What You Need to Know Ahead of the LA Auto Show

With 111 years under its belt, the LA Auto Show has grown older, wiser, and more tech-savvy through the years. It started in 1907 with 3,000 people eyeing up 99 cars at ol’ Morley’s Skating Rink. Today it spans more than 1,000,000 square feet, plays host to exclusive vehicle launches and high-end customization, draws hundreds of thousands of visitors, and delivers worldwide media exposure during an annual 10-day extravaganza. 

It brings together the entire eco-system, driving the convergence of technology and the automobile. – LA Auto Show

Like meat and potatoes, this event has become a staple in the automotive industry. And, with absolute certainty, the 2018 LA Auto Show is set to stun yet another eager crowd from November 30 – December 9 at the LA Convention Center.

There’s something for any palate.

“More than 1,000 cars are on display (and 60+ debuts) in four exhibit halls, with exclusive test drives, and the newest in customized, tuner, and aftermarket cars and trucks in The Garage. Whether you’re in the market for a new vehicle or planning for the future, the LA Auto Show is your one-stop-shop for hassle-free, stress-free comparison shopping for cars, trucks, SUVs, electric vehicles and more,” according to Discover Los Angeles.

Over the years, the show has evolved beyond traditional automakers and now includes tech firms that are masterminds of influence in the ever-changing automotive industry. You can expect the latest and greatest in electronics, computer software, electric-powered vehicles, and autonomous advancements. And don’t worry, the aftermarket is well represented too—flexing its muscles on the world stage.

Parents of little gearheads, fear not: this is a family-friendly gathering with plenty of cool entertainment like video games, virtual reality setups, and play areas to keep those kiddos amused. Just be warned—it’s an enormous show and much like SEMA, those without a plan tend to feel overwhelmed. Lucky for you, we’ve singled out three vehicle launches you can’t afford to miss, as well as a brief rundown of some other highlights you should expect to see.

LA Auto Show Vehicle Debuts

2020 Jeep Gladiator

Hands down, all eyes are on Jeep this week. Fans have been b-e-g-g-i-n-g the automaker to release a midsize truck for years. While excitement for the Gladiator has reached a deafening pitch, the company’s mantra of “100% truck, 100% Jeep” is being met with both praise and pessimism.

“There is tremendous demand for this unique vehicle from our loyal Jeep customers and pickup truck buyers everywhere,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Jeep Brand – North America. “Born from a rich and proud heritage of tough, dependable Jeep trucks, Gladiator combines rugged utility, versatility and functionality, resulting in the most capable midsize truck ever.”

But peruse the comments section on social media and for as many fans ready to stand in line right now, there are just as many who feel like the Gladiator misses the mark. Like it, love it, or hate it, Jeep is goin’ to kill it at the LA Auto Show. Click here for the official details released by FCA North America.

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S and 4S

Happy birthdayyy to me! The 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S and 4S debuted at an exclusive Porsche Experience Center event in LA right before opening day. “The 992 is both a replacement and an evolution of the 991-generation 911 that made its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The pair packs updated (though undoubtedly 911) styling, more power from a turbocharged flat-six and a new interior that borrows heavily from the new Porsche Panamera and Porsche Cayenne. The car will hit U.S. dealers in summer 2019,” said Autoblog.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that familiar exterior styling means model changes devoid of personality. Aluminum bodywork, wider stance, numerous interior updates, as well as 443-horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque have me ready to slap on a bow and call it mine, all mine.

Redesigned Mazda3

In a bold move, Mazda is staring data right in the face and going all-in with a bet that favors compact cars—at least that’s what some of the top headlines state. We, on the other hand, don’t think it’s as bold of a move as other media outlets are touting. After all, what do the 2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback, 2019 Hyundai Veloster N, 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, and 2019 Ford Fiesta ST have in common? The hatch is back. 

The all-new Mazda3 adopts a more mature interpretation of Kodo design that embodies the essence of Japanese aesthetics. Meanwhile, fundamental performance attributes have been raised to a new level. Next-generation Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture enables people to make the most of their natural sense of balance and the latest Skyactiv engines offer responsive control of vehicle speed in any driving situation. The arrival of all-new Mazda3 marks the beginning of a whole new generation of Mazda cars that will deliver new dimensions of driving pleasure to customers around the world. – Mazda

A high-tech engine and advanced safety features are among many necessary updates. “The Mazda3 is the lead-off nameplate for a re-engineered architecture Mazda promises will weigh less, cost less and deliver a quieter ride with crisper handling. The Mazda3 also gets a new engine — dubbed Skyactiv-X — that Mazda says combines the best traits of diesel and gasoline engines for cleaner power,” wrote Autoweek.

