Posts Tagged ‘Kia’


Here is the 2015 Porsche Macan, nearly naked with its standard 3.0L V6 engine showing. Note how the hood wraps around the sides, rather than just the top, of the car.

Here is the 2015 Porsche Macan, nearly naked with its standard 3.0L V6 engine showing. Note how the hood wraps around the sides, rather than just the top, of the car.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (2) 2014 Porsche Cayman ext

2014 Porsche Cayman S – even more so, my favorite Porsche. This one ticked every box for options. Lovely, but expensive, of course.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (3) 2014 Porsche Cayman S interior

The interior of the 2014 Porsche Cayman S fit like a hand-tailored glove. Seat adjustments are nearly infinite. Every surface was covered by leather or quality plastics.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (4) 2014 Honda Civic Coupe

I know I’m supposed to care about yet another reboot of the Honda Civic, but I don’t. It looks similar to the 2013 Civic Coupe, but it is different and supposedly better. It would sell whether or not Honda changed it.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (5) 2014 Honda Civic Sedan int

This is the interior of a 2014 Honda Civic Sedan EX with leather and navigation. It’s better than the “refreshed” Toyota Corolla. The seats are still too short for my long legs.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (6) Kia K900 front

The new Kia K900 (don’t call it the K9) is a new flagship rear-drive luxury sedan for Kia. While I wasn’t bowled over by its styling, I thought it was handsome and understated. It’s based on the Hyundai Genesis rear-drive platform and shares greasy bit with the Genesis.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (7) Kia K900 rear

The rear of the Kia K900.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (8) Kia K900 int

The interior of the Kia K900 looked and felt good. Those Koreans sure know how to copy quality. While it’s not German, it is pretty much the match for Infiniti or Lexus. I probably wouldn’t order a car with a white interior, but the show car looked great, right down to the bleached wood accents.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (9) 2014 Kia Soul ext

The Kia Hamsters are back with a new 2014 Soul. It looks much like the first gen Soul, but there are some subtle differences. It sold so well, Kia didn’t want to stray too far from the original formula.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (10) 2014 Kia Soul int

The interior of the Soul is much improved. Plastics and switchgear are better. I got a good feeling sitting there. Seats are better too. I hope they are more comfortable on longer trips.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (11) 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Summer Edition

Poor Mitsubishi. I don’t know if we will see them next year in the US market. They showed a 2013 – yes 2013 – Outlander Sport, Summer Edition.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (12) 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage DE int

Want an entry level car that looks like the interior is 20 years old? Look no further than the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage DE. This thing is stark. I think you will probably see them in rental fleets as I don’t see it being a big seller.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (13) 2014 Mitsubish Mirage DE ext

This is the face of the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage DE. I don’t know how this thing escaped the design studio. Wait, I think it NEVER SAW the design studio. Ugly. The only reason to buy this thing is because of the fuel economy. EPA rates it at 44 mpg highway. But I bet it takes a long time to get to highway speed with a 1.3L 3-cylinder engine.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (14) 2014 Ram 3500 Promaster Cargo Van

This rebadged Fiat commercial van, the 2014 Ram 3500 Promaster Cargo Van, replaces the Mercedes Sprinter van that Dodge/Ram used to sell. It’s ugly, kind of like an unhappy cat fish, but supposedly it’s a good work truck. Note the acres of black plastic around the front and side. This area gets banged up easily in daily work duties, so it’s less expensive to maintain an repair. That’s not a bad idea, but it’s not very pretty.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (15) Nissan GT-R

This Nissan GT-R looked very menacing up on the stand. Very serious boy-racer.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (16) Nissan Sentra Nismo Concept

Finally, a Sentra someone might be excited to buy. This is a Nismo (Nissan Motorsports) Sentra Concept.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (17) Youabian Puma

I’m not sure what it is or why it was at the auto show. While the Youabian Puma is an interesting (train wreck), cartoonishly-large design exercise, there is no way anyone is going to buy one. It’s a Frankenstein mash up. It rides on a Volvo C70 platform (a compact front drive platform). It has headlights from the small Volvo, but taillights from a Buick Enclave. It’s 242 inches long, 93 inches wide and 72 inches tall. The tires are 44 inches tall! The engine is a 7.0L LS7 Corvette V8 mated to a GM 6-speed automatic transmission. The LA-based company wants $1.1 million for it. Right. I’d pass over 3 Ferraris or a Bugatti Veyron for this thing. I know they did this for publicity, but what’s the end game? No investor will touch it and not even Jay Leno would buy it.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (18) Honda Gear Concept Art Center

