There8217;s no shortage of shows for the world8217;s manufacturers to launch cars, but for the LA Auto Show, some of the biggest launches came from Europeans and Asian companies, keen to demonstrate how important the US market is to them.
Unsurprisingly, the shift to electrification plays a major part of the theme of launches, with companies like BMW reminding everyone just how long it has been in the EV business, and rhetoric from VW telling us that it is going to making EVs for the millions, not just the millionaires.
The Prius might not be as unique as it once was. With Toyota unveiling a Corolla hybrid and the RAV4 hybrid, what8217;s the future for the original hybrid trendsetter? More versatility, that8217;s what. A tweak to the design gives the 2019 Prius a wider look; the slightly controversial rear lights are now more conventional, but the biggest story is all-wheel drive. Yes, there8217;s a 4215;4 Prius, with a second motor for the rear wheels and a nickel-hydride battery said to be better for colder weather. Toyota clearly wants you to go skiing in the Prius, or just wants to boost sales in Scandinavia.
Arise, Kia Soul the third. Kia has announced a new Soul and in the US it comes in a number of different guises 8211; GT, X line and EV. The EV is by far the most groundbreaking, taking what the previous Soul EV started and totally redefining it. The new Kia Soul EV gets a 64kWh battery, reported range of 239 miles and 201HP. That makes it hugely competitive as an EV, while retaining the character that comes with the Soul. We8217;ve got to say we love it and it8217;s going to be available in early 2019.
Rivian has attracted headlines, presenting an electric SUV designed for the outdoors. Rather than being a clean urban mobility solution, the Rivian is aimed at adventure, with offroad skills and the ability to wade up to 3ft of water and a claimed 0-60 time of 3 seconds. It8217;s a newcomer to the world of cars, however, and we8217;ve seen a number of these interesting ideas struggle to get going. Will Rivian still be around come 2019?
BMW is moving into the big SUV leagues with the X7, which makes everything larger 8211; including that kidney grille. Unveiled alongside a new Z4, M3 and 8 Series convertible, the BMW X7 gives you seating for seven with a third row, and takes its place at the lead of the X family of cars. You8217;ll be able to use voice commands in the car, as well as use NFC on your smartphone instead of a conventional key. The BMW X7 is available for pre-order already and will be hitting streets in March 2019.
As you8217;d want from a new Porsche 911, the iconic design of this sports car stays true to its forbears, tweaking and tucking to refresh this classic car. More powerful, yet more efficient, there8217;s a lot of tech packed into the new 911 including an automatic wet mode to detect slippery roads, while night vision assist will help you see more in the dark. There8217;s a new eight speed dual clutch transmission and a huge 10.9-inch display in the interior.
While the current of electric cars flows freely around the LA Auto Show, there8217;s still space for hungry race cars. The limited-edition GTR Pro has been developed with lessons learnt from Mercedes8217; GT3 and GT4 race cars, refining the aerodynamics, increasing the downforce and losing weight. It8217;s stuffed full of carbonfibre and ceramics, produces 577HP from the 4-litre V8 engine and has a top speed of 198mph.
It doesn8217;t get more American than Jeep and it doesn8217;t get more American than a truck 8211; and the Jeep Gladiator brings both sides together. That part of the introductory video at the LA Motor Show was lifted from the movie Gladiator 8211; an Australian playing a Frenchman 8211; brought a wry smile to our lips, soon replaced with a child-like grin as the enormity of Jeep8217;s new truck became clear. Imagine taking a Wrangler and sticking a flatbed on the back. Yup, that8217;s it 8211; the ultimate plaything.
The BMW Vision iNext made its world debut in LA, showcasing the technology that BMW will be putting on the road by 2021. It8217;s a firm commitment to a timeline, promising a level 3 autonomous electric SUV, sitting between the X5 and the X6 in size. Exactly what will launch in 2021 remains to be seen, but the iNext pushes the kidney grille bigger than the new X7, turns the interior into a lounge-like boudoir and seems to be based around emotional experiences, rather than conventional car design.
The reveal that we all knew was coming is the next step in Audi8217;s etron moves. With the SUV-styled etron heading to roads soon, we have a strong feeling that the production model of the etron GT will look a lot like this concept model when it arrives in 2020. It8217;s a four seat sports car, with a 100 per cent vegan interior, taking the eco message to the next level. It will hit 62mph in 3.5 seconds, you get 590HP from the motors and it has a range of 250 miles. How much will it cost? That8217;s not been confirmed, but when luxury meets performance, expect to pay a lot.
The VW ID Buzz has been kicking around for a while now. A reimagined version of the VW van, this Cargo Concept looks to take on the role of last mile delivery. With online shopping on the rise, the number of small vans running diesel engines with a stop-start route is insane. VW thinks that the ID Buzz will slot into this space, reducing tailpipe emissions to nothing thanks to battery power. VW is suggesting it will offer 200-340 miles WLTP range depending on the options you pick and be hitting the streets in 2022.