New car designs dazzle in Detroit

Virtual reality and high-tech gadgets dominated the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

More than 800,000 car enthusiasts saw new ideas for self-driving vehicles at this year’s exhibition, where new designs for 46 vehicles made their world debuts.

Ford Motor Company brought its GT supercar with a dose of virtual reality: Visitors got to test-drive the aerodynamic race car through a digital wind tunnel.

Vehicle on display with side door open upward (© AP Images)
The Lincoln Navigator concept car shows its new design. (© AP Images)

The newest Lincoln Navigator has giant “gull wing” doors that are hinged at the roof rather than the side and includes actual steps into the cabin. It’s a “concept car” that the company uses to gauge public reactions and decide whether to produce it on a bigger scale.

Van on display (© AP Images)
The Volkswagen ID Buzz prototype is a throwback to an earlier time. (© AP Images)

Evoking the classic 1960s “hippie van,” Volkswagen’s electric ID Buzz surprised showgoers with its retro look and high-tech specs. With two electric motors putting out power, the van can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in a blistering 5 seconds.

Best of all, it’s designed with a driverless future in mind, so someone in the driver’s seat can swivel back to face the other seven passengers.

No word yet on how easy it is to paint psychedelic flowers on the sides, a common sight that helped make the “hippie van” famous in the 1960s.