The best of the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, as chosen by Motor1 team.
The 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show has come and gone (well, for press, anyway – the public days are just beginning). With events spread out over the entire week, there was a lot to see in the City of Angels; this show was packed with everything, from performance cars to mainstream crossovers. Something for everyone, really.
Of course, a few stand-out vehicles grabbed our attention more than others. Here are the vehicles that struck a chord with the members of the Motor1 team.
Tesla has done the heavy lifting of making it possible to view electric cars as cool, after a hundred years of being only for weirdos and hobbyists. All of the big luxury brands have slowly come to grips with that reality, but it seems as though Jaguar might, just maybe, be the first to capitalize on it.
The I-Pace is an EV with killer specs – 350-kilometre range, 4.0-second 0-60 time, 50 kW DC quick charges the batteries to 80 percent in 90 minutes. More importantly, it has potential to have a truly luxurious, and useful, interior, when it comes to market in 2018. If it can also undercut the Model X in terms of price (a big if) the slinky British styling and most-likely-impressive handling could have green-leaning enthusiasts agog.
– Seyth Miersma
Volvo V90 Cross Country
Winter is just around the corner in Detroit, and seeing this high-riding Volvo wagon in Los Angeles has me thinking chilly thoughts. Just imagine it bounding through the snow in luxury and style, its Thor's Hammer LEDs pointing the way forward. Swedish stuff, really.
The Volvo V90 is an incredibly attractive wagon – one of the prettiest ever made, in my opinion. Even the Cross Country treatment looks great, with tasteful cladding and some extra ground clearance. That matte gray paint is a killer addition, too. This car is a great mix of form and function, with lots of luxury and class. I'd drive it right off the show stand if I could.
– Steven Ewing
The commercially popular crossover segment hasn’t always been full of the most attractive vehicles on the road, but debuts like the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Jaguar I-Pace at the 2016 L.A. Auto Show have shown how quickly the niche’s styling is evolving. My favorite among this new bunch of more fashionable CUVs is the new Mazda CX-5. I especially like the way that the headlights connect with the grille, which gives the model a cohesive face. The interior layout improves on an already good design, and it looks like there are better-quality materials in there, too. Mazda’s designers once again show their masterful ability to create a stunning vehicle that’s also affordable.
Plus, the engineering team has a nice surprise for buyers in Canada and the U.S. by using the CX-5 as the launching pad for the brand’s long-promised diesel engine in the second half of 2017. In the wake of VW’s emissions scandal, bringing the powerplant here is quite a gamble.
– Chris Bruce
Porsche 911 RSR
I’m not into every form of motorsport, but endurance racing, particularly with the goal of conquering the 24 Hours of Le Mans, enchants me. The new 911 RSR particularly piques my interest because the engine has moved from its iconic location behind the rear wheels to a spot in the middle of the car. That’s better for racing, which the RSR will do a lot of next year. The rest of the car looks as serious as the sharp edge of a knife. Corvettes, Ferraris, and Fords (GTs) beware.
– John Neff
Honda Civic Si Prototype
As a fan of affordable performance cars, I instantly took a fancy to the Civic Si. Every other version of the new Civic I’ve driven is seriously impressive, so I have no doubts the Si will be a great performer too. Honda hints to me that the Civic Si will still very affordable – the 2016 Si coupe started at just – despite it having a turbo engine and the car’s first-ever adaptive dampers. The car looks killer as a coupe (even if my coworkers think it’s a bit too Fast and Furious), and if it really does have more than 200 horsepower, the sharp brakes and handling we’re promised, and a reasonable sticker price, well, sign me up. My only disappointment is that there won’t be an Si hatch. If you need practical Honda performance, you have to go either with the Sport or the much wilder Type R.
– Jake Holmes
Toyota’s first true foray into the CUV segment looks like it will be a serious competitor. Using the Prius platform as its base, the new C-HR puts to use a standard 2.0-litre engine producing a hearty-enough 144 horsepower with the option of either front- or all-wheel drive. Its design is eye-catching, but not over the top, its cabin is spacious and filled with amenities, and in a few months time, we’ll see a hybrid version come to market. If you’re still under the impression that millennials don’t care about cars, wait until this thing hits dealerships next year.
– Jeff Perez
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
To be honest, I’m not much of an SUV fan and I can’t see myself buying one, but the Alfa Romeo Stelvio in Quadrifoglio trim is an exception worth making. It’s basically the SUV Ferrari isn’t willing to make wrapped in a racy Giulia-infused body with quad exhaust tips screaming 505 of prancing horsepower.
Alfa Romeo certainly took its sweet time coming out with its first-ever SUV, but I must say it was definitely worth the wait from a design point of view and hopefully the Stelvio’s fantastic specs will live up to the hype in the real world.
Oh, and have I mentioned it’s the quickest SUV ever around the Nürburgring? Indeed, Alfa Romeo says the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has lapped the Nordschleife in 7 minutes and 59 seconds, thus making it just 0.74 secs quicker than the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.
– Adrian Padeanu
Lexus IS Sriracha Edition
As auto journalists, we typically don’t like or care much for one-off custom vehicles. Why? Because you as the consumer will likely never see it, let alone drive it. However, this is a BIG however, Lexus paid a ton of attention to the details of this thing, the Sriracha IS.
Yes, it’s officially called the Lexus Sriracha IS. It’s got chilli flakes in the red paint (well, stuff that looks like it anyway), sauce bottle cap green accents, and big red (and white) rooster branding… everywhere.
“America’s favorite chili pepper based vehicle,” says Lexus. That's right.
Oh, who built it? West Coast Customs of course. The very same of Xzibit’s Pimp My Ride fame. Besides, who else would build a car that’s described as, “Proof that everything is hotter with Sriracha."
– Kanishka Sonnadara
Subaru Viziv-7 Concept
As much as I don't like SUVs, there’s a new large SUV concept from Subaru that I really like. I’m talking about the Viziv-7 Concept, which is exactly what the Japanese company needs right now. The thing is Subaru is already selling well in North America, but the company’s lineup still feels kind of uncompleted. Here comes the big Viziv-7, which will transform into a production model in early 2018.
To be honest, it does look better than the Volkswagen Atlas, and ticks all the right boxes in terms of design – it’s massive, sophisticated, and modernistic. Despite the busy front end, it still has an appealing appearance.
The only thing that really bothers me is what engine Subaru will give its production, seven-seat model. The best choice so far is a 2.0-litre turbocharged, four-cylinder unit, which... won’t be enough, to say the least.
– Anthony Karr
Imperial TIE Fighter + 2017 Nissan Rogue Star Wars Edition
No, this isn't a Photoshop job – that is actually a 1:1 scale Imperial TIE Fighter at the Nissan booth to attract attention for the limited-production Rogue One package based on the Star Wars franchise. Sure, the Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition adds a few treatments like LED lighting, Rogue One plaques, black wheels, and choice of either ‘Rebel Alliance’ or ‘Galactic Empire’ appearance, but c’mon, it’s overshadowed by a TIE Fighter capable of howling to 1,200 kilometres per hour and armed with twin L-s1 laser cannons. Nissan can never top this, unless, of course, it comes out with a model called the ‘Interceptor’ and display the TIE Interceptor at a future auto show.
– Dave Pankew