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Auto review: Hits, misses and questions from the Detroit auto show

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

The Q Inspiration recalls classic concept cars that existed purely to look good, but an exciting, near-production engine lies under its long hood. The car's low, wide stance and sweeping roofline reportedly presage a dramatic -- and badly needed -- new design direction for Infiniti's cars. Power comes from Infiniti's new variable compression ratio engine, due to hit the road later this year in the QX50 SUV.

Hit: Mercedes G-class

Americans aren't the only ones who love SUVs. The boxy, almost primitive-looking, G-class could be Mercedes's most exclusive vehicle, with prices likely to start around $125,000 and hand-built production limited to around 20,000 a year.

The 2019 G-class is just the second generation of the legendary off-roader, replacing an SUV that's been in production since 1979.

Like the equally boxy and beloved Jeep Wrangler, the G-class began as a military vehicle and remains a ride that'll get as much respect at the Zombie Apocalypse as the yacht club.

Hit: Nissan Xmotion

Tired of rounded, aerodynamic SUVs? Apparently Nissan is, too. The automaker says the Xmotion's – regrettably, Nissan wants it said "Cross-motion" – flat, tall sides, upright grille and a high step-in indicate the direction its designers are leaning for future production vehicles, conceivably even replacements for the sleek and urbane Murano or Rogue. Nissan was one of the first brands to jump on the SUV bandwagon, so disregard the Xmotion at your peril.

Miss: Guangzhou Auto Co. GS8

 

Why? That's the first question that should occur to you when Guangzhou Auto, or GAC, says it will begin selling its GS8 three-row SUV in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2019.

There's nothing remotely compelling about the boxy GS8 on GAC's stand, the GA4 compact the automaker unveiled in Detroit, nor any reason to believe the automaker has an irresistible new feature up its sleeve. GAC sold 500,000 vehicles in China last year and has a joint venture with Fiat Chrysler, so it's undoubtedly competent, but the U.S. market needs another blandly competent family SUV like Lay's needs another potato chip.

About The Writer

Mark Phelan is the Detroit Free Press auto critic. He can be reached at mmphelan@freepress.com.

(c)2018 Detroit Free Press

Visit Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com

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