2016 Detroit Auto Show - Worst In Show
Now that the 2016 North American International Auto Show approaching its final days in Detroit, it’s time to put some thought into what the manufacturers brought to the show. We’ve already covered the best in show, including vehicles like the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, 2017 Honda Ridgeline, and let’s not forget the 2016 Buick Avista Concept.
While these models surely brought a lot to the show, there were also a few that weren’t exactly worth writing home about. To be fair, there was a lot of stiff competition at the show, and it’s not exactly easy to emerge from the shadows of a vehicle like the 2016 Acura Precision Concept, 2017 Mercedes E-Class, or 2017 Lexus LC 500. But, when you bring a model that doesn’t make a lot of sense – like the Smart ForTwo Cabrio, for instance – you’re going to pick up some criticism on your way out the door.
With that said, we’ve put together a short list of vehicles that we weren’t exactly fond of. Was there anything you didn’t particularly like? Let us know in the comment section, we would love to hear your thoughts on the show.
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It seems to me that Smart brought the ForTwo Cabrio to the Detroit Auto Show to fill an empty space at its display. That’s okay, but with the redesigned model debuting at the 2015 Frankfurt Show last year, I was hoping to see a little more from Smart this year. Besides, America is so in love with the SUV and Crossover market – we just love our gas guzzlers – Smart really needs something new if the brand is going to take off again. Plus, every time I see a smart car on the road, I just envision it getting eaten by a Cadillac Escalade or a Ford F-350. The convertible version makes me even more skeptical. It has even less body to protect you should one of those gas guzzlers get hungry and cruise through a stop light.
Okay, rant over. All I’m really trying to say is Smart could have put more work into the car if it was bringing it to Detroit. Maybe some great new accessories or new technology that would spawn more interest in it at the auto show.
The Tiguan GTE Active Concept is cool in the fact that it really carries the look of an off-road beast, but also carries a couple electric motors and a battery pack with it. Traveling off the beaten path is always fun, but to do it without causing as much harm to this big spinning rock we call earth is even better. But, considering this model is from Volkswagen, it has a lot working against it. As one member of our team put it, it screams “Hey, please forget about that whole emissions thing, here’s a weird hybrid off-roader.”
For years, you cheat on emissions testing to make your diesels look cleaner, then to make it all better, you drop a hybrid off-roader at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Sorry Volkswagen, but you’ve got a lot to do if you’re going to make up for the scandal.
The Kia Telluride Concept debuted next to the Kia Soul and Kia Sedona. It is an interesting concept, but to me, the concept looks like a stretched out version of the Kia Soul with a different front end and a roof that is slanted a little more. Despite that, the exterior is pretty much the highlight of the concept itself. Inside, it had some weird technologies like the Light Emitted Rejuvenation system – a system that can supposedly improve energy levels through an LED panel attached to the roof. It is a cool idea, but Kia supplied absolutely zero information regarding medical evidence that the system works, leaving this idea to be filed under the "old wives’ tale" category.
Clearly, the Telluride isn’t something that will be seen in production form, at least not the way it is equipped. It is built on the same architecture that supports the Kia Sorento, so it isn’t out of the question for Kia to follow its “vision” of a future full-size SUV, I just think it will have to dial back on the tech a bit – at least for now. Either that or show me proof that this LER technology actually works. It’s not a bad idea if it can actually be useful on those long road trips. Aside from that, I’ve placed the Telluride on this list because, if nothing else, the concept could have been equipped with more. Where are the cool autonomous features and technology that is more likely to be available in the next five years or so? Sure there was the Swipe Command – a touch-sensitive band that works like an infotainment system for rear passengers, but aside from that, and the LER system, the Telluride is just another SUV concept with a few 3D printed parts.
Buick had some noteworthy cars at its stand in Detroit, with the Buick Avista arguably getting the most attention. Out of all the models that Buick brought to the show, the Buick Envision was my least favorite. We’ve already seen a lot of it with its debut in China back in 2014, and on top of that, it is built in China – probably one of the hardest things it will have to overcome when it goes on sale here in the U.S. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it is necessarily a flop of a model, but in comparison to the competition it has here in the U.S., it has a lot of work to do if it is going to be successful.
On the inside, the Envision is quite beautiful, but on the outside, I think it is rather bland when compared to other compact crossovers at the show and already on the U.S. market. Power-wise, it will compete well with 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque on tap, but at the end of the day, I think a Chinese-made Buick will have a hard time selling here in the U.S. Maybe I’m wrong, but I haven’t exactly seen a lot of talk about the Envision since the show. Then again, it was really hard to look at a model like the Envision after spending 10 minutes staring down the Avista.
I may get some grief from a few people for throwing the Edition 130 on this list, but hear me out before you come beating down my door. I think the idea of honoring an anniversary of the first “modern” automobile – as Mercedes considers it – is great, but the 130th anniversary seems a little oddball to me. That isn’t the only reason that I’m adding it to this list, however. See, I like the way the Edition 130 has the two-tone color scheme going, with red also dominating the interior, but aside from a few minor upgrades like the embroidered “Edition 130” logos and the indoor car cover that comes with it, the Edition 130 isn’t all that different from the standard S 63 4MATIC.
That wouldn’t be a problem except the fact that the Edition 130 goes for a lot more money than the standard model. To be more specific, the coupe is priced from just over $160,000, so we expect the S63 Cabriolet to command somewhere in the neighborhood of about $175,000. Mercedes announced that the Edition 130 will go for €226,457 or $246,657 at current exchange rates. That’s a huge difference from the standard model, given the few updates. I guess the fact that only 130 will be built gives Mercedes the permission to charge an extra $70,000 or so for it. It looks nice, and it’s great that it pays homage to what is widely believed to be the first “modern” car, but at that price, Mercedes could have done more to it to differentiate it from the standard S 63 Cabriolet.