Interesting Happenings

While the vehicle debuts will be drawing plenty of attention, don’t forget to keep an eye out for a few of these other highlights.

It’s Electric.

A few of the biggest headlines this year include Tesla making a rare appearance. (Perhaps it has something to do with a growing Rivian rivalry—the competitor that just so happens to be debuting its electric R1T pickup?) For sure though, it’s hybrid heaven at this year’s LA Auto Show. Toyota’s 2019 Prius is rolling out a new model with AWD, so tree huggers outside the sunshine states can consider ownership. (As if there’s anything rational about owning a Prius, c’mon.) Likewise, the eagle has landed with a 12th-generation Corolla, but Toyota is going to debut a hybrid version of the model at the show. And to top things off, Subaru wants to pique interest in its latest Crosstrek with a hybrid engine as well.

Volvo’s Gone AWOL

Our emotional barometer with Volvo sits somewhere between admiration for defying the norm and audacity (the dial points closer to the latter). The automaker plans to forego all in-booth vehicle displays—like nada, niet, nein, nahi. Instead, the Swedes are opting to preach from the pulpit about the future of subscription car services—yet another bullet in the smoking gun of “Plans to Kill Vehicle Ownership.”

Bigger Is Better

Amid the cries for better fuel economy and cleaner air is a longstanding American desire for big, honkin’ SUVs. And thanks to a whole lotta money in R&D, the automakers have found a way to reconcile both sides. Keep an eye out for the resurrected three-row Lincoln Aviator, the all-new three-row Hyundai Palisade (a first for the carmaker), the restyled three-row BMW X7, and a possible ‘nother peak at the three-row Kia Telluride. (Are you seeing a trend here?)

If you’re one for the SUV/crossover craze—and again, we don’t judge (at least not out loud)—then make sure to tune into Monday’s Auto Industry News for the rundown on new versions of the Fiat 500X, Kia Soul, Honda Passport, and the big beauties mentioned above.

German Engineering

Buzz about the BMW X7 is already a bit stale, but the automaker will also debut a battery-electric crossover concept, an 8-series coupe and convertible, and a performance version of the 3-series. (Stay tuned because we can’t wait to do reviews on the 3- and 8-series!)

And don’t forget to look for Audi, who is displaying the E-Tron GT concept—a 590-horsepower, electric sedan that shares a drivetrain and battery platform with the Porsche Taycan.

The Garage

It’s the Mecca of car culture—and a must-visit attraction while attending the 2018 LA Auto Show. “Located under South Hall (look for the big Garage banner), you will find one of the world’s largest and most exciting collections of renowned tuners, customized exotics and aftermarket goods and services. In 2017, customized vehicles from McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Chevrolet, Bentley, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche and more were featured,” as noted on the LA Auto Show website.

Galpin Auto Sports

Having a reputation for being the best in the biz has its perks. Galpin Auto Sports is the customization division of one of the largest dealership groups across America. They specialize in the finer things in life, like “mind-blowing gadgets and jaw dropping color creations. Galpin is the place to go to make your car dreams a reality.” Fortunately for you, they’ll have a number of prized rides on display, including Aston Martin’s DB11, Volante, and DBS, Jaguar’s F-Type, E-Type, and I-Pace, the Lotus Evora, Ford’s Raptor S, Expedition, GT, Mustang Rocket, Explorer and Ranger, Volvo’s XC40 and V90, Lincoln’s Nautilus and Navigator, and a Singer-modified Porsche.

Pretty sure top of my list would be Ken Block’s RS2000. Get this, Fifteen52 forged three-piece Evo SC wheels, 18″ Toyo Proxes R888R tires, and KW Suspension custom coil overs with a custom interior and exterior finish. Fun fact: it’s 1 of only 200 vehicles built for the World Rally Championship’s legendary Group B homologation.

Need for Speed

You didn’t think we’d leave out a little white-knuckle excitement?! Experience the ride of your life with a Slingshot joyride, as a seasoned professional drives and drifts you through a closed road-course. High-speed fun in the three-wheeled, open-air roadster is FREE with your LA Auto Show ticket purchase.

Are you salivating yet?? Click here for more information or to purchase tickets to the 2018 LA Auto Show.

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