Monday, November 21, 2016

2016 Automobility LA Review

Alexander Carabitses

(Image credited to Jaguar)

If you're wondering why this article is not titled 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show Review, it is because Automobility LA is the show's new name.  The idea, at least on press days, was to have a lot of automotive tech news be announced at the same time that the new product unveils were taking place, not on a separate night like previous years.  It also gives it a trendier name that should sit well with tech-savvy millennials. Personally speaking, I do not mind this idea, as it has the potential to provide auto shows with a new lease on life, as venues like CES continue to become more important. Recently, the worth of the investment and participation in auto shows has some into question, as well as their relevancy in the future, and frankly, I think that doing something like this can make auto shows continue to seem relevant for many years to come.

As far as products are concerned, I am happy to report that many automakers stepped up their game from last year, although there were a few exceptions.  BMW, for example, did not bring any new products this year, and instead announced the pricing of a car that they have already shown twice.  It initially looked as if Hyundai was also not going to have anything new to show, but it surprised the media with the launch of an autonomous Ioniq prototype.  Hyundais sister brands, Kia and Genesis, trotted out a few new products of their own.  Genesis brought out a facelifted 2017 G80 that has already hit showrooms (except for a sport trim package which was also shown for the first time).  Kia brought the facelifted, 2017 Soul range to LA, with the two pieces of news on the car being a new turbocharged engine and a tweaked exterior.
(Image credited to Hyundai)
(Image credited to Kia)
(Image credited to Genesis)

Japanese automakers all had one thing in common this year: a love for crossovers.  Mazda rolled out the all new 2018 CX-5, four years after the first generation model debuted, and it looks very impressive.  Also, after years of delays, the Skyactive diesel is finally coming.  Toyota launched the US-spec version of the 2018 CH-R, which would have been a Scion, but is better off as a Toyota.  I'm not a fan of the exterior, but the vehicle does feature one of Toyota's better interiors.  Mitsubishi launched the EX-Concept, which is a pretty good indicator of what he next generation Outlander Sport could look like, while Subaru brought out the Viziv  Concept, which previews their new 7-passenger crossover, which will be on sale in 2018.  Honda's new CR-V also made its public debut.
(Image credited to Mazda)
(Image credited to Toyota)
(Image credited to Mitsubitshi)
(Image credited to Subaru)

Honda also brought the 2018 Civic Si to LA, albeit as a prototype (the production car will go on sale early next year looking exactly the same).  I still don't understand why this wasn't show before the Type-R, because now the level of interest for this vehicle will probably dwindle now that the Type-R has overshadowed it.  Nissan launched a performance sedan of its own: The 2017 Sentra Nismo.  Somebody should tell Nissan that launching a performance version of one of the worst cars in its segment is not a good idea.  Nissan also launched a facelifted, 2017 Versa Note, a special edition Juke and Rouge (with the latter being a Star Wars special edition).  The brand featured a near life-size Tie Fighter in its stand because holiday shoppers won't be seeing enough Star Wars crap already- it does look pretty cool though.
(Image credited to Honda)
(image credited to Nissan)
(Image credited to Nissan)

Nissan's luxury arm Infiniti brough the QX Sport Inspiration Concept to the US for the first time, while also showing off the Q60 Neiman Marcus Limited Edition.  Lexus also jumped on the special edition bandwagon, with the 2017 IS Sriracha, although this is only a concept. Speaking of concepts, Acura also showed off the Precision Cockpit, which showcased what their future interiors will look like.  I should quickly mention that Mazda brought a new prototype race car, dubbed RT-24P.
(Image credited to Infiniti)
(Image credited to Acura)
(Image credited to Mazda)

Porsche also showed off its own racer, the 911 RSR, while also bringing the base and Executive (LWB) models of the 2017 Panamera to the show.  Audi rolled out the US version of the new Q5, A5/S5 coupe and sportback, as well as the R8 V10 Plus Laserlights (for those confused, it features laser headlights and is a limited edition).  Volkswagen launched a facelifted, 2017 E-Golf, with more power and range, a Passat GT concept that attempts to make the Passat appear more sporty, and the all-new and all important 2018 Volkswagen Atlas 7-passenger crossover.  This vehicle is the most important vehiclee that the brand has ever launched in the US, and right off the bat, I have to say that it looks painfully dull, but is should still help boost the brand's sales in what can only be described as a difficult time.
(Image credited to Porsche)
(Image credited to Porsche)
(Image credited to Volkswagen)
(Image credited to Volkswagen)
(Image credited to Volkswagen)

Mini brought the all new 2018 Countryman and Countryman S E All-Four.  The big news is the plug in-hybrid powertrain of the latter vehicle, as well as the fact that this new crossover is 7.9 inches longer.  Germany's other small car brand, Smart brought the 2018 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive in US spec, while parent company Mercedes-Benz brought the all new, 2018 E63 AMG and the Mercedes Maybach S650 Cabriolet, which will be limited to 75 units in the US.  Mercedes brought the entire crop of Paris reveals to the show as well, along with AMG GLE 43.
(Image credited to Mini)
(Image credited to Mini)
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)
(Image credited to Mercedes Benz)

Volvo launched an update to its lineup of Polestar cars and the 2018 V90 Cross-Country.  Land Rover Jaguar brought the all new 2018 Discovery, the Jaguar XKS Continuation, and the Jaguar I-Pace.  The I-Pace (pictured at the start of the post) previews both a new crossover and a new hybrid powertrain for the brand.  The concept was undoubtably the biggest star of the show.  Another star is the Rear-Wheel drive Lamborghini Hurricane Spyder, which wasn't even on display at the show.
(Image credited to Jaguar)

(Image credited to Lamborghini)

For those of you who are wondering what the Detroit based automakers brought, I have you covered. Ford launched the all important 2018 Ecosport subcompact crossover, which in typical Ford fashion, won't go on sale until the time in which everyone has forgotten of the vehicle's existence: early 2018. FCA also launched two new important crossovers: the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio and the 2017 Jeep Compass.  The latter is a massive improvement over its predecessor, while the former is going to be the vehicle that saves the Alfa Romeo brand when it goes on sale in the second quarter of next year.   Chevrolet brought the new 2018 Equinox for its public debut, along with the US version of the 2017 Spark Activ, which features some body cladding and not much else.  However, if you want a true off roader, look no further than the 2017 Colorado ZR2.  On sale early next year, this vehicle uses a Spool Valve suspension, which allows for it to tackle any terrain.  Finally, Cadillac showed the US version of the 2018 CT6 PHEV, while the Escala Concept made its auto show debut.
(Image credited to Ford)
(Image credited to Jeep)
(Image credited to Alfa Romeo)
(Image credited to Chevrolet)
(Image credited to Chevrolet)
(Image credited to Cadillac)

Well, that wraps up 2016 Automobility LA, and I have to say that I am pretty impressed with what was shown.  The show was a far cry from last year's sleeper show and it is all a far cry from the status of this show six year ago when the main unveils were mostly eco-friendly cars that would please environmentalists and regulators.  This year, two of the three electric cars shown were concepts and the one production car is a plug-in hybrid that is essentially a trim package.  The only electric car news was Chevrolet Bolt EV's victory as Motor-Trend Car of the Year for 2016.  Don't get me wrong, electric cars are still a trend that automakers will desperately try to push for a while, but at least LA is no longer the dumping grounds for these cars.

 To wrap things up, I would like to wish my US readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope that you all surround yourselves with friends and family,  and I also hope that you all take the time to truly count each and every one of your blessings.  Thanks for reading, have a good week and a great holiday!

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