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2018-01-16 08:49

Image: AP / Carlos Osorio

Detroit - 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 a fast-growing and highly competitive US 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 US auto market that's shrinking but still expected to remain at healthy levels. Last year sales fell 2% 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 on Saturday (January 20):

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, which is the first to be designed in the US, 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-litre 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 25cm dashboard screen. Acura didn't reveal pricing, fuel economy or other details.

(AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen's redesigned Jetta offers more room — and a shot at redemption as the automaker recovers from a 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, 11 587 277km 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.

(AP Photo/Tony Ding)

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-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine that puts out 250kW 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-litre four-cylinder that puts out 186kW. 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.

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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 17.8cm.

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 smart watch or Amazon Alexa-enabled device. The car has two new powertrains: a 3.5-liter V6 and 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid system.

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

(AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Ford Mustang Bullitt

Ford Motor Co. is making a special edition Mustang to commemorate the 50th anniversary of "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 V8 engine that puts out 355kW. It has a top speed of 163 miles per hour (262 kilometers per hour) 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.

 (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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 2 additional inches (5 additional cm) of length and 12cm 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-litre V8 with 310kWpower. It also gets new LED headlamps.

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

(Image: Newspress) 

BMW X2

BMW's sporty X2 small SUV will sit between the compact X1 and the bigger X3 in the automaker's lineup. It sits low and has a more muscular body than its siblings. The X2 also has a widened version of BMW's signature double kidney grille.

The 228-horsepower xDrive28i, which goes on sale in the U.S. in March, is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It's mated to an eight-speed transmission. The 192-horsepower sDrive28i goes on sale later this spring. Drivers can flip a switch and choose a driving mode, from comfort, eco-friendly or sport. The suspension can also be lowered for more dynamic driving.

On the optional M Sport X Package, drivers get gearshift paddles on the steering wheel for quicker shifting. Pricing wasn't announced.

(AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

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