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Hooniversal Opinion: 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show

Ross Ballot November 30, 2018 Featured, Hooniversal Opinion 10 Comments

It seems that year after year the Los Angeles International Auto Show gets bigger and bigger. This coincides with the decline in interest in the Detroit Auto Show and the automakers embracing the buying power that is the Los Angeles automotive market. That the fact that SoCal is quite a bit nicer than winterized Michigan means that L.A.’s own auto show is growing faster than ever. And with a large number of big reveals, this year was further proof of just that.

This was a show of heavy hitters. The Jeep Gladiator. Porsche’s 992-generation 911. The new hatch and sedan Mazda3 pair. Audi’s E-Tron GT. Lincoln’s production-spec Aviator. Honda’s reintroduction of the Passport nameplate. And that’s not to mention a whole slew of other wild-cards like Toyota’s Prius AWD-e, Corolla Hybrid, Rivian electric pickup and SUV duo, the Genesis G90, Hyundai’s Palisade, the Kia Soul, Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, Bentley Continental GT Convertible, BMW iNEXT, Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro, and so on.

The 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show was home to a relatively massive amount of new things to talk about in the automotive world, so we’re going to do just that. Hit the jump to read our writers’ respective opinions on what was revealed at the 2018 LAAS.

Jeep Gladiator

After what seems like eons of waiting, it’s finally here: the Wrangler-based pickup of off-roading enthusiasts’ dreams. At 31 inches longer overall and with 19.4 extra inches of wheelbase over its Wrangler counterpart, the Gladiator boasts a full 5’ bed and extra nifty cargo spots that will make pickup buyers very happy. And with a folding windshield and removable roof and doors it still has the crucial elements to make it a completely different from everything else in its segment. Though mechanically similar to the JL Wrangler it’s based on, it does get some beefed up mechanicals and the crucial offering of FCA’s EcoDiesel which greatly improves towing, hauling, and fuel economy. The Gladiator is also available in a number of trim options including Sport and the ever-crucial Rubicon trim, and comes to bat with all the Jeep heritage that the brand is known for.

Almost everything I predicted came true, and Jeep delivered on the goods with a pickup that you can take the roof off of and take wheeling without question. The Gladiator has the right powertrain options (though wouldn’t a 5.7 or 6.4L Hemi option be the icing on the cake?) and you can get it with locking differentials and all the Rubicon’s off-road cred. I’m not entirely sold on the looks since the bed seems awkwardly long and the rear overhang is massive (I can see the departure angle being a problem), but as a whole I’m impressed. It’s exactly what we wanted from Jeep, and it’s truly good. I can’t wait to start seeing these on the roads and trails, and expect they’ll sell every one they build. My only concern is the extra-long wheelbase which will prove troublesome in some situations when rock crawling. Luckily it looks like the bed-mounted campers and RTTs will suit the Gladiator perfectly. The ultimate overland vehicle? Very likely. This was a tough pick, but the Gladiator is my Best in Show, and among my Best of 2018.

– Ross Ballot

I assumed only the Rubicon would look good in person. That’s based on some awkward angles of the non-Rubicon versions in the press photos. In person, however, it looks pretty cool in lesser-tier trims. This thing will sell incredibly well.

– Jeff Glucker

I get the same feeling with this as I had after the Audi R8 and Acura NSX first launched. After you’ve seen something teased and rumored for so long, you’re already tired of it by the time it’s official. I like this a lot but the only thing I can really say about it is “finally”.

– Greg Kachadurian

Like Ross, my mind immediately went to the aftermarket. While the new Gladiator looks capable, especially in Rubicon trim, the aftermarket is going to fall in love with this truck. Jeeps have always been capable, but short on cargo volume. The JK model brought four doors and more cargo capacity, but the Gladiator with a rear seat delete and a camper conversion could compete with the Land Cruiser Troopy as one of the best “overland” vehicles in the world.

-Christopher Tracy

I was thinking of buying a new vehicle. It was between a Tacoma and a Wrangler. Now this decision was made for me. I love everything about this. Upcoming diesel engine will only make it better.

-Kamil Kaluski

Finally Jeep brings a pickup back into its lineup after all this demand and time. I’m stoked for this, it’s literally the ultimate all-purpose off-road vehicle…and you can buy it with a diesel! Holy torque, Bat Man. Though initial numbers say the diesel will tow less than the gas version? Interesting. Anyways, the new Gladiator is going to be an absolute typhoon of cash into FCA’s wallet because I have no doubt this thing will sell like $1 McDonald’s hot cakes on a Saturday morning…except for a price I can’t even begin to accept. But the dollar sign will get overlooked because I’m guessing Jeep sells at least 30,000 of them its first month on the market.

-Robby DeGraff

If the Gladiator ever does come to the UK, it’ll likely carry a 25-30% price premium and only pack the most feeble engine choice. I still love it, though, for pretty much being a two fingered salute at everything The Man wants you to want in a car.

-Chris Haining

Utes are hot property right now in Australia, some of our biggest selling cars in the country are utes. So Jeep entering the market with the Gladiator can only be a good thing. Hopefuly we get to see it come down. I do like the look of it, and the fact it can be stripped of doors and roof, makes it perfect for throwing surfboard and heading to the beach.