This is an Art Center student design study. It was labeled as a Honda Gear Concept. It has more personality than a standard-issue Honda Fit.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (19) 1963 Corvette Asteroid Barris Kustoms Rear

I know I included pictures of the 1963 Corvette Asteroid in my coverage of Day 1, but I couldn’t resist more pictures. It is a 1963 model, according to the literature, but no split rear window. It was done by the legendary George Barris of Barris Kustoms.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (20) 1963 Corvette Asteroid Int

Here’s a better shot of the interior of the 1963 Corvette Asteroid.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (21) 2014 Cadillac CTS front

2014 Cadillac CTS V-Sport

LAAutoShow Day 2 (22) 2014 Cadillac CTS rear

Rear of the 2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6L 4 (AWD).

LAAutoShow Day 2 (23) Cadillac Elmiraj

Another glamour shot of the stunning Cadillac Emiraj concept. Supposedly this is the blueprint for the long rumored rear drive Cadillac flagship.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (24) 2014 Bentley Continental GT Convertible V8

When you can’t afford your Bentley Continental GT Convertible with the 6 liter W-12 engine, you can bet the “budget” version with the V8.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (25) 2014 Bentley Flying Spur

I do like the the new Bentley Flying Spur. Here’s a shot of the front. I had a tail shot in my Day 1 coverage.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (26) 2014 Bentley Mulsanne

The Bentley Mulsanne is about as big and powerful as a locomotive. It’s the most expensive Bentley you can buy and it looks and feels the part of ultra luxury.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (27) 2014 Chevy Camaro ZL1 convertible int

Considering the 2014 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Convertible starts at $61,000, I think you should expect a better interior. Sure you’re paying for the 580 horses, but the the whole interior has the feeling of a Soviet gulag.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (28) 2014 Chevy Camaor ZL1 Convertible ext

At least the exterior of the $61,000 Camaro ZL1 screams fast. Because it IS fast. It also is a giant YELLOW FLAG to your local police department or the CHP looking to issue speeding tickets.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (29) 2014 Chevy Camaro Z28 side

The 2014 Chevy Camaro Z/28 looked fantastic in this matte white paint – like it was frozen in time. Unfortunately it won’t be a factory option. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but it will probably cost more than the ZL1.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (30) 2014 Chevy Camaro Z28 rear

The black carbon fiber spoiler looks great on the 2014 Camaro Z/28. Available in the Spring of 2014 as a late 2014 model. Go figure. Why not a 2015?

LAAutoShow Day 2 (31) 2014 Chevy SS rear

This 2014 Chevrolet SS is very disappointing. I know it will drive great because it’s based on the dearly departed Pontiac G8. But for $45k (no options), I want something that looks the part of a 415 HP muscle car with a Corvette V8.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (32) 2014 Chevy SS front

The front of the 2014 Chevy SS screams “rental” not “muscle.”

LAAutoShow Day 2 (33) 2014 Chevy SS int

The interior of the Chevy SS is better than the Camaro, but still not exactly lavish for something that costs as much as a BMW 535i.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (34) Chevy Colorado Lifeguard concept

This Lifeguard Beach Patrol Concept looks like a good use for Chevy’s new mid-size Colorado pickup truck.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (35) Chevy Tahoe Black from SEMA Concept only

This 2014 Chevy Tahoe Black was a hold over from the SEMA show in Las Vegas. As it stands, it’s only a concept, but I have no doubt it would find lots of buyers if GM gave it the green light.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (36) 2014 Chevy Spark side

This poor little 2014 Chevrolet Spark looked lonely so I took its picture. Will it find love from a teenage girl? I don’t know.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (37) 2014 Chevy Spark int

The interior of that 2014 Chevy Spark screams RENTAL, not “Buy Me.”

LAAutoShow Day 2 (38) 1963 Chevy Corvair Greenbrier Van

Love, love, love this 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier Van. It was used as a video booth for the Auto Show, but I’m told it drives perfectly and makes it to shows all over So Cal. Fantastic.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (39) 2014 Maserati Quattroporte Zegna Edition

This photo doesn’t do justice to the interior of this special edition Zegna Maserati Quattroporte. The seats, dash, headliner and almost all the touch surfaces are tailored in expensive designer fabric. Ermenegildo Zegna is a high-end Italian fashion designer.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (40) 2014 Maserati Quattroporte Zegna rear

Only 100 Zegna Edition Maserati Quattroportes will be produced. The nice gentleman didn’t have a price, but if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. The base Quattroporte starts at $108,000, but this isn’t the base model.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (41) 2015 Maserati Ghibli side

