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Highlights from the L.A. Auto Show

Posted by: Jackie Carey

It's Christmas in November-for car lovers everywhere.  The L.A. Auto show kicked off this week and we're here to give you a quick recap. You'll see the majority of these cars in Chicago this February and, of course, a whole lot more that are introduced in Detroit and then at our show.

2011 Acura TSX
2012 Audi A7
2012 Buick Regal GS
2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist
Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept
2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible
2011 Chrysler 200
2011 Dodge Durango
2012 Fiat 500 (U.S.)
2012 Ford Focus
2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
2012 Infiniti M Hybrid
2011 Hyundai Elantra
2012 Mazda5
2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63
2012 Mitsubishi i
2012 Nissan CrossCabriolet
2011 Nissan Quest
2012 Range Rover Evoque
2012 Saab 9-4X
2012 Toyota RAV4 EV
2012 Volkswagen Eos

 

The 2011 Acura TSX

Acura TSX Already a bestseller in it's class, the 2011 Acura TSX bowed at the L.A. Auto Show this week sporting a fresh new exterior look and an array of new features.  The front end of the vehicle, with a new front fascia, revised chin spoiler and an updated grill, teams up with a new underbody to improve aerodynamics and visual appeal.  The TSX also sported a newly detailed cabin and for the first time in 2011 includes a Technology Package that offers: an LED backlit full VGA navigation screen, improved navigation system functions, Song By Voice user interface, a 60-gigabyte hard disk drive system, and the ability to download 15-gigabytes of personal music.  Oh, and don't forget significant improvements made to both the 2.4L I-4 and 3.5L V-6 powertrain that yields improved fuel efficiency, lower emissions and longer engine life. 

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The 2012 Audi A7

Audi A7The main Audi attraction in Los Angeles this year was, without a doubt, the all-new 2012 Audi A7.  While not scheduled to hit U.S. showrooms until next spring, the A7 showed up at the L.A. Auto Show as the vehicle Audi hopes will establish a "new class of progressive luxury."  A five-door, mid-sized hatchback with optional bucket seats, the A7 is a cross between the design of a coupe, the comfort of a sedan and the practicality of a station wagon.  This 2012 Audi is lightweight, built with numerous aluminum components, and comes standard with a 3.0-liter V6 engine and a 7-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission.  

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The 2012 Buick Regal GS

Buick RegalPresented in 2010 as a "concept" car, the 2012 Buick Regal GS officially debuted at the L.A. Auto Show this week.  A sports sedan with a turbo-charged 2.0L four-cylinder engine, the 2012 Buick Regal GS has been designed to take the Buick brand to an all new sporty level.  The GS is fitted with Buick's trick HiPerStrut front suspension and features the exclusive GS-only high-output version of the Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine with 255 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque.  Sticking with the sport design, the interior of the Regal GS shows off a flat bottomed steering wheel and metal petals, leather-appointed 12-way adjustable heated seats and an instrument panel that glows white when engaged in the GS mode of the Interactive Drive Control System.

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The 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist

Buick LaCrosse eAssistGreat news for Buick lovers! The 2012 Buick LaCrosse 2.4L four-cylinder engine will come standard with new eAssist fuel saving technology starting in 2012.  As seen at the show in L.A. this week, the 2012, LaCrosse with eAssist is estimated to achieve 37 miles per gallon on the highway, thanks to the eAssist "smart electrification" system that produces 25% improved fuel economy.  The system uses a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery system and electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking capability to improve LaCrosse fuel economy. 

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The Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept

Cadillac Urban ConceptEfficient powertrain, small size, touch screen and project displays.  Take all that and add into the mix the hi-tech, luxurious features of the SRX, and you'll get the Urban Luxury Concept Car from Cadillac.   Showing in L.A. this week, the Urban Luxury drove off as the winner of the annual L.A. Design Challenge.  This is the seventh year for the contest, and this year designers were asked to envision the "1,000 lb. car" and tasked to imagine an efficient four-passenger vehicle that maintained comfort, safety, driving performance and style while not exceeding the weight requirement.

Comparable in size to popular city cars found in Paris, Shanghai and London, the Urban Luxury Concept demonstrates a departure from conventional vehicle design by seating four and providing easy access to all seats with a pair of scissor-type doors that extend outward and rotate forward when opened.

