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APA at the 2019 North American International Auto Show 

By: Ron Corbett, APA Staff Writer




The Detroit show had morphed from a local dealer show to a national showcase, changing its name to the North American International Auto Show in 1989 to mark its altered in status. Stunts, like Bob Lutz driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee though the front window of Cobo Hall and Ram Trucks staging a cattle drive on Washington Boulevard outside the hall, were common in the glory years of the show. Over the past few years, the show has declined precipitously, from a national show like Los Angeles and New York, to a regional show, at best. European luxury brands, mainstream brands like Mitsubishi, super-prestige cars like Rolls-Royce and Bentley and exotics such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, no longer participate in the show. 

Some observers complain that Detroit weather in January is not conducive to attracting carmakers and journalists to the show, which is hard to reconcile with the success of the show in the past.

2019 marked the last year that the Detroit show will take place in January. The show organizers have elected to “Re-imagine” the show, with the debut of the new format scheduled for June of 2020.

Despite the fact that the manufacturers have soured on the show, the public is still keen as Cobo Hall was very busy on the weekday the APA team was there, and over 774,000 paying customers visited the show this year. 

There were a number of cars on site at the Detroit show that were not seen in Montreal, and they will be covered in this report.


Wall-mounted Ford Ranger pickup with continuously changing background was a great display  


 Cut-away version demonstrates what a complex vehicle the 2020 Ford Explorer is

The 1968 Dodge Super Charger is the ultimate factory resto-mod 

Dodge displayed a much-massaged 1968 Dodge Charger at the Detroit show. Built on a slightly lengthened wheelbase, the styling of the car has been subtly altered by removing the front vent windows, shaving the rain gutters, altering the grille and tail styling as well as adding large fender flares to accommodate the massive tires used on the car.

Power comes from a supercharged 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 crate motor that produces 1000 horsepower.

The Super Charger celebrates the 50th anniversary of second-generation Charger and reminds observers of how stylish a car it was when introduced.


The massive new Palisade replaces the Santa Fe XL in Hyundai's lineup 

After abandoning its distinct Veracruz three-row crossover in favour of the Santa Fe XL, which shared a marketing name and some componentry with the two-row Santa Fe, Hyundai has, with the Palisade, created a unique standalone model once again.

Built on a 102 mm longer wheelbase, the Palisade is 76 mm longer and a massive 140 mm wider than the Santa Fe XL it replaces. Palisade styling follows recent themes explored with the Elantra GT and Santa Fe. Hyundai is moving to rounder and more flamboyant design, with the Palisade having a busier overall look than the company has explored previously. Inside, the driver faces crisp, conventional gauges, but the space from there to the top of the dash centre stack is occupied by a rectangular computer tablet. The rest of the cabin is elegant and constructed from attractive components. Room in the first two rows is ample and the seats are comfortable. Third-row seating is competitive in terms of space and comfort, as is cargo space.

A 3.8L V6 is not unknown to Hyundai fans of the past, but the firm touts the engine as being all new and uses the Atkinson cycle combustion process, which is generally seem in hybrid vehicles. Power reaches the wheels—all-wheel drive in all but the base trim—via an eight speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity is stated to be 2268 kilograms.

A vast array of active safety equipment will be available on the new Palisade, which should be available by this summer. 


The GS3 was one of a vast array of vehicles GAC displayed at the Detroit show

Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), is a domestic Chinese automaker now selling in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. For at least the third year running, they had a massive stand in Detroit displaying a vast array of cars. A year ago GAC announced that their cars would be on sale in the U.S. by the end of 2019, which has now been put back to sometime in 2020.

Western brands (Buick and Volvo) sell Chinese built cars here but are people ready for the idea of a Chinese-branded car? Time and time again people have demonstrated that they follow their wallets regarding car sales and if GAC vehicles are good enough and priced very competitively, they may have a chance. That is if the current trade disputes between the U.S. and China can be settled amicably.

Roughly the same size as the Honda HR-V, the GS3 can be powered by either a 137 horsepower 1.3L turbo four or a normally-aspirated 1.5L engine that produces 114 horsepower. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic supplied by Aisin.

Space age BEV minivan? The GAC Entranze concept 

Details are sketchy but the Entranze is an electric concept car with a potential range of up to 600 kilometres and a 3/2/2 seating arrangement. The car was styled at GAC’s California design studio.  

