Posts Tagged ‘RLX’


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.


The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show opened today with a slew of introductions. I’ll try and go through as many as I can with some color commentary:

Art Center College of Design always has some excellent concepts that the automotive design students present.  This Hybrid Sports Bicycle (HSB) caught my eye. The concept design and body fabrication was done by Tomas Bubilek and the chassis design and fabrication was done by Michael R. Bowser.

Concept Hybrid Sports Bicycle presented by Art Center College of Design students.

I also liked this Mazda concept 3-D mock up:

Mazda Design Concept

Acura: Honda’s luxury brand has a lot of work to do to regain sales that its lost over the past decade by not focusing on a brand image and just phoning in the cars and going a little off the range with the famous Acura Beak aluminum grille.  Acura introduced a new flagship, the 2014 RLX. No, it’s not rear drive, and in some ways it seems like a face lifted all-wheel drive RL, but it does look better. I’m simply not impressed. Maybe it drives well.

2014 Acura RLX – Front. I do like the all-LED headlights.

Rear taillight detail for the 2014 Acura RLX. I like the light show in the rear too, if not the overall look of the tail.

The interior of the 2014 Acura RLX, the brand’s flagship.

Audi: Audi really had nothing new to show the world at the LA show, so instead we were graced with the announcement that Audi would sell the A6, A7, A8 and Q5 with a 3.0L V6 TDI engine. The clean diesel power plant will likely sell well given the significant increase in fuel economy over the gasoline analogs.  This lovely A8L TDI should get 24 mpg city and 36 highway — stunning numbers given the heft of Audi’s flagship.  The diesel engine is rated at 240 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque and powers all four wheels through an 8-speed ZF automatic.  Audi says it will do 0-60 in 6.4 seconds.

The 2014 Audi A8L TDI

This A8 had the rear seat package that makes for a very comfortable passenger. Check out the controls for the passenger!

The driver of this 2014 Audi A8L TDI is in the lap of luxury. Audi still sets the bar high for luxury interiors.

Bentley: If you want something a bit more rarefied than an Audi, the Volkswagen Group owns Bentley too. Not much new for LA, but we got another iteration of the company’s Continental GT. This is the “Speed” version with Bentley’s 6.0L twin turbo W12 engine making 616 ponies with 590 lb-ft of gut-wrenching torque to go from zero to 60 in 4 seconds flat and top out at 212 mpg. It’s at least $225,000.

2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed.

If you have a bit more money to burn, Bentley also showed the 2013 Mulsanne. It’s sort of the old school Bentley using a thoroughly updated 6.7L V8 making a healthy 505 hp and a stunning 752 lb-ft of torque. It is all channeled thorough the ZF 8-speed automatic used in several other VW Group products.  You get the feeling of a locomotive when you’re behind the wheel because the Mulsanne weights in at 5,700 lbs. Yikes! But if you can afford the $296,000 (before options), who cares?

2013 Bentley Mulsanne. Check out those Gatling Gun headlights!

You may not mind being stuck in LA traffic if you are sitting behind this wheel. Beautiful real wood and top quality switchgear.

BMW: Our friends from Munich showed off the latest iteration of their upcoming i3 electric car. The i3 Concept Coupe is really just the standard i3 less two doors and some length. Still, it looks nice. I’d love to know what the final production version will look like when it shows up sometime in 2014.

BMW i3 Concept Coupe, front.

BMW i3 Concept Coupe side, from the rear.

If you’re not as interested in the i3, BMW dragged out the i8 Concept that was last seen a year ago in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. So just to tease you again, here are some pictures. It won’t look quite this amazing and flamboyant when it finally shows up for sale, sometime after the i3 goes on sale.

BMW i8 Concept Hybrid.

The i8 Concept Hybrid certainly has the futuristic interior to match the great exterior.

How about a BMW you can actually buy? This 2013 Gran Coupe is certainly a looker, particular in this expensive matte finish:

This lovely 2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe starts at $87,395. The Frozen Bronze Metallic paint is a $3,500 option.

The Gran Coupe has one of BMW’s most sumptuous and well-crafted interiors. You won’t (and shouldn’t) find any cheap plastics inside here.

BMW likes to show off expensive cars, and this auto show is no different. How about the M6 and M5 in the background? If six digit prices offend you, avert your eyes.

The price of the 2013 BMW M6 starts with a six digit number.

