Pick-ups and premium SUVs aplenty at this year's Detroit Auto Show
Unlike the sports cars, they may not be the most exciting cars on the market, but there's no denying that SUVs are pretty big business. Not only do they sell in high numbers, but they're often guaranteed cash cows – for instance, the Cadillac Escalade is the most profitable model that General Motors currently makes. It's no surprise, then, that quite a few car companies are set to reveal their own SUVs at the upcoming Detroit Motor Show. And where better to start than with the native offering: the Buick Envision.
Calling it a 'homegrown' offering is a bit of a stretch, as the Envision will be built in China, instead of the GM plants in the American mainland. Likewise, saying the Envision is an all-new reveal isn't entirely true, as it's already on sale in Asia. But the Envision is a pretty important model for Buick. SUVs of this size are highly popular (the amount of Audi Q5s and Lincoln MKCs you see on the roads are a prime indicator that lots of people like cars like this), but it also has to maintain the recent resurgence of the Buick brand. Buick makes some genuinely good cars nowadays, so it's paramount that the Envision doesn't scupper this reputation.
Other SUVs set for Detroit debuts won't have such heavyweights on their shoulders, though. Take the BMW X4 M40i as an example of this: we don't know why you'd want an impractical performance SUV, but there's obviously a demand for a car like this, and buyers will probably snap the X4 M40i up in droves. It helps, then, that the X4 M40i has an impressive spec sheet. Under the hood is a turbocharged, 335-hp straight-six engine (sadly not related to the similarly-sized lump in the M135i), which is enough to give this cooking coupe-SUV some serious pace: 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph certainly tick all the right boxes for us.
By a comfortable margin, then, the BMW X4 M40i will be the fastest truck debuting at the Detroit Auto Show (barring any last minute surprises). However, it won't be the most practical – that accolade will belong to the Honda Ridgeline pick-up. Initially noteworthy for being the first vehicle in this list to actually be mostly kept under wraps prior to its unveiling, the Honda Ridgeline is also interesting for numerous other reasons. It's expected to be based on the Honda Pilot, for instance – which, if true, should mean the Ridgeline will be one of the better trucks on the market to drive.
Honda's also bound to really push the new Ridgeline hard, unlike the slow-selling-yet-very-well-received original. You don't book out a SuperBowl commercial slot if you're not serious about righting the wrongs of the Mk 1 Ridgeline's marketing campaign!
Still not convinced? Just remember that a second-gen Honda Ridgeline (albeit a heavily modified one) has already been fielded with some success in the mighty Baja 1000. If that doesn't whet your appetite for the new Ridgeline, then we don't know what will.