Last year, the Lotus Esprit blew me away. This year, my vote for “Car of the Show” at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show has to be the Jaguar XC16. I’ve examined the car from all angles and I cannot find one in which this car looks awkward. If I could mix and match cars, I would take the GT-R in XC16 clothing. That would be my ideal dream car.
Moving on…This year’s Auto Show did not have as many concepts as last year. It felt a little bit more “toned down”, possibly due to the economy. Despite this, it wasn’t a bad show. I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted to, but that was fine because much of what was at the LA show was also at the OC show. There were just a little more “high end” cars, but that’s about it.
Here is a quick run down of what was at the show and a few highlights
Acura – Nothing new. Their lineup was quite stale at the OC Show and it remained that way two months later at the LA Show.
Audi – A6/S6 and the A7/S7 were the new rides this year.
BMW – They showed off the iSeries which you probably have seen in most enthusiast websites/magazines. I also took some pictures of the concept a few years back. From what I understand, the i8 is supposed to make it to production with few changes (I am certain the glass doors are gone).
Buick – The Verano is ugly. Enuff said.
Cadillac – Showed up the Ciel, which was featured at Pebble Beach and the Converj, which was at a previous auto show some years back. I believe the Converj will be either an electric or hybrid car and will have performance that matches it’s aggressive looks. Possible the next CTS-V? Perhaps.
Chevrolet – I think you’ve seen enough Cruzes, Camaros, Coverttes and Volts to last you a while. NEXT!
Chrysler – As I was saying on the OC Show post. The 300 is one American sedan I would consider driving. Beats speaker system is truly insane for one that comes factory installed. I felt so gansta sitting in the backseat as the speakers were blaring Dr Dre tunes.
Dodge – Super Bee Charger in the House! The car looks mean! The HEMI looks meaner. Overall, I’m very happy to see Chrysler cars improving in such as short time. Now, I would like to see Chrysler pull a Volvo and start introducing some sweet leases for us.
Ford – The Escape was really the only “new” car to be introduced. It didn’t exactly wow me, but I can see it stealing some of the CR-Vs dominance (you will see what I mean when you see pics of the production-ready CR-V).
Honda – What a let down! The production-ready CR-V looks gutless! And if it drives anything like the old model, it’s performance will be gutless too! Check out the interior! Can we say weak sauce? Can’t wait to see what Consumer Reports does to the CR-V on their next review.
Hyundai – The Azera really wow’ed me. After talking to the product adviser and sitting in the car for a good 5-10 minutes, I came away impressed. The leather is soft and supple. The interior is well put together. The center stack follows the same overall layout found in most new Hyundais, but has a noticeably more “upscale” feel. The estimated MSRP is going to be in the low $30,000s, with most experts estimating it to be around $32,000. Everything, including Nav, comes standard. The only possible option (from what I am hearing) is the panoramic moonroof and maybe the window shaders, although those could be standard too. If you thought the Buick LaCrosse was the Lexus ES killer, think again.
Infiniti – The JX35 was introduced as a 7-passenger SUV. Not impressed. It looks like a weak attempt at cloning the Toyota Highlander which can be had for thousands less (if you don’t care about having quality interior materials). I’d be surprised if they sell more JX’s than EX’s. I would have liked to see a concept version of the new G-Coupe based off the Essence. That would have been fun to see.
Jaguar – XC16 all the way. This car is a beaut! If they would have given it a better sounding name instead of the typical “Letters + Numbers”, I’d name my kid after it. “Come here XC16!” just doesn’t have nice ring to it.
Jeep – New Compass and Patriot look like baby GCs, except the proportions are all wrong. I know Jeeps are meant to be rugged, but they could have done a little more to the interior. In contrast, you can see the GC looks nice inside and out. Even the storage area looks high end with fancy chrome touches.
Kia – GT concept looks cool, but not as sexy as the XC16. It does show a lot of promise and possibly a glimpse of things to come. Michelle Wie gets a custom Kia Soul! I highly doubt she would be caught dead in one. Them Rappin’/Dancin’ Hamsters, on the other hand, are a hoot. They give the Soul some street cred. Definitely cooler than rolling in a cardboard box, toaster or dryer.
Land Rover – Not much to say here. Doubt any of these rides will ever make it into production, but they are fun to look at. They almost feel like they will transform into a robot at any moment.
Lexus – More LF-A. *Yawn*
Lincoln – *Crickets*
Mazda – The CX5 actually look pretty good. You can totally see the styling cues of the Shinari concept on the front fascia. I really hope this crossover does well and gives the CR-V and Escape a run for their money.
Mercedes-Benz – I’ve pretty much seen all of the “new” models on the street or in previous Auto Shows with the exception of the C63 Black Edition. This thing rocks. It’s like Europe’s answer to the mean-looking American car!
MINI – See OC Auto Show…
Mitsubishi – I didn’t bother stopping by…actually, I don’t recall seeing them at the show. Maybe I stopped caring…
Nissan – Last year they had the Ellure. This year they had…NOTHING!
Porsche – Showed off their Panamera Hybrid and the usual 911s, Cayennes, Boxters and Caymans.
Scion – FR-S was in the house this year and it looks great! For those that have not been following the FR-S, expect about 200hp and a $24k price tag once it’s released. I don’t expect the production model to look too different unless Toyota decides to cheapen the experience some more. If the price is reasonable, this could very well be sitting in my driveway on day.
Subaru – Just like the FR-S, the BRZ should be priced and spec’ed at around the same range. There is talk of a STi trim, but I haven’t seen any details on that just yet. Originally, I thought the BRZ was the clear winner in the “looks” department, but after seeing them both in person, I have to go with the Scion.
Volvo – Same cars as last year. Same cars as this year’s OC show. Nothing new to report.
VW – A Beetle R was on display and it still looks girly. Hood vents and quad-exhaust pipes do tone down the estrogen somewhat though. For the record, I don’t have a problem with the Beetle looking girly. It’s just that VW is trying so hard to market the Beetle as being more “unisex” and I just don’t think its happening. Maybe if they dropped a huge supercharger hood scoop? Nah….
Others – Here you will find some pics I took of the more “unusual” cars.