-Joel Strickland

Porsche 992 911

It’s not very often that an all-new generation of Porsche 911 comes around, so it’s no surprise that Porsche took things very seriously when creating the upcoming 992 generation of its halo car. Though it does look quite similar to the 991 generation it replaces, there’s a ton of new equipment and tech here that goes well beyond what the naked eye can see. Like before the base car comes with a turbocharged flat-six but it’s an updated version of its prior self that now makes 443hp/390lb-ft. PDK has been revised, but a 7-speed manual is still available. Overall dimensions have grown marginally, and the styling matches the newest 911 with that of its stablemates. Don’t be surprised to see a hybrid version sometime in the future.

It looks basically the same, but better at the same time. I’m not a Porsche-humping fanboy, but this 992 is pretty badass. The tail-end treatment looks fantastic, and more power across the family is a great thing. Porsche has made a really good car even better.

-Jeff

I’m not crazy about the looks. I get that Porsche designers had to change a bunch of stuff or else they’d be called lazy, but it looks a little busy to me and just makes me like the 991 even more. Maybe I’ll get used to it after seeing one in person.

-Greg

Greg’s right: “busy” is exactly the word I would have used. The 991 was basically a perfected design over the years, but the 992 looks like there’s a lot going on so as to simply differentiate it from its predecessors. I don’t love it, but I definitely do like it; then again, I generally don’t love 911 designs until they’ve been out for a few years and I’ve seen them in the flesh. The Targa GTS version of this will basically be the perfect car.

– Ross

I like the 992. Porsche makes a capable car and with the horsepower gains, this one should be as brilliant as the rest. The introduction of the 992 will drive down the prices of the 997 and 991 cars. It will be nice to have more than 996 models and their IMS bearings to choose from. The 992 shift knob will be giving its owners a “little stubby” too.

-Christopher

I swear I saw this Porsche on the road today. It had that light bar on the ass end. It looks good, always has. The big improvement here is the interior and the lack of the blank-off spaces for the options you didn’t get.

-Kamil

I’m impartial. It looks good, but I’m not hyped. I’m also depressed there aren’t three pedals anymore.

-Robby

You’ll all throw things at me for saying this, but the 992 looks to me like they chose to go back to ‘04 and update the 996. Which, incidentally, was my favourite 911. That’s because I was a teenager when the 996 arrived, and it finally looked like Porsche was doing something different with the 911. It was new and fresh and interesting, and now, finally, the same thing is happening again. Could end up being my new favourite 911.

-Chris Haining

Unsure on the looks of the new 992, I’ll reserve my judgement till I see one in person, but I suspect it will look even better under the Aussie sun, I really dig the rear angle the most.

-Joel

Honda Passport

Jumping into the midsize CUV market so as to compete with the countless others, Honda used the LA Auto Show to reveal its upcoming Passport. Bringing back the Passport name is a fun nostalgia-forcing move, and the newest Honda crossover is effectively a shortened Pilot with an extra ground clearance making it the most off-road capable Honda available that doesn’t come from the company’s Motorsports division. The Passport does still use Honda’s FWD-biased AWD system, but they’re gearing this towards buyers who live an “active lifestyle” and really do want owners to take this new vehicle on the trails.

Yeah nobody’s taking this on the trails.

-Greg

Not a chance. I’ll report back if I ever do see one in the woods, but until then I’m at least happy that this exists. It does away with some of the Pilot’s awkward proportions and is just going to be a competent, well-done crossover that’s actually half-decent looking. If I was in the market for a vehicle like this, the Passport would absolutely be on my shopping list.

-Ross

The Passport will be the same as the Element. Designed by Honda for the outdoor, fun-loving segment of buyers only to be purchased by women in their 50’s who use them as commuters. Meh.

-Christopher

For reasons I cannot explain this will sell well. I guess there are people who say “I want something bigger than the CR-V but the Pilot with its third row seat is just too big.” Cheap to design and produce for Honda, too.

– Kamil

Man you guys are ragging on the Passport. I think it’s a smart move for Honda and a void that’s been empty for years. I’m curious to see if it steers people away from say the Subaru Forester.

-Robby

It’s a shame that this new Element will probably not make its way to Australia, the CRV is too popular here, it’s a shame as it’s a good looking car and would probably do well .

-Joel

Audi E-Tron GT Concept

Calling this a concept might be a bit of a stretch because more likely than not this is a totally transparent look at what Audi’s upcoming electric sedan will actually be. Utilizing the same platform as Porsche’s Taycan, the Audi looks to be much of the same vehicle with Audi’s styling and a similar shape. Think of it as a slightly sleeker electric A7 with bigger arches and flares. Horsepower is 582, and the electric range is just shy of 250 miles.

If the Audi R8 is essentially the thinking person’s Lamborghini Huracan, then the E-Tron GT is an equivalent version of the Porsche Taycan. It looks cooler than the pretty cool A7 in person, should be a blast to drive with all of that power available instantly, and should cause Tesla reservation holders to reconsider.

-Jeff

This looks fantastic. The Porsche Taycan’s looks don’t have me 100% sold, but this does. I say that figuratively of course because no way I’ll be able to buy this whenever it does come out. I just hope the styling isn’t too neutered for production and that EV buyers won’t be so busy worshiping Glorious Leader Musk that they ignore something that may very well be a vastly superior product. Audi is taking this stuff seriously and they deserve all the success they get with this.

