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Auto Show:  2012 Detroit Auto Show

Wrapping it All Up: Detroit Auto Show

author photo by Nick Chambers January 2012
  • From the inside out technology is the key word for Detroit 2012
  • There has never been a more diverse group of vehicles and drivetrains to choose from

With the media preview done and most of the journalists out of town, the public now gets it chance to peruse the gigantic selection of new cars and concepts the 2012 Detroit Auto Show offers up. Looking back over the last several years, the healthy selection of exciting cars at this year's show is a good thing for the auto industry-signaling that the recovery is likely real.

From the aggressive pursuit of in-car infotainment options, to the inclusion of luxury level equipment on mainstream cars, to the incredible diversity of drivetrains on display, the clear trend at the show this year was about exploring out-of-the-box technology options for the next generation of driver.

Ford has made a name for itself as a vanguard in the world of connected mobility. With its next generation of the MyFord Touch system the company has addressed some of the major concerns of customers with the previous generation. Also, with their continued push to make technology that was once only seen on luxury cars available for the masses, there is arguably no company pursuing this melding of Internet, software, computers and cars as aggressively as Ford. In 2012 alone the company will make active road noise cancellation, adaptive radar cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic parallel parking available on an increasing variety of nameplates, especially the recent ones such as the beautifully redesigned 2013 Fusion and the new Explorer.

But even though Ford has stolen the limelight in this realm, other companies such as Dodge, Toyota, Volkswagen, Chevrolet and BMW have also started to push the boundaries. What was once thought part of some sci-fi future in which cars drive themselves and anticipate your every move is increasingly becoming reality, allowing drivers instantaneous access to the massive amount of information available when you combine the Internet, GPS and large amounts of computing power.

Another clear trend at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show was the increasing diversity of drivetrains available to consumers across the board. Companies such as Volkswagen and Ford are leaders here, with the 2013 Jetta now available powered by conventional gas engines, a diesel engine and a brand-new-for-this-year hybrid configuration. The 2013 Ford Fusion has also stepped up to the plate, offering not only a conventional gas engine, but also two turbocharged options and a hybrid, as well as a groundbreaking plug-in hybrid option. The brand new 2013 Dodge Dart has also broken some new ground for that company, offering turbocharged engines designed to both save fuel and make driving fun. Not to be outdone, the 2012 Toyota Prius C subcompact hybrid is on display at the show, rounding out that company's Prius family of hybrids which now includes the mid-size Prius and the multi-activity Prius V.

The show also has a healthy dose of high-performance vehicles such as the Dodge Charger Redline, the new Porsche 911 Cabriolet, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and the new BMW 3 Series, as well as some sizzling concepts such as the Acura NSX, the Lexus LF-LC, the Chevy Code 130R. Notably absent from the show are the big trucks and SUVs that used to be a staple, with mostly smaller crossovers such as the Buick Encore, Audi Q3 Vail concept and Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid concept on display.

What it means to you: The 2012 Detroit Auto Show is full of more exciting cars and concepts than have been seen since the beginning of the economic meltdown. With manufacturers pushing the boundaries of car technology and drivetrains, the future of the auto industry looks brighter than ever.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Wrapping it All Up: Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader