The Top Five Trends at the 2015 North American Auto Show

I just attended the 2015 North American Auto Show in Detroit and I had a blast. Relentlessly exciting and with a ton of surprises, this year’s show was one of the best in years!

1. Horsepower, horsepower, horsepower

In the auto industry today, technology is supercharging an incredible horsepower and power race. This was the overwhelming theme of the show and could really be seen in almost every auto maker’s offerings. Powerful cars like these tend to attract younger and more influential buyers to a brand—even if they don’t buy one. It’s all about getting noticed and providing inspiration. Three cars blew me away with their looks and raw power.

FORD GT debuted with over 600 HP.

FORD GT debuted with over 600 HP.

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider —an open air version

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider —an open air version

Cadillac 640 hp CTS-V (Corvette V8 engine)

Cadillac 640 hp CTS-V (Corvette V8 engine)

2. Luxury SUV’s are Hip
In many ways this was the year of the SUV. Sport Utility Vehicles are now the most popular body style in the country and with lower gas prices, suddenly the prospect of owning a sport utility vehicle can make economic sense too. A raft of all-new and refreshed models is coming on-stream for the 2015 model year. Here are the three models that most piqued my interest.

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Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE

 

The Mercedes 577 Hp AMG variant

The Mercedes 577 Hp AMG variant

Volvo S60 Cross Country

Volvo S60 Cross Country

3. Self Driving Cars

People have been talking about self-driving cars for years, but this year’s show proved that the dream is inching closer to reality. Parts of the self-driving experience were on display: three-dimensional cameras, lane-correction devices and other tools that increasingly remove the driver from the tasks of steering, braking and accelerating. Cadillac announced it would offer “Super Cruise” in its 2016 Cadillac sedan that allows the car to automatically keep in its lane, brake and accelerate. The chairman of Mercedes Benz said that fully autonomous vehicles will be in showrooms in five to fifteen years. Don’t trade-in your Honda just yet, but make no mistake: these cars are coming!

4. Trucks are back, in a big way

One beneficiary of low gas prices is the truck. As the economy has improved and industries like construction and ranching have picked up, the truck has seemed more important than ever. And automakers introduced some fantastic new models.

The 2016 Nissan Titan

The 2016 Nissan Titan

 

Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma

 

Ford F150 RAPTOR is off road ready and has a wild look

Ford F150 RAPTOR is off road ready and has a wild look

The Ram 1500 REBEL is a tough looking truck, bold styling and ground clearance of 10”

The Ram 1500 REBEL is a tough looking truck, bold styling and ground clearance of 10”

 

5. Plug ins

As in previous years, hybrids were a huge story in Detroit. Almost every company introduced a new plug-in hybrid. The two biggest introductions were from the same brand: Chevy. Hyundai introduced its first plug-in, the Sonata. And notable plug-ins from Hyundai, Honda, Audi, Volkswagen, and Mercedes could be found in Detroit. Here are some of my favorites.

The 2016 Chevy Volt operates as an electric car for its first 38 miles and then uses gas to extend its range.

The 2016 Chevy Volt operates as an electric car for its first 38 miles and then uses gas to extend its range.

 

The Chevrolet Bolt EV concept car would cost $30,000

The Chevrolet Bolt EV concept car would cost $30,000

2016 Audi Q7 is plug-in hybrid with a six-cylinder diesel engine and quattro all-wheel drive.

2016 Audi Q7 is plug-in hybrid with a six-cylinder diesel engine and quattro all-wheel drive.

 

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2016 Sonata plug-in hybrid, which gets a larger battery and a more powerful electric motor.