-Greg

One of the best Audi designs in recent years, with proper chunky widebody arches.

-Antti

Absolutely stunning. The new A7 doesn’t do it for me the way the original did, but this, with its huge hunches and dramatic curves, is nothing short of gorgeous. They need to sell this ASAP.

-Ross

I like it a lot. A lot. When Taycan reservations are full this will be the perfect substitute.

– Christopher

Great looking vehicle. Beautiful. Best of the show (Jeff is wrong). Now if we only had a charging infrastructure.

-Kamil

You know when you just… irrationally dislike something? That’s me with the e-tron GT. There’s just something detestably smug about it. It’s that overachieving kid at school who has the looks, the talent and the personality, and you hate him for it. So, I’m gonna kid myself that the styling is overwrought and it’ll be bought by smug, virtue-signalling douchebags with too much money.

-Chris Haining

Audi Concepts always look amazing, here is hoping the GT looks as good in production trim, I am very excited to see these on the road in Australia

-Joel

Mazda Mazda3

Mazda brought out its newly redesigned Mazda3 in both hatchback and sedan form. Differing from one another in some styling cues, the sedan emulates the larger Mazda6’s looks while the hatch strives to be a more aggressive, sportier version of the vehicle it replaces. The big news here is the availability of all-wheel-drive for the first time and of note is the fact that a six-speed stick will still be optional. Five different Skyactiv engines will be there for your choosing and the interior has been refreshed as well. The Skyactiv-X voodoo magic motor will finally make an appearance in this new Mazda3 sometime in the near future.

The interior is definitely “premium” now. Everything looks and feels great. I’m certainly curious about driving a version fitted with the witchcraft that is the Skyactiv-X engine. I’m a bit so-so on the hatch styling, as that C-Pillar is …huge. The sedan looks sharp though.

-Jeff

Agreed that everything looks awesome here, save for the hatch’s C-pillar. I’m not buying one anyway so I shouldn’t care that much about it. I’m way more interested in that Skyactiv-X though.

-Greg

It’s really difficult to get past that C-pillar, but I applaud the bold decision to make it as HUEG as it is. The sedan looks right, but the hatch again makes it look a touch boring in comparison. Also, the dashboard is the most driver-centric thing I’ve seen since the S2000 cabin, which is great.

-Antti

Supposedly the hatch looks better in person, which it damn well better, because in photos it looks bloated and heavy everywhere from the b-pillar back. At least the prospect of an AWD 6-speed manual hatch with the Skyactiv-X motor is promising. I love Mazda and basically everything they build and short of the c-pillar (for which I reserve the right to retract my prior statement until I see it in person) this will likely be no exception.

-Ross

I can’t wait to be looking at these in the future for rallycross cars. All-Wheel-Drive, a manual, and it isn’t a Subaru? Yes, please. The c-pillar becomes moot for rallycross, but I will concede it’s huge for the street.

-Christopher

Mazda is on a great design streak. But then you drive these cars, live with them a bit, and little things start to annoy you. If they just improve those minor things that make the daily use easier, they will have a winning car. I’m keeping an open mind about this little sedan and hatchback. Also, Mazdaspeed3, please.

-Kamil

Hell yes to all of this. It’s the perfect recipe for any motoring enthusiast with a need for some extra cubic feet of cargo room. Give me the manual and all-wheel-drive, along with that optional diesel-esque engine. Super excited to drive it, and I applaud Mazda for not abandoning its efforts on their traditional cars like other brands, cough, Ford, cough. I’m with Kamil, for the love of God Mazda, make a Mazdaspeed3 version at some point to catch the eyes of the mighty GTI.

-Robby

Back around the turn of the Millennium, SEAT, a Spanish brand that used to licence-built old Fiats until Volkswagen picked it up at a garage sale and changed its fortune, released a car called the Leon. It was a car that SEAT has never bettered… and now it’s back! Well, in shape, anyway. This is by far the best looking hatchback Mazda has made since the unfathomably handsome Lantis (323F) back in the 90s. With that interior, too, only a severe bout of under-marketing can prevent this stealing a big chunk of sales from the VW Golf. It deserves to.

-Chris Haining

Why is it Mazda SUV’s keep getting better and their sedan and hatches keeping getting worse?

-Joel

Genesis G90

The Korean automaker brought a heavily redesigned version of its flagship sedan out, with new sheetmetal and a refreshed interior. The grille, taillights, and wheels dominate the look. It’s definitely going to catch eyes and split opinions.

Love it. Love the wheels. Love the fender vent. I love that it reminds me of a Toyota Century. I would just fix the bottom bit of that grille and call it a day.

-Jeff

What he said.

-Greg

I’m not as sold on it as everyone else. It looks seriously derivative in my eyes: there’s a ton of Lincoln Continental in the headlights and taillight treatment, and the wheels look like wannabe-Maybach knock-offs as does the shape of the back end when looking at it from the front 3/4 angle. I definitely see the “old school JDM luxo-sedan” vibe that Jeff mentioned, but the grille is too much of a turn-off for me. Too bad, because the G70 looks truly fantastic.

-Ross

There is a big problem here – no one buys sedans anymore. Sad.

-Kamil

I really like the JDM feeling I get from it, but agree with Kamil. Sorry, sedans.

