Detroit auto show media preview - WNEM TV 5

Detroit auto show begins with media preview

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The overall shape of the 2012 Lexus LF-LC Concept closely resembles the lines of the 2012 Lexus LFA supercar. (©Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.) The overall shape of the 2012 Lexus LF-LC Concept closely resembles the lines of the 2012 Lexus LFA supercar. (©Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.)
Smart is gearing up for the 2012 Detroit Auto Show where it will be showing off the funky new For-Us electric urban pickup concept. (©Daimler AG) Smart is gearing up for the 2012 Detroit Auto Show where it will be showing off the funky new For-Us electric urban pickup concept. (©Daimler AG)
Cadillac's long-awaited rival to the BMW 3-Series, the 2013 ATS, will finally be revealed in Detroit. (©GM Corp.) Cadillac's long-awaited rival to the BMW 3-Series, the 2013 ATS, will finally be revealed in Detroit. (©GM Corp.)
The 2012 NAIAS is ready to go The 2012 NAIAS is ready to go

The Hyundai Elantra has won the North American Car of the Year award.

The award was announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which holds media previews this week and opens to the public on Jan. 14.

>> View the top of this page for live tweets and photos from WNEM TV5's Liz Gelardi throughout the day from Detroit.

The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque won the North American Truck of the Year.

Fifty automotive journalists voted on the winning vehicles from a group of finalists. Car finalists included the Ford Focus,

Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat. Truck finalists were the BMW X3, Honda CR-V and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.

A vehicle must be all new or substantially changed to be eligible.

This is the 19th year for the awards. Organizers accept no advertising, though automakers capitalize on the marketing value of the honors.

In the lead-up to the 2012 Detroit Auto Show let's take a preview look at some of the cars and concept models scheduled to debut at the event.

Concept Cars

2012 Acura NSX Concept: Acura will be making waves at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show with three new concept vehicles previewing models destined for production in the very near future. One of these will be the highly anticipated successor to the Acura NSX supercar, which despite still being a concept has already been confirmed for production by Honda CEO Takanobu Ito.

Other vehicles Acura has planned for Detroit include the new ILX Concept, which will preview a Honda Civic-based entry-level sedan due next fall, as well as a prototype of the next-generation RDX crossover.

2012 Nissan Pathfinder Concept: Nissan will also be bringing more than one concept vehicle to Detroit, in its case a preview of the next-generation Pathfinder SUV, which we recently spied testing, as well as a battery-electric commercial van. It will be shedding its truck-based ladder frame for a more car-like unibody design borrowed from the 2013 Infiniti JX.

Nissan hasn't given any details on the electric van concept, but we suppose it will be the battery-powered version of the Nissan NV200.

2012 Honda Accord Coupe Concept: Honda will preview its 2013 Accord, we're guessing both the sedan and the coupe, with a new coupe concept in Detroit. There hasn't been any other details revealed except that the production version will hit showrooms next fall.

The introduction of the ninth-generation Accord will mark 30 years of U.S. production of the model at Honda's plant in Marysville, Ohio, the first Japanese car assembly plant in the U.S. It will also mark the introduction of Honda's first plug-in hybrid model, which promises up to 15 miles of electric only driving.

2012 Smart-For-Us Pickup Concept: Fresh from its win in this year's Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge, Smart is gearing up for the 2012 Detroit Auto Show where it will be showing off the funky new For-Us electric urban pickup concept. We don't expect Smart to ever launch a pickup model -- at least in the foreseeable future -- but it should point the way for styling of the brand's next-generation ForTwo and rumored ForFour.

The For-Us is powered by the electric drivetrain that will feature in the latest-generation Smart ForTwo Electric Drive due next spring and should be able to reach a top speed of 75 mph.

2012 Lexus LF-LC Concept: With the new GS sedan wearing some attractive sheet metal, it may just be time for an updated IS range, and conveniently, Lexus has just unveiled a new design study... powered by a hybrid drivetrain.

The overall shape of the car closely resembles the lines of the 2012 Lexus LFA supercar, and we think it could preview a new high-end coupe the premium Japanese automaker may be considering. Penned by the artists at the company's Calty studio in Newport Beach, California, whatever it is, it will be revealed in full on January 9.

2012 Lincoln MKZ Concept: This new concept will preview the new 2013 Lincoln MKZ, which will share a platform with the next-generation Ford Fusion and the European Ford Mondeo, though will be significantly differentiated for a premium look and feel.

Expect the piano wire grille to remain, but with horizontal slats instead of Lincoln's current vertical design.

