2014 L.A. Auto Show Winners and Losers

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This year's Los Angeles Auto Show featured dozens of new models that will arrive at dealerships in the next year. Many were radically restyled or all-new, while many, many more were less significantly updated.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

Here our editors weigh in on the most significant new production and concept cars at the show and give their thumbs-up or thumbs-down as well as their unfiltered opinions. Let us know if you agree in the comment section below.

By David Thomas | November 21, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Chicago Auto Show Winners and Losers

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There weren't many high-profile debuts at this year's Chicago Auto Show, but there was plenty to see. From an upscale yet pint-sized Winnebago to a Stanley Cup champion themed Chevy Camaro, show-goers will find plenty to check out. Among the auto show debuts, our editors graded them on their impact at the show and individual merits.

Kia Niro Concept

David Thomas: Winner
In a day and age when true concept cars are few and far between, the Niro (above) is very welcome. I love the outlandish hinged doors, color scheme and wheels, but if you look at some of the design elements, especially in front and back, I can see a future Kia Sportage in a few places.

Aaron Bragman: Winner
I'm a fan of small urban runabouts, and this one ticks all my boxes. I especially love the brushed metal upper surfaces, which will, of course, never make it to production. I also see some old Isuzu Vehicross in the overall shape, and that makes me happy, too. I look forward to seeing how this translates into a production car, which it almost certainly will, in some form.

Joe Bruzek: Winner
Looking nothing like a traditional weak-styled, pastel-painted hybrid concept, the Kia Niro's aggressive appearance and off-road-ready stance sound promising with the indicated powertrain. The 160-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine powering the front wheels and 45-hp electric motor powering the rear could be an interesting competitor to a Nissan Juke NISMO.

Mike Hanley: Winner
The Niro's lifted stance and compact dimensions look great. Tiny crossovers are showing up everywhere these days, and something like the Niro would fit in well with that trend.

By David Thomas | February 8, 2014 | Comments (6)

2014 Detroit Auto Show: Winners and Losers

2015 Audi Q3

This year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit had a little bit of everything, from high-performance sports cars to luxury models to a radically revamped full-size pickup truck. Our editors saw it all; here are their winners and losers of the show.

2014 Detroit Auto Show: Concept Cars Winners and Losers

2015 Audi Q3 (above)

Aaron Bragman: Winner

Formulaic, but the formula is tasty. Audi does the whole similarly styled lineup thing better than just about anyone. The vehicles are all attractive, well-proportioned and very clean. The Q3 just continues that tradition.

Joe Wiesenfelder: Winner

I was a little disappointed in the hard center console plastic, but the door panels are soft, the moonroof large and the visibility good. It's roomy enough, too. If this is what it takes for Americans to embrace small wagons — and that's all these wee crossovers really are — I'm all for it.

By David Thomas | January 16, 2014 | Comments (8)

2014 Detroit Auto Show: Concept Cars Winners and Losers

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Though the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit isn't flush with new concept vehicles, we managed to find a few — some full-blown concepts, a near-production prototype and one that claims to be one but isn't even a concept. Here our editors pick the winners and losers from this show.

2014 Detroit Auto Show: Production Cars Winners and Losers

Acura TLX Prototype (above)

Joe Wiesenfelder: Loser

Sorry, kids, but this isn't a prototype. It doesn't have an interior, which means it's barely a concept car. To my way of thinking, we can't judge a replacement for the TSX and TL — two different-sized current models — without getting inside.

Aaron Bragman: Loser

C'mon already, Acura, get rid of the damned beak. That metal prow up front that makes the thing look like it needs an orthodontist has to go. The rest of the car looks tepid but inoffensive, like an ILX XL. It might keep Acura fans happy, but it isn't likely to draw in anyone new to the brand, not when you've seen the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

By David Thomas | January 16, 2014 | Comments (1)

2013 L.A. Auto Show: Winners and Losers

2015_chevrolet_colorado

As in past years, luxury cars had a large presence at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but so did fuel-cell vehicles, which reclaimed a share of the spotlight alongside a new midsize pickup from GM and a redesigned version of the rally-inspired Subaru WRX performance sedan. Editors Joe Wiesenfelder, Aaron Bragman, Joe Bruzek and Mike Hanley scrutinized them all and separated the winners from the losers.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

Joe Wiesenfelder: Winner
It's a nice truck and nice looking. Small-pickup lovers are a minority — a vocal one, but a minority. GM decided not to abandon them as the other domestics have, and I think GM will be rewarded.

