Category: LA Auto Show

By on November 22, 2019

Taking a moment away from my cheese sandwich, I looked at the countdown. Only four more minutes. Four minutes were all that separated me from Tesla Motors’ live unveiling of Cybertruck. Another bite while I checked my phone messages; just two minutes left now. Dear Lord, was I ready? Needing to calm myself, I poured a glass of cold water, drinking most of it before splashing a bit on my face. Thirty seconds. Things were serious now. Pretty soon, Elon Musk was going to appear and change the face of motoring once again. This will be the automotive announcement by which all others will be measured for weeks.

An ominous horn sounded as my screen illuminated to show me a blood-red stage. This was it. It was like they were announcing the first Terminator. Dark music subsided to a rowdy crowd, as a hologram told us we were addicted to oil. The solution? Cybertruck. Fashionable. Functional. Electric. Elon Musk walked out on stage like God Himself. Everyone started screaming. Humble, he chatted briefly with the front row.

“We need something different,” said after accusing all other truck models to be largely indistinguishable.

Then Cybertruck blasted on stage and I couldn’t believe what I saw.  Read More >

By on November 21, 2019

Kia’s Seltos was probably the worst-kept secret at the 2019 LA Auto Show. Hyundai Motor Group had already confirmed it as a global model earlier this year, teased it numerous times, and featured it on a gigantic banner outside the Los Angeles Convention Center prior to its official debut. But Kia still managed to surprise us.

Along with the U.S.-spec version of the Seltos, Kia also paraded two off-road concepts meant to preview future offerings. Positioned above the Soul, the new crossover is basically an oversized subcompact aimed at fleshing out the brand’s “SUV” lineup. While mostly conventional, it does offer some of the industry’s hottest trends (hidden pillars, contrasting roof, butch plastic cladding, etc) with enough attitude of its own to remain semi-distinctive. Most of that comes from a presumed ruggedness, enhanced by the brand’s edgy marketing.

Kia’s tagline for the vehicle is “Inspired by the Badass in You.”  Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

When Dodge first built a Challenger, back in 1959, it was actually a Coronet. A decade later, the car returned as the spiritual foundation of the coupe we know today. Presumably, the name is intended to represent Chrysler rising to meet the Challenges laid by rival manufacturers already building American muscle. But we can nitpick here endlessly, going back to the 1950s and giving the pentastar brand plenty of credit for going bananas on horsepower.

It would actually take decades for us to realize the Challenger’s true purpose — serving as a canvas for a hilarious number of special edition vehicles. Thankfully, they usually turn out to be fairly enjoyable and totally on brand, leaving us with little to complain about.

For the Challenger’s 50th anniversary, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to offer limited production Dodges in new colors with commemorative bling. It’s basically the same recipe Ford used for the 50th Anniversary Mustang but with some additional brashness from Dodge. However, while those Fords only came in Wimbledon White and Kona Blue, the Challenger comes in every high-impact paint color FCA has at its disposal — including Gold Rush.  Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

Silly naming convention aside – what’s with the misplace period and the dual z’s/zeds, Volkswagen? – the Volkswagen ID. Space Vizzion Concept is meant to preview something sleek.

A drag coefficient of 0.24 is nothing to sneeze at, indeed. Had my crappy CAD designs gotten that sort of number in eighth grade, perhaps I’ve have earned an A and would be designing cars instead of writing about them.

Ahem.

Read More >

By on November 30, 2018

gladiator

Outside of a Nissan-hosted panel preceding the first media day, the typically mobility discussion was muted at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show (and even that panel wasn’t nearly as eye-roll inducing as the usual Ford pronouncements — at least this panel included actual experts making reasonable points, even if I disagree with some of them.)

L.A. was all about the cars – cars you’ll soon be able to buy, should you have the means.

Read More >

By on November 30, 2018

After some healthy automotive foreplay, Audi finally took the wraps off its new e-tron GT Concept at the LA Auto Show. Offering the best elements of the brand’s design language, the vehicle previews a production model that’s scheduled to appear late in 2020, as well as Porsche’s upcoming Taycan EV — which will share the Audi’s drivetrain and platform.

Relatively handsome, if you like Audi sedans and oversized grilles on electric cars, the GT avoids getting overly ambitious with the futuristic styling we see on a lot of mainstream EVs. We’d call this “extremely modern” rather than some truly visionary design you’d expect from a concept car. It’s safe but not so safe that anyone should be left fretting.

However, it’s not quite the Tesla destroyer the media is eternally hunting for. Despite boasting some impressive specifications, the e-tron is roughly on par with the Model S when viewed broadly. But it should still make for healthy competition while encouraging the American brand to step up its game.  Read More >

By on November 29, 2018

LOS ANGELES – If you weren’t specifically told the Nissan Maxima sedan and Nissan Murano crossover received a redesign for 2019, you’d likely not notice.

I’m not being mean – Nissan just didn’t change much with either vehicle.