The 2015 Maserati Ghibli shares some chassis and system components with the Chrysler 300, but it’s no Chrysler. It’s affordable for a Maserati, starting at $65,600.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (42) 2015 Maserati Ghibli int

You can see a bit of the Chrysler 300 in the 2015 Maserati Ghibli, but most people won’t see much DNA swap. It looks and feels the part and costs about as much as a BMW 550i (but without the V8). Still, it’s more distinctive and exclusive than the BMW.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (43) Jaguar CX17 concept SUV

You knew this was inevitable. As luxury manufacturers chase profits, everyone wants in on the SUV gravy train. The Jaguar CX17 Concept is quite handsome. I like its proportions.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (44) Jaguar CX17 concept SUV

The Jaguar CX17 has a great interior, but that will never see production. But make no mistake, Jaguar will get an SUV, sooner than later. The demand and profit potential is too much to resist, even if it doesn’t fit the Jaguar brand DNA.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (45) 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe white side

I wanted to add some car porn shots of the beautiful 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (46) 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe Rear R

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe rear.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (47) 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe red side

2015 Jaguar F-Type R in Red.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (48) Lexus IS F-Sport chassis

Lexus had this fun display. It takes you under the chassis of the IS F-Sport. Lexus desperately wants you to think of the brand as sporty, so this was an all-out effort. But not many people I know think of Lexus as sporty. Luxurious and quiet. Well made. But not sporty.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (49) 2014 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport

See? More sporty Lexus. This is the 2014 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (50) 2015 Volvo V60 int

In my Day 1 coverage, I had an exterior shot of the 2015 Volvo V60 Sport Wagon. This is the inside of the V60. It’s pretty much the same as the S60 sedan.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (51) 2014 BMW 335i GT xDrive side

This is the 2014 BMW 335i GT xDrive. Yeah, I know, it’s a mouthful. Still, I don’t see many takers. The extra room in the back seat was to cater to the Chinese market. It won’t find many buyers in the U.S.

The 2015 BMW i8 looks good from every angle.

The 2015 BMW i8 looks good from every angle.

A good side shot of the BMW i8.

A good side shot of the BMW i8.

I guess I haven't gotten tired of the 2015 BMW i8 yet. Very exotic to my eye.

I guess I haven’t gotten tired of the 2015 BMW i8 yet. Very exotic to my eye.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (55) 2014 BMW K 1600 GTL Exclusive

This is quite the cruiser motorcycle. The 2014 BMW K 1600 GTL Exclusive. God knows how much it is, but not cheap.

Look what showed up in LA! The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 Crossover.

Look what showed up in LA! The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 Crossover.

The 2015 GLA250 is meant to do battle with the BMW X1. It almost looks like the X1. But the GLA is small. Maybe too small for some.

The 2015 GLA250 is meant to do battle with the BMW X1. It almost looks like the X1. But the GLA is small. Maybe too small for some.

There is a good amount of cargo space in the GLA. Far more than its cousin, the CLA 4-door coupe.

There is a good amount of cargo space in the GLA. Far more than its cousin, the CLA 4-door coupe.

The interior of the 2015 GLA250 is pretty much the same as the CLA.

The interior of the 2015 GLA250 is pretty much the same as the CLA.

This is the front of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG. Very nice if you can afford it.

This is the front of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG. Very nice if you can afford it.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (61) Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept reaar left

By far, the show-stopping concept car was the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo. This is the kind of imagination I like to see at an auto show. Simply fantastic from any angle.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (62) Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept rear

The rear of the Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept. Wow!

LAAutoShow Day 2 (63) Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept Side

Calling Batman! The semi-gloss metallic paint makes the car look almost surreal. Like you are looking at a futuristic film.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (64) Mercedes GLA45 AMG concept

This is a thinly-disguised concept car. The inevitable AMG version of the GLA will be very close to this concept Mercedes GLA45 AMG.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (65) 2014 Mercedes SLS AMG front

I know it’s been discontinued, but the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with the gullwing doors is a showstopper, every time. Love the matte paint.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (66) 2014 Mercedes SLS AMG side

The gullwing doors of the SLS AMG Coupe are quite impractical, but who doesn’t want to be seen getting out of this for a red carpet event?

