Bling is the thing at Detroit auto show

By JEFF KAROUB Published: January 16, 2013
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Ford hopes to finally surpass Toyota Camry's sales with the new Fusion, helped by a more aggressive-looking trapezoidal grille.

There are other grilles providing artistic thrills: When the light hits it just right, the angular brushed-metal grille of Hyundai's new luxury concept car shows off at least a dozen small inverted triangles that appear behind horizontal bars. The wide-mouth grille has a bunch of tiny holes, and the angles reflect light. It's just one of many new styling cues on the HCD-14 Genesis, which Hyundai says is the direction it will take the next generation of its luxury cars, the Genesis and Equus.

THE EYES HAVE IT

The tail lamps on the high-performance version of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee are tinted black, giving it an ominous look. Ralph Gilles, a Chrysler design leader, noted the lamps are “kind of like death.”

“They look like they're really staring at you. If you look at them they're all dark inside. You can't even see the lens,” Gilles says.

He says it's the first time Chrysler has done such headlamps. The vehicle, he added, “can pretty much be sinister if you want it to.”

He says designers wanted to create something unique that “owners will love.”

The headlights on Land Rover's small SUV — the Range Rover Evoque — also give that vehicle “a bit more of the sinister look,” according to IHS Automotive analyst Rebecca Lindland. The slim lamp also represents an advance in functionality.

“The great thing with lighting technology is that you can actually have a very narrow light and still have a tremendous amount of road illumination,” she says.

CRYSTAL CLEAR

When it comes to headlights, there's bling, and then there's the king of bling.

The Acura RLX's headlights look like a crystal chandelier, courtesy of a horizontal collection of lenses and LED light that has been split and directed in a beam pattern, according to Hulick of Osram Automotive.

He says Acura's lights are a great example of a vehicle being simultaneously eye-catching and illuminating with the help of LEDs.

“Lighting, in my opinion, has replaced chrome as the jewelry on the car.”

STEPPING UP

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck has a practical feature that breaks up the boring horizontal view of the bumper.

There are two steps that make it easy to climb into the bed to fetch tools or tie down a load. The steps are inset into the corner of the bumpers, and even have treads to stop work shoes from slipping.

The always-ready steps could give GM an advantage over other automakers in an increasingly competitive pickup market, especially with buyers who constantly are going in and out of the truck bed.

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