-Christopher

I dig it, and I hope America’s luxury big car buyers dig it too, because the new G90 is gorgeous inside and out. I feel though, with three models in the current Genesis lineup, that the G80 is going to get dropped soon.

-Robby

I really, really want to have a close look at this. I really, really like the way it looks, and I have a hunch that it might be seriously good, too. Hyundai and Kia are like Samsung, in that their talent lies in creating exactly the right product for whichever consumer they’re chasing. When Kia decided to go BMW chasing with the Stinger, they knew it had to be extremely good, and delivered on that. However, in creating the new Ceed, they knew that a lot of consumers wouldn’t really know what good means, so they created something merely good enough, like a mid-range smartphone. Hyundai will know that, in order to take S-Class or 7 Series customers, the G90 needs to be almost beyond reproach. I see no reason for this not to at least overtake the Lexus LS. It’s pretty much following in that car’s footsteps.

-Chris Haining

Would look very much at home on the streets of Japan, I love those wheels, not sure on the aggressive front grill.

-Joel

Lincoln Aviator

A production-spec version of the Aviator we saw at this year’s New York International Auto Show, we now have in front of us the brand’s midsize SUV in all its glory. With a twin-turbo V6 making 400 horsepower as its base engine and a hybrid good for 450hp/600lb-ft., the Aviator is makes a statement with its powertrain and does equally so with its sheetmetal. Looking like a Continental’s design cues draped over a Range Rover’s silhouette, the new Lincoln comes out swinging.

Man this one looks good in person. Add in the fact that the damn thing makes 600 motherfucking pound feet of motherfucking torque, and we have a serious winner here. Inside and out, there’s plenty of upscale style going on. I hope people start buying Lincolns again because the brand has fought tooth and nail to climb back into the limelight. LA gives it the spotlight it needs to hopefully stick around.

-Jeff

What he said again. I’m starting to see some Navigators in my area but I just don’t think most new luxury car/SUV buyers think of Lincoln. Maybe they need to bring Matthew Mcconaughey back.

-Greg

I couldn’t get enough of the Aviator when I saw it earlier this year at the NYIAS, and the production version delivers on exactly what we all hoped it would be. Lincoln might finally be coming into its own.

-Ross

Lincoln is in it to win it. This is the perfect size, too. It’s a three-row SUV with just enough cargo space behind the third row. Laugh, but this is an actual issue for a lot of buyers, people who don’t want full-size SUVs. The Durango and the GLS owned that segment until now. I’m sure this will handle well, too. And if the interior is anything like the Navigator, and it is, Lincoln is back with a vengeance.

-Kamil

I’ve been seeing more Navigators around town, and I really hope that equates to more Aviators. It looks ace and the hp/torque numbers aren’t to be ignored. Just no more McConaughey, please. Maybe Jake Gyllenhaal instead?

-Christopher

Lincoln definitely needs this. I wrote a few months back about how I hope and anticipate the Aviator saving the brand. Still keeping my fingers crossed. Also, Lamborghini I know your Urus is supposed to “wow” us but let me just say the hybrid-spec Lincoln Aviator’s got 600 lb-ft of torque. Jesus.

-Robby

Lincoln please stop torturing us with this stunning SUV, as we will never see one in Australia and that makes me sad.  

-Joel

Rivian R1S and R1T

The time for electric vehicles is now, and new company Rivian dropped its upcoming R1S SUV and R1T pickup in all their battery-packed glory. Both share effectively everything except the bodies and powertrains, including their 105 and 135 kWh batteries and respective 240 and 310 miles of range. Rivian made big news with both models in the shocking stats the top-end trim delivers: 0-60 in three seconds and 400+ miles of range from the 180 kWh version. Towing numbers are stout and thanks to no gas motor taking up the front area (and no driveshaft running through/beneath the cabin) there’s storage spots aplenty, and with futuristic looks both inside and out the estimated $72,500 starting price seems to be justified. Production is a few years out but Rivian might have the big automakers looking over their shoulders, especially with the pickup.

My best of show. I really (really) hope Rivian delivers on the promised range, charging tech, and capabilities of both vehicles. Those are lofty specs and the battery pack being supplied on the top spec version (180 kWh) should put both truck and SUV into a higher price space. Which means that the top tier could be a money losing flagship to get people focused and excited on the brand (and lower tiers) or Rivian is betting on falling battery prices as it moves closer to launch. I didn’t think of that on my own mind you, that tidbit comes from a colleague entrenched in the green side of things, and it’s really good insight. If Rivian does deliver though, these are potential game-changing EVs.

-Jeff

You know, maybe a future of EVs won’t be totally boring after all. Maybe just a little boring. For the first time, I actually see a future EV that I could see myself getting into one day. I love the design and that they didn’t try to copy Tesla’s horrendous “minimalist” Model 3 interior and I love the pass-through storage they put on the pickup. So many EV startups try to be #disruptors but this is the first time I’ve seen something in a while that actually looks like it could do just that. I finally have a player in the EV space to root for.

-Greg

Rivian has delivered a duo of vehicles in a subtle way that no other manufacturer has done just yet. And while they haven’t actually delivered any vehicles, the numbers are all there to really put the big name brands on notice. Color me impressed.

-Ross

I have seen automotive startup companies with amazing initial products and ideas before. But there is more to making cars than just a great product design, just ask Elon.

