Of all the headlines this week, the 2018 LA Auto Show may shine brightest of all. The Jeep Gladiator set the tone a couple weeks ahead of opening day, with leaks that promised fans one helluva midsize truck. (And deliver, they did!) Not to be outdone, the Cadillac CT6-V is a limited-production American luxury car and picturesque representation of a future classic, according to Chris Perkins at Road & Track. Likewise, the long awaited, next-generation Porsche 911 was well received—as if we had any doubts. Its subtle exterior updates gave enthusiasts a refresh in styling, while maintaining the aesthetic integrity that attracts such an electrifying following to begin with.
Speaking of Electric
Speaking of electric, Elon’s probably huddled in the corner of a bathroom stall after this year’s LA Auto Show. Once a clear leader of the pack, a number of automakers stepped in the ring to show—no, to prove—they are formidable opponents to Tesla. The Audi e-Tron GT Concept is a four-door coupe design featuring carbon fiber, aluminum, high-strength steel, an aggressive wide stance, and fender flares.
Did we mention it puts out nearly 600 horsepower, with an anticipated acceleration of zero to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds?
The Audi E-Tron and Rivian R1T/R1S pickup truck-SUV combo reveal sure dazzled the crowd with sophisticated looks and impressive performance stats to match. So much so, onlookers just may be ready for a trade.
A Deeper Look at Rivian
“We’re launching Rivian with two vehicles that reimagine the pickup and SUV segments,” Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe told Autoweek. “I started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have – to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation. Starting with a clean sheet, we have spent years developing the technology to deliver the ideal vehicle for active customers. This means having great driving dynamics on any surface on- or off-road, providing cargo solutions to easily store any type of gear, whether it’s a surf board or a fishing rod and, very importantly, being capable of driving long distances on a single charge,” he continued.
What Sets It Apart
A revolutionary skateboard platform allows Rivian to redefine the structure, functionality, and capability of a pickup. “The R1T is built on what Rivian calls the skateboard platform. The battery packs (the top-level trim of the R1T will get 400-plus miles on a single charge thanks to a 180kWh battery pack), drive units, suspension, braking and thermal system are all packaged below the top of the wheels, leaving all of the space above for passengers and cargo. The battery packs are part of the structure as well, helping stiffen the chassis, and they receive ‘ballistic levels’ of protection,” reported Autoweek.
By the way, that little battery pack is quite the reliable adrenaline rush—doling out 700 hp and 826 lb-ft. And with a motor mounted at each wheel, this pickup can outpace nearly any competitor in a zero to 60 match (3.2 seconds, in case you’re wondering). Furthermore, Scaringe has been quoted as saying the R1T can climb a 45-degree angle and tow 10,700 pounds. Ingenious storage and high performance, a full range of safety features and level 3 autonomous tech, futuristic appeal and seemingly endless opportunities—the Rivian is as thrilling as it is intimidating and as admired as it is unwelcome.
It’s polarizing—the kind that’s good for a few brews and shouting matches at the local watering hole.
America’s Love Affair at the 2018 LA Auto Show
But if the 2018 LA Auto Show reaffirmed anything, it’s America’s love affair with SUVs and crossovers. It only takes one Google search to see that the Hyundai Palisade is consistently appearing on various editor picks. The automaker’s new flagship model is the latest to roll out a third-row option, comfortably seating eight. This is quite the ultimate family-friendly accommodation:
- High-tech safety features and more cargo space than the competition
- An array of infotainment options
- USB ports in all three rows (because with today’s dire need of connectivity, one is never enough)
- An intercom to talk to rear seat passengers (yes, you heard that correctly)
- A stereo mode that shuts the rear speakers (so those kids stay snoozin’)
- A roof vent diffusion system that’s built directly into the headliner, evenly distributing air without drafts
Yet another SUV grabbing attention is the Honda Passport. Though, we must admit, some of the recent headlines have us chuckling. One of the latest, “The 2019 Honda Passport Looks Ready to Overland at the LA Auto Show.” Laughable, right? Listen, as sharp as the Passport is, and as much of a splash as it’s made at the event, all a headline like that accomplishes is further alienation from the true overlanding community. One that we know is shuttering at the very thought of a Honda Passport being in the same sentence as overlanding.
It’s fair to say that most didn’t expect much from a nameplate that’s been Ho-Hum in this department for a while, but boy were we pleasantly surprised. The all-new Aviator, which typically plays second fiddle to the Navigator, was the belle of the SUV/crossover ball. “With sharp headlights, a regal grill, ornate hood sculpting and a very sleek profile, the Aviator gives off a strong whiff of Range Rover Velar with the few best elements of the strange little crossovers Lincoln has been crapping out for the last few years. I really, really liked it as soon as I saw in person and then I opened the door. And then I fell in love. The Aviator’s interior design is simple but obviously well thought-out,” reported Jalopnik.
Our excitement for the year ahead was already riding high pre-show, but these vehicle releases and redesigns have us raising our glasses and toasting 2019 a little earlier.