LAAutoShow Day 2 (67) 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet int

Mercedes has its CLA and GLA, but Audi has an all-new A3. This is the interior of the A3 Cabriolet. Quite nice, considering it’s around $30,000 to get in the door of a sedan. Not sure how much the Cabriolet will be.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (68) 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet front left

The 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet looks terrific and certainly telegraphs Audi family resemblance and DNA.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (69) 2015 Audi A3 sedan rear

2015 Audi A3 Sedan. Hopefully we will get the A3 Sportsback again. But so far, no commitment from Audi.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (70) 2015 Audi A3 sedan front

The front of the 2015 Audi A3 sedan.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (71) 2015 Audi S3 side

You knew that if there was an A3, there would be an S3. We probably won’t see it on sale for another year, either as a 2015 or 2016 model.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (72) 2015 Audi S3 int

The interior of the Audi S3.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (73) 2014 Audi SQ5 front

Want a sporty Crossover? Can’t wait for the Porsche Macan Turbo? Well look no further than the 2014 Audi SQ5.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (74) 2014 Audi SQ5 int

Interior of the 2014 Audi SQ5.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (75) Audi A3 e-tron concept hybrid

The Audi reps wouldn’t give me any timing or specs for this A3 e-tron. But they did say that it would be a hybrid, not pure electric drive.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (76) 2014 Audi R8 V10 ext

Ah, more car porn. Here’s a very striking Audi R8 V10.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (78) VW Cross Blue Coupe Twin Drive BlueMotion Concept rear

This is the very long-named Volkswagen Cross Blue Coupe Twin Drive BlueMotion Concept. Why they are calling an SUV a coupe is beyond me, but these days anything with a low roof-line is called a coupe.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (77) VW Cross Blue Coupe Twin Drive BlueMotion side

It’s almost a given that this will be produced, probably at VW’s Chattanooga, TN plant. VW needs a 7-passenger SUV beyond the Touareg, so this will be it.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (79) VW Cross Blue Coupe Twin Drive BlueMotion Concept interior

The interior of VW’s Cross Blue is nearly production ready. Some of the show car gloss will be lost, but the shapes and placement of controls is pretty much how it will be for production.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (80) 2015 VW e-Golf

This is another shot of the 2015 e-Golf. An Electric Golf? Sure, I bet it’s fun to drive too.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (81) 2014 Mazda 3 front

The 2014 Mazda 3

LAAutoShow Day 2 (82) 2014 Mazda 3 hatch side

A side view of the 2014 Mazda 3 hatchback.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (83) Mazda Clubsport 3 Concept

This is the Mazda Clubsport 3 Concept. Fun for the show, and it probably previews the future Mazdaspeed 3.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (84) Bass Pro Shop Toyota Tundra

Yeah, I know. Who cares about the Toyota Tundra, right? I mean it doesn’t sell very well, nowhere near Toyota’s lofty projections. But you have to love this Bass Pro Shop edition.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (85)

While this was advertised as a “Concept” it pretty is exactly the 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (86)

This is the 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

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This is the all-new 2014 MINI Cooper. It’s a little bit bigger, and a little more frugal.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (88)

Here’s the 2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (89)

The interior of the 2014 MINI Cooper S is where the big changes occur. Note that the toggle switches no longer operate the windows and that the middle red switch is the ignition!

LAAutoShow Day 2 (90)

I like the center instruments on this MINI Cooper S. The plastics are upgraded, not as hard and tinny.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (91)

It’s kind of hard to tell here, but the power window stitches are on the driver’s arm rest, where they should be. Finally.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (92)

The sports seats (optional) on the new MINI Cooper have better, extendable thigh support. Something I found lacking on my Clubman when I owned it. Nice to see the upgrade.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (93)

Yes, a little bigger and a little more room in the MINI Cooper.

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2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop

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The John Cooper Werks version of the MINI Cooper S Coupe.

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Rear of the 2015 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (97) 2015 Subaru WRX Limited rear

This is the 2015 Subaru WRX Limited. I hope it will satisfy hardcore fans of the Subaru WRX.

LAAutoShow Day 2 (98) VIA Motors Extended Range Electric Pickup Truck

Here’s something different. This is the VIA Motors Extended Range Electric Pickup truck. The window says it’s good for 800 hp and 50 mpg. I don’t know the price, but it won’t be cheap with all those batteries.


The first day was packed with so many debuts, previews and hyperbole, it nearly wore me out.  The last three posts contained material from the first day. Going back on the second day of press preview, things have calmed down and a few and a few surprises pleased.

