Ambitious Models

In the race for car buyers, conditions have seldom been better. Engineers are making vehicles smarter, safer, and more efficient. Executives are emboldened by the strengthening global economy and cheap financing.

The result is a rash of new and ambitious models, and as industry analysts and executives converged on Detroit this week for the annual car show, we asked several which of the current or coming vehicles they are most impressed with. Not necessarily the nicest or most expensive rides—just the ones that handily beat expectations. (And we made sure that the folks working for car companies called out a competitor.)

Here’s what they chose.

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