Read More >

By on November 28, 2018

While we’re not sure if consumers were ever really clamoring for an all-wheel drive Prius, Toyota has decided to grace North America with one for 2019. And it would have been a monumental surprise for the kissless virgins that make up the brunt of automotive journalism, had Toyota not already telegraphed its move by selling the model in Japan.

That’s alright, though. Average Joe had no clue such a vehicle already existed in Asia and we’d imagine most Prius fans will just be happy they’ll have an opportunity to buy one that can conquer snowy, mountainous terrain. Whether or not the 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e can traverse glaciers on a thimble of fuel remains to be seen, but this seems like a wise move. People are constantly coming up to us and explaining how they “have to have” all-wheel drive and Toyota’s premier hybrid could certainly use a sales boost right now.

Perhaps this mid-cycle makeover can help with that.  Read More >

By on November 28, 2018

2020 Lincoln Aviator

LOS ANGELES – A press release full of flying puns heralded the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator.

Tech is the key with this SUV – literally. One available feature is the ability to use your smartphone to unlock the doors and start the engine. Yes, that’s a very 2018 type of thing for an OEM to do.

Read More >

By on November 27, 2018

2019 Honda Passport

LOS ANGELES – Chevrolet brought the Blazer name back, and Ford is about to bring back the Bronco. What’s next, a Honda Passport?

That’s not a joke – the company really is resurrecting the Passport moniker. It will be slapped on an all-new five-seat crossover for the 2019 model year.

Read More >

By on November 27, 2018

Scheduled to make its official debut at the 2018 LA Auto Show later this week, Audi decided to unwrap the e-tron GT Concept early — bringing in  celebrity and friend of the brand Robert Downey Jr. to help do the honors.

While photos of the event were off limits, Audi was kind enough to provide a few media-approved renderings of what appears to be an A7 — sans grille — wearing the company’s signature EV camouflage. This is the e-tron GT, ready to do battle with Tesla’s Model S once Audi puts it into production. According to German outlet Bild am Sonntag, an uncamouflaged version of the concept should appear in Los Angeles on Wednesday — giving the manufacturer an opportunity to parse out the important details. However, we already have some of the pertinent specs.  Read More >

By on November 27, 2018

Having already revealed the updated European version, Fiat is unveiling North America’s take on the facelifted 500X. While the subcompact crossover’s official LA Auto Show debut isn’t for another day or so, FCA decided not to sit on it. Likely a wise move, as the model will assuredly be overshadowed by higher profile vehicles appearing later this week.

As with its European counterpart, the North American changes are barely noticeable. While Fiat says the exterior has been updated, with new fascias incorporating LED running lights, the tweaks aren’t immediately apparent to onlookers. In fact, most are unlikely to notice any significant changes to the model before climbing into the driver’s seat or spending some time with a corporate dossier outlining all the alterations.

Fortunately, we can give you the abridged version — a list that includes standard all-wheel drive and a new engine.  Read More >

By on November 26, 2018

Despite being in existence for nearly a decade, Rivian has operated in relative obscurity. However the company has finally decided to break cover by debuting its R1T electric pickup slightly ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show. The American startup is attempting to best other EV manufacturers by filling unoccupied space on the market. While electric pickups do exist, only the Ohio-based Workhorse has a clear production plan and that’s intended to primarily serve commercial fleets.

Meanwhile, the R1T is being designed with the consumer market in mind and boasts some seriously impressive specifications.  Read More >

By on November 21, 2018

Volvo has decided not to bring any vehicles to AutoMobility LA, the tech-focused preamble to the Los Angeles Auto Show. The reason? The brand says it’s not an auto show, despite the word auto being in the title. Volvo claims the industry is changing and so are the expectations of the people who use them. While this may be true to some extent, many people still expect carmakers to promote their cars and aren’t likely to swayed by mobility jargon or a rotating centerpiece that solidifies Volvo’s narrative.

Earlier this week, we mentioned Volvo’s launch of a social media campaign that includes a photograph of a phone displaying text reading “this is not a phone.” The gambit effectively built intrigue for the show, but the campaign will continue in LA — resulting in a display featuring “a number of interactive demonstrations of connectivity services, such as in-car delivery, car sharing, [and Volvo’s] vision for autonomous driving.” But no cars. Read More >

By on November 9, 2018

Mazda is bringing its new Skyactiv-X engine, hyped as a major leap forward in internal combustion engine technology, to the Los Angeles Auto Show and the end of the month. Wedged inside the new Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback, the powerplant uses “Spark Controlled Compression Ignition,” which is said to combine the efficiency of a diesel unit with the performance of a gasoline mill. The manufacturer claims fuel economy improvements of more than 30 percent over a standard gasoline engine of the same displacement.

Assuming Mazda meets that mark, it’s a petty impressive feat. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder will debut along with the 3’s new platform in L.A. at the end of the month.  Read More >

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