Acura: This time there wasn’t much of a crowd around Acura’s new flagship and I understand why.  Aside from a few high-tech tricks of the trade, I still can’t see why anyone would pay north of $50,000 for the RLX when the TL (based on the Honda Accord) looks as good,  the interior is nearly as luxurious, it offers virtually the same technology and is nearly the same size. When I look at the new RLX, I should see “flaghship” all over.  I don’t.

2014 Acura RLX with its blazing LED headlights.

2014 Acura RLX with its blazing LED headlights.

 

Audi: On day one, all Audis on the floor were in snow white, the color of green, I guess. And the big news was that the bosses in Ingolstadt were allowing Audi US to see more models with the corporate 3.0L V6 TDI engines.  On day two, we got red for the racing models and black for the ones you drive to the opera. This lovely 2013 RS5 appeared and it’s just beautiful in person.

2013 Audi RS5 starts at $70,000.

2013 Audi RS5 starts at $70,000.

And since diesel was the theme of the first day, I happened to catch this fetching 2013 Q5 Hybrid on the floor. It’s Audi’s first gasoline-electric hybrid in the U.S., but it’s not cheap, starting at $51,795.  It’s powered by the corporate 2.0L turbo gas engine and a 54 hp 40 kw 3-phase electric motor/generator. Fuel economy is modestly increased to a combined 26 mpg.  It’s on sale now.

The 2014 Audi Q5 Hybrid. The badge on the back is one of the only ways to distinguish the regular Q5 from this Hybrid.

The 2013 Audi Q5 Hybrid. The badge on the back is one of the only ways to distinguish the regular Q5 from this Hybrid.

 

Fiat:  In its relentless march to have an many colors and flavors of the same car as earthly possible, Fiat introduced a 500C Abarth.  We already have Charlie Sheen advertising the coupe version of the 500 Abarth, I wonder which celebrity will get to advertise this one? Please, god, not JLo again.

2013 Fiat 500C Abarth

2013 Fiat 500C Abarth

The bigger news, so to speak, was the 2014 500L, an almost exact duplicate of the MINI Countryman.  Finally, something that real Americans want: an SUV!  I’m also sure that Fiat dealers will be thrilled to get their  hands on something, anything that isn’t just another designer edition of the 500 coupe/cabriolet (see above). Fiat doesn’t play coy here either.  The company is trying to duplicate MINI’s success in the U.S.  The MINI Countryman accounts for more than a third of all MINI sales so far this year and accounts for nearly 100% of the increase in sales since it was introduced.  Since Fiat is copying MINI, the 500L was inevitable.

2014 Fiat 500L. From almost any angle, it reminds you of the Countryman.

2014 Fiat 500L. From almost any angle, it reminds you of the Countryman.

The 500L still has the face of a 500, but definitely bulked up. It's not so small any longer!

The 500L still has the face of a 500, but definitely bulked up. It’s not so small any longer!

The rear of the 2014 500L shows that it has big cargo aspirations.

The rear of the 2014 500L shows that it has big cargo aspirations. That’s a pretty big badge, huh? With a butt this big, I don’t know if the badging had to match the size.

The interior of the 500L is one large pile of cheap plastic. It doesn't look bad, but then you start to touch it and tap it and  you can feel and hear how cheap it is. Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but you can be sure it will be close to the Countryman.

The interior of the 500L is one large pile of cheap plastic. It doesn’t look bad, but then you start to touch it and tap it, you can feel and hear how cheap it is. That doesn’t bode well for road noise either – a problem that plagues the MINI. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced, but you can be sure it will be close to the Countryman.

 

GMC – GM’s luxury truck division didn’t have much to show us either. There were no new models, no concept cars. The best GMC could muster for the show was the addition of the Danali über luxury/styling package (translate: boatloads of profit) for the Acadia and Terrain.

The 2013 Acadia has been updated with a better interior and some styling changes as have the other GM Lambda-based SUVS, the Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave. The addition of the Denali trim level to the Acadia adds to the sticker price as well as GMC profits.

The 2013 Acadia has been updated with a better interior and some styling changes as have the other GM Lambda-based SUVs, the Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave. The addition of the Denali trim level to the Acadia adds to the sticker price as well as GMC’s profits.

2013 Terrain Denali. I know someone must buy these, but it wasn't attracting much press attention at the show.

2013 Terrain Denali. I know someone must buy these, but it wasn’t attracting much press attention at the show.

 

Honda: Honda had some big news at the LA auto Show, but the company waited for the second day to unveil the 2013 Civic.  While the news had already been leaked, the fact that it happened is astounding. After less than 18 months on the market, the all-new 2012 Civic was so universally panned that Honda rushed to give it an extensive makeover to the 2013 model.

