Posts from ‘L.A. Auto Show’
Today’s small cars—particularly the European imports—are like coffee. You can’t just order a cup of black joe anymore. As at Starbucks, the options seem unlimited. At Fiat, the 500 Pop, Sport, Lounge, Turbo, and Abarth (not to mention the Gucci edition) were not enough. They recently introduced wagon, electric, and high-performance convertible models. Meanwhile, Mini offers its cars in “10 million” variations, due to all the available options and color schemes. And at the recent LA Auto Show, Volkswagen introduced its new line of Beetle Convertibles, which includes a whopping 11 trim levels.
The tastiest Beetle Convertible flavors are the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s editions, which we showcase below. Surprisingly, the differences between the three are not just cosmetic. Witness:
Powertrain: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, automatic
Special Features (compared to base model): leather upholstery, center console, unique interior and exterior trim
Powertrain: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, automated manual (dual clutch)
Special Features (compared to base model): unique interior and exterior trim, center console, keyless access and starting, Fender sound system, satellite radio, high-definition radio, steering-wheel radio controls, navigation system, leather upholstery, fog lights, sport suspension, 18-inch tires
Color: Denim Blue
Chrysler used the 2012 Los Angeles Auto show to introduce a couple of new variants of two of the company’s best-known models.
First is the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country S. This luxury-themed version of the brand’s minivan adds specific interior and exterior styling touches, as well as some extra standard equipment.
The exterior can be painted in one of four colors: Brilliant Black, Deep Cherry Red, Stone, White, or Billet Silver. Trim includes a black-tinted chrome grille, “S” model insignias, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The interior is trimmed in black leather with cloth seat inserts and gray stitch detailing. Piano Black trim and a black headliner are also included.
The other is the 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition. This special version of the off-road ready Rubicon includes steel bumpers with removable end caps, increased ground clearance, a dual-intake “Power Dome” hood, side rails, and unique trim. The interior can be finished in available red-leather upholstery.
The limited-production Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition will be available as a 2-door Wrangler and a 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. Both versions will go on sale in spring 2013.
At the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, Dodge displayed a version of its Charger large car endowed with a limited-edition trim package called Daytona.
The package is offered on the Charger R/T and Charger R/T Road & Track trim levels. Those come with the company’s 370-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 engine with 5-speed automatic transmission, xenon headlights, and soft-touch interior materials with aluminum accents. The R/T Road & Track adds a rear spoiler, special axle ratio, 20-inch wheels shod with all-season performance rubber, a recalibrated ECU (Engine Control Unit), heated and ventilated sport seats, and a memory system for the driver seat, power-adjustable pedals, and the steering column.
The Daytona package adds steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters with a “sport” driving mode and recalibrated steering. Special exterior styling touches include unique 20-inch wheels with black-painted surfaces, painted matte-black grille, a vinyl hood and roof appliqués, a rear spoiler, a blue-painted engine cover, and the word “Daytona” written on the rear flanks. Inside, the Daytona has seats upholstered in black leather and suede with blue accent stitching and piping and “Daytona” stitched into the front seat backs. Dark aluminum accents adorn the central control panel. The Daytona comes with a touchscreen infotainment system, metal pedals, Beats-brand audio system, and a unique numbered dash plaque. The car is available only in dark blue, white, silver, or black.
Mitsubishi is celebrating 30 years in the U.S. auto market. To help mark the occasion, the Japanese automaker introduced a limited-edition version of the 2013 Outlander Sport compact SUV—along with an all-new 2014 Outlander compact SUV—at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The big news is the redesigned 2014 Outlander that goes on sale in July 2013. It remains a 7-passenger crossover, and the new version is about 200 pounds lighter than the model it replaces. Three powertrains will be offered. Two are conventional gasoline engines: a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and a 3.0-liter V6 with a 6-speed automatic.
The third powertrain option is a plug-in hybrid electric system that’s offered in the Outlander PHEV. It joins front- and rear-mounted electric motors with a conventional gasoline engine, and it offers all-wheel drive. Mitsubishi says the Outlander PHEV can function in an electric-only mode or in parallel- or series-hybrid modes depending on several factors related to battery charge level and vehicle speed. More details on the Outlander PHEV will be released closer to its calendar 2014 on-sale date.
In one of the most anticipated reveals of the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, Honda pulled the wraps off the 2013 Civic.
We won’t blame you if you think this is a bit strange, considering that Honda redesigned the Civic for the 2012 model year. Though company officials won’t admit it, the changes to the 2013 model are largely in response to some unaccustomed criticism. Most of it centered around the car’s interior materials and noise/vibration/harshness (NVH).
The 2013 Honda Civic will return in coupe and sedan body styles. Coupes get slightly updated front and rear fascias. The Sedan’s changes are a bit more dramatic, with a redesigned front and rear end. The interior layout is largely the same as the 2012, but materials quality sees noticeable improvement. All models will now come with Honda’s i-MID dashboard screen, Bluetooth wireless cell-phone link, and the ability to stream Pandora Internet Radio from a supported smartphone.
Trim levels for the Coupe and Sedan include LX, EX, EX-L, and sporty Si. Exclusive to the Sedan are a gas/electric Hybrid, a version powered by compressed natural gas, and a high-fuel-efficiency conventional model called the HF. The entry-level Civic DX is gone.