A version of the Roxor and built in the Detroit area, this Roxbox is from Indian company, Mahindra

Mahindra made an attempt to enter the American compact pickup market about a decade ago, but abandoned its attempt. It has now returned to distribute off-road farm and sportsmen oriented vehicles, including the Roxbox version of the Roxor, pictured here.

Built on a 2438 mm (96 inch) wheelbase, the Roxor is just 3759 mm (148 inches) in length. Power stems from a very low stressed four-cylinder turbodiesel that produces just 55 horsepower from 2.5 litres, but does crank out 144 lb-ft. of torque. Four-wheel drive is standard, with power reaching the wheels exclusively via a five-speed manual transmission. Towing capacity is a stout 1583 kilograms, but maximum tow speed is only 24 km/h.

Mahindra has made a commitment to the U.S. market and is now assembling the Roxor in a plant in suburban Detroit. The company is keeping its future plans to itself but the Mumbai-based firm also owns the South Korean brand Ssangyong, as well as the fabled Pininfarina design firm, so future products could be very interesting. 

Kia set up a modestly challenging off-road course for the Telluride inside Cobo Hall

Named after a ski resort in Colorado, the Telluride marks a return to the large three-row segment that Kia abandoned with the demise of the ill-fated Borrego in 2011. It is a twin under the skin of the new Hyundai Palisade. Unlike the Palisade, which looks overstyled, the designer of the sleek Telluride knew when to “lift the pen.”

Inside, the dashboard, with conventional gauges and a German style free-standing info screen at the top of the centre stack, eschews the "right now" computer tablet used on the Hyundai Palisade. Like the Palisade, the Telluride's cabin is quite plush. Kia's new three-row is very roomy in the first two rows and has abundant cargo space with the third row seat folded down. The Telluride is equipped with an in-car intercom system Kia calls Drive Talk, a rear occupant sensor so nobody gets left behind and second-row passengers are warned not to open their doors if another vehicle is approaching from the rear.

The Telluride is positioned right at the heart of the three-row segment, like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. Power is derived from a 3.8 L-V6 Kia calls Lambda II, and is unusual is that it is a non-hybrid that Atkinson Cycle combustion system. Power reaches all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard, but a drive system called Active on-demand 2, which actively splits torque from front to rear depending on driving conditions, is optional. Its default mode is 80 percent front, 20 percent rear, but goes to 65-35 when in Sport mode and will distribute torque 50-50 when placed in the Lock setting. Self-levelling rear suspension will be optional. Kia Drive Wise, with forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane departure, blind spot, rear cross traffic and driver awareness warnings, adaptive cruise control with stop and go and lane following assist, a basic semi-autonomous drive mode which will centre the vehicle in its lane, will be available, if not standard. 

Limited to just 80 units, this long-wheelbase Lincoln Continental Coach Door 80th Anniversary Edition, with rear suicide doors, sold out virtually the moment it was announced  

Based on the same platform that underpins the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave, the Cadillac goes on sale this summer  

The Cadillac XT6 is a new unibody three-row crossover based on the architecture from the Chevrolet Traverse that has been on sale since the 2018 model year.

The XT6 features current Cadillac styling themes up front and the sides and rear of the vehicle look both elegant, nicely detailed and bear a resemblance to the Volvo XC90. The cabin, like all recent Cadillacs, is quite luxurious. Like its platform mate, the Traverse, cabin space is ample.

Power is derived from GM’s ubiquitous 3.6L V6 which should produce around 310 horsepower in this application. Power reaches all wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Though Cadillac, in the guise of the Escalade, has sold a three-row vehicle for years, the XT6 is the first time the firm has offered a conventional unibody three-row crossover rather than a pickup-based body-on-frame sport utility. With the advent of the XT6, it will be interesting to see whether people bought the Escalade because it was a three row Cadillac or because of its excellent towing capacity, and, with a unibody three-row Cadillac available, potential Escalade buyers will now switch to the XT6.  

Volkswagen has elected to update the Passat for 2020, instead of replacing it. Most of the exterior panels are new but the look is very familiar. Modest cabin updates have been made as well 


 The Chevrolet stand was graced by a Silverado pickup rendered from Lego blocks