This year's Los Angeles Auto Show was a comparatively light one in terms of truck and SUV introductions. The big reveals of note were the 2015 Porsche Macan, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, the Ford Edge "Concept," and although previously debuted, the first major public reveal of the 2015 Lincoln MKC crossover. Other than the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, there were relatively few major truck and SUV reveals. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel was on display, as was GM's full lineup of 2014 trucks.
Ironically, even though no EPA figures for any of the debuts accompanied their reveal, it was clear from the underlying subtext that efficiency was the name of the game for trucks and SUVs this year. Even for vehicles with as deliberate a performance orientation as the Porsche Macan, features such as driveline "coasting" and auto stop-start showed that economy was always a consideration.
The show also saw the entry of one of the last holdouts among luxury nameplates into the SUV game, in the form of the Jaguar C-X17 Concept crossover. Jaguar still insists on calling it a "concept," but make no mistake, the global market for premium crossovers continues to grow by leaps and bounds every year, and shows no signs of slowing down. Jaguar had virtually no choice but to have an entry in the segment. Expect a production version of the C-X17 in showrooms in around 2016. Here are some of our first-hand impressions of the vehicles at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show
2015 Chevrolet Colorado
The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado seemed to attract a lot of interest from auto journalists, as well as competitors. We use the term "competitor" in a broad sense, since the only real competition the Colorado will face when it hits the market in late summer or early fall of 2014 is the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Domestic rivals expressed admiration and wished for success for the new model, but came short of committing to bringing over a smaller truck of their own.
The new Colorado is clearly a much more modern truck than the Tacoma or Frontier, and will likely have as much as a 20-percent advantage in highway fuel economy, and that's not even taking into account the 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel I-4 coming for the 2016 model year, which we project may achieve 30 mpg highway with two-wheel-drive.
Fit, finish and materials on the display truck seemed to be much better than the Tacoma or Frontier, but one or both of those trucks may get a total redesign shortly after the new Colorado hits showrooms. Will GM have raised the bar enough to stay a step ahead? Check back this time next year.
Ford Edge Concept
As we said in our First Look, the Edge "Concept" is more Edge than concept. Aside from the door handles, some details and interior trim, you're essentially looking at the next-generation Edge. Although instantly recognizable as the successor to Ford's popular two-row midsize crossover, the concept incorporates a great deal of Ford's global Kinetic design language to bring it more in line with the rest of the brand's portfolio.
The current Edge has only one EcoBoost engine offering in the form of the 2.0-liter I-4, but EcoBoost was mentioned again at the concept's reveal, suggesting the next generation could have more than one turbocharged engine, and possibly EcoBoost engines across-the-board. Our prediction for engine offerings is the current 2.0, possibly tuned for greater power and more economy, and possibly a version of the Lincoln MKC's 2.3-liter EcoBoost.
The question of whether the next Edge will have a V-6 option at all is a legitimate one. If anything, we may get a downsized V-6 from Ford's new "Nano" engine family between 2.7 and 2.9 liters. Look for the full production version of the new Edge around this time next year.
Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell
The Tucson Fuel Cell may not look like anything special from the outside, but it houses a revolutionary powertrain. Fuel cells have been roving around manufacturer's test tracks and as prototypes for decades, but this is the first time we can remember when more than one manufacturer seems to be making a concerted effort to bring one to market. And we're not just talking about the Honda FCX, which was claimed to be a "production" model, but was offered on a lease-only basis to hand-picked customers.
Annual production of 1000 units by 2015 may not sound like mass-production to many, but for fuel cells, that's a major milestone. Some believe hydrogen fuel cells may eventually leapfrog pure electrics, but the long-promised "hydrogen highway" is still in its earliest stages in progressive California, and nearly non-existent almost anywhere else in the U.S., although some European nations are making a concerted effort to build out a viable hydrogen fueling infrastructure.