2017 LA Auto Show Roundup Is An SUV/Crossover/Off-Road Bonanza

Dec 01 2017
1201 S. Figueroa St

While many consider the Frankfurt Motor Show to be the king of all auto shows, American drivers are more inclined to follow shows on their own turf - like the NAIAS or the ever-expanding LA Auto Show. With more than 60 debuts, about 5,000 accredited journalists, photographers, and influencers and more than 15,000 automotive professionals, the 2017 LA Auto Show proved to be a December centerpiece of automotive glory.

Highlights - SUVs and crossovers!

2017 Los Angeles Auto Show gathered a massive number of SUVs. Apart from 19 new production ones, one could enjoy 7 concept SUVs. All of them definitely destined to hatch a train for the production line. True, apart from that GMC Sierra All Mountain I wrote about earlier. 

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
2018 Aston Martin Vantage
New Corvette ZR1 and Aston Martin Vantage run the sports car/supercar show 

While the Frankfurt Motor Show greeted us with a fabulous hypercar- the Mercedes-AMG Project One (it was in LA too), the centerpiece of the 2017 LA Auto Show was the long-awaited Corvette ZR1. The most powerful, the fastest, and the most brutal Corvette of all time. Also, it may be that the 2018 Corvette ZR1 finally brought its famed name to the group of cars who managed to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than 7 minutes. 755 HP and 715 lb-ft of torque with that mad aero I described earlier should be enough to launch the Corvette further than any other ever went. 

If you are, on the other hand, more into classy, refined, and supple cars, you will enjoy the Aston Martin Vantage. New one. Ok, supple is not exactly the right word when it comes to the Aston Martin Vantage but it is after writing or thinking about it after the outrageous Corvette!

Enter Aston Martin Vantage with: 

  • AMG V8 with 500+hp,
  • Mercedes sourced electronics,
  • Mercedes sourced infotainment,
  • James Bond sourced styling

The 110th edition of show at the Los Angeles Convention Center was one of the biggest of all time. After all, visitors (hundreds of thousands of them) had ten days to explore about 1,000 cars.

2018 Nissan Kicks
GMC Yukon Denali Black Edition
SUVs Will Dominate 

LA highway and city landscapes will most certainly be transformed into an SUV habitat. 2017 LA Auto Show showed us everything, from cheap and small - like the Hyundai Kona and the Nissan Kicks, too expensive and dramatic such as the GMC Yukon Denali Black Edition or the Infiniti QX80.

It seems that all of them focused on improving convenience (and styling). New tech can ease up a mandatory connection with the internet, wireless chargers for new smartphones are available in more cars than ever and the storage places do not try to offer enough space for gloves, bottles, and tissues. Now you can charge tablets, smartphones, and probably a camera because all the car sport are designated with USB charging ports (not only wireless).

Hyundai Kona

Furthermore, I have to think about safety. Just to put in a perspective where SUVs of today are, safety wise, let me list the optional safety equipment for a small and cheap SUV, like the Hyundai Kona: 

  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • High Beam Assist
  • Driver Attention Warning
  • Blind Spot Warning 
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert 
Infiniti QX80

At the other end of the spectrum, an SUV like the Infiniti QX80 will get the above list plus: 

  • Backup Collision Intervention 
  • Intelligent Cruise Control (Full-Speed Range)
  • Distance Control Assist
  • Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
  • Predictive Forward Collision Warning
  • Blind Spot Intervention
  • Lane Departure Prevention
So, what did SUVs do for the car culture then?

First, we are not talking anymore about the engines (except in terms of MPGs or 0-60 figures) or their off-road prowess, but about internet connectivity and safety. 

Some of the SUVs are really cool, like the Range Rover SVAutobiography, or the Porsche Cayenne. 

Interestingly enough, many do try to provide excitement. Some have it easy really. New 2018 Jeep Wrangler graced us with its presence. Despite getting a two-liter four-cylinder engine and plusher interior along with some proper convenience features, it is probably the best Wrangler ever. Although upgraded in all imaginable ways, it remained Wrangler-looking. 
On the other, electric side of the things, we have a Bollinger B1 all-electric SUV. Sporting classic off-roader looks with boxy body and round lights, the B1 is unlike any other conventional SUV of today. Come to think of it, we could probably call it the SUT (sport utility truck).

I am not sure about the mass production feasibility though, but the Bollinger B1 promises range between 120 and 200 miles (using 60kWh or 100kWh batteries) with a total power of 360hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. It will probably be a lot cheaper compared with the madly expensive Tesla Model X. Now, I dug up a curious report from the Bollinger. The company said they have secured as much as 10,000 orders for the machine. The first deliveries are scheduled for January 2019. If it’s true, we may be onto something here. 

Back to conventional cars such as sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons 

Really, no major compact hatchback or wagon debuted in LA. As for the sedans, something could be found - like the new Mercedes-Benz CLS, or the new, high-end Buick LaCrosse Avenir, the BMW M5 and even the BMW 6-series GT. All new, all important and all great. But not as madly preposterous as the Jaguar XJR575.

The best one, in my Beemer-loving opinion - is the M5. AWD, 600hp, a lot of performance and the looks of a proper executive sedan on steroids. It just works. As well as it did for the past three or four decades. 

Sports Car Frenzy 

In LA, one of the ultimate markets for sports cars, one could see a number of these sexy machines on the streets: 

What will future bring? 

Concept cars will answer the question. Or they should at least. New massive BMW SUV X7 will join the full-size SUV segment with its enormous kidney grille. BMW revealed something called the iVision Dynamics. 

As hinted at the Frankfurt Motor Show by some executives, Mini brought an electric Concept showcasing possible all-electric onslaught in the US. They could stop selling cars with ICE all together on our soil.

SUVs. Again. Only this time they are not in production and never will be in this shape.