Top 10 New Car Debuts at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Another Detroit Auto Show is in the books and though there were no huge surprises or show-stealing reveals, it was still quite the spectacle.

This annual Motown gathering hosted dozens of important reveals, with plenty of cutting-edge concepts giving us a glimpse of the future. But perhaps more importantly, automakers unveiled plenty of groundbreaking production models as well, and here are the 10 most significant.

2018 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

10. Ford Edge, Edge ST

The Ford Edge crossover has been updated for 2019, gaining refreshed bodywork, plenty of standard driver assistance features and even a performance-tuned ST model. Mass-market versions feature a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, while ST variants are motivated by a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 that’s rated at a muscular 335 horsepower. Ford also debuted the Mustang Bullitt, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the famous Steve McQueen movie.

9. 2019 Toyota Avalon

Although it wasn’t the Supra we are all waiting for, the 2019 Toyota Avalon debuted with a new look and some important upgrades. This is the first Toyota to finally offer Apple CarPlay and an adaptive suspension. As the Japanese automaker’s flagship sedan, it’s the most Lexus-like Toyota ever.

8. Honda Insight

Honda is jumping into the hybrid vehicle segment once more. The Japanese automaker is bringing back its Insight nameplate after a prolonged absence. Specifics are scarce at this point, but the car will feature a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and have an estimated fuel-economy rating of 50 miles per gallon.

7. 2019 Ford Ranger

Ford is getting in the U.S midsize truck segment by Americanizing its global Ranger. This hard-working pickup will feature a fully boxed, high-strength steel frame and sturdy, ferrous bumpers front and rear. Under hood, the only powertrain offered in ‘Murica will be a 2.3-liter turbo-four mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Look for the Ranger at dealerships early in 2019, yes, an entire year from now.

6. 2019 Hyundai Veloster

An all-new Hyundai Veloster debuted in Detroit. Retaining its iconic asymmetrical door layout, this sporty hatchback will be offered in three flavors, a standard model, another with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and a new high-performance N variant. That latter one will be endowed with 275 horsepower and a standard six-speed manual, making it a South Korean Honda Civic Type R rival.

5. 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen

It may look essentially the same as every G-Class ever built, but the new 2019 iteration has been thoroughly updated. Thanks to the use of advanced materials, this vehicle has lost nearly 400 pounds, though it’s no less capable, as it retains low-range gearing and three locking differentials. Making it far more modern, it also sports an independent front suspension and electromechanical rack-and-pinion power steering. Mercedes-AMG also revealed a new 53 Series of cars, all of which are hybridized. They are powered by a turbo inline six-cylinder engine that’s augmented by a 48-volt electric system.

4. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Underneath the Jetta’s tastefully handsome bodywork is a lot of advanced engineering. The 2019 iteration rides on the Volkswagen Group’s stiff, safe and space-efficient MQB architecture. Power is provided by a 1.4-liter TSI four-cylinder engine that’s good for 147 horsepower. A six-speed manual and eight-ratio automatic gearbox are offered.

3. 2019 Acura RDX

The RDX has been totally redesigned for 2019. In fact, it’s so fresh, it rides on an all-new Acura-exclusive architecture. Power will be provided by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that will almost certainly share some components with the Civic Type R’s engine. No output, fuel economy, or pricing information has been released but it will feature a 10-speed automatic transmission. The brand’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive will also be offered.

2. 2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Lighter, stronger and more feature-laden, the all-new Silverado is looking to up Chevrolet’s truck game. This bold and boxy-looking rig has lost up to 450 pounds, which should be a boon for both fuel economy and capability. A brand-new 3.0-liter straight-six diesel will also be offered, while the gasoline V8s will also benefit from a range of important improvements.

1. 2019 Ram 1500

But arguably the most important reveal at this year’s Detroit Auto Show was the 2019 Ram 1500. A ground-up redesign, this pickup has lost some 225 pounds, though in the process it’s gained so much more. The frame is stronger than ever, being comprised of 98 percent high-strength steel, there’s an available version of FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system with a 12-inch screen, plus it even offers a 48-volt electrical system that enables an array of mild-hybrid functions including fuel-saving stop-start and regenerative braking. Ram is working to redefine the full-size pickup segment and it may have just done it with this 2019 model, which goes on sale very soon.

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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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  • Prez Prez on Jan 23, 2018

    This years Auto Show in Detroit is incredibly uninspiring. Everything especially in the CUV/SUV segment looks the same. Bland, boring, old. For people who choose to lease it's not a problem, however for the buyers...a huge dilemma. Not one of the mid size SUVs is worth the average $30k. Making rounds around Cobo Hall I couldn't help but think that the we are in a styling/design crisis. It's so very obvious that designers have hit a wall. Visually there is absolutely nothing to look at. There are however many many quality issues everywhere. Cheap finishes, poorly fit parts, misaligned trims, etc. After almost 5 hours I left the NAIAS very disappointed.