The front and rear were completely restyled.  Interior materials were upgraded and the dash was re-sorted to be more harmonious. Seats were reworked to be more comfortable. One hundred pounds of soundproofing was added and the glass was thickened to help reduce the road noise inside the cabin.  All this was done without a hit to fuel economy too.  Bluetooth, streaming audio, a USB charging port and a rear view camera are now standard.  To top it off, the price only went up $160. The base Civic starts at $18,960.

And Honda isn’t waiting for the compliments to roll in.  The refreshed 2013 Civic (Sedan, Coupe, Si and Hybrid variants) is already for sale at your friendly local Honda dealer.

The 2013 Honda Civic is on the right. It certainly has more detail and personality than the 2012 model. It more resembles the new Accord.

The 2013 Honda Civic is on the right. It certainly has more detail and personality than the 2012 model. It more resembles the new Accord.

The taillights of the 2013 Civic, on the right, have been extended into the trunk. There is more chrome too. Again, it no longer looks like a 10 year old Camry, it looks more like the 2013 Accord, which is a good thing.

The taillights of the 2013 Civic, on the right, have been extended into the trunk. There is more chrome too. Again, it no longer looks like a 10 year old Camry, it looks more like the 2013 Accord, which is a good thing.

Even though the Civic was hated by critics (its most faithful supporter, Consumer Reports, refused to recommend it),  the car-buying public still ate it up. Through October, Honda has sold 254,716 Civics.  It easily beats the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Chevy Cruze and it even beat the Toyota Corolla by more than 10,000 units.  I’d be pretty pissed off if I bought a 2012 Civic – the 2013 is that much better.  I took the 2013 Civic for a short drive while at the show, and while I still don’t fit well in a Civic (I haven’t in years), I found it to be fun, peppy and much more the car it should be. I can’t imagine sales not being even greater in the years to come.

It may be too early to tell, but this wake-up call to Honda may have helped Honda come in from the blandtastic wilderness and back to it’s “hip” and fun roots.

Lighting wasn't great, but this was the 2013 Civic Sedan on display at the show.

Lighting wasn’t great, but this was the 2013 Civic Sedan on display at the show.

The 2013 redesign of the Civic puts Honda squarely back in the game with the very hot competition.

The 2013 redesign of the Civic puts Honda squarely back in the game with the very hot competition.

Even the color schemes have changed in the 2013 Honda Civic.

Even the interior color schemes have changed in the 2013 Honda Civic.

The 2013 Honda Civic Si gets a blacked-out grille for a more sporty look.

The 2013 Honda Civic Si gets a blacked-out grille for a more sporty look.

 

Jaguar:  The press descended on the Jaguar press conference to introduce the new F-Type roadster because, aside from the usual hype for the Porsche Cayman, the F-Type was the rock star of the show. Sleek, slim and thoroughly modern, the F-Type was the physical and spiritual embodiment of the Jaguar brand.  On Day 2, after the press was gone, I was able to not only sit inside it but take much better pictures.

The blue Jaguar 2014 F-Type S has the supercharged 3.0L V6 making 380 hp / 339 lb-ft torque.

The blue Jaguar 2014 F-Type S has the supercharged 3.0L V6 making 380 hp / 339 lb-ft torque.

2014 Jaguar F-Type S

2014 Jaguar F-Type S

Center console of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type S. The shifter is very BMW and it uses the same ZF 8-speed automatic as the BMW. All good things.

Center console of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type S. The shifter is very BMW and it uses the same ZF 8-speed automatic as the BMW. All good things.

The cabin of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type S is beautifully-crafted and the switchgear is substantial and jewel-like.

The cabin of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type S is beautifully-crafted and the switchgear is substantial and jewel-like.

The very orange 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8S has a supercharged 5.0L V8 making 495 hp / 460 lb-ft torque. And damn, it looks GREAT in orange.

The very orange 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8S has a supercharged 5.0L V8 making 495 hp / 460 lb-ft torque. And damn, it looks GREAT in orange.

There is no bad angle for the Jag F-Type.

There is no bad angle for the Jag F-Type.

The slim taillights and integrated spoiler of the Jaguar F-Type are sublime.

The slim taillights and integrated spoiler of the Jaguar F-Type are sublime.

 

Kia: It seems like Kia keeps introducing a new Forte every two years. The Korean Twins, Hyundai and Kia, are relentless in introducing fresh models that are the automotive triple threats: Great, distinctive styling, packed with the latest mechanical and infotainment technologies, at a price and with a warranty that undercuts the competition.

