Detroit Three Focus on Customer-Friendly Tech at 2023 NAIAS
NAIAS isn’t what it once was, but it’s still about giving drivers what they want.
Only a first-time North American International Auto Show attendee would think this year’s exhibition in Detroit was a full-fledged affair. Despite the relative emptiness of downtown Detroit’s Huntington Place conference center, the Detroit Three automakers didn’t abandon the show. Aside from the refreshed 2024 Ford F-150 displayed on the eve of the show, this year’s debuts included the refreshed 2025 Cadillac CT5, the 2024 Jeep Gladiator and the 2024 GMC Acadia.
The shift in the show’s overall energy was matched by a notable adjustment in what automakers highlighted from the few new vehicles revealed at the show. This was not a year for big news, but one to focus on in-cabin technology and the impact more ADAS and connected features can offer drivers.
2025 Cadillac CT5
When the 2025 Cadillac CT5 goes into production in the spring of 2024, for example, it will get a new front fascia with a lower and wider front grille that updates Cadillac’s vertical lighting signature and stacked LED headlamps. Powertrain options in the new CT5 will remain the same: a standard 2.0-L turbo I-4 that produces 237 hp and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm). The optional 3.0-L twin-turbo V6 produces 335 hp and 405 lb-ft (549 Nm). All-wheel drive remains available for those who want a sedan capable of more control in “virtually all driving conditions,” as Cadillac said.
But CT5 chief engineer Alex MacDonald said the 33-inch-diagonal LED color touchscreen display with 9K resolution is the highlight of the refreshed luxury sport sedan. MacDonald said the screen isn’t tremendously new, but bringing it to the CT5 helps keep the sedan category “relevant and fresh.”
“That screen also brings [to the CT5] the direction we’re headed as Cadillac,” he said. “It’s a similar screen to the Lyriq and the XT4, so it brings a theme that’s coming across all of our catalog products.”
He said that bringing the newest tech to the CT5 sedan gives Cadillac a chance to rest on its laurels for a spell, given the accolades the CT5 received for its ride and handling.
"There was no need to go through and redefine what it did from a dynamic standpoint, but we wanted to be able to have that dynamic experience with all of the features,” MacDonald said. “The key advantage to a sedan is the driving dynamics. You just cannot make an SUV drive the way a sedan can drive, both from a luxury and handling standpoint. And so bringing these new advanced safety features, including Super Cruise and driver assistance tech, into the sedan rather than redefining what the sedan part is, means we’re letting you have that sedan experience with all of the features that people want.”
2024 GMC Acadia
GMC’s Duncan Aldred, vice president of global Buick and GMC, offered a similar message during the reveal of the third-generation 2024 GMC Acadia. The three-row SUV is a little less midsize than it was. It has an 8.4-inch (230-mm) longer wheelbase, a 10.6-inch (270-mm) longer overall length and is 3.2 inches (80 mm) taller than the previous generation.
Power comes from a new 2.5-L turbocharged 4-cyl. that produces 328 hp and 326 lb-ft (442 Nm). All trims use an 8-speed automatic and are available with all-wheel drive. The Acadia AT4 trim offers an Active Torque Control AWD system for better offroad performance. The 2024 GMC Acadia will have a max trailering rating of 5,000 lb. (2,268 kg) and will be the first GMC crossover to introduce Super Cruise. In the Acadia, Super Cruise includes trailering and automatic lane-change capabilities, enhanced automatic parking assist and driver-attention assist.
GM’s hands-free ADAS technology is exactly the kind of feature that customers are highly interested in, Aldred said. He projected that over a third of GMC vehicles sold through 2025 will be equipped with Super Cruise.
“With GMC, the premium truck and SUV brand, we’ve been putting a lot more time and attention and investment into our interiors,” he said. “We know our customers love to have a luxury experience, but they don’t want a luxury brand.”
Aldred said these tech and cabin experience upgrades will be available across GMC’s lineup, even in vehicles that in earlier years might have eschewed posh for rough capability. In the 2024 Acadia, Super Cruise will be available on the Elevation, Denali and AT4 trims.
The AT4 shows that not all GMC’s engineering efforts involve software and sensors.
“We’re very fastidious about the AT4,” Aldred said. “To wear an A4 badge, it has to have extra capability versus a standard Acadia. The AT4 – with its lift, with the advanced all-wheel-drive system, with some of the other technology that’s in the all-terrain tires – really offers a great off-road experience, which is unique within our GMC lineup. So we offer both real premium and serious real capabilities as well.”
2024 Jeep Gladiator
Off-road capabilities were front and center for the Jeep’s lone vehicle introduction. The 2024 Jeep Gladiator contained its fair share of new, in-cabin tech, but even here, the company highlighted a new partnership with Trails Offroad to launch the Jeep Adventure Guides. The Adventure Guides provide detailed maps and information for all 62 Jeep Badge of Honor trails in the U.S. in the Gladiator’s Uconnect 5 navigation system. Drivers can pay $40 annually to subscribe to map data for over 3,000 other trail guides from Trails Offroad.
The best clearance figures for the Gladiators match those of the 2023 models, with up to a 44.7-degree approach angle, a 20.9-degree breakover angle and a 26-degree departure angle. Ground clearance maxes out at 11.6 inches (290 mm), and the 2024 Gladiator can ford water up to 31.5 inches (800 mm) deep. The Willys model gets a standard rear locking differential and Off-Road+ drive mode for the first time. The Mojave X and Rubicon X models come with an integrated offroad camera.