L.A. AUTO SHOW PREVIEW: Jeep pickup, Hyundai crossover lead Los Angeles Auto Show’s busy slate of vehicle debuts

November 25, 2018 06:01 CET

Do auto shows still matter?

This one does. While Detroit increasingly struggles to draw the big names, this week’s Los Angeles show has a busy slate of global debuts from several major brands — domestic, European and Asian — plus a few minor ones.

Look for cars, crossovers and concepts from all the major German luxury brands, plus long-awaited trucks from Detroit, new models from Hyundai and Kia, and updates to old standbys from Toyota, Mazda and Nissan.

Also on the bill are more electrified vehicles from Volkswagen and Subaru and a pair of extended-range electric trucks from 10-year-old startup Rivian. Here’s a look at what’s on tap.

Audi: Audi will show the e-tron GT concept, a high-performance derivative of its coming e-tron electric crossover that charges fast, too.

Bentley: Following the redesigned third- generation Continental GT, Bentley plans to show its convertible variant. It will now ride on Volkswagen Group’s MSB platform, the same as the Porsche Panamera sedan.

2020 BMW M340i xDrive sedan

BMW: The fleet of debuts coming to Los Angeles includes a battery-electric crossover concept, the three-row X7 crossover, an 8-Series coupe and convertible, and a performance version of the 3 series.

 

Honda: The Passport nameplate returns as a two-row crossover slotted between the CR-V and Pilot. It’s expected to be about 6 inches shorter than the Pilot and compete with the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Murano in the midsize crossover segment.

Hyundai:The Palisade, the brand’s answer to the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Traverse, debuts in advance of its arrival on dealer lots next summer. It will be the biggest Hyundai crossover since the Veracruz was dropped in 2013, slotting above the midsize Santa Fe and possibly replacing the three-row Santa Fe XL after the 2019 model year. Hyundai execs say the name is meant to evoke the scenic and affluent Pacific Palisades neighborhood near Los Angeles.

Jeep: After a long wait, Jeep will show its Wrangler-based pickup, the Jeep Gladiator. The short-bed lifestyle pickup is already in preproduction on a retooled assembly line in Toledo, Ohio, and is expected to begin arriving in U.S. dealerships by April 2019. It will feature many of the same off-road goodies as the JL-series Wrangler that debuted a year ago but will ride on an extended frame.

Kia: The third-generation Soul subcompact retains its funky shape, judging by teaser photos, but with some fresh visual touches, such as a floating roof and more angled C-pillar. Kia also has another mystery vehicle introduction in store.

Lincoln Aviator

Lincoln: The Aviator, previewed as a prototype in New York this year, will appear in mostly similar production form ahead of its launch in the second half of next year. A sibling of the Ford Explorer, the Aviator will come in gasoline and plug-in hybrid variants. Officials so far have declined to discuss battery range or performance figures.

Mazda: The next-generation Mazda3 small car kicks off a new era of performance-oriented vehicle platforms and innovative drivetrains, all wrapped in a voluptuous new design language. Expect both the sedan and hatchback versions to be on the stand. The Mazda3 is the lead-off nameplate for a re-engineered architecture Mazda promises will weigh less, cost less and deliver a quieter ride with crisper handling. The Mazda3 also gets a new engine — dubbed Skyactiv-X — that Mazda says combines the best traits of diesel and gasoline engines for cleaner power.

Mercedes-Benz: A pair of AMG GT models will be introduced in the nation’s premier luxury auto market. In addition, Mercedes will show the new entry-level A-class sedan and the GLE crossover.

Mini: The John Cooper Works Knights Edition makes its North American debut in Los Angeles, appearing alongside several other special-edition models.

2019 Nissan Maxima

Nissan: In addition to showcasing a model freshen for the 2019 Maxima, Nissan promises a new vehicle. The company is mum on what the new model will be, but it has hinted all year that an extended-range Leaf will appear in late 2018. The higher-end variation will likely offer 220 miles of battery range, compared with 150 miles on the current Leaf. A midcycle update to Nissan’s Maxima sedan will focus on upgraded safety technology as the company introduces its Nissan Safety Shield 360 to various models. The package includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, rear automatic braking and rear cross traffic alert.

Porsche: The next-generation Porsche 911, code-named 992, is expected to be shown. Porsche executives say the 992 was engineered to allow space for a high-voltage battery, but the car won’t be launched as a plug-in hybrid for a few years.

Rivian: The EV startup that acquired Mitsubishi’s factory in Illinois will show its first vehicles, a long-range electric SUV and a matching pickup aimed at off-roaders and adventurers. Sales are expected to begin in 2020.

Subaru: The brand’s first plug-in hybrid powertrain takes the stage in the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid. It’s part of the all-wheel-drive specialist’s nascent electrification strategy. It pairs a four-cylinder direct injection boxer engine and new transmission with a hybrid system borrowed from corporate partner Toyota Motor Corp. It will have an electric-only range of 17 miles and speeds of up to 65 mph in full-electric mode. That equates to a fuel economy rating of 90 MPGe. Styling tweaks will set it apart from its gasoline-powered stablemate. Subaru says the Crosstrek Hybrid will arrive at retailers by year end.

Toyota: The sedan version of the 12th-generation Corolla landed stateside in Northern California two weeks ahead of the show, and a few months after the hatchback. On the auto show stand, Toyota will introduce the first hybrid version of the Corolla, updates to the Prius and performance editions of the Camry and Avalon from Toyota’s TRD racing arm.

Volkswagen: The brand’s EV parade continues with the I.D. Buzz Cargo concept, a commercial van that shares both the MEB electric architecture and the I.D. Buzz’s throwback styling. VW will also show a Beetle Final Edition as a sendoff for the iconic car, and a battery-powered Cargo e-bike.

Krishnan M. Anantharaman, Vince Bond Jr., Urvaksh Karkaria, Michael D. Martinez, Larry P. Vellequette and Jack Walsworth contributed to this report.

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