LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Environmental friendliness has apparently become passé. The Los Angeles Auto Show in previous years has been known as the “green” show, where automakers rushed to launch their latest electric or hydrogen vehicles.
This year ushers in a new trend – a trend that’s echoed in the new vehicle sales throughout the U.S.
While there were a few hot cars – like the BMW i8 roadster and the Corvette ZR1 –making their debuts in LA, the bulk of the press conferences were for sport utility vehicles – several of which are all-new and of the small to mid-size variety.
Below is a round-up of the smaller SUVs launched in LA.
2018 Hyundai Kona
The Kona is designed to appeal to a younger crowd with bright colors and a bold utilitarian interior.
Kona will come standard with a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic. A 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is available.
Key features on the newest Hyundai include standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and floating infotainment touch screen. Available tech includes navigation, forward collision avoidance, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, head up display and rain-sensing wipers.
Kona is slated underneath the popular Tucson and will go on sale in the first quarter of 2018. Pricing hasn’t been announced but the base price of the Tucson is $20,200, so expect it to start in the $17K range.
2019 Infiniti QX50
This newest SUV from Infiniti is derived from the former EX series. But the QX50 is completely new and chockfull of some pretty cool tech – starting with the engine.
The QX50 will have the world’s-first production ready variable compression ratio engine, which will optimize both power and efficiency. It’s a 2.0-liter turbo that delivers 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.
Another cool bit of tech on the QX50 is ProPILOT, which is meant to be an advanced version of semi-autonomous driving. It will help steer and brake during stop-and-go traffic but requires constant attention from the driver and hands on the steering wheel.
QX50 is slated to hit dealers in the first quarter of 2018.
2019 Lincoln Nautilus
Thank goodness. It looks like Lincoln is going back to actual names for their vehicles, and the all-new Nautilus replaces the MKX for the 2019 model year.
Lincoln is going with the theme of “personalized elegance” for this new SUV and offers things like 22-way power adjustable Ultra Comfort seats and a 19-speaker Revel audio system.
Nautilus will come equipped with a standard 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 245 horsepower. A 2.7-liter turbocharged engine that delivers an estimated 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque will be available.
Expect the Nautilus to hit dealers this summer. No pricing has been announced, but the outgoing MKX starts at $39,035.
2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
You may be familiar with the Mitsubishi Eclipse of yore, but this isn’t that. Mitsubishi is systematically getting rid of its cars and bringing out more utility vehicles, and the Eclipse Cross is its newest product under that guise.
Eclipse Cross will be slotted between Outlander Sport and Outlander, and will be equipped with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.
The Eclipse Cross will have available features such as a full-color head-up display, heated front and rear seats, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control and a multi-view camera system.
The Eclipse Cross will hit dealers in March of 2018 with a starting price of $23,295.
2018 Nissan Kicks
When Nissan introduced its petite Rogue Sport last year, we didn’t expect to see something even smaller. But here it is. However, don’t confuse small with cheap.
The Kicks will have a lot of the same up-level tech available that you see in its bigger brothers. This includes standard autonomous emergency braking, Bluetooth hands-free pairing and (get this!) three USB ports.
Available features include an around-view monitor, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Bose Personal Plus sound system, passive entry, push button start, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Kicks is the first all-new nameplate introduced by the brand in the last 8 years, and it is slated to hit dealers in the spring of 2018.
2019 Volvo XC40
The XC40 marks Volvo’s first foray into the compact SUV market and is the first of several vehicles that will be built on the new modular vehicle architecture, which was co-developed within Geely.
The city-ready XC40 will have all the available safety tech seen on the XC60 and XC90, including Pilot Assist, City Safety, Run-off Road mitigation, cross-traffic alert and a 360-degree camera.
A cool feature that makes its Volvo debut on the XC40 is the digital key, which will allow a Bluetooth enabled phone to replace an actual key fob.
XC40 is slated to have a starting price of $39,500 and should be in dealers by the first quarter of 2018.