Story and photos by Lorne Drury
DETROIT, MICH. – Usually cars are the stars of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but for Nissan and Toyota it was their new pickup trucks that drew packed audiences to their presentations during press preview days.
Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn took the wraps off the new 2016 Nissan Titan XD full-size pickup, proclaiming it was creating a “new class” of vehicle.
Ghosn said the Titan is aiming at a sweet spot in the full-size pickup market that has yet to be tapped, namely buyers looking for an affordable, heavy-duty hauler with light-duty truck driveability and affordability.
He noted there are about 150,000 potential buyers in the U.S. who either move up to a heavy-duty pickup for additional towing capability or those who move down from a heavy duty to a full-size model but still want the same tow rating.
Slated to go on sale in Canada later this year, the Titan XD will be offered with a 5.0-litre V8 Cummins turbo diesel engine that will generate 310 hp and 555 lb/ft of torque mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. When properly equipped, the truck will have a maximum payload of 909 kg (2,000 lb) and a tow rating of 5,454 kg (12,000 lb).
This is the second generation of the Titan that debuted in 2004 and has seen relatively few changes over the past decade.
Designers said they wanted the new truck to have rugged “warrior” type look and there’s no doubt the 2016 is a tough-looking hombre with its huge grille up front.
Nissan showed a five-passenger Crew Cab at the Detroit show, but the vehicle will be offered in King Cab and regular cab variations as well and with 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains. Other engine options for the Titan will include a new gasoline V8 as well as a V6.
The new Titan has been created and engineered in U.S. and will be assembled in Mississippi.
Toyota also brought a new pickup truck to the auto show, unveiling their redesigned 2016 Tacoma midsize pickup.
Like Nissan’s Titan, the Tacoma is also designed, developed and assembled in North America. It has been on the market since 1964 with more than seven million units sold on this continent since then.
Toyota made extensive use of high-strength steel to enhance the truck’s rigidity and strength and the suspension has been retuned to make it smoother.
Power comes from a 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine and also a new 3.5-litre Atkinson cycle V6. Both engines come with a new six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is also offered with the V6.
This pickup can be more than just a workhorse with premium features available like push button start, power moonroof, dual zone automatic climate control, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert.
Toyota says the truck is also much quieter than earlier versions.
Concept cars don’t always make it into production, but Infiniti is giving visitors auto show a sneak peek at the concept for a sexy new sports coupe that will be in showrooms within the next year.
The vehicle is the Q60 Concept, the precursor to a new high-performance 2+2 sports coupe that Infiniti plans to produce starting next year.
The Q60 will deliver performance along with sex appeal thanks to a next generation 3.0-litre engine with direct injection and twin turbochargers.
This will be part of a new family of lighter, smaller, more fuel-efficient engines that also promise improved performance.
Inside, the cabin is as beautiful and luxurious-looking as the exterior design. Attention to detail is evident with features like hand stitching on the leather-wrapped instrument panel.
And unlike many coupes where the rear seats are a forgotten item, Infiniti has created comfortable bucket seats in back of the Q60 Concept.
It’s been a quarter century since Acura’s first NSX supercar came to North America from Japan, but it was only fitting that the firm chose Detroit to showcase its next generation NSX, designed and built in North America this time around.
The 2016 NSX is no ordinary supercar.
It will have a gas-electric hybrid powertrain, featuring a twin turbocharged DOHC V6 engine with a nine-speed dual clutch transmission and a sport hybrid system with three electric motors. In total, the system will produce 550 hp.
A mid-engine “human-centred supercar”, the NSX will be built in Ohio and go on sale later this year with prices expected to be $150K range in the U.S.
“Our global team embraced the challenge to create a new sports car experience, leveraging new technology to deliver incredibly vivid performance in a vehicle that responds intuitively and immediately to the will of the driver,” said Ted Klaus, chief engineer and global development leader of the new NSX.
“The NSX delivers pinnacle supercar performance, with zero-delay acceleration and exhilarating, confidence-inspiring driving dynamics.”
Acura has teased the automotive world for years about the return of the NSX, but with the NSX Concept shown in Detroit, we now know what the production version will look like.
Lexus introduced the latest in its F-series of cars in Detroit with the debut of the 2016 GS F.
The ‘F’ designation for Lexus is what the ‘S’ series is for Audi— namely performance-oriented automobiles.
In the GS F, buyers get the best of both worlds with a luxury five-passenger sedan, featuring the performance of a world-class sports car.
The 1,830 kg (4,034 lb) mid-size GS F is the largest Lexus to wear the ‘F’ badge. It has a 467 hp 5.0-litre V8 engine, mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting options.
There will be three driving modes available, including a Sport S+ that designed especially for the racetrack. For more sedate drives, Normal and Sport S modes are offered.
Structural reinforcements, a specially tuned suspension and upgraded braking system help make the Lexus GS F racetrack ready.
With an aggressive stance, the GS F sits lower than other GS models. And even though the car is at home on the racetrack, Lexus says it will be equally adept at city driving or highway cruising.
Honda showcased its next-generation fuel cell vehicle, the FCV Concept at the Detroit show.
The FCV Concept was making its North American debut at the show and a production version of the vehicle is set to launch in the U.S. next year.
Honda also announced at the show that it will have an all-new battery vehicle and another plug-in hybrid by 2018.