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The 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible

Camaro ConvertibleThe 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible officially premiered at the L.A. Auto Show this week.  Giving patrons a first look at the standard production model expected to be on sale this February, the 2011 drop-top Camaro includes an enhanced body structure and well-tailored top mechanism--a combination designed to deliver sports coupe-like driving fun and precise quality. 

To improve the already-stiff body structure and eliminate common convertible maladies of cowl and steering wheel shake, Chevy has made four strategic enhancements,  including: a tower-to-tower brace under the hood, a transmission support reinforcement brace, an underbody tunnel brace and a front and rear underbody "V" braces. The Camaro convertible is offered in 1LT/2LT (V-6) and 1SS/2SS (V-8) trim packages. It is priced from $30,000 MSRP and available in nine production exterior colors with tops offered in black or tan.

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The 2011 Chrysler 200

Chrysler 200Representing a major update from the Sebring, the 2011 Chrysler 200 was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  Featuring a new front end, hood, headlamps, fog lamps and rear end, the 200 ushers in a new a new contender in the mid-size sedan market. The 200 also features improved handling and reduced NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). Simply stated, Chrysler's goal with the 2011 200 was to "fix everything" that was wrong with the Sebring.  Offered in three trim models--the LX, Touring and Limited--the 200 goes on sale this December. 

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The 2011 Dodge Durango

Dodge DurangoWith an all-new look the 2011 Durango is jumping back into the SUV segment with the three-row, seven passenger vehicle that should appeal to drivers needing the versatility of a crossover and wanting the refinement of premium vehicles.  The 2011 Durango sports a car-type unibody design that is shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee but with a longer wheelbase. The unibody is sure to provide improved driving dynamics by integrating the suspension with the body.  Two powertrain system options on the Durango provide rear-wheel-drive performance and fuel efficiency: a 3.6-liter V-6 engine and a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine.

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The 2011 Fiat 500 (U.S.)

2012 Fiat 500Fiat unveiled the U.S. version of the anticipated 2012 Fiat 500 at the L.A. Auto Show--the 500, a sub-compact, two-door hatchback, showed off a 1.4L four-cylinder engine equipped with Fiat's MulitAir technology. Specific to the U.S. market is a six-speed automatic transmission. Available in three trim levels, aptly named "Pop," "Sport" and "Lounge," the Fiat 500 U.S.A. will start at $15,500.  Drivers can also expect to choose between 14 exterior colors, 2 interior colors (black or ivory) and a complete line of exclusive accessories produced by Mopar.  

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The 2012 Ford Focus

Ford FocusThe 2012 Ford Focus is one of the first subcompact cars on the market to combine gasoline direct-inject technology with twin independent variable camshaft timing and E85 flex fuel capability.  In English, this means the 2012 Focus will have a powerful, fuel efficient and refined engine and an advanced non-turbo charged four-cylinder powertrain.  Ford unveiled the 2012 model in LaLa Land at the L.A. Auto Show; it's stylish and loaded with great features, like hands-free parallel parking and a rearview camera, that are not usually found in this class vehicles.  

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The 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia OptimaKia made news at the L.A. show this year by unveiling it's first ever hybrid for the U.S. market--the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid.  The Optima Hybrid powertrain is said to yield 40 mpg fuel efficiency.  The Optima Hybrid uses a Transmission-Mounted-Electric-Drive (TMED) layout with the electric motor separated from the transmission gear-set.  This allows for more efficient powertrain packaging, the use of many "off-the-shelf" components such as the existing six-speed automatic transmission found on the 2.4-liter GDI Optima. 

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The 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid

Infiniti M HybridAccording to Infiniti, the M Hybrid is the only vehicle to offer more that 350 horsepower and 30 miles per gallon.  Debuting at the auto show in L.A. this week, the all-new Infiniti M Hybrid is set to launch in the spring.  The M features the all-new Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid system, an advanced one-motor, two-clutch parallel hybrid design that combines precise, high-speed motor control technology, which, enabled by the powerful Lithium-ion battery, allows power to be delivered directly through the vehicle's 7-speed automatic transmission.

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The 2011 Hyundai Elantra

ElantraThe 2011 Elantra marked its world debut at the L.A. Auto Show this week.  The car boasts "Fluidic Sculpture" design, a new 1.8-liter "Nu" engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Also available are touch-screen navigation with rearview camera,  iPod/USB inputs and heated rear seats (a segment first).  The revamped Elantra is about two inches longer in wheelbase and one inch longer overall than the 2010 model.  

