Another year has gone by, seems like yesterday I was just in Los Angeles looking at all the new 2015/2016 models. Time never stands still in the auto world, constantly moving at rapid pace. So needless to say I packed my bags and headed back west to attend the 2015 Los Angeles International Auto Show, for my third time in a row now.
LAAS is one of those shows that does two things, it closes out the 2015 Auto Show circuit, but also launches the 2016 Auto Show’s with Manufacturers introducing new models and refreshes for the 2017 model year. Since LAAS has already been covered by every other blogger and Automotive Magazine, there is no sense for me to talk about what’s new, especially since I’m a week late and dollar short. What I like to do is to note the ones I’m excited to see over the next year and hope to find some drive time behind the wheel.
Every year I try to get something fun to drive while in L.A., like last year with the Porsche Boxster. While I may have had a 2016 Scion iA on loan, and is what escorted me to Los Angeles from Phoenix, and even though the iA claims to get 40 mpg’s and can maneuver around the city like a cockroach in the night, I wanted to keep the miles under that 1000 mile mark. So instead I rented something a little more… California-esk – a 2016 Corvette Stingray.
To be a little more specific, this was the 2LT, starting at $63,855 with the optional $1725 8-Speed Automatic and $1795 Performance Data and Video Recorder Package.
Sure it got 11 miles to the gallon and emptied its tank every 100 miles. But like I cared! Driven mostly in Track Mode the ride was punitive and the exhaust was vulgar, I made sure I was heard before I was ever seen. The 6.2-liter 455 horsepower V-8 cranked out 0-60 in 4 seconds through its aggressive 8-speed automatic. And like a mouse being chased by Rozzer’s, the red haired blue eye kitten, it maneuvered its way around corners and traffic junctions without giving me the slighting hint that I didn’t know what I was doing.
Considering I spent nearly 60% of my time in typical L.A. traffic on the 405 and 605 freeways, it was surprisingly comfortable – I was cocooned in a sumptuous leather cockpit. It was typical GM design fashion and materials, but for something under 70K it wasn’t too terrible. The 2LT had heated/ventilated seats, Navigation, power seats, power steering wheel, and an amazingly clear heads-up display.
But how about that Auto Show. Since I can’t make it out for the industry media days, I have to go on public days – which means it’s a fight with other lookie lou’s who want to spent 30 min’s inside the car caressing the steering wheel and smelling the leather. Either way, this is what I’m excited to see over the upcoming year…
FORD: 2017 FORD ESCAPE
Ford’s biggest news to come out of the LAAS is the refreshed 2017 Escape featuring an updated stylish body, a new 1.5L Eco-Boost engine option and a re-engineered 2.0L EcoBoost Engine as well as some of the latest and greatest technology. It’s new look and new engine should make it fairly competitive again in its tough crossover segment.
KIA: 2016 KIA OPTIMA & 2017 KIA SPORTAGE
While the new 2016 Kia Optima is not technically news as they have started hitting dealership showrooms – I am excited for its new face and re-engineered 2.0L Turbo engine. For fun, Kia introduced a convertible version of the Optima at SEMA, what do you think? Rings Barbie to me…
Kia made quite the impression with the all-new 2017 Sportage. It looks are… contentious. Some say it looks like a Porsche Cayenne – I think it looks like a Subaru Tribeca. However kudos to Kia for designing outside the box.
MITSUBISHI: 2016 MITSUBISHI MIRAGE & 2016 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER SPORT
News from Mitsubishi? Basically their design department received a budget this year…. A small budget, but a budget – compared to other years. Restyled for 2016 the Outlander Sport and Mirage both received some sort of face lift to entice, some kind of buyer, probably the blind.
NISSAN: 2016 NISSAN ALTIMA & 2016 NISSAN SENTRA
Lots of new product from Nissan will be hitting the streets. The 2016 Altima shaped to mimic the Maxima looks really sexy and offers a new SR trim. This should put a dent in the Camry’s SE sales.
The 2016 Sentra has been updated as well featuring gorgeous new lines and some chassis work to improve its handling.
FIAT: 2017 FIAT 124 SPIDER
Even though I cannot obtain Fiat products, I’ll still introduce it here, the 2017 124 Spider. It’s different styling wise and it’s great to see some new rear-wheel drive roadsters back; however, it seems everyone has forgotten how to make a rear-wheel drive platform. Or is it that Mazda is just so good at what they do, that they sold their soul to the corporate store? Either way, this 124 Spider is very disappointing in the fact that it’s still a Miata underneath and inside. Why go frada when you can have Prada, especially when it will cost the same.
MAZDA: 2016 MAZDA CX-9
It’s been a long time coming and the last to received Mazda’s latest design language, the all-new 2016 CX-9. With a new 2.5-liter engine, this will be Mazda’s first turbo since the SKYACTIV era. It’s definitely a looker and with its new premium interior, the mid-size family crossover may just have a new leader on their hands.
VOLKSWAGEN: 2016 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT
Volkswagen got style? That’s a first! At least when it comes to the newest refresh for the 2016 Passat. It’s not news as they launched the refreshed about a month ago. But I am thrilled to see that there is more behind its polyester suit.
CHEVROLET: 2016 CHEVROLET CRUZE & 2016 CHEVROLET MALIBU
Two new faces from Chevrolet exposed themselves during LAAS, the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu. Both of their new design cues speaks louder than words.
JAGUAR: 2016 JAGUAR F-PACE
The likely hood of seeing Jaguar on my sight is if I went out and rented one. But I’ll still showcase the new F-PACE on here. Why? Just look at it! Its sooooo pretty!
LEXUS: 2016 LEXUS GS F, 2016 LEXUS RX350 & 2016 LEXUS LX570
The GS-F and new RX350 are no longer new news as both have been in the limelight for quite some time now. Using the same engine found in the Lexus RC F, the new GS F should be a nice rival to the BMW M5 for people who just want to annoy their neighbor but never step foot on a track. As for the RX350 and LX570, The design cues are typical now-a-day Lexus – which I like! We should be getting one here in Phoenix sometime early next year, I’ll make sure to get my hands on one!
INFINITI: 2016 INFINITI Q30 & 2016 INFINITI QX30
Exciting news from Infiniti with the official reveal of the new QX30. Based off the Mercedes GLA platform, the QX30 is unique in every different way imaginable (perhaps Fiat should take notes). Also being showcase is the new slightly less lifted, hatchback, Q30. Both have distinctive design language and exotic curves that would make anybody shiver. I am definitely ecstatic to see these hit the road.
ALFA ROMEO: 2017 ALFA ROMEO GIULIA QUADRIFOGLIO
Ahhhh, last but not least the new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. How could you not resist its 2.9-liter turbocharged V-6, 505-horsepower charm and 0-60 in 3.8 seconds? And it’s all wrapped behind a beautifully crafted carbon fiber body with a six-speed manual in the middle. Excuse me while I go use the bathroom.