-Kamil

Finally an EV that I could drive with the whole family (6) and enjoy the experience. I’d take a version of the R1S SUV with second row captain’s chairs for ease of access to the way, way back. The cargo space behind the third row looks adequate. It just needs a smaller wheel (if it will fit), some BFG K02s, and we’d be headed for the hills with the 400 mile range.

-Christopher

Love the idea, love the looks, and I love the genius full-width cargo tunnel underneath the rear seats…but I’ll believe it all when I see them actually on the road. Will this Rivian SUV unseat the absurdly dumb Model X? Please, and then burn it with fire.

-Robby

I love the design of this, but I kind of hate the ethos. The pickup, which is clearly a cut-down version of the SUV, is quite obviously aimed at those who dig the pickup lifestyle, but, with its integrated loadbed and unproven ruggedness, I somewhat doubt it’ll be able to fulfill any real truck duties (other than towing). It’s just a big wheeled image to buy into, and, better still, it’s electric! It means you can rule the roads with a socking great bulldozer-sized truck, guilt free! I know communism is bad, but I’d really like a startup to arrive and sell a world-saving electric car that’s relevant to normal people. In fact, I’d like this a whole lot more if it was Hellcat powered, then it would just be a really cool truck, rather than masquerading under an ill-deserved ‘making a difference’ halo.

-Chris Haining

Not sure Australia is ready for an electric ute, but who knows, I could be wrong.

-Joel

Prius AWD-e

Toyota released an all-wheel-drive version of its Prius, and in the process also unveiled the car’s updated and decidedly less questionable styling. The AWD system uses electric motors to drive the rear wheels. Gas mileage will decrease slightly vs the front-drive version.

Honestly, this is pretty trick for what it is. Using a separate electric motor to build out an AWD setup is slick. In fact, I can’t wait for not-too-distant-future hot rodders to do similar things. Electric drive units at each wheels or just on separate axles could lead to fun homebrewed machines. We won’t look back on the AWD-e Prius as the leader here, but it’s cool to see this tech being applied nonetheless.

-Jeff

Thanks, I still hate it.

-Greg

Surprised this didn’t happen a while ago.

-Ross

Toyota people “Guys, the Corolla has now become the Prius, what do we do?” “Let’s add AWD!” “Genius, Franklin! Gee Niu Us!” How long until we see a jacked-up cross-over version of this?

-Kamil

Just another type of Prius to be stuck behind or have tailgating me. Neat.

-Christopher

I fully support this! I think it’s excellent they’re bringing all-wheel-drive to the Prius. All-wheel-drive hybrids with that impressive of EPA figures are a rarity, and as someone who drives 80% of the year in unplowed snow (thanks Wisconsin highway and road departments) I give it a thumbs-up. I’m also eager to see how sales are of the all-wheel-drive version, because maybe, maybe…Toyota will finally bring all-wheel-drive to the Camry. That still seems like a no-brainer move to me.

-Robby

Yeah, why not? Quite a few European hybrids (or plug-in hybrids, anyway) such as the Peugeot 508 SW were effectively four-wheel drive with an electric rear-axle motor and gas looking after the front. In fact, it seems illogical to do it any other way. Why complicatedly incorporate an electric motor into an FWD transmission when you can just slap it into the rear beam? And I like the Prius, anyway. Mainly because of how it went “schwweeeeeeee” in Gran Turismo 2.

-Chris Haining

AWD drive Prius I get it, make sense for a lot of Winter states in the USA, will be very interested to see if it comes to Aus.

-Joel

Corolla Sedan

Think of it as the Corolla Hatchback, without the hatch. Thankfully, the six-speed manual will be available.

This was a smart move. The Corolla Hatch is legit their best-looking car so I approve of them expanding the use of the one design that wasn’t made with the artist’s computer screen turned off.

-Greg

Save for the traditionally overwrought front end, the Corolla Sedan looks fantastic for a Corolla Sedan. Something about the rear quarter makes me think of the Saab 9-3 sedan, which is no bad thing.

-????

I reviewed the new Corolla Hatchback. It was really, really good. This is going to be a great vehicle that will be bought by the worst drivers on the roads.

-Kamil

I like the Hatchback more. With the manual.

-Christopher

I’m with Chris, give me the hatchback and three pedals. I’ll be scanning the used car market in a few years for those.

-Robby

The hatchback looks fantastic. Well, the Euro market one does, anyway, for some reason the US version seems a bit uggh. The sedan, meanwhile, looks even fantasticker. Unfortunately, in the UK, I predict it selling approximately as well as a haddock-flavour doughnut presented in a Jimmy Saville-themed presentation box. Here, non-premium sedans are associated with blue-rinse hair, hearing aids, stairlifts and Thomas Kinkade prints, and I doubt the Corolla will change that.

-Chris Haining

I’d much prefer we had the Corolla Wagon before we have the sedan, but in saying that, this one good looking sedan. Mazda take note.

-Joel

Corolla Hybrid

Think of it as a Corolla with hybrid tech…or a Prius that wasn’t styled with the lights off.

I mean, it’s kind of crazy they haven’t offered this one yet. Should sell well.

-Jeff

Gotta wonder if this will cannibalize Prius sales. I mean, let’s play a likely realistic scenario: you (a green-minded consumer) walk into a Toyota dealer, looking to buy a hybrid. Parked next to each other are the Corolla and the Prius. Which would you rather look at when you walk up to it every day? Or does this bring up the question of desired social image vs an actual desire to own an efficient and economical vehicle? Regardless, Toyota will undoubtedly sell a metric fuckton of these.