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The 2012 Madza5

Mazda5Mazda showed up in L.A. with a redesigned Mazda5 for 2012.  The new sport wagon has 16-inch wheels, keyless entry and is available with a manual or automatic transmission.  Touring models have 17-inch wheels and a higher-end cabin with sunroof, leather seats, wireless cell phone link and navigation system.  A cross between an SUV and minivan, the Mazda5 boasts flexible cargo space that can be tailored to many needs. 

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The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63

Mercedes CLS63The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 is a four-door coupe-like sedan that features the all-new AMG-designed V8 bi-turbo engine.  The CLS63 goes on sale during the summer of 2011 and, according to the manufacturer "writes the next chapter" in the story that began with the CLS55 by setting a new benchmark in design. 

The new AMG 5.5-liter V8 bi-turbo engine features a combination of high-tech components.  In addition to spray-guided gasoline direct injection, it boasts an all-aluminum crank-case, four-valve technology with variable camshafts, air-water charge-air cooling, generator management and stop/start system.

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The 2012 Mitsubishi i

Mitsubishi iA small, futuristic electric car, the Mitsubishi i will not hit the market until late 2011 but it did make its first U.S. spec appearance as the L.A. show.  The U.S. model will be larger and wider than its sister in Japan, offering America drivers a bit more comfort, while still hitting all the benchmarks of small, urban vehicles: 63-hp electric motor with a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, a top speed of 81 mph and a driving range of 55-100 miles in one charge. 

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The 2012 Nissan CrossCabriolet

Nissan CrossCabrioletThe CrossCabriolet debuted for the world this week. Set to go on sale in early 2011, this new model blends open-air motoring with the versatility of the of a crossover SUV.  As the world's first all-wheel-drive crossover convertible, the CrossCarbiolet has a lot of space, a lot of horsepower (265 hp on a 3.5L V-6 engine) and a lot of features.  For example, the CrossCarbiolet has leather upholstery, all-wheel drive, a heated steering wheel and, of course, a power-operated convertible top that includes a rear-seat skylight and a rear-window defroster. 

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The 2011 Nissan Quest

Nissan QuestThe L.A. show also marked the return of the Nissan Quest minivan. More than just another new Quest, it's an entirely new take on the minivan--with bold styling, an extensive list of family friendly innovations and amenities a family can enjoy together. Parents get excited because the 2011 Quest offers one-touch power sliding doors, quick release fold-flat seats, an advanced climate control system, and innovative rear storage compartments.  According to Nissan, "Quest provides the innovation to help make the impossible possible on a daily basis. Just like parents do."

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The 2012 Range Rover Evoque

EvoqueCoupe styling with advanced utility, that's the 2012 Range Rover Evoque.  Debuting the five-door Evoque in L.A. this week, Range Rover showed off the brand's new direction toward urban luxury.  But don't worry, this compact SUV is still a Range Rover--it has a range of four-cylinder engine options and comes standard with all-wheel drive. 

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The 2012 Saab 9-4X

Saab 9 4XIt is muscular, sporty and it stays true to the classic humpback Saab styling. Making its world premier at the L.A. Auto Show, the 2012 Saab 9-4X expands to three car lines and offers up a fresh choice for crossover buyers.  Outside and inside, it communicates its Saab identity with clean, uncluttered design and signature motifs such as its wraparound-effect windshield, ice block lighting theme, driver-focused cockpit and flexible cargo handling. The 9-4X offers a choice of compact V-6 engines and six-speed automatic transmissions. 

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The 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV

RAV4 EVThe brand-new RAV4 EV also drove into the L.A. show, courtesy of a little boost by Tesla Motors.  Throughout 2011, Toyota will produce, demonstrate and evaluate 35 of these vehicles with the hope of engineering an electric crossover that is appealing to mainstream car owners, drivable and "as close to a conventional RAV4 as possible."

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The 2012 Volkswagen Eos

VW EosBringing along the 2012 Eos to the Los Angeles show, Volkswagen showed off the new front and rear design that adds to the elegance and sporty style of the hard-top convertible.  The Eos can be recognized from behind by its reworked, two-part LED rear lights and rear bumper, which, in keeping with the front one, has also been redesigned. A striking feature of the technical and visual structure of the two-part rear lights is a stylized M that incorporates the LEDs for the tail and brake lights.

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We can't wait until these cars come driving through our city!  Which ones do you hope to see?

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