Chicago Auto Show Blog

SUVs Star at the LA Auto Show

Posted by: Jennifer Morand

Within the “car culture,” the LA Auto Show unofficially signals the start of “auto show season.” This season concludes with the New York International Auto Show in the spring, and sandwiched in between are the North American International Auto Show (Detroit) in January and the Chicago Auto Show in February. 
Trends that surface from the LA show certainly help set the stage for the shows to follow, and one trend is evident: SUVs continue to take center stage as this vehicle segment continues to be the most popular among consumers (including full-size, midsize, compact or subcompact). A majority of the new vehicle introductions at the LA Auto Show were SUVs. We’ve highlighted some of the more significant production models below – all of which are expected to be on display at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. 
Jeep Compass 
While the Compass name might sound familiar, Jeep says the 2017 Compass is completely redesigned with updated styling and a rigid foundation. The 2017 model will replace both the outgoing Compass and the Patriot, which was very similar to the Compass. According the manufacturer, more than 65 percent high-strength steel is used for maximizing vehicle dynamics and crash performance while optimizing weight efficiency. 
Under the hood is a 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine that produces 180-hp and 175-lb. ft. of torque. The 2017 Compass is expected to be capable of reaching 30 mpg; this compares to the outgoing model that achieved 30 mpg only with a 158-hp 2-liter engine and a manual transmission.
Additional notable features include: 
- Intelligent 4x4 systems (Active Drive and Active Drive Low) allowing 100 percent of the engine's torque to be sent to any of the vehicle's four wheels.
- Advanced driver safety features including automatic braking, lane-keep assist and rear cross-traffic checks.
- Seven standard airbags.
- Nine-speed transmission standard, a first for the compact SUV segment, according to Jeep.
- LED taillights. 
The 2017 Compass will be available in four trim levels: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. The Compass will go on sale next spring.  
Ford EcoSport 
Ford introduced the EcoSport, a subcompact SUV that will compete in the same vehicle segment as the Buick Encore, Chevy Trax and Jeep Renegade, to name a few. According to Automotive News, while U.S. light-vehicle demand has slipped 0.3 percent this year from 2015's record levels, the subcompact crossover market is on fire – surging 32 percent through October to nearly 300,000 vehicles. Ford says the segment has quadrupled since 2011 and it expects it to double in size by 2020.
While compact and sleek on the outside, the EcoSport offers a spacious interior with modern styling. It has an athletic appearance with a grille that resembles the popular Edge. Under the hood, buyers can choose from a 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine or a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (which includes standard 4WD). 
Tech-wise, the EcoSport has an available SYNC infotainment system offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Drivers can operate the touchscreen just as they do their smartphone. An 8-inch touchscreen and navigation system is optional. In terms of safety, the EcoSport provides cross-traffic alert, blind spot warning and rear parking sensors.
The EcoSport is expected to hit dealer showrooms in early 2018.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio 
The Stelvio is not only new to the premium mid-size SUV segment, but this is Alfa Romeo’s first production SUV. According to the Italian manufacturer, the all-new Stelvio epitomizes the mechanics of emotion – spirit, race-inspired performance, real-world driving confidence, state-of-the-art technologies, seductive Italian style and an exhilarating driving experience to the segment. After all, the Stelvio was named after one of the greatest driving roads in the world – the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps – according to the manufacturer. 
Because this is a performance SUV, the standard Stelvio and Stelvio Ti models feature a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 280 hp and 306 lb.-ft. of torque. One step above, the Quadrifoglio model will tout a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 engine with 505 hp and 443 lb.-ft. of torque. Speaking of performance, the manufacturer says the Quadrifoglio can reach 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds. Each Stelvio provides an 8-speed automatic transmission that’s connected to a Q4 all-wheel-drive system – no matter the trim level.
Alfa Romeo allows owners to customize their Stelvio with up to 13 exterior colors, seven wheel choices (ranging from 18 to 21 inches) and a vast selection of interior color and trim choices. 
The performance SUV is expected to go on sale in early- to mid-2017. 
Toyota CH-R
Similar to Ford, Toyota is late to the subcompact SUV game, but experts say it’s better now than never as competing brand models (such as the Nissan Juke) are selling particularly well. Toyota’s 2018 CH-R, which stands for “Coupe High-Rider,” was first introduced at the Paris Motor Show a couple years ago, and it’s now officially launching into production.
What was originally slated as a Scion model is now badged with Toyota, which explains the edgier Scion look. The manufacturer is describing the CH-R as a “distinctive diamond – matchless, sexy, muscular and edgy.” On the inside the vehicle has some nice amenities including soft-touch materials, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 7-inch audio display. 
Toyota Safety Sense P comes standard including a pre-collision system, pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, automatic braking, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control.
Buyers can choose from two trims: the XLE and XLE Premium. The Premium adds the following features: blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, heated front seats, keyless entry and auto-fold, and heated side mirrors with puddle lamps that project “Toyota C-HR.” The vehicle is expected to hit showrooms in the first half of 2017, most likely in the spring. 
[Just for Fun] Rogue One, Star Wars Limited Edition
There’s a lot of hype surrounding the forthcoming Star Wars movie, and Nissan wanted in on the fun. The manufacturer partnered with the Star Wars franchise to design the 2017 Rogue One: Star Wars Limited Edition. Nissan is only producing 5,400 of the special edition Rogue, so fans better act quick. 
On the outside, Rogue One has a new black grille and LED headlights along with signature Star Wars themed logo decals of the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire, Rogue One badging on the front doors and a Star Wars logo clear rear bumper protector. The same logos of the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire are also found on the interior in cup holder inserts and interior accent lighting. The vehicle even comes with an actual full-sized Death Trooper helmet. 
The Rogue itself starts at $24,780, but the Star Wards edition package is an extra $1,990. The vehicle will be released on Dec. 16 along with the film. 
Nissan-Rogue-One-FINALThe Nissan Rogue One: Star Wars Limited Edition dodged fireballs during Nissan's press conference at the LA Auto Show
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