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Year of the truck in 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 U.S. auto market.

Fiat Chrysler will roll out a redesigned Ram truck, while GM's Chevrolet brand is showing off the new Silverado. It's the first time in at least 29 years that show organizers can remember two Detroit automakers unveiling new full-size trucks at the same Detroit event. Also, Ford is re-entering the small pickup market with a new version of the Ranger.

It's all happening in a U.S. auto market that's shrinking but still expected to remain at healthy levels. Last year sales fell 2 per cent 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 public on Friday:

FORD EDGE

Ford Motor Co. is introducing a high-performance version of its midsize Edge SUV this summer. The Edge ST is the first Ford SUV to be specially tuned by Ford's performance team. It has a 2.7-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 engine that puts out 335 horsepower — nearly as much as the base model of the Porsche Cayenne — and 380 pound-feet of torque. That's paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission; drivers can also manually shift using the wheel-mounted paddle shifters. All-wheel-drive comes standard, and there's a specially tuned sport suspension.

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-litre V8 engine that puts out 475 horsepower. It has a top speed of 163 miles per hour (262 kilometres per hour) and a manual transmission with a white cue-ball shift knob. It's available in dark highland green, the colour "Bullitt" made famous. It's also offered in black.

VOLKSWAGEN JETTA

Volkswagen's redesigned Jetta offers more room — and a shot at redemption as the automaker tries to recover from a 2015 emissions-cheating scandal. Already considered roomy for a compact car, the German automaker says the 2019 Jetta "grows outside in every direction" — 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 1.4-litre engine remains, but 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.

MERCEDES G-CLASS

Mercedes' boxy-looking G-Class SUV gets a facelift that the company says will boost performance both on and off the road.

The company readily admits that its appearance hasn't changed much in almost four decades. But the 2019 version gets numerous changes including 2 additional inches (5 additional centimetres) of length and 4.8 inches (12 centimetres) of width. That gives the SUV more leg, shoulder and elbow room in the front and rear seats.

The G-Class gets a new independent front suspension as well as a new nine-speed automatic transmission. It's still powered by a 4-litre V8 with 416 horsepower. It also gets new LED headlamps.

TOYOTA AVALON

Toyota has taken the wraps off its revamped Avalon, which comes with what the automaker describes as an "all-encompassing makeover" for its fifth generation. Elements of the overhaul are big and small. The car features a longer, lower and wider exterior and a rear cabin extends another 7 inches (17.8 centimetres), yet overall height measurements have been trimmed by about an inch (2.5 centimetres).

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, giving drivers the ability to remotely start the engines, lock or unlock doors or check fuel levels.



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