The traditional U.S. auto show season begins every fall, when a host of new models premieres at the Los Angeles Auto Show. (We say “traditional” because in the past automakers developed cars on an annual cycle and thus many new vehicles appeared in the latter part of the year — unlike today when automakers unveil shiny sheet metal all across the calendar.) This November was no exception, with plenty of news rising from the City of Angels. A wide variety of models rolled out in L.A., from a stylish Toyota Prius to the first off-road Porsche 911 — and many more. Read on for a quick peek at highlights from the 2022 L.A. Auto Show.
At the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota introduced an all-new 2023 Prius and 2023 Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. The new Prius offers a much sleeker profile that feels more mainstream than previous versions. Sitting two inches lower and one inch wider than its predecessor, the new model could almost be called sporty looking. Matching the new vehicle’s complete exterior redesign is a thoroughly modern and improved interior. With a proper driver display and an available 12.3-inch Toyota Audio Multimedia system, the Prius feels much more mainstream — finally moving away from the quirky interior designs of previous generations.
Motivating the 2023 Toyota Prius is a fifth-generation hybrid powertrain featuring a larger 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine teamed with an electric motor to deliver 194 horsepower — a significant increase of more than 70 horsepower over the previous generation. The Prius AWD gets an additional electric motor powering the rear wheels, which brings the total vehicle output to 196 horsepower. For even more performance, Toyota debuted the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid that now produces 220 horsepower with an expected range of 37-40 miles of electric-only driving. Prius pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, which should be early next year, with the Prius Prime following later in 2023.
Thirty years ago, Subaru introduced the Impreza at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and now the automaker employed the same venue to introduce the all-new sixth-generation model. The 2024 Subaru Impreza will be available exclusively as a 5-door hatchback — the 4-door sedan will not continue into the new generation. Styling changes are somewhat evolutionary. Up front, the grille and lower air intake are both larger to give the new model a wider-looking stance. Subaru offers its 11.6-inch vertical Multimedia Plus system in the Impreza for the first time. This upgraded infotainment system features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both of which display in full screen.
Powering the new Impreza Base and Sport is a 2.0-liter direct-injection Boxer unit producing 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. A new RS trim upgrades to a 2.5-liter Boxer engine that generates 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. The new platform increases torsional rigidity by 10 percent. This improvement is possible thanks to a full inner frame construction and additional structural adhesives that also contribute to chassis rigidity and weight saving. The result should be a smoother ride with improved drivability. The 2024 Subaru Impreza will be offered in three trim levels: Base, Sport, and the new RS trim. Produced at the Subaru manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Indiana, the new Impreza is expected to arrive in showrooms in spring 2023.
German automaker Porsche premiered one of the stars of this year’s show in L.A. — the first off-road 911, the 911 Dakar. The name Dakar is a logical choice for this special vehicle in tribute to the Paris-Dakar rally. In 1984 a purpose-built Porsche 911 won the race — the first 911 fitted with an all-wheel-drive system. The 911 Dakar sits almost 2 inches taller than a standard 911 Carrera. A standard lift system can raise the car an additional 1.2 inches, which not only helps the extreme sports car clear large obstacles but is also part of the newly calibrated suspension. The Dakar’s highest suspension setting can be used up to about 105 mph, which would be some pretty entertaining off-road driving.
A 3.0-liter twin-turbo Boxer engine powers the new Porsche 911 Dakar, producing 473 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, teamed with an 8-speed PDK transmission. The Dakar will sprint to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and will attain a top speed limited to 150 mph — restricted because of the all-terrain tires. The 911 Dakar will ride on specially developed Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Plus tires — 245/45 ZR19 in front and 295/40 ZR20 at the rear. Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive is standard on the 911 Dakar, as is rear-axle steering and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. These systems work together to allow the Dakar to perform like a 911 in sand or loose gravel. The Porsche 911 Dakar will begin arriving in showrooms in the spring of 2023 at a starting price of $222,000. This special Porsche will be built in limited quantities — only 2,500 units are planned worldwide.
