With this year's major truck and SUV debuts slated for the 2013 Detroit and likely Chicago shows, the theme for Los Angeles was efficiency, with the debut of the new four-cylinder-only 2013 Toyota RAV4, redesigned and lighter-weight 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander, and comprehensively refreshed 2014 Kia Sorento with an all direct-injection engine lineup focused on improved mpg.
Even the bigger, bolder concepts, such as Mercedes-Benz's futuristic interpretation of the G-Wagen, the Ener-G-Force concept, featured a fuel-cell powertrain to show that big bruisers can also be environmentally friendly. While some of us lament the slow decline of big-displacement, high-power models in the truck and SUV segment, the inevitable trend is toward greater efficiency from smaller, more technologically advanced powerplants. Check out some of the significant models shown at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. - Edward A. Sanchez
2013 BMW X1 Powder Ride Edition
The BMW X1 Powder Ride Edition, is the result of a collaboration between the automaker and K2, makers of skis and snowboards. The most obvious feature is the huge roof-mounted storage box where passengers can stash all their show gear, including a pair of K2 LTD Power Ride skis that come with the special-edition BMW. The X1 Powder Ride Edition is fitted with xLine trim, which includes 18-inch rims, leatherette seats, and dark copper interior trim (all-weather mats are also included). From the outside, this X1 won't be hard to distinguish from normal models thanks to a large X-shaped decal slapped on the rear door. Also exclusive to this model is matte-finished Glacier Silver paint, though standard colors are available as well.
BMW says the X1 Powder Ride Edition will reach dealers in November and will only be sold through the winter. It will be available in all-wheel drive with the 2.0-liter 240-hp turbo-four or the 3.0-liter 300-hp turbo-six engine (xDrive28i or xDrive 35i). The 2013 BMW X1 xDrive28i starts at $31,545 while the 2013 BMW X1 xDrive35i carries a $39,345 MSRP.
The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe effectively replaces the three-row Veracruz in the Hyundai lineup
We all knew the key dimensions such as wheelbase, overall length, and engine output and fuel economy. But one significant detail disclosed at the L.A. show was an impressive towing capacity of 5000 pounds. This tops the Sport model's capacity of 3500, and matches that of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, and the top rating on the Toyota Highlander, two models identified by Hyundai as key competitors.
2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition
It's the celebration of the decade for the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, as the iconic off-roader commemorates 10 years with a new special-edition model bowing at the 2012 L.A. auto show. The 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition takes the off-roader's rugged appeal to a new level with a host of hardcore off-road equipment that makes it the most capable production Jeep Wrangler to date.
The Kia Sorento is the automaker's second-best-selling vehicle behind the Optima sedan, and after three model years, the refreshed 2014 model is debuting at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show and is ready for midsize crossover battle. The 2014 Kia Sorento has been thoroughly updated: the sheetmetal, interior, and engine bay all see changes and there's a new Sorento Limited model.
We'll let you judge the 2014 Kia Sorento's revised styling for yourself, but Kia does note that the crossover now offers 19-inch chrome wheels (17s and 18s are available). With the success of the Optima and Optima Limited, Kia is trying out the high-end trim on the Sorento. Available in the second quarter of 2013, the 2014 Kia Sorento Limited will be offered in white, black, or silver, and use self-leveling HID headlights, 19-inch chrome wheels, and red-painted brake calipers. Step inside the Sorento Limited and you'll find Nappa leather seats, a wood-trimmed heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats as well as a soft-touch headliner and pillar trim accents.
2013 Land Rover Range Rover
Land Rover's Range Rover is one of a select few models out there that rarely changes -- the current generation is over a decade old -- and when it does, the changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary. It should not be surprising, then, that the 2013 Range Rover bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor despite undergoing a number of significant changes under the skin to bring it in step with 21st-century sensibilities and realities.
Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept
Mercedes-Benz has rolled out its future-bound Ener-G-Force concept at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show, and the off-roader looks even more like a people-scale Tonka truck in person.
The Ener-G-Force concept, which began life as a sketch entered in the Los Angeles Design Challenge 2012's "Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025" competition, looks like a life-size toy with its comically large wheels and tires and low roofline. As we previously reported, the concept sports an electric drivetrain fed by a "hydro-tech convertor" system. That futuristic setup separates the hydrogen from water stored in tanks on the roof, and converts it into electricity for the four individual in-wheel motors. The hydrogen fuel can be stored in the vehicle's modular side skirts, which can be swapped for battery packs. Mercedes says the Ener-G-Force concept's hydrogen system nets a 500-mile range. Because it's intended to be a successor to the venerable G-Wagen, the Ener-G-Force concept also boasts (hypothetical) off-road capability. A roof-mounted topographical scanner called "Terra-Scan" maps the terrain and automatically adjusts the vehicle's damping and spring rates for optimal performance.
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG
The high-performance GL63 AMG sport utility is making its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, open to the public from November 30 to December 9, 2012 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The latest model to join the award-winning newgeneration GL-Class family, the 2013 GL63 AMG features a 5.5
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
The new 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Limited Edition, which receives several visual upgrades. The compact crossover gets a blackout treatment to its side mirrors, center bumper, wheel arch trim, and roof rails. The Outlander Sport also has dark-chrome alloys, and "Limited Edition" badges. Inside, the limited-edition Outlander Sport gets aluminum brake pedals, leather parking brake lever, and available two-tone Dove Grey and Black leather seating surfaces. Changes have been made to the hardware too. Mitsubishi says acceleration will be smoother and quicker thanks to a new engine balancer shaft, and that the crossover gets an EPA-rated 31 mpg on the highway in front-drive form with the CVT. Go for the five-speed manual and the highway fuel economy drops by one mpg, and the all-wheel-drive/CVT model gets 24/29 mpg.
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
The new 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander will come with seven-passenger seating as standard equipment. With a more aerodynamically efficient design, the 2014 Outlander also has a new version of Mitsubishi's MIVEC continuously-variable valve lift timing system, to achieve better fuel economy. Inside, the Japanese automaker has packed with CUV with a host of newly available technology including Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
The 2014 Subaru Forester makes its public debut at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show, revealing its Impreza-inspired exterior styling. The much welcome update has produced a larger Forester, with the compact crossover now riding on a wheelbase that’s 0.9 inches longer. Overall length has grown by 1.4 inches, while width stretches by 0.6 inches and height by 1.3 inches. This affords the new model a roomier interior, with increased cargo space and rear leg room. The Forester also gains new sheet metal, clearly influenced by the latest Impreza. A carryover 170-hp, 174-lb-ft 2.5-liter flat-four motivates the base model, but the archaic four-speed automatic is replaced by a CVT. A six-speed manual gearbox is also available. The big news is with the XT model, which packs a 250-hp, 258-lb-ft turbocharged 2.0-liter engine (up 24 hp and 32 lb-ft from the last one). The turbo engine comes mated exclusively to a CVT.
For the first time in eight years, Toyota's compact SUV will not be offered with an optional V-6. And for the first time in the RAV4's nearly 20-year history, it will not have its signature tailgate-mounted spare tire. Thus, two of the items that made it a unique proposition in the compact SUV class are relegated to the annals of history. Has the RAV4 become just another anonymous compact SUV in what's already a crowded and competitive market or is Toyota simply responding to customers' changing needs and tastes? If the yardsticks are a carlike design, fuel economy, and comfort and convenience features, then the 2013 RAV4 is aimed right at the sweet spot of the market.