2018 Detroit Auto Show: What to Expect

18_Detroit_Auto_Show_What_To_Expect_3.2.jpg Chevrolet booth at the 2017 North American International Auto Show | photo by Evan Sears

CARS.COM — Detroit’s rep to some degree has not caught up with its massive comeback in recent years, so it’s still common to hear unflattering references to other struggling U.S. cities as “the next Detroit.” Despite the increasingly outdated insults, the New York Times’ travel section last year ranked it No. 9 on its “52 Places to Go” list of global destinations, and Lonely Planet recently ranked it the second best city in the world to visit. Those accolades are nice and all … but you know where the Motor City has pretty much always been the No. 1 destination? Auto shows.

Related: More 2018 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The most prestigious automotive exhibit of the year is upon us once more — and the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit already is shaping up to be a busy affair for our team of journalists, who will be on site bringing you all the new-model debuts straight from the exhibit floor. We already know nearly two-dozen major debuts and counting.

If a theme is emerging, it’s that this appears to be the year of the pickup truck — which makes sense considering the top-three best-selling models of 2017 also just happened to be the Detroit Three’s iconic American pickups in the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram. Well, we expect to see two of those three in 2019 form — the Silverado 1500 and the Ram 1500 — in Detroit, along with the resurrected-for-2019 Ford Ranger.

That’s in addition to a full complement of new or renewed SUVs, a requisite feature in these ute-crazy times of late that have seen family-sedan sales falter in favor of high-riding haulers. Detroit debuts will include the Acura RDX Prototype, BMW X2, 2019 Jeep Cherokee, Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept and Mercedes-Benz G-Class — and even a well-there’s-a-first-time-for-everything entry from exotic sports car nonesuch Lamborghini in the Urus.

But just because sedan sales are slipping doesn’t mean automakers are giving up on them. In fact, in the case of the 2019 Toyota Avalon, they seem downright defiant, redesigning a full-size, non-luxury grocery getter of rather marginal popularity in the first place. Joining Toyota in this resistance effort will be the “hatchback” four-door 2019 Audi A7, 2019 Volkswagen Jetta and, well … the 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom (which operates decidedly on its own schedule, with little evident regard for mass-market sales trends).

Show info: Following media- and industry-only previews Jan. 14-18 and a charity preview on Jan. 19, the 2018 North American International Auto Show opens to the public on Jan. 20. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Jan. 20, through Jan. 27, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 28. Admission is $14 for adults, $7 for seniors age 65 or older and children age 7-12, and free for children age 6 or younger accompanied by a parent or guardian; a discounted rate of $9 a person is available for groups of 30 or more. Tickets are available on site at Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd., in downtown Detroit, or online.

Not keen on trekking to Detroit in January with an inhospitable weather forecast on the horizon? Fret not: We, of course, will be there to bring you all the action. In the meantime, here’s everything we expect to see, so far:

Acura RDX Prototype

2019 Audi A7

BMW i8


2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

2019 Ford Ranger

Honda Insight prototype

2019 Hyundai Veloster

Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept

2019 Jeep Cherokee

2019 Kia Forte

2019 Lamborghini Urus

Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept

Mercedes-AMG CLS53

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Grand Edition

2019 Ram 1500

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom

2018 Smart ForTwo 10th Anniversary Edition

2019 Toyota Avalon

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen Passat GT

Editor’s note: This story was updated Jan. 11, 2018, to update the model year of the Ford Ranger and to clarify which pickup trucks will be appearing at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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