Aaron Bragman: Winner
GM is right in saying that not everyone wants a big full-size pickup. This is the first entry into the segment in nearly a decade and with the style, equipment and refinement the Colorado seems to possess, this could be a big win for Chevy. Abandoned Ford Ranger fans, your new American truck has arrived.

Joe Bruzek: Winner
The Colorado's upright front styling gives the truck a commanding presence in photos, which in person is still there but on a smaller scale. GM could have made the distinction blurry if the Colorado were larger. Buyers needing a smaller pickup will have no trouble deciding between the Silverado and Colorado with the Colorado's medium size.

Mike Hanley: Winner
For all the truck guys who've been clamoring for a midsize truck with an available diesel engine, here's your pickup. The diesel won't come until the second model year, GM says, but the Colorado otherwise looks like a strong competitor to the Toyota Tacoma.

By David Thomas | November 22, 2013 | Comments (2)

2013 L.A. Auto Show: Luxury Car Winners and Losers

2015_audi_a3_cabriolet

The 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show has something that'll interest every type of luxury-car shopper. This year's debuts cover nearly every segment of the luxury market, from full-size SUVs to a plug-in hybrid sports car. Cars.com editors Mike Hanley, Joe Wiesenfelder, Aaron Bragman and Joe Bruzek trekked across the show floor in search of the hits and misses.

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet

Mike Hanley: Winner
Trim and tidy, the A3 Cabriolet looks like a fun car for summer cruising, or, in L.A., year-round cruising. The convertible has nice lines with the soft-top up or down and the upscale interior quality for which Audi is known.

Joe Wiesenfelder: Winner
I'm not wild about the top-up look, but Audi has a good track record with making quiet ragtops. For an entry-level model, this one looks just as impressive as the sedan I glimpsed on the eve of the 2013 New York International Auto Show in April.

Aaron Bragman: Winner
The A3 feels like a legitimate luxury car, unlike the model it replaces, and chopping the top off only makes it better. A beautifully crafted interior, sexy lines, high-quality materials throughout and powerful engines — it checks all of my boxes.

Joe Bruzek: Winner
The A3 maintains a bold appearance even without a fixed roof. That's tough for coupes, or sedans, made into convertibles. Plus, the A3 Cabriolet has available all-wheel drive, making it a rare combination among any convertible, let alone compact ones.

By David Thomas | November 22, 2013 | Comments (1)

2013 New York Auto Show Winners and Losers: Luxury Cars

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There was a heavy concentration of new and redesigned luxury cars at this year's New York International Auto Show, and they spanned the price spectrum from the relatively affordable Acura MDX to the nearly unobtainable Rolls-Royce Wraith. Editors Joe Bruzek, Joe Wiesenfelder, Aaron Bragman and Mike Hanley pick the winners and losers of the show below. Check out our rankings of mainstream cars and concepts here.

2014 Acura MDX

Joe Bruzek: Loser
The new MDX just doesn't pull off an auto show debut very well. Its differences of a new, lighter weight chassis, direct-injected engine with better gas mileage and new rear suspension are substantial changes that will be most noticed on the road. The few changes outside and inside won't turn many heads on the auto show floor.

Joe Wiesenfelder: Winner
I agree it isn't going to set anyone's heart ablaze, but a lot of people go to auto shows just to shop, and those who do will find that Acura didn't screw up what's arguably its best model. By that virtue, it remains a winner.

By David Thomas | March 29, 2013 | Comments (10)

2013 New York Auto Show Winners and Losers

2014 Chevrolet Camaro

The New York International Auto Show proved to be one of the busiest of the auto-show season. Its two preview days were overflowing with new and redesigned cars that had Cars.com editors Mike Hanley, Joe Wiesenfelder, Joe Bruzek and Aaron Bragman scrambling through the Javits Center. With tired feet, we offer the hits and misses of the show.