-Ross

So other than looks, what is the difference between this and the Prius? Oh right… Available AWD on the Prius. And I guess there is the plug-in version, too.

-Kamil

Another yes for me, I am surprised it’s taken Toyota this long to implement some kind of a hybrid drive system into one of their already best-selling models.

-Robby

I had literally no idea that you guys didn’t get these already. The old Auris has been available in hybrid form for quite a while, but never really caught on. However, now diesel has been formally recognised as a killer of nuns and kittens and the work of Satan himself, the Corolla Hybrid might just start to claw some sales.

-Chris Haining

Having just spent some time driving the Corolla hatch Hybrid, a sedan hybrid makes good sense.

-Joel

Kia Soul

With a Range Rover-esque front treatment and new rear end, the Kia Soul came to LA with a full redesign both for its exterior and powertrain. New trims are available including an off-road oriented X-Line and a sport-focused GT-Line with the 201-horsepower turbocharged motor. A new naturally-aspirated four-cylinder takes base motor duty, and the Soul EV will likely manage somewhere in the range of 200 miles on a single charge.

Very much a big step forward in terms of styling and especially the cabin. has ruined that nose for me. Can’t unsee.

-Greg

The back end is bizarre, but the front is good. I like the Soul, and while I don’t necessarily think this will lure in huge swarms of new customers, it’s an improvement to an already-decent vehicle.

-Ross

With small cars being eliminated by companies, the Soul will probably see an uptick in sales. This one looks better. The front end “evokes” some emotions. Just don’t know what those are.

-Christopher

Sooooo I see a lot of Land Rover Range Rover Velar in those front headlights. Also, I’m intrigued by the X-Line and if it has the chops to drive off pavement.

-Robby

Love the look at this, Kia have a done a great job of making the Soul look better and better each MY update. I’m intrigued about the off roader line.

-Joel

Nissan Murano

It’s a refreshed Nissan Murano, with a new nose and new safety tech.

Neat.

-Greg

The Murano is already quite good, so this should make it better.

-Ross

Way to update the ten year old infotaiment, Nissan. Now you’re only five years behind Ford.

-Kamil

Will we see an increase of Murano accidents due to drivers trusting the tech too much or are they purchased by bad drivers? There is no wrong answer.

-Christopher

Wait what? They still make the Murano? Wait what? They refreshed it?

-Robby

Current generation Nissan SUV’s are the best they have looked in years, new Murano is no exception.

-Joel

Nissan Maxima

It’s a refreshed Nissan Maxima, with a new nose and new safety tech.

Neat.

-Greg

What Greg said.

-Ross

They still make the Maxima?

-Christopher

The thing is, the Maxima is a damn sweet highway cruiser. In the world that’s gone small and turbo, the big V6 is smooth and free of drama. Even the CVT isn’t bad in the Maxima. It’s a very underrated vehicle. Too bad everyone will choose the Murano over it.

-Kamil

I rented one once. It actually was pretty nice now that I think about it.

-Greg again

The Maxima has always been a solid driver with a glorious V6 under its long hood so seeing this was a welcomed sight. When will Nissan finally put all-wheel-drive on it? The Altima has it, bring it to its big brother already.

-Robby

It’s actually pretty surreal for me to think about Nissan selling anything that isn’t a tiny car, an SUV or a Skyline. There’s not been a Nissan sedan over here for years, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

-Chris Haining

Hmm not sure on this one, need to see in the metal I think.

-Joel

Bentley Continental GT Convertible

The roofless ultra-luxury grand-tourer debuted with seven available roof options, one of them being the most British thing ever: tweed. If you want the highest form of roofless luxury cruising that isn’t named Rolls Royce, this very well might be it.

I’ve briefly driven the coupe and it was glorious. Get me closer to the noise and I’m down with that too.

-Jeff

Kinda makes me wish I was young, good-looking, stylich, and rich. Kind of. Not really.

-Kamil

Not impressed.

-Robby

Gotta say I like the latest Continental far, far more than I did the old model, which always looked grotesquely swollen to me. So I like the Convertible more than the old one, too. Genuinely, balancing all the facts, I’m surprised how Bentleyish this thing is.

-Chris Haining

Not really sure at this wider look to the car, it seems to have lost its Bentley presence.

-Joel

Fiat 500X

A new 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and all-wheel-drive are now standard equipment.

Neat. -Greg

Time for this thing to die already. Better yet, take the 500L out with it.

-Ross

Not sure if improvement or if Fiat is trolling us.

-Kamil

No comment. Completely missed this and didn’t miss it at all.

-Christopher

Savages over here. I like the 500X, I had one for a week skiing in Colorado and thought it was a perfect little companion.

-Robby

I find it difficult to go on living in a world where the Pontiac Aztec is derided for its profound ugliness and this isn’t.

-Chris Haining

BMW Vision iNext

Bringing its latest and greatest electric and autonomous technology to the fray, BMW showcased its Vision iNext at the LA Auto Show. The design is much in line with its upcoming X7 and the electric range is supposedly somewhere in the vicinity of 400 miles.

