate that can both drop down or open sideways, and a Bluetooth® audio system and lockable trunk in the bed. It's practical, it's economical, and it will do almost anything you'd need it to do. Plus, it will do it with better gas mileage, better handling and more comfort.
Be sure to keep an eye out for more of auto show wrap-up coverage in the next few days!
About the writer: Will Kinton thinks life is too short to drive boring cars, and enjoys sharing his passion for them. For more, follow him on Twitter:@willkinton247.