Brawny pickups and SUVs main attractions at Detroit auto show


It’s the year of the pickup truck at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Ford unveil new trucks in the fast-growing and highly competitive U.S. auto market.

But there are plenty of other vehicles at the show, which is one of the industry’s largest. Mercedes and BMW have new SUVs, while several Japanese automakers are showing off prototypes of future vehicles.

It’s all happening in a U.S. auto market that’s shrinking but still expected to remain at healthy levels. Last year sales fell 2 percent to 17.2 million, still near record highs. Analysts expect sales to be just under 17 million in 2018.

Here are some of the vehicles being unveiled at the show, which opens to the general public Saturday.

Acura RDX prototype

Honda Motor Co.’s struggling Acura luxury brand hopes to revive sales with a new version of its best-selling RDX.

Acura showed a prototype of the midsize SUV at the show, but it’s close to the version that will go on sale in mid-2018. The 2019 RDX, the first to be designed in the U.S., is longer, lower and wider than the current model, with sharper lines outlined in chrome.

A wide, panoramic glass roof will come standard. Under the hood is a new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Acura says the RDX will have the most legroom and cargo space in its class. There’s also a touchpad to control infotainment functions on the 10.2-inch dashboard screen.

Acura didn’t reveal pricing, fuel economy or other details.

Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen’s redesigned Jetta offers more room — and a shot at redemption as the automaker tries to recover from its 2015 emissions-cheating scandal.

The German automaker says the 2019 Jetta is longer, wider and taller than previous models. VW also aims for a sportier look with a large front grille, higher chrome quotient and LED lighting.

The car has a new standard six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic transmission is optional on the base model. The Jetta’s revamped interior includes a new storage console large enough to fit a standard iPad.

The car is among the first of two new models planned this year and will come with a six-year, 72,000-mile (116,000-km) warranty — double what it has been. It goes on sale in the second quarter at a starting price of $18,545 — less than its predecessor.

Ford Edge

Ford Motor Co. is introducing a high-performance version of its midsize Edge SUV this summer: the Edge ST.

It has a 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that puts out 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. That’s paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive comes standard, and there’s a specially tuned sport suspension.

The Edge ST also has special design cues, including a wide mesh grille, 21-inch wheels and “performance blue” paint.

The regular Edge also gets an update, with a more efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out 250 horsepower.

New safety features include “evasive steering assist,” which uses cameras and radar to detect slower-moving vehicles. Pricing on the Edge and Edge ST hasn’t yet been released.

Toyota Avalon

Toyota has taken the wraps off its revamped Avalon, which features a longer, lower and wider exterior and a rear cabin that extends another 17.8 cm.

The automaker boasts of a “neater” steering wheel, with a smaller switch cluster, enlarged hand grips and cruise control now accessible on the right spoke.

The touch screen can be “pinched” or “flicked” like a smartphone. The new Avalon also can connect with a smartwatch or Amazon Alexa-enabled device. The car has two new powertrains: a 3.5-liter V-6 and 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid system.

The Michigan-designed Avalon will arrive in showrooms in late spring.

Ford Mustang Bullitt

Ford Motor Co. is making a special edition Mustang to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the film “Bullitt,” whose unforgettable car chase scene helped turn the sports car into an icon.

The 2019 Mustang Bullitt — due out this summer — will have an upgraded 5.0-liter V-8 engine that puts out 475 horsepower. It has a top speed of 262 kph and a manual transmission with a white cue-ball shift knob. It’s available in dark highland green, the color “Bullitt” made famous, as well as black.

Molly McQueen — granddaughter of “Bullitt” star Steve McQueen — introduced the 2019 Mustang Bullitt on Sunday at the Detroit auto show. It’s the first Ford has produced since 2008. Ford didn’t reveal the cost.

Mercedes G-Class

Mercedes’ boxy-looking G-Class SUV gets a face-lift that the company says will boost performance both on and off the road.

The company readily acknowledges that its appearance hasn’t changed much in almost four decades. But the 2019 version gets numerous changes, including 5 additional centimeters of length and 12 cm of width.

The G-Class gets a new independent front suspension as well as a nine-speed automatic transmission. It’s still powered by a 4-liter V-8 with 416 horsepower. It also gets new LED headlights.

The G-Class will go on sale in the U.S. by late 2018, but no specific date was announced, nor pricing or fuel mileage.