Sport rules the Detroit auto show

Toyota's FT-1 concept car suggests a new direction in design for the automaker.

(Credit: Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

With the global economy on a rubber band for the past couple of decades, automakers circled the wagons, taking a conservative approach to their model line-ups. But at the 2014 Detroit auto show, it looks like we can have fun things once again.

Toyota, that hallmark of sensible cars, showed off an exciting new concept called the FT-1. Although not meant as a production prototype, it shows that Toyota is letting its designers have fun, and hopefully presages new models with a more emotional appeal.

Likewise, Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus gave its new RC coupe its North American debut, and took the wraps off the RC F, a high-performance version of the RC. It’s been some years since Lexus had a coupe, and the RC fills this niche nicely. It’s a GT-style car that partially resembles the Scion FR-S, Toyota’s joint project with Subaru. The RC also comes with a new infotainment interface for Lexus, a touchpad, something we’re seeing from other luxury automakers.

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