WES RAYNAL

Detroit auto show promises to be hot

The Cadillac ELR, camouflaged during recent testing in Southern California, will be the second GM car to use the company's Voltec plug-in hybrid powertrain.
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Wes Raynal is editor of Autoweek, a sister publication of Automotive News .
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It's getting to be time for the Detroit auto show around here. This is, of course, the annual party when the Motor City opens its doors to the world and puts on a first-class event, not to mention a motor show competitive with the best in the world.

The show is a big deal for anyone who loves cars -- it's Christmastime for enthusiasts.

This year's show promises to be merely spectacular, with everything from a new Corvette on one end to a preview of the next generation of the United States' perennial sales leader, the Ford F-150. So there will be plenty of variety -- something for everyone.

Here are the 10 cars and trucks I'm most looking forward to checking out, ranked roughly by how much I want to ogle:

1. 2014 Corvette: Chevy will unwrap its seventh-generation Corvette, the C7. It will be a 2014 model and is new top to bottom. Our staff has been working the phones to get you the latest and greatest C7 information, and all will be revealed at 7 p.m. EST on Jan. 13. Check back here -- we'll have the full report, photo galleries, everything you need to know. And wait till you see our magazine cover story, due in your mailbox in about 10 days. I promise you'll be thrilled.

BMW's 4-series is the new badge on what is basically a redesigned 3-series coupe, now longer, wider and lower than any 3-series coupe before.

2.Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra: Detroit is going to be a big show for General Motors, with not only a new Corvette but new full-size pickups, the company's proverbial bread and butter. I've read your comments on these trucks, and many of you think the new bruisers aren't revolutionary enough. At first glance I'd agree -- they do look like GM pickups. Under the skin, though, the trucks have been reworked with a lighter but stiffer frame, new interior and three new engines. I predict they'll attract a crowd, and once they hit dealers this summer it will be fascinating to watch them take on the Ford F-150 and Chrysler's Ram.

3. Acura MDX: Acura is revamping nothing less than its best seller with a new interior and exterior. Rumor has it the MDX will continue to ride on the platform it shares with the Honda Pilot and Odyssey minivan, and a new 310-hp V6 will power it.

4. Jeep Grand Cherokee: Jeep's restyled 2014 Grand Cherokee will go on sale in the spring and is scheduled to get an eight-speed automatic transmission and a diesel option. Word is Chrysler's SRT brand will show its own Grand Cherokee facelift. Here's hopin'.

5. Ford F-150 concept: I'd move this up closer to the GM trucks on my priority list if I knew for sure it was going to be at Cobo, but Ford is being tight-lipped about any kind of F-150 concept in Detroit. Still I could absolutely see Dearborn trying to grab some attention away from the GM trucks. A new F-150 is expected late in 2014 as a 2015, so maybe Ford will give us a little preview of its perennial best-seller.

GMC's restyled 2014 Sierra pickup. Under the skin, the truck has been reworked with a lighter but stiffer frame, new interior and three new engines.

6. Cadillac ELR: You'll remember this as a concept called the Converj, and the ELR will be the second GM car to use GM's Voltec plug-in hybrid powertrain. It looks terrific in the photos I've seen, and the green crowd should dig this one.

7. BMW 4-series: BMW's 4-series is the new badge on what is basically a redesigned 3-series coupe, now longer, wider and lower than any 3-series coupe before. Curvier, too. I'm sure it will be a lovely car, but I'm already looking forward to the Frankfurt show this fall, where we'll probably see the M4, replacing the mighty M3.

8. Lexus IS: Lexus will show its redone 3 series fighter, riding on a shortened version of the GS platform and carrying over both 2.5-liter and 3.5-liter engines. And in case you were wondering, our spies tell us that yes, eventually we'll see an updated IS-F.

9. Infiniti Q50: Here's the first car wearing Infiniti's new naming system, now based on Q for cars, QX for SUVs. The Q50 replaces the G37, Infiniti's best seller and a car we like a lot around here.

10. Toyota Furia: The concept sedan code-named Furia is supposed to hint at the next-generation Corolla, one of the world's best-selling cars, due for a fall redesign. Judging from close-ups in a teaser video, it looks like the Furia will take plenty of cues from the Scion FR-S.

So that's my wish list for the North American International Auto Show, better known as the Detroit auto show. It promises to once again be hot and looks like it will be a great way to kick off the coming automotive year.

You can reach Wes Raynal at wraynal@crain.com.

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