DETROIT – The Cadillac ATS by General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Chrysler LLC's Dodge Ram 1500 are hogging the spotlight after being picked by U.S. and Canadian auto writers as the best car and truck of the year at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday. But the also-rans deserve attention as well, four other auto design and engineering achievements that almost made the critical cut.
Here's a much deserved glance at them:
The all new 2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover utility by Mazda Motor Corporation (TYO:7261) is taking a whole new approach. Rather than borrowing from the Mazda3 compact, the Japanese automaker went for innovation. Adding new lightweight materials to bolster fuel efficiency, the new Mazda weighs less than other utilities on the market. It won't win any green awards, but it does advertise 33 mph on the highway. It starts at under $21,000.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) had two contenders this year: the 2013 C-Max Hybrid crossover and the 2013 Fusion. The C-Max boasts 47 miles per gallon and merges Prius-like efficiency with the versatility of a crossover utility vehicle; the starting price is under $24,000.
The new Fusion sedan, starting at $21,700, has a turbocharged fuel efficient engine and comes in all wheel drive.
Honda Motor Co Ltd's (TYO:7267) 2013 Accord has a fully updated look and improved performance and interior styling. Touted as quieter and more efficient, the new Accord is getting 28 mpg and starts at under $20,000.
American cars generally win this annual North American beauty contest, but victory in Detroit this year is particularly sweet, coming just a short while after GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy and a massive taxpayer bailout.
“What a surreal moment this is for us at the Ram truck brand and for all the people who worked tirelessly with blood sweat and tears to come through the hell that we've been though,” said Fred Diaz, Ram Truck president and CEO, as he accepted the Truck of the Year award in a packed ballroom in downtown Detroit Monday morning.“What a difference three years makes.”
The Dodge Ram is consistently Chrysler's top selling model, so winning the award adds another laurel to this vehicle's track record. Still, it was the first victory in this contest for Chrysler Group since 2005, when the 300 sedan was named Car of the Year award; the last time Chrysler won Truck of the Year was in 1999 for its Jeep. In 2009, Chrysler was acquired by the Italian automaker, Fiat S.p.A. (PINK:FIATY).
The 2013 Ram 1500, with its segment-exclusive rear suspension, 8-speed automatic suspension, and a 300-horsepower V6 is being touted as an advanced full-sized truck with the kinds of dashboard gadgetry typically associated with luxury sedans. Meanwhile the 2013 Cadillac ATS, the first win for Cadillac in the 20-year history of the Car of the Year Award, is seen as a serious competitor in the global luxury brand market, led by BMW, Mercedes and Audi.