Buick: It was kind of lonely at the Buick booth. I mean, LA is not very friendly to Buick. There aren’t many Buick dealers and the brand hasn’t sold well here in decades.  GM’s wants its near-luxury marque to appeal to a budget-minded Lexus customer.  That’s a tough hill to climb, given the years of neglect and the 25 years Lexus has been honing its luxury credentials.

However, to entice younger buyers, Buick is introducing a small crossover called the Encore.  Opel sells a version of it called the Mokka in Europe and, like the Mokka,  the Encore is imported from GM’s South Korean subsidiary.

2013 Buick Encore

2013 Buick Encore – from the rear.

The interior of the Encore is nice, but built to a price. I mean, this is a car in the $20,000 range, so you can’t expect top quality plastics. GM did go to great lengths to make the colors pleasing and the dash is distinct, if not a stand-out.

Space isn’t bad for a little CUV. I’m not sure if a young family with no kids and a dog will want this of if empty-nest retired baby boomers will go for it. Time will tell.

Cadillac: Another GM division that’s got fresh product is Cadillac.  The all-important, all-new rear-drive ATS was introduced earlier this year to much fanfare and pretty good reviews. The ATS’ stated target is the BMW 328i and it’s the first time Cadillac has real skin in this game.  While the press is slobbering all over the ATS, I’m not impressed by the interior. The plastics feel cheap, the wood looks fake (even if it is real) and the shiny digital center console with the “Cadillac User Experience” (CUE) featured prominently only looks good when it’s turned on and the sun isn’t shining on it.  The hepatic touch-control feedback is overrated and feels clumsy. Certainly not something I’d like to futz with while driving. Maybe I’ll enjoy the driving experience.

2013 Cadillac ATS

The cockpit of the 2013 Cadillac ATS with CUE. This one looks better without the wood inserts.

The rear seat of the ATS isn’t any worse than the BMW 328i or the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Chevrolet: Not to be left out, GM’s mainstream division, Chevrolet, has new product too. First, the “big deal” is the 2014 Impala. It’s basically the Chevy version of the Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS. It’s big and it looks it. No more rental fleet for this Impala, right? Time will tell.

The 2014 Chevy Impala. Big. New. But I just don’t care, sorry, guys.

Chevy picked LA to show off its new 2014 Spark EV.  The Spark is the smallest car Chevy’s ever sold. It’s a product of GM South Korea (a.k.a. Daewoo). It’s better than the Aveo, but still a bit too rental for me. The EV is a big deal because California requires all the major manufacturers to sell zero emissions vehicles by a certain date. I think the first two markets for the Spark EV will be California and Florida. What it has going for it is price. It’s cheap, as far as EVs go – below $25,000 after a federal tax credit.  The electric motor is good for 120 hp and a whopping 400 lb-ft of torque. The Spark EV is quick too – GM says zero to 60 is 8 seconds.  But the big news is the fast charging system. The Combo DC Fast-Charge system promises to deliver an 80% charge in just 20 minutes.  We haven’t seen range figures yet, but the magic target is usually 100 miles per charge.

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

The 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack adds a whopping 560 lbs to the Spark. But that weight on the floor should make for a great low center of gravity and add to stability.

The 2014 Spark EV is a bit spartan, but interior parts painted in the exterior color ads some visual interest. It’s not bad for the price point, but there are lots of hard plastics.

This 2013 Corvette ZR-1 is always a crowd-pleaser with its striking good looks, carbon fiber bits and a 6.2L LS9 V8 supercharged engine producing 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. It can go from zero to 60 in 3.4 seconds and its top speed is 205 mph. Take that, Viper! A bargain at a base MSRP of $112,600.

2013 Corvette (C6) ZR-1 from its sexy rear.

The front end of the 2013 Corvette ZR-1. Next year, the all-new C7 (7th Gen) Corvette will be introduced to the world.

Prepare to yawn.  Here is the 2013 Malibu. It should be a contender in the large mid-size family sedan segment, doing battle with the likes of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata; however, I think the Malibu will continue to find its place in the rental fleets.

Here it is: The all-new 2013 Chevy Malibu.

The best viewing angle for the 2013 ‘Bu is definitely from its rear.

It’s the best interior of any Malibu in the past 40 years, but that might be damning with faint praise.

Chevy recycled some concept cars too. Both the Code 130R and Tru 140S appeared nearly a year ago at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January. Nice to see them in the flesh, but they are old news. What remains to be seen is if GM will do anything with these concepts. Of particular interst is the small rear-drive platform for the Code 130R.

Chevy Code 130R Concept. Love the paint.

Chevy Tru 140S Concept

More to follow…..