The kidney grilles have reached a JUST KILL ME stage in their lifecycle at this point.

-Jeff

Every day we stray further from the light of god.

-Greg

There aren’t many applications in which the phrase “fucking heinous” is applicable, but this is one of them. Someone will argue “you don’t have to look at the exterior of your autonomous bubble while you are shuttled around in it” but this is a styling cue taken too far. Time to shrink those kidney grilles or they’ll eventually consume every square inch of the front of BMWs.

-Ross

What on Earth happened in the BMW design studio?

-Robby

iDespair

-Chris Haining

Very interested to see what this model turns into in production form.

-Joel

VW ID Buzz Cargo

Another iteration of the modern VW van we’ve been teased and tormented with over the last few years, Volkswagen brought a motorsport-inspired (i.e., painted) version of its electric van out to the LAAS. Range is still 340 miles, and the company brought a mobility-focused Cargo e-bike as well.

Neat! Another great concept VW van that the company will never build!

-Jeff

VW needs to build this already. Think of it as a return favor, or an “I’m sorry” for Dieselgate.

-Ross

This feels like the NSX/Supra introduction that will never actually make production. It looks great though.

-Christopher

Bring a van back into to your lineup VW, stop teasing us.

-Robby

If this is ever released, it’ll be as a low-volume, high-price, ‘boutique’ model. The Buzz is just so far removed from the Vans VW builds now, and what van buyers actually buy, to be anything close to a goer. My prediction: The next generation VW Transporter will have air-cooled Bus overtones, but sit on a very conventional chassis that might just be electrified or electric. And even then, they’ve killed off the Beetle, so why should the T2 be a winner all of a sudden?

-Chris Haining

Loving this, closest concept to look like a Khombi yet.

-Joel

BMW 8 Series Convertible

It’s the 8 Series, but with a convertible roof.

I recently got to see the new 8 Series in person and it’s pretty striking up close. BMW is often criticized for making their designs more complicated and polarizing, but I think this one is solid. Even if I hated it, I wouldn’t care as long as it sold enough units to keep the GTLM car running another season.

-Greg

GTLM good, 8 Series design bad. I’m not on board with it; the design just doesn’t work for me.

-Ross

It’s great. Really great. Too bad that large coupes and convertibles are even less popular than SUVs.

-Kamil

Meh.

-Robby

I was looking at an E64 the other day and thinking that it really had come of age. That was launched 14 years ago. I wonder if I’ll be saying the same about this in 2032?

-Chris Haining

Hyundai Palisade

Desperate to join the large SUV fray, Hyundai brought the new Palisade out to show what its own 7/8-seat offering will be. Though it’s technically going to be “midsize,” or whatever that means these days, the Palisade strives to be anything but. It’s a full-on three-row crossover with a bunch of tech goodies and accouterments to keep all of its passengers happy. A refreshed version of the company’s 3.8L V6 utilizing the Atkinson Cycle is present, now making 291hp/262lb-ft. sent through an AWD system. The Palisade shares much with its platform-mate the upcoming Kia Telluride, but with more emphasis on luxury. Expect it to compete with the Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent, Ford Explorer, and so on and so on and so on.

It looks a lot like the GMC Yukon, which isn’t a bad vehicle for Hyundai to emulate. The interior seems nicely done but for the brand’s first big splash into the large luxury SUV market I do wish they had done something a bit different to make the Palisade stand out. As-is, it’s going to blend in quite easily. But maybe that’s what Hyundai wants? It will likely be a good value compared to the competition and doesn’t shout about anything. Curious to see how it sells.

-Ross

The Santa Fe was the kind of vehicle that many people considered but then bought a Highlander. Hyundai has been constantly improving each new model and so I have high hopes for this. I’m glad to see a V6 in the world where each new model has a turbo-four. If done right, this could be a money maker for Hyundai but it’s clear that not everyone loves the styling.

-Kamil

I’m glad Hyundai pulled the trigger on a full-size SUV, along with Kia for that matter too. The current Santa Fe is an impressive package so I expect this to carry upwards into the bigger Palisade, but with much more attractive styling. I got asked by a friend if they’ll put a V8 in it. Possibly? I could see it.

-Robby

Loving the lines on it, very American in the rear end, be nice if Hyundai brought it to Aus, but I won’t hold my breath.

-Joel

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R Pro

Take the already-aggressive AMG GT R and give it more power, more downforce, and more dramatic styling. Voila: GT R Pro.

That noise you just heard was me rolling my eyes. Why? And what a dumb name. Just think of the narcissist who will buy it.

-Kamil

It looks worse than the car its based on and has a name worse than that of the already badly-named car it’s based on. But it probably took M-B/AMG little to no R&D to accomplish, and they’ll inevitably sell them all. I’d rather have the 992.

-Ross

Mercedes-Benz has fully engaged BMW in a battle of who gives a shit anymore. That makes me sad.

-Jeff

I hope they use one as the F1 safety car for the 2019 season, but really I’ll be trying to get a glimpse of the C63 S wagon medical car.

-Christopher

Y’all are crazy. This thing is fire. It’s a fast car made even faster with some parts that look like they were borrowed from the GT3 car. Sure, the green stripe is a little obnoxious but you can get it in other colors or not at all. But I love it. Probably not as much as the 911 GT3 RS it’s going up against, but it’s true love nonetheless.

