We love crazy concept cars and customs as much as the next gearhead, but we love actual, attainable production models even better. With that in mind, we've rounded up the hottest production car debuts from the 2012 to 2013 car show season that we expect to see on the road soon.
Take the Chevrolet Volt's Voltec plug-in hybrid electric vehicle's underpinnings and wrap them in the sheet-metal of a sexy Cadillac coupe and you've got the 2014 Cadillac ELR. The ELR's fully-charged battery pack is good for about 40 miles of silent electric driving before its small range-extender gasoline engine kicks in to keep you rolling for hundreds of miles. We expect the launch date of this production model to be announced later this year.
Many of you think it's ugly as sin, but the 2014 Jeep Cherokee was all that anyone was talking about at the 2013 New York auto show. As the saying goes, "any publicity is good publicity." Fortunately, the Cherokee is more than just a pretty face, offering three variants of its advanced all-wheel drive system, more efficient engines than the model that it replaces, and advanced entertainment and driver aid tech -- including the Chrysler Group's first implementation of automated parking. The Jeep Cherokee will start hitting dealerships in Q3 2013 in four launch trim levels.
The Chevrolet Corvette is known to many as the great American supercar, but the 2014 Corvette Stingray Coupe that debuted in Detroit is exotic enough to deserve that moniker. With 450 horsepower on tap, lightweight construction with extensive use of composites, and advanced drive-train and driver aid technologies, the radically restyled 'Vette looks ready to impress when it hits dealerships in Q3 2013.
I fell in love with the 2013 Porsche Boxster when it passed through the CNET garage last year, so I was extremely excited to attend the launch of the 2013 Porsche Cayman and Cayman S in Los Angeles. The new model features a restyled exterior with more aggressive side vents, a more premium interior with more luxury options, and -- most importantly -- even better performance than the previous year's model. If there's one car that I can't wait to drive this year, it's the new Cayman.
Mazda's newest entry into the midsized sedan market made multiple appearances during the 2012-2013 international auto show season, boasting a new design and the promise of increased efficiency. The 2014 Mazda Mazda6 sedan recently made an appearance in the CNET garage; I'm still holding my breath for the keys to a turbodiesel wagon variant.
The 2014 Jaguar F-type makes the list, because...well...just look at it. The smallish roadster is simply gorgeous. Under its sculpted hood, you'll find one of three engine options ranging from a 340-horsepower V-6 to a 495-horsepower, supercharged V-8.
Yep, another Cadillac makes this list. The third-generation CTS sedan that debuted in New York this year should be a quantum leap in American luxury when it hits the road in Fall 2014. That's a long time to wait, but you can bet that the competition will be spending every hour they can preparing for the arrival of the larger, lighter, and more powerful 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport.
We're anxiously awaiting the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA's arrival on North American roads in September 2013. The small sedan features a flowing design inspired by the CLS Class, but its underpinnings are based on the compact A-Class. Will American drivers and Mercedes-Benz purists accept the low-cost, front-drive architecture. We'll find out soon enough.