November 25, 2016

Crossovers, Technology Shine During L.A. Auto Show

Crossovers, Technology Shine During L.A. Auto Show

Hybrids took a back seat at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, allowing diverse new crossovers to shine.  Automakers also grapple with the future of autonomous driving.  Of course, being L.A., there was ostentatious luxury.  Here are the highlights:

Subaru VIZIV-7 Crossover Concept

You’re looking at a concept of the three-row crossover that will be built in Subaru’s Lafayette, Indiana plant next year.  Styling borrows from the Outback with a bold grille, C-shaped running lamps, bulging fenders, and wrapped-in taillamps.  It’s big, but refined and upscale.  Powertrain choices and pricing will come closer to launch next year.

Jaguar I-PACE Concept

Jaguar confirms its first electric car, due in 2018.  It combines emissions-free driving with a crossover interior and sports car styling.  A 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack enables 0-60 mph in 4 seconds and 220-miles range.  Cab-forward styling with Jaguar haunches hosts a panoramic glass roof, buttery leather, real timber, and twin touchscreens.

Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet

Mercedes slaps Maybach opulence and a 6.0-liter biturbo V12 engine into its S-Class Cabrio.  It looks best in Zircon Red paint with 20” Maybach forged wheels.  Exquisite interiors spoil with diamond-quilted leather seats, fine milled wood trim, and insulated tops.  Fully throttled, the engine whomps 621 horsepower and 738 lb.-ft. of torque.  Only 75 cars will be offered in the U.S.   

2018 Jeep Compass

Jeep debuts its all-new Compass with muscular fenders, upturned rear windowline, dual-pane sunroof, and LED taillamps.  A Trailhawk edition is fortified with skid plates, red tow hooks, and a seriously-capable 4x4 system.  A 2.4-liter 180 horsepower four-cylinder engine, connected to a 9-speed automatic or 6- speed manual transmission moves it. 

Hyundai IONIQ Concept

Autonomous driving move closer to reality.  Engineers repackaged the test car’s roof-mounted LiDAR unit into a bulging bumper that also contains cameras and radar for pedestrian detection, lane markings identification, and traffic signal adherence.  The car features Blind Spot Detection, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear CrossTraffic alerts to give drivers eyes in all directions.

2018 Mazda CX-5

Mazda’s compact crossover is completely redesigned with sexier styling themes, highlighted by optional Soul Red Crystal paint.  The CX-5 will also harbor Mazda’s first diesel in North America - a 2.2-liter unit joined by 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter gasoline engines.  G-Vectoring all-wheel-drive enhances handling.  Sales begin next spring.

2018 Toyota C-HR

Bulging bodywork complements an interior dressed with a dash top audio display, satin-plated shift knob, heated seats, and futuristic curves.  C-HR conjures a 144 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and suspension tuned on Germany’s Nurburgring.  Safety is enhanced by pedestrian detection, automatic braking, and radar cruise.

Acura Precision Cockpit

Acura grapples with intuitive controls for autonomous driving, crash avoidance, and infotainment functions.  The lay-out places a flatscreen in the instrument cluster and another on the dash controlled by a curved touchpad in the console.  The instrument screen shows 3D visuals of vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles around the car, distinguishing those in autonomous mode.  Absolute Positioning of the touchpad corresponds exactly to the same areas on the screen, providing intuitive eyes-up operation without a cumbersome mouse.

2018 Ford EcoSport

Ford offers its global sub-compact crossover stateside.  To entice young drivers, EcoSport is stoked with an available 675-watt B&O PLAY audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 110-volt household outlet.  Step into a 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder or 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.  All-wheel-drive is available.  Baby Escape styling accompanies copper interior accents.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The Italian automaker’s first crossover is gorgeous.  Built in Italy, Stelvio is based on the all-new Giulia sedan and is offered with a 2.0-liter turbo-four that reaches 144 mph or, in Quadrifoglio trim, a 505 horsepower engine that romps 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds.  Torque-vectoring AWD, adjustable chassis, and Italian craftsmanship inside enhance the drive. 

Storm Forward!

Contact Casey at; follow him on YouTube and Twitter:  @AutoCasey.

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