2014 Kia Forte Sedan

2014 Kia Forte Sedan

The 2014 Kia Forte loses some of its "German" looks in favor of some Asian flavor. However, I still prefer its looks over the Hyundai Elantra (and I like the Elantra).

The 2014 Kia Forte loses some of its “German” looks in favor of some Asian flavor. However, I still prefer its looks over the Hyundai Elantra (and I like the Elantra).

Check out the detail on the 2014 Forte. The quarter glass is often blacked out with plastic with the side mirror attached. Kia went with the mirror mounted on the door (like some expensive German cars) and used glass instead of cheap plastic. Nice touch.

Check out the detail on the 2014 Forte. The quarter glass is often blacked out with plastic with the side mirror attached. Kia went with the mirror mounted on the door (like some expensive German cars) and used glass instead of cheap plastic. Nice touch.

The interior of the 2014 Kia Forte looks well sorted. While the plastics are cheap, textured and soft-touch surfaces imbue a richer, more upscale feeling. The center console has lost some of its angle towards the driver, but a bit still remains.

The interior of the 2014 Forte Koup is nearly identical to the 5-door and sedan.

The interior of the 2014 Forte Koup is nearly identical to the 5-door and sedan. This model lacks the navigation system, but the contrasting stitching on the steering wheel and seats is a nice touch.

I like the taillight styling better on the 2014 Forte Koup.

I like the taillight styling better on the 2014 Forte Koup.

Always nice to know that Kia hasn't abandoned the 5-door hatchback format.

Always nice to know that Kia hasn’t abandoned the 5-door hatchback format.

 

Lincoln: On the first day of press preview, Lincoln showed off its heritage vehicles that I covered in Part 1. Day two represented the future of the Lincoln Brand in the form of the 2013 MKZ.  While it wasn’t a world preview, it was the first time the MKZ has been shown in L.A.  The 2013 MKZ is the Lincoln version of the Ford Fusion.  I think the Fusion looks better and is a much better value. You can get virtually all the advanced tech in Ford’s arsenal on the Fusion for thousands less that the MKZ.  The only major difference is that the Lincoln can be ordered with a V6 while only 4-cylinder engines (including turbos) are available on the Ford.

I like almost everything about the MKZ except the grille. That alone would make me go for the Fusion, which has the Aston Martin gaping trapezoidal grille.  I’ll add my voice to the chorus of enthusiasts who want Ford to make a proper rear-drive Lincoln flagship. Ford can do it with the new rear-drive platform that will debut on the 50th Anniversary 2015 Ford Mustang in the spring of 2014.  Until Lincoln comes up with something else, the MKZ is going to have to carry the brand.

2013 Lincoln MKZ

2013 Lincoln MKZ. This loaded model was $46,750 and the price can go over $50,000 easily.

The rear of the 2013 MKZ is decidedly better than the front and you can see some Lincoln heritage in the taillights that run the full width of the rear.

The rear of the 2013 MKZ is decidedly better than the front and you can see some Lincoln heritage in the taillights that run the full width of the rear.

The interior of the Lincoln MKZ looks a bit too similar to the Ford Fusion except for one major change. The center console shifter is gone and the transmission is operated by electronic push-buttons on the upper left portion of the center dash. I'd rather have the floor shifter.

The interior of the Lincoln MKZ looks a bit too similar to the Ford Fusion except for one major change. The center console shifter is gone and the transmission is operated by electronic push-buttons on the upper left portion of the center dash. I’d rather have the floor shifter.

Ford thinks that this optional panoramic sliding glass roof will be a popular defining feature of the MKZ. Except you can get a similar one on the Ford Fusion. It is slick and the black glass is a great contrast with the silver paint.

Ford thinks that this optional panoramic sliding glass roof will be a popular defining feature of the MKZ. Except you can get a similar one on the Ford Fusion. It is slick and the black glass is a great contrast with the silver paint.

Here’s something that I haven’t seen in a long time. A rear fender-mounted antenna. Apparently with the sliding glass roof, Ford couldn’t find a way to integrate a decent quality AM/FM antenna into the windows or the roof. You can see the small black pod which is the satellite radio antenna on the lower center of the rear window.

 

Mazda:  Mazda had already showed off it’s terrific new 2014 Mazda6 sedan – with both the SkyActiv gasoline and diesel engines. What showed up on Day Two was a Concept CX-5 made for Actor/Racer Patrick Dempsey.  Nice to be good-looking, famous and rich, right? You get free stuff thrown at you.  Anway, this is one tricked-out CX-5 and it was irresistible.