Fiat currently sells only one model in the U.S. — a 500X small crossover that shares a platform with the Jeep Renegade. That changes in 2024 when the legendary Italian brand brings back the all-electric 500e. The 500e was sold in America until 2019, but when the brand introduced the next generation of this diminutive coupe it was not destined for America. Details of the American-spec Fiat 500e were not released — at the brand’s press conference it was simply announced that the car would return in Q1 of 2024 and that the new model would be officially unveiled at the 2023 L.A. show.
Perhaps as a stopgap, or to at least give the attending automotive journalists a nice visual, Fiat did bring three special 500e models to the show. These European-spec vehicles were one-off design concepts, created by three well-known Italian design houses – Armani, Kartell, and Bvlgari. Sporting bright colors and engaging details, these three unique 500e examples will have to be enough to sustain interest until next year when we’ll see the U.S. spec model.
A year ago Hyundai came to market with the IONIQ 5, a compact crossover and the first vehicle built on Hyundai’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform. Now the automaker continues its journey toward full electrification with the introduction of the Hyundai IONIQ 6. One of the most aerodynamic Hyundai models ever built, the IONIQ 6 is referred to as an Electrified Streamliner. The sleek styling not only provides better efficiency, it also projects a unique look among premium sedans. Inside, the clean design features dual 12-inch screens that integrate seamlessly — one being the touchscreen infotainment system, while the other creates an innovative customizable driver display.
The IONIQ 6 will be offered with two- or four-wheel drive as well as short- and long-range battery options. The top-level dual-motor all-wheel-drive IONIQ 6 generates 320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque, which should provide robust performance. According to Hyundai, the IONIQ 6 should be able to travel about 340 miles on a single charge, and with support for both 400-V and 800-V charging, the IONIQ 6 can charge from 10 to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes on a 350-kW charger. The new IONIQ 6 is slated to go on sale next spring.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful concepts at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show was the all-new Genesis X Convertible all-electric model carries the same unique styling of two earlier Genesis concepts — the X Concept and X Spedium Coupe Concept — completing the electric vehicle concept trilogy. The four-seat convertible features a folding hardtop with an integrated moonroof to provide an open, airy feeling even when the roof is closed. The sleek convertible also features an evolution of the traditional Genesis Crest Grille. As an electric vehicle, there’s no need for a grille opening, so this rendition uses lighting to portray the grille’s shape.
The long hood and short overhangs of the X Convertible Concept give this elegant study a grand presence, further emphasized by Genesis signature quad lighting that extends around the hood edge all the way to the front of the doors. Horizontal quad lights are also found at the convertible’s rear, which features a concave elliptical ducktail. The X Convertible is painted in Crane White. According to Genesis, white cranes represent nobility and sanctity in Korea. The interior is trimmed in Giwa Navy, which offers a pleasant contrast to the white exterior. Interior materials are recyclable wool fabric. Genesis reps would not speculate about the feasibility of this X Convertible ever reaching production.
With the imminent end of the legendary HEMI V8 engine on the horizon, in L.A. Dodge provided a look at what might come next as the brand heads toward electrification. Originally shown this past summer, the Charger Daytona SRT concept made its show debut in L.A., painted in a beautiful Stryker Red. Illuminated Fratzog badges in the grille and at the center of the full-width taillight assembly represent Dodge’s plans for an electrified future. Vertical grille details draw from the style of the 1968 Dodge Charger. The 21-inch wheels have painted pockets, diamond-cut faces with a turbinelike design, and red Fratzog logos on the wheel center locks. Brushed aluminum Banshee badges can be found on front fenders behind the wheelwells.
This sexy electric Charger concept is powered by a new 800V Banshee propulsion system incorporating three patent-pending new features: R-Wing, Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust, and eRupt. R-Wing is a unique aerodynamic front-end design that allows air to pass through the vehicle to improve aerodynamic efficiency. Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust is the first electric-vehicle exhaust system that rivals the sound of an SRT Hellcat. And eRupt is a new multispeed transmission with an electro-mechanical shifting experience. According to Dodge, this electric Charger is faster than a Hellcat in all key performance measures.
