Intros, Concepts Crowd LA Auto Show Press Day

Stuff You Can Buy (or lease) Now

Concept cars and dream machines are fun to fantasize about, but the meat and potatoes of Auto Shows are the new models that you may want to consider (or not) if you are contemplating retiring the old buggy.

Tops on the Hot Brand list is Hyundai, and they provided the first look most of us have had of a quirky new car that’s hard to categorize.

Hyundai Veloster 1
Hyundai Veloster 2

So, is it a coupe or a sedan? The two-faced Hyundai Veloster is just a little undecided. It could be just quirky enough to catch on.

Volkswagen has made no secret of its intention to be the largest car maker in the world by 2013. Two cars it’s counting on to help it achieve that goal are the redesigned Beetle (The “New” has been dropped) and the latest generation of the Golf.

VW Beetle Turbo

 The redesigned VW Beetle has been given a more “masculine” look, with lower roofline and longer hood, in an attempt to shed its “chick car” image. In the process it’s gaining a touch of Porsche in its look.

VW Golf R

 When VW diluted the Jetta’s European qualities to make it less aggressive and more price-competitive with the Japanese compacts, VW fans feared their favorite hot hatch, the Golf, might suffer the same fate. The 270 hp Golf R makes a compelling argument that they have not been abandoned. And it’s available with four doors!

ShUV Segment Gets More Competitive

Ford and Honda both revised their hot-selling Short Utility Vehicles, the Escape and CR-V, and introduced them at the LA Auto Show.

New Ford Escape ShUV

Ford introduced a redesign of its hot-selling Escape, incorporation more style and new eco-boost engines that promise both better performance and improved fuel efficiency. Time will tell if deleting the popular Hybrid version will hurt overall sales. 

Honda CRV

Honda also redesigned their Short Utility Vehicle, resisting the temptation to follow Toyota’s RAV 4 in including an optional V6.

It’s not all about economy

 Shelby Mustang GT500 boasts “most powerful V8” with 650 horsepower that they claim makes this a 200 MPH car. Looking at the apparent lack of aerodynamic aids, one might wonder if it’s capable of keeping all four wheels on the road at that speed. 

A Look Down the Road

Concept cars these days aren’t usually far removed from production. All these will likely show up in a form close to what you’d see at the Show.

Subaru BRZ STI Sport Coupe Concept
Scion FR-S

 Subaru collaborated with Toyota, doing most of the chassis development on a rear-drive sports coupe. The Subaru BR-Z STI Concept’s flat four-cylinder engine in the front gives the car a road-hugging low center of gravity. Toyota’s version will be a Scion. Expect to see the Subie some time next spring, the Scion a little later.

Jaguar CX-16 Concept Sports Coupe
Jaguar CX-16 Nose

 Jaguar wins my Most Beautiful Concept award with their CS-16 Coupe. It captures some of the magic of the original XK-E without imitating it. I find it especially gratifying to see that they’ve abandoned attempts to adapt the E-Type’s tiny air intake to today’s cooling demands and the need to incorporate aerodynamic downforce at the front.

Another Answer to a Question Nobody Asked

BMW Active E

BMW’s all-electric Active E – an electrified 1-Series. I can’t imagine a customer approaching the sales staff at a BMW dealer and  saying, “I love your 1-Series Coupe, but I really wanted one that costs more, with less trunk space and performance, and a really short range. But then, you can always find some people who just want the first of anything.


About carmacarcounselor

I'm one of those people that friends call "that car guy," except I've made it into a profession. Since 1988 when a friend found my help in choosing, finding, and negotiating for a new car was worth a fee, I've helped countless people, listening to their car questions and challenges, and helping with their car purchases, insulating them from the adversarial process that is the new car retail model today. Their word of mouth is my only publicity. My newsletter CARMA won the description "The clear crystal ring of truth" from award-winning automotive journalist Denise McCluggage. Now I'm going global!
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