Top 5 Best and Worst of the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

With the Detroit International Auto Show all wrapped up and all the new models revealled, it seems only fitting to compile a list of the best and worst of show. The top five for both categories are listed past the jump and give a brief description as to what justified its ranking.

For the Top Five Best, vehicles were considered by their projected significance to their respective brands and impact on the automotive industry as a whole. Their advancements in design, power, efficiency, and performance make each choice a winner.

Conversely, the Top Five Worst represents a possible misguided idea or two, a lackadaisical execution on what seemed a good idea, or perhaps a bad idea altogether.

If you find yourself unhappy with our lineup, leave a comment on what your top five would be.

Click past the jump for our Top 5 Best & Worst of the 2014 NAIAS

The Top 5 Best

5. Ford F-150

Ford F-150

The new F-150 is indubitably a game-changer for the full-size truck market. Dropping nearly 700 pounds, and adding a smaller, more efficient and more powerful new EcoBoost engine surely has the competition scrambling. The American truck market has always been a heated battlefield full of winners, losers and wannabes. It all comes down to who’s got the best tech, stoutest numbers, sweetest looks, and best price. And as of the Detroit show, the F-150 has declared war.

4. Lexus RC F

Lexus RC F

What’s not to like about this car? Beside the somewhat polarizing front fascia, the RC F is a BMW M4 fighter. It’s powered by a 5.0-liter V-8 making “more than 450 horsepower” routed to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic, all wrapped in an aggressive, 2+2 coupe styling. A host of aerodynamic features aid the car in high-speed jaunts, including an active rear spoiler that automatically deploys at 50 mph and retracts at 25 mph.

3. Toyota FT-1

Toyota FT-1 Concept

FT-1 stands for Future Toyota-1, so this concept has us full of hope. Designed to be Toyota’s reentry vessel into the true sports car category — a category its been absent in far too long — the FT-1 mixes true form and function together making one sick-looking, and seriously fast machine.

The FT-1’s interior is “a place of business,” according to the designers, and rightly so. It proudly features a Heads Up Display that looks like something Tom Cruise used in Top Gun, while the seats look like as if they were pulled from a Lotus. Understanding this is just a concept keeps us from getting too excited, but hearts begin to race when Toyota Toyota says this embodies their future design language! What’s more, you can download this car onto Gran Turismo 6 and see how it drives in the virtual world.

2. Kia GT4 Stinger

Kia GT4 Stinger

The GT4 is the perfect next step for Kia . This two door, 2+2 coupe with rear wheel drive has the potential to really accelerate Kia’s credibility as a world-class automaker. Not only is the GT4 good for Kia, it’s good for everyone. If this setup ever reaches a production model — Kia Kia claims there are no production plans for the GT4 — we hope it’s tagged with an obtainable asking price, so the average workin’ Joe can expand his automotive performance palate beyond the FR-S and BRZ . Nice power, great handling, good reliability, and decent everyday functionality

1. Corvette Z06

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Of course, the Z06 steals the show. The long-awaited super Vette boasts ridiculous power spewing from a blown 6.2-liter V-8, with tires wider than Emeril Lagasse’s rolling pins, and enough aerodynamic spoilers and scoops to rival an F/A-18 Hornet. It’s the track killer to kill track killers.

Sitting on the same aluminum frame as the race-spec C7.R , the Z06 shares many of its design elements and aero tech with its racy brother. It’s expected to blow the outgoing C6 ZR1 out of the water — General Motors says it’s not aiming for a C7 version of the ZR1 – however, we don’t buy it.

The Top 5 Worst

5. Nissan Sports Sedan Concept

Nissan Sport Sedan Concept

On the outside, the Nissan SSC is a good looking car, as far as concepts go. It does a great job of stepping way forward in a design direction, giving production designers and engineers enough leeway to dial it back. Where the problem lies, is the SSC will likely be the next Maxima and yet the official rumblings are the current 3.5-liter V-6 and sad CVT will make their return within the newly styled sedan.

4. Acura TLX

Acura TLX Prototype

Not too sure what it is about the TLX that makes it seem so uninspired, but that’s the general feeling when looking at this car. Yes it will have a direct-injected, 3.5-liter V-6 backed by a nine-speed automatic sending power (and steering) to all four wheels, but something seems to be missing. Perhaps it’s rather the presence of a Honda Accord living under the Acura-fied bodywork that kills any hope of excitement.

3. VW Dune Concept

Volkswagen New Beetle Dune Concept

The original VW bug and its cousin the Kubelwagen have quite the history with Hitler’s Army as they began life as the German version of the Jeep — a go-anywhere, capable people-mover no matter what the terrain. Many, many years later, the “New Beetle” redefined the Bug’s image to that of a teeniebopper’s dream machine. Conquering war zones had never seemed so far removed. However, the latest iteration of the Beetle is much less pink bubble gum and much more trendy hipster. How then, does this new Dune Concept fit it? The idea seems cool enough – take a regular car, lift it, fit bigger tires, and race it in the Baja 1000 — but the execution seems to be lacking.

2. Dodge Dart Blacktop

Dodge Dart SXT Blacktop

The friendly little Dart does a great job of getting occupants around town with little fuss. It’s supposed to have a menacing demeanor about it, but the car comes across as more charming than anything. The Blacktop edition doesn’t make help the situation. It boils down to an appearance package with blacked-out bits inside and out, giving the car a different look than all the other Darts lining the lots at the local rent-a-car. The Dart makes the list not because it’s a bad car, but rather the Blacktop edition doesn’t change enough stuff to make mention of, especially for the Detroit Auto Show.

1. Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition

Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition

From Honey Boo Boo to Duck Dynasty, redneck pop culture is alive and well. And not to say the author isn’t half redneck himself, but still, the Mossy Oak edition Ram 1500 Ram 1500 seems over the top. Imagine driving around town YELLING at everyone about just how redneck you are. That’s what seems to be happening here. Nothing against Ram or Mossy Oak — both are respectable brands in their own right – but the unfortunate combo sure makes an awkward truck. The worst part is the special edition’s price. Ram sacks a $39,985 sticker price on the Mossy Oak-branded Ram Ram Outdoorsman on which its based and seems to only deliver a few camo bits inside the cabin, camo rocker panels, and a large Mossy Oak badge on the bed. But, if you live on a wild game reserve, this is the truck for you.


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