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NAIAS 2016

Detroit Auto Show

The in-car experience is where you’ll find the most innovation taking shape; design, technology, features and benefits, all under the roof of a high performance machine that’s built to thrill. That definitely rang true at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, where we went to see what’s next, smell lots of new car smells and dream of what’s to come for things with  wheels.

Here’s a look at what we saw in  Detroit.

Autonomous  driving

Whether you buy into Elon Musk’s aggressive timeline predictions or you’re on the baby steps end of the spectrum, the future is here. Almost. Autonomous driving concepts were on full display in Detroit, but this is just the beginning. We’re waiting for Google, Amazon, Apple and the rest of tech to start dropping bombs so we can really get this party  started.

Volvo Concept 26

Volvo put their Concept 26 cockpit demo on display front and center. Its dash has the ability to rotate back to display a large touch-display media center, while the front seats slide back to give commuters a spacious ride to the office.

More at  Volvo

Nissan IDS Concept

Their IDS concept put forward Nissan’s vision of the future of driving. When selected, The Pilot Drive would mimic the performance characteristics, from accelerating to cornering, of the driver’s style and preferences. Which is exactly what we want—a car that learns to drive as badly as people  do.

More at  Nissan

Electric  vehicles

It wasn’t surprising to see manufacturers trumpeting their EV progress — everyone except Tesla, that is, who was conspicuously absent. Even still, there was enough EV madness to go around, ranging from tame to  eccentric.

Chrysler Pacifica  Hybrid

Hailed as the plug-in standout, the Chrysler Pacifica rethinks minivans in more ways than just the powertrain. With a 30 mile electric range and 80 MPGe it's sure to win over the people-mover demographic.

Audi A3  e-tron

The long-awaited e-tron is Audi's first production plug-in to land stateside. It might be the ticket if you're looking for a classic design that doesn't scream hybrid.

Chevy Bolt  EV

The 2017 Chevy Bolt is getting a lot of respect, and folks are wondering how it will compete with the Tesla Model 3. Its 200-mile range and pre-incentive price of $37,500 gives it a nice little niche in the EV market.

Audi e-tron

Chevy Bolt

Mercedes’ charge station exudes the same level of quality that you expect from their cars.

Audi h-tron concept

BMW i8

Fit &  finish

While much of auto is about what’s on the inside and under the hood, there’s no denying the role design plays in creating connections between man and  machine.

Fab finishes

Once a hallmark of custom paint jobs, matte, satin and iridescent finishes were on full display at the show. And they looked good. Real  good.

Expressive lighting

LEDs continue to raise the bar in adding expressive elements to auto. Playful or masculine, the lines of the lamp designs were literally on, and we found ourselves equating the vehicles to personalities on several  occasions.

Notable  impressions

Outside of the trends and topics previously covered, here are few of our team’s personal  favorites.

Aggressive styling

Nissan Titan Warrior Concept

Yep, it’s a bit gaudy and over built, but we loved the Titan Warrior’s aggressive styling, especially around the tail and  headlamps.

More at  Autoweek

The little things

Acura Precision Concept

Acura’s Precision concept looks like it is grinning, and with its design details, who wouldn’t? The headlights encased a fractal suspension and the lines of the super coupe carried over to the tail. Purr,  kitty.

More at  Acura

Elevated experience

Lincoln

Lincoln crushed it. Their booth created an ambient, experiential vibe that at times made you forget you’re there to look at…Lincoln. From the hypnotic music with kaleidoscopic video wall, to the retail-like display booths to the amazing installation by Chuck Hoberman, we were transfixed and we weren’t  alone.

Chuck Hoberman  interview

Luxury

Mercedes

Our team was split on Mercedes going into the show, but they won us over with their killer brand and line-up presentation. They are likely working hard to shed the mantle of old luxury that they’ve been sporting for so long, and it looks like they might just pull it  off.

The present and future state of automotive is looking good, without a doubt. The next few years are going to be exciting, bringing us developments we’ve been looking forward to for decades.

But for the record, we’re still waiting for flying  cars.

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