Check out the Luxury Cars Winners and Losers here.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro

Mike Hanley: Loser
The new slimmer front grille is a small change that achieves dramatic results, making an already sinister sports car even more so. I know the new taillights have a retro influence, but I'm not a fan and prefer the ones on the current car. What's more, it doesn't look like Chevrolet has done anything to address the Camaro's weight problem or ridiculously bad visibility.

Aaron Bragman: Loser
I'm not a fan of this update. The Camaro has now looked as it does for seven years — since the concept debuted in 2006 — and the first refresh we get is this? The interior is still uncomfortable, poorly laid out and made from awful-quality plastics, and not even the arrival of a track monster, the Z/28, can distract from that. With a new Ford Mustang coming next year and a new Dodge Challenger coming in two, you'd have thought Chevy would have gone farther.

By David Thomas | March 29, 2013 | Comments (23)

2013 Detroit Auto Show Winners and Losers: Concept Cars

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We'd like to institute a new rule: Only cars that are truly conceptual in nature should be labeled as "concept" cars. Of this list, only the Hyundai or Nissan could be considered a true concept car; all the others are simply early versions of upcoming production cars due in the next year or two. That said, there was a good variety on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, in terms of style and segment. Here are our editors' picks for winners and losers of the latest crop of concepts. You can check out our grades for this year's crop of production cars here.

Acura MDX Concept

Aaron Bragman: Winner

Acura styling has wavered between boring and scary in recent years, but of the entire lineup, the MDX has always worn the Acura face the best. The brand apparently isn't going to mess with that success, and wisely so. I like the look of the MDX, despite its retention of the metal beak, and its new increased length seems to give it better proportions.

Joe Wiesenfelder: Winner

It's nice to see an Acura introduction that isn't in some way puzzling. This one looks good — probably better than ever. The beak looks less beaky here than in the past — at least against the show car's paint color. The bumper treatments are especially interesting. Will they appear in the real product? Probably. When Acura calls something a prototype, it usually doesn't mess with sheet metal. Technically, the bumpers aren't sheet metal, but still ...

Mike Hanley: Loser

I agree with Aaron that the MDX has had the best implementation of Acura's shield grille, but I thought the overall design of the MDX Prototype was a little boring — kind of like the brand's upcoming RLX flagship sedan. It seems that Acura, after being so heavily criticized for its front-end look the past few years, is now playing it safe — too safe.

David Thomas: Loser

Am I the only one who looks at this and sees no real difference from the current MDX that has been around for years? This is less an evolution and more of a Xerox. Besides the odd headlights and yes, a better-looking backside, the MDX Prototype looks prototypical to me.

By David Thomas | January 18, 2013 | Comments (8)

2013 Detroit Auto Show: Winners and Losers

Audi rs7

The 2013 edition of the Detroit auto show kept a steady pace with elegant new production cars and one of the biggest crops of concept cars we've seen in years. We'll grade both groups, starting here with the cars you'll actually be able to buy later this year. Cars.com editors Aaron Bragman, Mike Hanley, David Thomas and Joe Wiesenfelder scrutinized the sheet metal and deliver the results.

2014 Audi RS 7

David Thomas: Winner

The A7 is one of my favorite luxury cars as it is, and that's sans the 560-horsepower, twin-turbo V-8 that Audi has shoehorned into the RS 7. Visual tweaks like the "Quattro" script in the lower grille and beefed-up bumper are nice. The quilted leather treatment also speaks to me. It says, "You can't afford me, but wouldn't it be great to sit here?"

Mike Hanley: Winner

The RS 7 is blindingly quick — Audi claims zero to 60 mph happens in less than 4 seconds — and under the bright auto-show lights, the white one at the Audi stand was blinding, too. It's almost not fair that Audi has two performance lines — S and RS — to woo enthusiasts.

Joe Wiesenfelder: Winner

What's not to like (if you can afford it)? The seats feel as good as they look. Mike's not kidding about being blinded. That was the most light my eyes had seen in four days of Midwestern winter. It literally hurt my eyes.

Aaron Bragman: Winner

Blinding is definitely the word to describe the RS 7. Blindingly quick, blindingly expensive and yes, blindingly white in this showcar example. They say that the measure of a good design is whether it looks good in white or not, and the RS7 unquestionably does. This is going to be a future classic.
By David Thomas | January 17, 2013 | Comments (9)

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