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Downsized And Regional

What happens in Detroit doesn’t stay in Detroit - it’s usually a harbinger of what to expect at the LA Auto Show. Let’s hope that’s not the case here. While Detroit cars get bigger, its auto show decided to go smaller this year.

By Christopher Merlo

Sun, Sep 24, 2023 06:00 PM PST

Featured Image: Jeep had one of the few big exhibits at this year’s show.

All images by Mark Dapoz.

This article is a part of

2023 Los Angeles Auto Show

Click to see the collection and all the included articles!

By all measures the North American International Auto Show is once again officially the Detroit Auto Show. It is now a regional show. As we’ve witnessed with the other international auto shows, the world has changed.

A smattering of stands by the Detroit Three. No elaborate displays other than Jeep’s “outdoor” environment. Lots of new vehicles parked on a seemingly endless stretch of carpet due to the paucity of stands.  And a heavy focus by local dealer groups on demo drives and kicking the tires.

the EV test drive circuit at the 2023 Detroit Auto Show
The Electric Vehicle test drive circuit at the 2023 Detroit Auto Show

By comparison, the North American International Auto Show in its heyday hosted two, even three media days with up to 30 press conferences and as many as 60 world or North American debuts. This against a backdrop of participation by nearly every global automaker of note along with their elaborate displays. At this year’s show there was one media day and four, yes four, press conferences held by the Detroit Three.

By all measures the North American International Auto Show is once again officially the Detroit Auto Show. It is now a regional show. As we’ve witnessed with the other international auto shows, the world has changed. Manufacturers are putting less emphasis on big, splashy press conferences at auto shows and spending their marketing dollars on standalone events that allow them to dominate the news cycle.

Here’s a look at this year’s new model reveals.

2025 Cadillac CT5

A refreshed Cadillac CT5, luxury sport sedan features a bolder front-end design with a revised front fascia and dramatic vertical lighting along with projector headlamps. The standard 2.0L turbo kicks out 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. An optional 3.0L twin turbo delivers 335 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is also available. Drivers have a choice of four driving modes: Tour, Sport, Snow/Ice and customizable MyMode.

a red Cadillac CT5 on display at the 2023 NAIAS
4-on-the-floor” used to refer to the transmissions fitted to Detroit’s sportiest muscle cars. This year, it also refers to the total number of new models revealed for the Detroit Auto Show. Above: The 2025 Cadillac CT5 is one of the four revealed at the show.

On the interior the big news is a 33-inch diagonal screen with 9K resolution complemented by a heads-up display. Next-gen connectivity include built-in Google, Alexa and a 5G hotspot.

CT5 production begins next spring.

2024 Ford F-150

Ford chose an off-site location to roll out a bevy of freshened F-150 models.

While there’s a new standard powerplant a 2.7L EcoBoost engine – replacing the 3.3L – the focus of the reveal was on the 3.5L PowerBoost hybrid engine. Ford claims that one in ten F-150s sold is a hybrid model. With the hybrid powertrain, owners can tap into the standard 2.4 kilowatt Pro Power Onboard generator or the optional 7.2 kilowatt system to power the worksite, campsite or even the homestead when there is a power outage.

a white Ford F-150 on display at the 2023 NAIAS
Ford chose an off-site location to reveal its new F150. So, technically there were only three new models on the showroom floor at Huntington Place (formerly TCF Center and Cobo Hall), plus this one at the Hart Plaza.

The other big news in what’s billed as the “tailgate wars” is the Pro Access Tailgate with integrated swing door. Lowering the tailgate when towing a trailer is not always possible. This new feature gives owners access to the pickup bed.

Also standard across the entire lineup is a 12-inch touchscreen, a 12-inch digital cluster and a built-in 5G modem.

Other models revealed included the off-road F-150 Tremor, the third generation of the popular F-150 Raptor and a Raptor R with a 5.2L supercharged V8 rated at over 700  horsepower. Ford claims it is the most powerful, full-size, off-road truck ever.

The new F-150 goes on sale early next year.

2024 GMC Acadia

The all-new 2024 GMC Acadia is upsized with a longer wheelbase, wider stance and taller height. The three-row, midsize SUV features a new, standard 2.5L turbo engine rated at 328 horsepower and 326 lb-ft of torque.

a blue GMC Acadia on display at the 2023 NAIAS
While the Detroit Auto Show got smaller this year, it didn’t stop Detroit automakers from making its vehicles bigger. Above: The new, longer, taller, wider GMC Acadia.

Thanks to the expanded wheelbase, Acadia is over 10 inches longer adding more room on the interior including 80 percent more cargo space behind the third row. The dash features a 15-inch portrait infotainment system with Google built in, an 11-inch driver information center and heads-up display.

Production begins in early 2024.

2024 Jeep Gladiator

Jeep’s “go anywhere, do anything” 4x4, trail-rated midsize truck, the Gladiator, ups its capabilities for the 2024 model year. That added capability includes the ability to tow up to 7700 pounds and carry up 1725 pounds of capability.

What lies at the core of the appeal behind the brand is driving through the great outdoors in the open air across the most challenging terrains. Open air thrills begin with a fold-down windshield, three roof options and two door options – or to take to the road with no doors at all.

a light yellow Jeep Rubicon on display at the 2023 NAIAS
The premium Rubicon version of Jeep’s refreshened Gladiator truck line.

Once off the road and on the trail, the Uconnect 5 system with a higher resolution 12.3-inch touchscreen – 50 percent larger than the outgoing model – is readable in all open-air environments. The system also includes an Adventure Guides app with maps of off-road trails.  Gladiator is capable of fording water up to 31.5 inches deep and traversing the most rugged of terrains, powered by its 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic.

The Gladiator lineup includes Sport, Willys, Mojave and Rubicon models available at the end of this year.

About The Author

Christopher Merlo's profile picture

Christopher Merlo

Christopher Merlo, a.k.a Mr. Detroit, learned to drive on the streets of the Motor City. Friday and Saturday nights of his youth were spent cruising Detroit's Telegraph Road and Woodward Avenue while listening to rock and roll resulting in serious addictions to road machines, pop music, and road food. For Chris, it's all about car culture. These days Chris satisfies his various appetites by advising automotive clients and writing their corporate communications.

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