LA proves it’s a city of SUVs
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Los Angeles is the city of dreams and for the car industry it is the start of the North American motoring shows so there are big expectations.
At last year’s show the focus was on post-GFC success, and this year the attention is on the future.
For some it is SUVs, others it is sedans.
So check out my picks of the show.
While Ford was the first local manufacturer to hold a press conference at the show, the company’s luxury Lincoln brand took over with the reveal of the new MKZ.
Instead Ford’s new Escape SUV (known as Kuga in New Zealand) was sidelined to after thought with a short video skit from a TV show sidekick.
Ford NZ is yet to announce if it is getting the Escape/Kuga but if so I beg of them to ditch the stupid Kuga moniker and instead embrace the Escape name again. I can guarantee more sales to women in their 30s and 40s if the Kuga name is dumped.
While every brand was revealing a SUV, Nissan (pronounced Knee-son by locals), declared it the Year of the Sedan with the reveal of the facelift Sentra.
Sorry Nissan, the year of the sedan was a decade ago, and frankly if you are going to make such declarations you have to have something better.
We won’t be getting this left-hand drive Sentra in New Zealand.
Quote of the show had to be from three Americas walking past the Challenger Hellcat muscle car. “It’s like putting high heels on an ugly woman.” Yikes, that was a bit harsh but when you compare it to Ford’s Mustang then they may have a point.
The German company occupies the tiny – and blasting hot – Petree Hall to reveal its new products.
This year maybe the company was just trying to evoke the climate of Tenerife where it held the launch of the 911 recently. The company pulled the covers from the 911 Targa 4S plus revealed the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, especially built for the racetrack.
But the company gets bonus points for running a video from the winning Le Mans enduro team that features shots of Kiwi (and Driven favourite) Earl Bamber, a local hero in LA.
Kudos to this Germany company for having not one but two global reveals – especially when neighbouring exhibitor BMW only showed existing products.
First up was the big beast GLS seven-seater SUV based on the S-Class platform. Expect to see it in New Zealand early to mid 2016 where it is bound to prove a success with the pony club set.
But when it comes to “horse”power the other global reveal, the SL convertible, was the star of the show. The two-seater gains exterior styling clues from the recently launched AMG GT, especially the diamond grille.
The company has moved the CX-9 from frumpy to fantastic with the all-new crossover that has a new nose and side (very LA) and all new engine (so plenty of Hollywood pilates classes) plus a great interior.
I tested the car earlier in the week around LA but my CX-9 was highly camouflaged inside and out so I couldn’t get to appreciate the vehicle until the show.
Kudos to up and coming designer Julien Montousse who focused on the cockpit-focussed interior – and it paid off.
Check out Driven next week for our first-drive impressions.
This Japanese company was also praising the sedan with the reveal of the concept Impreza. And it was very (groan) impressive.
If this is the design direction the company is taking then all I can say is “go ahead Subaru, go right ahead, customers are going to love it”.
This company was feeling the affect of the cheat scandal with few media loitering which was a sad as it revealed the futuristic Golf GTE sport plug-in. It’s a great looking vehicle and hopefully the company will still be around to make it go into production.
I’ve been saying, “no, no, no” seen first spotting photos then seeing video of the Range Rover Evoque convertible SUV. But having seen it in the metal I have to say, “yes please”.
Hey don’t’ judge me until you see it on our streets next year as a special customer owner order. It’s not as garish as I thought it would be and I’m a convertible fan. And I like the Evoque. Go ahead, judge me I don’t care, I have to admit I’d want one.
While the company is dominating with its SUV line up in New Zealand, at the LA show was the Elantra sedan. Definitely set in NZ for the fleet market, the car keeps a more conservative styling.