A 2013 Mazda CX-5 custom built for Patrick Dempsey.

A 2013 Mazda CX-5 custom built for Patrick Dempsey.

Nice custom bike rack for Mr. Dempsey's 2013 CX-5.

Nice custom bike rack for Mr. Dempsey’s 2013 CX-5.

Here’s a nice picture of the 2014 Mazda6 with the SkyActiv-G 2.5L turbo engine.

2014 Mazda6 SkyActiv-G

2014 Mazda6 SkyActiv-G

I can't resist another picture of the 2014 Mazda6 SkyActiv-D. It's a diesel and it's really coming to the US market!

I can’t resist another picture of the 2014 Mazda6 SkyActiv-D. It’s a diesel and it’s really coming to the US market!

Here's a closer look at the SkyActiv-D badge on this 2014 Mazda6.

Here’s a closer look at the SkyActiv-D badge on this 2014 Mazda6.

 

Mercedes-Benz: I almost lost my camera in this super sexy $230,000 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG coupe. I had to take it out of my pocket to sit in the cockpit. Good thing this was press preview and someone turned it into the Mercedes information desk.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe. Ah, those fantastic Gullwing doors!

2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe. Ah, those fantastic Gullwing doors!


MINI: I thought I should include a couple better pictures of the new 2013 MINI Paceman – a rakish 3-door Countryman.

MINI's 2013 Paceman does cut a nice silhouette and it has all the cargo space of its 4-door brother.

MINI’s 2013 Cooper S Paceman does cut a nice silhouette and it has all the cargo space of its 4-door brother.

The interior of the 2013 Paceman is typical MINI Countryman.

The interior of the 2013 Paceman is typical MINI Countryman.

The 2013 Paceman is distinctly a MINI. Fiat envy's the image that BMW's MINI division was able to cultivate worldwide.

The 2013 Paceman is distinctly a MINI. Fiat envies the image that BMW’s MINI division was able to cultivate worldwide.

 

Porsche:  In case the Porsche Panamera Turbo was too slow for you, Porsche added yet another range topper – the 2013 Panamera Turbo S.  Starting at $175,300 (before freight), the Turbo S is good for 550 hp, zero to 60 in 3.6 seconds and tops out at 190 mph, if you can find a road or a track to go that fast.

The cabin of the 2013 Panamera Turbo S is of very high quality, as it should be.

The cabin of the 2013 Panamera Turbo S is of very high quality, as it should be.

The behind of the 2013 Panamera Turbo S is still a too bulbous, but it does make for good rear headroom.

The behind of the 2013 Panamera Turbo S is still a too bulbous, but it does make for good rear headroom.

These are the seat and HVAC controls for the back seat passenger in the Panamera Turbo S. First class accommodations for four only.

These are the seat and HVAC controls for the back seat passenger in the Panamera Turbo S. First class accommodations for four only.

 

Toyota:  I covered the RAV4 in Part 3 of my auto show coverage. However, Toyota sneaked in its NS4 Concept.  It’s not new, but it hasn’t been seen in LA. It’s supposed to foreshadow future hybrids, including the next-generation Prius.

The Toyota NS4 Concept

The Toyota NS4 Concept

The 2014 Highlander Hybrid also made an unexpected appearance.  It looks very similar to the current Highlander, albeit with some updated styling cues.

The 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

The 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

The interior of the 2014 Highlander Hybrid looks upgraded and comfortable.

I liked the roof rack on this 2013 Toyota 4Runner.

2013 Toyota 4-Runner. I applaud Toyota for keeping the 4-runner with a roll-down rear window. There aren't many of those left. Most SUVs have fixed glass, and a couple have pop-up windows, but the roll-down is best.

2013 Toyota 4-Runner. I applaud Toyota for keeping the 4-runner with a roll-down rear window. There aren’t many of those left. Most SUVs have fixed glass, and a couple have pop-up windows, but the roll-down is best.

I drove the 2013 RAV4 EV and found it quiet, smooth and very easy to drive. Like all EVs, it’s hard to know it’s even on – watch for the green light on the dash! But with the electric drive, all the torque is available right from the start.  It will cruise up to around 85 mpg in “Sport” mode, but that burns electrons fairly quickly. If you need something bigger than a Prius V and can live with the range anxiety of an EV, this may be the small SUV for you.

Toyota - 2013 RAV4 EV Front Left

The 2013 RAV4 EV. It’s goes for $50,000 before the federal tax credit. The batteries are by Tesla. It has a range in excess of 100 miles.