Ford and Cadillac SUVs, Toyota sports car star at auto show


Associated Press

DETROIT

SUVs and a big pickup truck will get top billing at Detroit’s auto show this year, but there are some surprise sports cars and electric vehicles on the agenda.

Press days for the show begin today, although there are a couple of unveils set for before the show starts

The most popular vehicle of the bunch is the Ford Explorer, revealed ahead of the show Wednesday night at Ford Field, the home of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions.

Cadillac showed off its XT6, a smaller-than-a-truck, three-row family hauler at an event Sunday. Toyota brings back the high-performance Supra today. The sports car developed a cult following when it was on the market from 1978 to 2002. Nissan and its Infiniti luxury brand plan to show two concept electric vehicles today as well.

This year’s North American International Auto Show will take place in January for the final time. In 2020, it switches to June to escape the cold weather and show off more products outside, including autonomous vehicles.

Here are some big unveils coming up for the show, which opens to the public from Saturday through Jan. 27:

CADILLAC XT6

The marketing folks at General Motors’ Cadillac brand are hoping the new XT6 big SUV will carve out a niche in the crowded market for utilities with three rows of seats but aren’t so huge they’re considered trucks. The six- to seven-passenger XT6 has a chiseled Caddy look and unique premium luxury materials to set it apart, but it’s going against well-appointed luxury versions of the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, as well as entries from BMW, Audi and other automakers.

FORD EXPLORER

Ford’s aging Explorer big SUV is getting a major revamp as it faces growing competition in the market for family haulers with three rows of seats.

The Explorer, last reworked for the 2011 model year, gets a top-to-bottom update that includes a switch from front- to rear-wheel-drive, as well as updated engines and transmissions, some nice standard safety features and even high-performance and gas-electric hybrid versions.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT

Rather than exiting the sinking U.S. midsize sedan business like two of its Detroit competitors, Volkswagen is staying in by updating the Passat for 2020. But it’s not spending huge dollars developing a new chassis or replacing engines and transmissions.

VW did give the car new sheet metal (except for the roof) to make it look sportier and tweaked the existing 174-horsepower 2-Liter turbocharged engine.

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