Ray Ho – 12/01/2018
This year’s LA Auto Show at the LA Convention Center will run until next Sunday. Just like prior years, car manufactures are showcasing their cars, trucks and SUVs with much fanfare. It seems like this year the convention halls are flooded with even more SUVs and crossovers. Car companies are feeding the ever-growing American appetite for them. As a result, VW’s SUV sale jumped from 18% of their total sale in 2017 to 45% this year. No wonder they are also going to offer a 5-seater variant of the Alas called Alas Cross Sport next year. The vehicles trend is also going toward electrification. Therefore, VW will be offering an electric cargo van and a three-wheeler to address the “last mile” of the exploding delivery services in urban areas.
Speaking of electric cars, the impending luxury offerings are the Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron and the Jaguar I-Pace. The Jaguar I-Pace has good cargo room, but the back seat is only adequate as the seating material is hard and the back is too straight and does not appear adjustable. The glass runs the full length of the roof and looks really cool though not sure how it is on the road. Generally, I found that unless they are properly tinted, full glass roofs could be too bright and may be uncomfortable (hello Tesla). The exterior is stunning. There are no bad angles. Notice the cool opening in the hood (for areo purposes) and the rear spoiler (also for areo purpose) that actually guides the wind onto the rear glass so a wiper is not necessary. If you are looking for lower priced EVs, the Korean auto makers are offering the Hyundai Kona EV, Kia Soul EV and the Kia Niro EV. If you prefer hybrids, check out the Lincoln Aviator Plug-in and the Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in hybrid. Even the 2020 Toyota Corolla will offer a hybrid version.
One of the most anticipated reveal this year is the new Porsche 911 (992). Although plenty of not so camouflaged pictures were “leak” prior to the unveil, there is no substitute (sorry) in seeing the car in person. The excitement filled the packed press room. When the cars (a yellow C4s followed by a blue C4s) finally rolled onto the stage, my first impression was they look very much like the 991s. Upon closer inspection, there are quite a bit of differences: The wide body (will be the same for even the C2) is gorgeous, the back light that runs across is also now standard on the C2. So the distinction is less but there are always different tail pipe arrangements. The front air dams are also similar and they are now more angular and runs all the way across. It will take some time to get used to but I can see that Porsche wants to present a more cohesive design across their entire product lines. For the track rats with fat bank accounts, the 700HP Porsche GT2 RS Clubsport will be available for close to half a million dollars. It is not street legal but hopefully all 200 of them will be put into good use at the track. Funny when I try opening the door, I almost lost my balance as I was not expecting the door to weight next to nothing.
A more humble unveil would be the much acclaimed Mazda3. It has a spacious trunk, two sets of round tail lights, more straight front end and a long and low profile body. Both the sedan and hatchback are nicely proportioned. The interior is also upgraded from the current car. The material is nice and I like the steering wheel. The back seats are roomy and comfortable. Overall the car appear to be more upscale.
With so many new cars coming, I can’t wait to get my hand on some of them.