After a couple lean years, Mazda is launching a double-barreled attack on two of the auto industry’s most competitive segments for the 2014 model year. The left-hand jab comes in the form of a more-powerful version of its CX-5 compact SUV. What the company hopes will be the right haymaker is its redesigned 6 midsize sedan.
Let’s touch on the 2014 Mazda CX-5. Introduced for the 2013 model year, this compact SUV marked the brand’s first application of its SKYACTIV suite of technologies. SKYACTIV is Mazda’s holistic approach to improving fuel efficiency. Every part of the vehicle, from the engine to the transmission and body structure, has been reworked to provide better gas mileage while retaining the fun-to-drive character that’s been a brand hallmark. CX-5 delivers on these promises while returning outstanding-for-the-class fuel economy. It’s for these reasons that we named this compact SUV a Consumer Guide Best Buy.
For 2014, the entry-level CX-5 Sport will retain the 2013’s 155-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The volume Touring and top-line Grand Touring will receive a new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower. The sole transmission for these models is a 6-speed automatic. Despite the added power, EPA-estimated fuel economy is still impressive for the class: 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and 24/30 with the optional all-wheel drive.
It was fast, faster, and fastest for Bentley at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. The British purveyor of ultra-high-end vehicles showcased two production vehicles and one race car at its booth.
For those high rollers who want to roll fast, Bentley offers the 2013 Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification. The Mulsanne is Bentley’s flagship car. The Mulliner package includes unique wheels, leather upholstery, and an adjustable sport suspension. The drivetrain remains the same as other Mulsannes: a 6.75-liter turbocharged V8 that pumps out 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Despite a curb weight 24 pounds shy of three tons, the car can sprint from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds and achieve a top speed of 184 mph. No pricing or availability was announced, but if you have to ask . . . .
For those high rollers who want to roll faster, Bentley has the 2013 Continental GT Speed. Billed as the fastest road-going Bentley ever, the GT Speed sports a 616-horsepower 6.0-liter turbocharged 12-cylinder engine. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the car is capable of running the 0-60 sprint in 4.0 seconds and hitting a top speed of 205 mph. Though final certification has yet to take place, Bentley is confident that the car will achieve a 20-mpg highway rating from the EPA. The 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed is available now with a starting price of $220,725, which includes a $3,000 federal gas-guzzler tax.
The 2014 Kia Forte sports a brand-new look, with cues inspired by the brand’s Optima midsize sedan. The car is longer, lower, and wider than the outgoing model, and it has a roomier interior and more available power.
Forte will follow Kia convention by offering base LX and uplevel EX trim levels. There was no mention of a sporty SX, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see one appear at one of the 2013 auto shows. Standard amenities include steering-wheel audio controls, satellite radio, a Bluetooth wireless cell-phone link, and the usual complement of power accessories. Cruise control and remote keyless entry are optional, as is an Eco Package that includes dual-zone automatic climate control and engine idle stop/start.
The EX adds a rearview camera, a cooled glovebox, and the next generation of Kia’s UVO infotainment system. Options include a navigation system, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a cooled driver seat, a sunroof, and keyless entry with pushbutton engine start.
The 2013 Mini Paceman made its North American debut at the 2012 LA Auto Show. Though seen in concept form at several previous auto shows, the Paceman on display in Los Angeles is a production-ready model.
This compact SUV is basically a 2-door version of the Mini Countryman. Both vehicles share the same basic design, features, powertrains, and 4-passenger seating.
Like most Minis, Paceman comes in Base and high-output S versions. Both come standard with front-wheel drive while the S is available with the brand’s ALL4 all-wheel drive. Base models use a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. The S has a 1.6-liter engine as well, but it’s turbocharged and produces 181 horsepower. Buyers can choose between a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission, even on AWD models.
The long list of options includes items such as a navigation system, keyless access/engine start, adaptive xenon headlights, rear-obstacle detection, and Mini’s Connected infotainment system. Connected allows Apple iPhone owners to stream audio, view Facebook and Twitter posts, and analyze driving behavior.
The 2013 Mini Paceman goes on sale March 16, 2013, with a starting price of $23,900.
Making its world debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show was a revamped version of Porsche’s entry-level coupe. The 2014 Porsche Cayman delivers more power, but with the promise of lower fuel consumption, all while retaining the same thrilling driving experience that’s a hallmark of the brand.
Cayman will return in Base and high-performance S trim levels. Each has a horizontally opposed “flat” 6-cylinder engine and the choice of a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission. The Base uses a 275-horsepower 2.7-liter engine while the S has a 325-horsepower 3.4-liter unit. Depending on engine, transmission, and whether or not you select the optional Sport Chrono Package, 0-60 mph will come anywhere between 4.4 and 5.1 seconds.
Base models will start at $52,600. The Cayman S commands an $11,200 premium. The 2014 Porsche Cayman is scheduled to reach dealerships in spring 2013.
Due a bit sooner than Cayman is the new 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4. This is the all-wheel-drive version of the company’s flagship sports car. Porsche is basically bringing the Carrera 4 in line with the rear-drive 911 Carrera, which was redesigned for the 2012 model year.