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edia days for the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit are now over, and we're back from Detroit full of judgments on what did and didn't work among the various unveils at the show.

We picked five new cars and concepts launched at the show that made the grade—and five that missed the cut. The first five are our best, while the last five are the worst.


2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray stole the show. The Corvette is now truly world class.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Why we like it: This is the obvious one, since the redesigned seventh-generation Corvette was making plenty of news in the lead up to the show, but we're not going to apologize for picking the easy target. The next Corvette addresses all the criticisms aimed at the outgoing model—namely that its interior was cheap and it didn't have the world-class cachet of its rivals, regardless of whether it could beat them on the track. We're not picking the 'Vette because it looks good—although it does—or because we expect it to be a great on-road performer (we won't know until we drive it). We're picking the 'Vette because it shows that Chevrolet—and by extension GM—is showing the wherewithal to fight back against criticism by addressing it head on and fixing what needs fixing. Chevy hasn't shown consistency in this regard—some of its products, such as the Malibu, remain outclassed by its rivals—but we know the company has the ability.

Ford Atlas Concept
The Ford Atlas Concept shows that the next F-150 will be one tough truck.

Ford Atlas Concept

Why we like it: This concept full-size pickup previewed the next generation of the Ford F-150 full-size pickup (concepts are often used to show the next generation of a production car), and it comes loaded with technology such as a 360-degree camera, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a backup assist system to help with trailer hook ups, and an open platform for app development. The F-150 is one of the best-selling vehicles on the planet, and if the production version of this concept delivers on its promise of high tech and improved fuel-economy (numbers aren't available on concept vehicles), that means Ford will once again be playing a strong hand in the truck segment. The Atlas shows that Ford is not resting on its laurels, especially in light of its Detroit rivals (Ram and GM) redesigning their trucks for 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Honda Urban SUV
We think the Honda Urban SUV Concept will offer high mpgs at a low sticker price.

Honda Urban SUV Concept

Why we like it: We were skeptical of this subcompact crossover SUV before we saw it in Detroit, but it looked good in person, thanks to its cleanly flowing lines, and Honda is promising a configurable interior and high fuel-economy numbers (no details have been announced). If Honda can price this right, they'll have another hit on their hands. That assumes that the company will deliver strong performance and good fuel economy, but since this crossover will be built on the excellent Fit hatchback platform, there's good reason to be optimistic.

Audi RS7
Audi's RS7 is sex on wheels.

Audi RS7

Why we like it: It's not about power, although 560 horsepower is nothing to sneeze at. It's not about value, since the RS7 will certainly cost a pretty penny when pricing is announced. No, this one is all about design. This five-door performance coupe turns heads with its sleek, elegant styling and menacing LED headlights. The low-slung sports coupe drew our eye every time we sauntered by the Audi display. It's a work of art on wheels, and those who have the means to pick one up will appreciate that.

Cadillac ELR Cadillac's ELR bring extended-range electric power to the high-end sports coupe segment.

Cadillac ELR

Why we like it: Cadillac's flagship coupe gets the nod because it manages to merge good looks of the CTS coupe with the Chevy Volt's extended-range electric powertrain. We won't know how fast this thing is until we test it—Cadillac is cryptic on performance details like acceleration times—but we like the fact that the company is not afraid to use an alternative powertrain in a performance car.

Acura MDX Prototype
The Acura MDX Prototype is way too bland for our tastes.

Acura MDX Prototype

Why we hate it: It's bland. Like really, really bland. Maybe that's not all bad in the premium crossover SUV segment (the boring Lexus RX sells quite well), but we expected more. It's not terrible looking, but the design takes very little risk. That's disappointing, since Acura had a chance to make a strong design statement in a very conservative class.

Furia Concept
Stylish in front, bulbous in back, the Toyota Furia disappoints us.

Toyota Furia/Corolla Concept

Why we hate it: Toyota took some chances with this one, by giving it a bold design, and we applaud them for that. But that doesn't mean this concept that previews the next Corolla looks good. The front end is sleek, but the rest of the car is bulbous. The chopped rear end especially chaps us—it looks tacky and tacked on, the car would be better served with a curvier rear end. Hopefully these details will be formed into a more agreeable shape when the production Corolla launches.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado
GM missed a major opportunity with its new trucks. Shown here: the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Why we hate it: Technically the next Silverado wasn't launched at the Detroit Auto Show—the press previewed it a month ago. But it was our first time seeing the truck up close. Its updates are mild, which would've been fine had Ford not shown the Atlas. Chevy did nothing wrong with the Silverado (and its GMC twin, the Sierra), but Ford stole Chevy's thunder with the Atlas. The Atlas will get more press, and when it comes to market as the next F-150, some buyers will wait and choose it over the Chevy, especially if most of Ford's technology promises hold true. Our initial impression is that the Silverado/Sierra twins are competent, but GM missed an opportunity here.

JCW Paceman We can't fathom who will buy the JCW Mini Paceman. That $36K would be better spent on a true sports car.

Mini John Cooper Works Paceman

Why we hate it: Our problem with this hopped-up Paceman isn't price (over $36K) or performance (we love anything that's fun to drive) but that it doesn't really need to exist. Crossover buyers with money to burn are more likely to focus on luxury than performance, which is why we can't imagine that Mini will sell many high-performance tall two-door crossover coupes—we think Mini may be barking up the wrong tree here. Sure, Mini's are known for being fun to drive, but we think that Mini buyers who want strong performance will go for JCW versions of the Cooper.

CrossBlue
Volkswagen's CrossBlue Concept SUV begs for bolder styling.

Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept

Why we hate it: We like the idea of a seven-seat SUV based on the platform underpinning the next Golf, powered by a diesel-hybrid powertrain. But the looks don't do the under hood goodies justice. The styling is too conservative—even for crossover buyers—and we felt a big wave of "meh" when we saw it in person. We're also a little concerned that a platform meant to underpin a five-seat hatchback will be asked to be the basis for a seven-seat crossover. If VW can tweak the styling, we'll like this vehicle a whole lot better.