2012 Toyota NS4 Plug-In Hybrid Concept: Like the LF-LC, the NS4 is a sports car concept and it's likely to illustrate Toyota's new design language.

Expect the NS4 to be sportier in appearance and far less conservative than recent Toyota concepts and production models (excepting, of course, the GT-86/Scion FR-S).

2011 Maserati Kubang Concept: We already saw it in Frankfurt but Maserati is likely to roll out the concept of its new SUV in Detroit considering this is the city where it will be built.

The Kubang, rumored to be headed for production in 2013, will share a platform with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Durango, but will be powered by Maserati-designed engines built by Ferrari in Maranello, Italy.

New Cars

2013 Bentley Continental GT V8: As we've known for some time the big Bentley coupe and its GTC convertible sibling are to receive a new V-8 option, and at Detroit they will finally receive that engine: a newly developed twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 rated at 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque.

According to Bentley, the new V-8 Continental models should remain true to the automaker's promise of reducing CO2 emissions by up to 40 percent compared to its previous models. Final numbers will be released closer to launch though Bentley boasts that they will be capable of traveling more than 500 miles on a single tank of gas.

2013 Cadillac ATS: Cadillac's long-awaited rival to the BMW 3-Series will finally be revealed in Detroit, and we can't wait. Having been tested at the Nurburgring, as well as GM centers around the U.S., Cadillac's new baby is shaping up to be one sharp-handling sports sedan.

It's also expected to come with a high-performance turbo four as well as a V-6, which should appease not only performance buffs but green fans too.

2014 Volvo XC60 Plug-In Hybrid: While Europe will get a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid V60 wagon next year, American buyers will have to wait until sometime in 2014 to be able to scoop up a similar model from their local Volvo dealership.

A preview will be shown in Detroit, complete with a new 350-horsepower gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain and the stylish and flexible XC60 crossover body.

While official EPA numbers are still years away from release, Volvo is predicting that its XC60 Plug-In Hybrid should be good for 50 mpg combined when in Hybrid mode. The total driving range on a full charge of the batteries and the gas tank topped up should also come in at around 600 miles.

2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS: With its 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque 1.4-liter turbo four already found in the Sonic lineup, the new 2013 Sonic RS is more of a trim line rather that a brand new model.

Nevertheless, we're still eagerly awaiting some time behind the wheel as the car has the potential to become a new performance bargain.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class: The Mercedes-Benz SL is a car that needs no introduction, and in just a few weeks' time we'll get to see the sixth generation of the cruiser, the first of course being the legendary 300SL gullwing. The latest variant is lighter, more powerful and dare we say it, more stylish than its predecessor, which is no easy task considering how well rounded the last SL was.

2013 Dodge Dart: The replacement for Dodge's compact car, most recently the Caliber, will debut in Detroit, and it bears a once-familiar name: Dart. Based on a combination of Alfa Romeo underpinning and Dodge style, the Dart will have to bring a lot to the table considering it's going up against the 2012 Ford Focus and popular 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.

Powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged engine, the Dart could in fact pack a good deal of punch. Alternatives to the standard engine include the Tigershark 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the Tigershark 2.4-liter MultiAir. Three transmission choices (not yet disclosed) will be available with the three engines, possibly including a dual clutch and a nine-speed -- yes, a nine-speed! -- automatic.

2013 Buick Encore: Buick has a new crossover in the pipeline; a compact affair with premium features including Buick Intellilink, HID headlights, and turbocharged power. It's called the Encore and it will be a five-passenger crossover feature "QuietTuning" technology.

And The Rest:

2012 North American Car And Truck Of The Year: Finalists Revealed

New Lexus LX Coming To Detroit Auto Show

Roush Working On New 'Stage 3' Tuning For 2012 Focus

Volvo Details Diesel-Electric Plug-In Hybrid, Gas Version Coming To U.S.

2013 Scion FR-S Revealed Ahead Of 2012 Detroit Auto Show

2012 Porsche 911 Cabriolet Preview: 2012 Detroit Auto Show

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Revealed In New Official Images

Jaguar Land Rover Chooses Delhi Over Detroit

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Confirmed For Production

Infiniti Set To Make Appearance At 2012 Detroit Auto Show

2012 Dodge Charger Redline: Mopar Performance Outpowers SRT?

2012 Chrysler 200 Super S: Mopar-Modded Version Coming To Detroit

2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury Series Preview

Mercedes Brining E400 Hybrid And E300 Bluetec Hybrid to Detroit

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