Three years ago at the L.A. Auto Show Kia added a new model to its SUV lineup with the compact Seltos. Now the Korean company refreshes the Seltos for the 2024 model year. Updates are somewhat subtle, but upfront the 2024 Seltos gets a larger tiger-nose grille with available full-projection LED headlights. The new grille is further emphasized with available Star Map signature lighting that gives the vehicle a unique look at night. Rear lighting has also been updated, and Seltos offers new wheel designs for the LX, S, EX, and SX trims. Inside, Seltos is available with a panoramic display that incorporates the instrument cluster and infotainment display — both measuring 10.25 inches.
In addition to design updates, Kia upgrades the Seltos to a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 20 more horsepower for a total output of 195 horses. Power gets sent to the available AWD system via a new 8-speed automatic transmission. Kia will also offer the 2024 Seltos in a rugged-looking X-Line trim. The X-Line stands out with a unique front grille design, special 18-inch wheels, gloss-black door garnish, a black roof rack, and X-Line badging.
A futuristic concept sports car on display at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Hyundai N Vison 74 is the concept we would most want to drive. Inspired by the Giugiaro-designed Hyundai Pony Coupe concept from 1974 (thus the name), the N Vision 74 features dynamic performance proportions with Parametric Pixel lighting that adds to the vehicle’s futuristic look.
Under the sporty skin of this concept is an equally futuristic drivetrain — a one-of-a-kind hydrogen hybrid system designed for performance. A 62.4 kWh T-type battery mounted in the floor and an 85 kW hydrogen fuel cell stack mounted up front send power to two rear-mounted motors — one per wheel — for a total output of 500kW — or about 670 horsepower. With a motor on each wheel, the power distribution can be constantly adjusted for optimum performance. The N Vison 74 can be fueled by charging the battery or filling the 9.3-pound capacity hydrogen fuel tanks mounted at the rear. Hyundai says the concept has a top speed in excess of 155 mph and can travel more than 373 miles between fill-ups / charges.
Minivans may not be the most popular vehicle style in America today, but there isn’t a better vehicle type for a road trip. Fully embracing this belief, Chrysler introduced the Pacifica Road Tripper edition at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show. Celebrating 40 years of families going on road trips in Chrysler minivans, the Pacifica Road Tripper is easily spotted with its Road Tripper badging on the sides outlined in Brilliant Orange. The same orange is used on the Chrysler wing badges at the center of the special Road Tripper 20-inch wheels (18 inches on the hybrid).
The new Pacifica Road Tripper comes well equipped with features that support a great road trip. A few are a standard Uconnect 5 infotainment system with a 10.1-inch display screen as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the available Uconnect Theater System with Amazon Fire TV. The Road Tripper package is available on the Pacifica Touring L trim for both hybrid and non-hybrid variants. The new Pacifica Road Tripper is scheduled to arrive spring 2023.
In 2021 Toyota introduced its first electric car, the bZ4x — the bZ refers to the company’s Beyond Zero electrification campaign. At the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Japan-based automaker took the wraps off a new bZ model — the bZ Compact SUV Concept. “We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the Beyond Zero moniker,” said Toyota group vice president and general manager David Christ. “With an aerodynamic design coupled with intuitive tech features never before seen in a Toyota model, the bZ Concept showcases another possible vision of the very near future with our battery electric vehicles,” Christ observed.
This aerodynamic crossover features edgy styling and an aggressive stance, aided by positioning the wheels at the corners with short overhangs. Unique lighting front and back add to the futuristic looks of this crossover concept. Toyota did not divulge any details regarding the powertrain, besides the fact that it is electric and likely all-wheel drive with dual electric motors. The interior continues the vehicle’s forward-leaning looks with multiple curved display screens and a narrow horizontal steering wheel.
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