-Greg

Meh, pass, I’ve never liked the AMG GT. Probably because there’s one that gets lazily driven around and double-parked by a blonde with massive sunglasses and bears the license plate “4UMYLUV.”

-Robby

I’d find this kind of machine a lot more interesting if there wasn’t a ‘new, even more mental’ version along every five minutes.

-Chris Haining

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Once-upon-a-time there was a hybrid version of the Crosstrek, Subaru’s lifted Impreza hatch. That model didn’t sell quite as well as Subaru hoped it would so they nixed it. Now, a few years after its first big refresh, the Crosstrek Hybrid is here again in its second iteration. This time it’s a plug-in hybrid with no real visual differentiators from its gas-powered counterpart aside from some slightly different wheels and a strange new blue paint.

Plug-in hybrids aren’t exactly setting the world on fire right now. I’d rather have seen an improved, updated version of the original Crosstrek Hybrid, or better yet a turbo version. But that won’t happen because the Crosstrek sells crazy-well already and Subaru doesn’t need to do much to keep sales alive. The new Hybrid will likely just be to appease some green-car seekers and keep buyers out of other manufacturers’ dealerships.

-Ross

If it means more batcrap crazy STis, I’m in.

-Christopher

I’m super curious about this one. I’ve been trying to find the first-gen Crosstrek Hybrid used and it’s literally impossible. If it brings all the goodie outdoor recreation swagger and granola charm like the gas version does, but with more miles out of my tank to get to a distant national park…sign me up.

-Robby

See, you guys don’t really get any major benefit from plug-in hybrids. With your gas prices, and even more relevantly, your not being saddled with a ridiculous CO2-emissions based system for calculating company car tax, it’s hardly surprising they get few takers. In the UK, though, anybody who pays tax for the privilege of driving a ‘free’ car provided by his employer, will pay about half as much per year for a plug-in as for a gas or diesel car. Even if they never actually drive it in electric mode. Mind you, this one being a Subaru and not something from Germany is likely to severely impact its popularity in company car land anyway.

-Chris Haining

Good to see Subaru heading down Hybrid road, interested to see how a Hybrid Crosstrek would do in Australia, where we call it the XV.

-Joel

——————————————————————————————————————————–

And just like that, the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show comes to a close. It was a huge show this year and we’re all blown away by what the automakers brought to Southern California to display for journalists and casual buyers alike. The auto show season is now in full swing, with the Tokyo Auto Salon and North American International Auto Show in Detroit up next in January. Stay tuned for the next installment of Hooniversal Opinion, and thanks for reading our thoughts on the last of 2018’s big shows.

  • Wow, that’s a lot of stuff! As always,I really like this original format. Thanks y’all!

    On the Genesis grille: shaped like 1950ies panties. I refuse googling an example image, and ask you not to, too.

    • Zentropy

      I won’t google it… but I (reluctantly) wonder how you know.

      • Television. In this case, “Mad Men” I guess.

  • Zentropy

    The 992 only reminds me that the 993 was perhaps the best 911 ever.

    The e-tron looks like an expensive Camaro, but I love the rear flanks. The Mazdas are beautiful. I would be more excited about the Gladiator if it had the concept Gladiator front clip. The BMW Vision iNext needs to be burned with fire. I’m completely oblivious to Nissans these days– they’re going the way of Mitsubishi.

    Also, I’m concerned at how often I agreed with Glucker’s comments. Something’s wrong with me.

  • Fuhrman16

    I really like the looks of the Genesis G90. It has a proper old money look to it that seems to be missing from modern luxury cars.

  • Sjalabais

    The BMW concept looks like someone is trolling BMW. Except…it’s made by BMW. I refuse to accept that this is real and will now retract to my cocoon.

  • Rover 1

    The new 911.

    “I’m impartial. It looks good, but I’m not hyped. I’m also depressed there aren’t three pedals anymore.”

    Yet.

    Just wait a few months for the seven speed.

    • outback_ute

      Special edition costing $15k more

  • outback_ute

    The Audi e-tron looks like they’ve just shrunk the cabin and pumped up the tyre size, looks like it would be cramped inside

  • Maymar

    Gladiator – I like it a lot, but I also suspect in spite of the hype, we’ll see Wrangler sales increase by about 50,000 units in its first year, and just drop off from there. I’ll be happy to be wrong (and fairly steady Tacoma sales suggest I might be), but this seems like one of those cars that was meant to be bought used (because internet hype). Although, if Jeep announces they’re discontinuing it, you can pretty safely assume if you buy one, it’ll be worth close to it sticker price in 5 years, so there’s that.

    E-Tron GT – Remember how Audi built their reputation on subdued, tastefully styled cars? I guess it’s nice that some unemployed Pontiac designers got work though.

    Mazda3 – As I’ve said, this one excites me since it’s closest to something I’d actually buy. It looks decent, and should still drive nice. On one hand, the rumoured loss of IRS is disappointing, but I have a torsion beam in my Mazda2, and it’s fine.

    Aviator – I do hope they improved the switchgear (still not impressed with the Continental), but this looks really potentially impressive.

    Prius AWD – Sort of surprised they didn’t just skip this one for the rumoured crossoverified Prius V replacement.

    Continental – So help me, but I want this chariot of the capitalist oppressors.

    Palisade – Who knew Lexus’s Predator face was trendsetting?