The debuts that left us out in the cold

Overall, we’d argue that the 2018 Detroit Auto Show was a success, bringing us a well-rounded package of debuts that catered to just about every automotive taste out there. We saw slick hot hatchbacks like the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N, ground-pounding trucks like the 2019 Ram 1500, and tire-shredding muscle machines like the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt, not to mention a few attractive concepts as well. You can read our full list of Best In Show entries here, but as you might expect, not all the debuts were winners this year. Some, in fact, were just awful. As such, we’ve compiled the worst offenders right here for your collective shaming and derision, highlighting back markers such as a poorly executed design study, one of the biggest grilles we’ve ever seen, a haughty European snub, and a few other less-than-exciting reveals.

Granted, a few of these gripes aren’t even about the cars themselves, but rather, the way in which the model was presented. Nit picking? Maybe. Or maybe we’re right on target. Tell us which is which in the comments section below, and don’t forget to post your picks for the worst from Detroit!

Continue reading to learn more about our picks for Worst In Show from the 2018 Detroit Auto Show.

Nissan Xmotion Concept

New Nissan Xmotion Concept Is A Mess Of Different Ideas Exterior Interior
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Kicking off our list of worst from Detroit is this mess of ideas from Nissan dubbed the Xmotion Concept. Nissan says it’s pronounced “cross motion” (instant point deduction there) and that it’s meant to combine “Japanese culture and traditional craftsmanship with American-style utility,” plus a dab of new technology features as well. It’s an interesting proposal, but in the end, the execution has our heads spinning (and not in the good way).

New Nissan Xmotion Concept Is A Mess Of Different Ideas
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The interior of the Nissan Xmotion is like a hurricane of unfinished thoughts.

Here’s our problem with the Xmotion Concept – it tries to do way too many things at once, and in the end, it accomplishes nothing. The interior in particular is a good example of this. The colors are all over the place, and the seats look like wicker furniture from the year 3030. Then you’ve got this enormous wooden center divider that looks like someone’s using the concept to haul lumber, plus a wood dash that looks like it wasn’t completed on time. Of course, the raw aesthetic can work from time to time, but here, it just looks unfinished. Then there’s the swimming fishes in the screens (so now it’s a koi pond?), the silly square steering wheel, and oh yeah, it’s also autonomous or something.

The exterior is a bit better, but even so, we don’t really know what’s going on. At first glance, it looks like an off-roader thanks to the proportions and big tires, but then you’ve got the carbon fiber bits and lowered stance, adding to the confusion with sporty cues. There’s also a retractable roof box up top, which, I dunno, does something.

All in all, the Xmotion Concept has the focus of a cake-fueled ADHD 8 year-old at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Settle down, Nissan.

Read the full story here.

The Grille On The 2019 Toyota Avalon

The New Toyota Avalon Is Basically A Grille On Wheels
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If you were anywhere near the Cobo Center in Detroit over the last few days, you’d be hard pressed to miss this. Say hello to one of the biggest grilles we’ve ever seen, plus a bit of 2019 Toyota Avalon bolted around it. Toyota first got into this “bigger is better” attitude about seven years ago with the Lexus Spindle Grille, and now, the design cue is making its way to the rest of the automaker’s stable.

And for all you Toyota fan boys out there, please note that when we put the new Avalon on this list, we’re specifically referencing its ginormous grille. The rest of the car is fine – it’s got some cool techy bits, a handsome interior, and it promises some great value for the money. That is, if you can walk by the front end without having everything on your person sucked into another dimension through the gaping maw plastered across the bumper. Seriously, we’re pretty sure this sedan needs a few extra horsepower to overcome the added gravitational force created by that grille.

Read the full story here.

2019 Lamborghini Urus At MOCAD

Feeling Special: Lambo Unveils Urus at Museum of Art, Ditches Detroit Auto Show
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Lamborghini initially unveiled it’s first entry in the SUV segment last month, and when we got eyes on it, we were impressed. And who wouldn’t be? It looks great, just like a modern Lambo should, and best of all, it’s got the oily bits to match the aggressive exterior. Under the hood is a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 making as much as 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, good enough for a run to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds. It’ll also reach a top speed of 186 mph. All good, right? Right. However, the Urus’ North American debut simply reeked of pretentiousness, as I’ll now explain.

Rather than parking the SUV on a stage at the Cobo Center like every other automaker, Lambo decided to drop the Urus 3 miles away at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). Look, Lambo, we like the design you got going for the Urus, and we’d maybe even consider adding it as a wallpaper for our desktop background, but making the debut in MOCAD? Really? Please excuse the eye rolling. We’d much prefer it if you just brought it to the auto show directly, rather than pulling the sheets at a museum like it was some incredible new sculpture. This isn’t a breakthrough piece of social commentary. It’s an SUV.

Read our full review of the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta Exterior
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New MQB platform

Before you VW fan boys start ripping into us, I’ll just start by mentioning that there are a few things we like about the Jetta. The interior, for example, looks pretty okay, and we like the fact the model is getting a little less expensive this time around. However, the rest of it is very much the “same bratwurst, different length” approach we’ve seen across the Volkswagen Auto Group stable.

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Audi A4 shown on the left, Volkswagen Jetta shown on the right. Not that it really matters.

So, what’s the story here? Is VW just gonna do the same exterior design forever? It would certainly seem that way if you compared the “new” Jetta with the rest of the automaker’s lineup. Seriously, you could slap a four-ring badge on this thing and no one would be the wiser. Or, as our man Ciprian Florea *** *** says, “Compact VW with an Audi rear end and BMW-inspired beltline? No thank you, I’ll have a Caesar salad instead.” You madman!

Read our full review of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta.

2019 BMW i8 Coupe

BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster Exterior
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2019 BMW i8

Look, we know we put the i8 on our list of “Five Cars From BMW, Volkswagen, And Mercedes You Won’t Want To Miss In Detroit” , and if you’ve never actually seen this spaceship in person, that still holds true. However, we’re more than a little annoyed BMW keeps bringing the i8 to car shows and acting like it’s seen a bunch of improvements in the past 3 or 4 years. It hasn’t. Basically, this is the same i8 that dropped in 2014, and while the hybrid powertrain and carbon fiber construction and sci-fi styling are still pretty cool, we’ve been anxiously awaiting an actual update for the thing. And no, that doesn’t include a special limited edition color, or new wheel design, or 3 extra all-electric miles. We’re talking about a brand-new engine tune, fresh styling, and some breakthrough technology. Give us that, then bring it to an auto show, ’mmkay?

“Almost no upgrades at all,” says Ciprian. “BMW has been trolling us with ’new’ and ’special’ i8s throughout 2017 as well. It has to stop!”


Read our full review of the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe.

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