2018 LA Auto Show preview: New cars & concepts from Toyota, Jeep, BMW, Honda & more


The 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show is just around the corner. With more than 60 vehicle debuts scheduled for AutoMobility LA, there should be something to entice just about everyone who sets foot into the Los Angeles Convention Center from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9 during the show’s public days.

The 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show is upon us. Running from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, AutoMobility LA will feature more than 60 vehicle debuts. We’ll bring you all the latest from the biggest names in auto.

While auto shows often tend to end up focusing on a single vehicle class — think SUVs at the Chicago Auto Show or exotics at Geneva — the LA Show seems devoid of a theme this year. But, as we learned from Seinfeld, the lack of a central focus can still be highly entertaining. This year’s expo looks to be one of the most important in a long time thanks to an unusually large number of high-wattage debuts in all classes. From the highly anticipated Wrangler-based Jeep Gladiator pickup to the next Kia Soul, Mazda3, Porsche 911 and all-new Hyundai Palisade SUV, there’s something in LA for everyone.

Take a look at our roundup of expected debuts below so that you know what to look out for while at the event. For even more detailed coverage, be sure to visit our 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show landing page — it’ll keep you up-to-date on all the latest and greatest news even if you can’t make it to the show.

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The four-door E-Tron GT should be fun to drive thanks to a shared a platform with the Porsche Taycan.


Audi

Audi

The production version of Audi’s E-Tron GT won’t bow until closer to the 2021 model year, but the German luxury automaker wants to boost our excitement about its sporty four-door electric car by debuting the concept version at this year’s LA Auto Show.

Sharing underpinnings with the Porsche Taycan, this model will contribute to Audi’s goal of offering around 20 electrified models for sale by 2025. Find out more about the E-Tron GT here.

Doesn’t the rear end look a bit “Lexus” to you?


BMW

BMW

BMW has a full lineup of debuts headed to the Los Angeles Auto Show, the most important of which is the M340i xDrive. BMW gave us a glimpse of the 330i at the Geneva Motor Show. Even our man Steven Ewing got a chance to get behind the wheel of the new G20-generation 330i. This LA debut will show us the most aggressive version (so far) of the next 3 Series, which should make 369 horsepower from its turbocharged straight-six. From the preview images we’re seeing, it’s bound to look interesting in person, with its more aggressive exterior and interior.

BMW will also have the new 8 Series Convertible on hand along with the Vision iNext concept and their full-size, three-row X7 SUV, which you can read more about here.

Byton is a newcomer, but the company seems ahead of other, better-known electric-vehicle startups.


Byton

Byton

We got our first look at what this new electric brand was capable of back in January at CES with the introduction of the Byton M-Byte SUV. At CES Asia in June, Byton brought us its K-Byte sedan, at which time we told you that this Chinese startup would consist of a three-car lineup built off the same platform. Byton is scheduled to unveil something at this year’s LA Auto Show, and it’s likely that it will be the third vehicle to complete the trifecta.

This teaser image suggests the Passport could compete with Toyota’s long-in-the-tooth 4Runner.


Honda

Fiat

Fiat’s subcompact 500X crossover SUV has been on sale in North America since 2016, but it hasn’t quite caught fire with consumers. For 2019, a refreshed model debuts with retouched looks, a new engine, standard all-wheel drive and a greatly simplified model range.

Slight downsizing has occurred in the engine bay, where the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine or 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine has been replaced with a single 1.3-liter turbo unit. Despite the size reduction, the new engine actually produces a lot more torque than its predecessors: 210 pound-feet (versus 184 pound-feet in the 1.4L or 175 in the 2.4L). That should make it feel sprightlier than last year’s model, despite the fact that horsepower remains modest at 177.

For 2019, the six-speed manual transmission has been nixed, meaning it’s nine-speed automatic or nothing. Front-wheel-drive configurations have also been discontinued.

On the plus side, a newly upgraded Uconnect 4 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, and adaptive cruise control and front park assist are newly standard. 

Honda

Honda’s Passport expired in 2002, but back in January, there were rumblings of a renewal. It turns out, as we reported last week, that there was truth to those rumblings. Honda is, in fact, re-launching its midsize, two-row Passport SUV. From what we can tell, it looks like it’s geared to compete with the Nissan Murano and revitalized Ford Edge. That means it will fall between the compact CR-V and the midsize, three-row Pilot in Honda’s SUV lineup.

The key information we have at this point is that it will be revealed Nov. 27 and that it will be built in the United States. Head here for even more background details.

Hyundai’s new flagship SUV will be available in summer 2019.


Hyundai

Hyundai

Hyundai is debuting the 2020 Palisade, a new three-row, midsize crossover. This isn’t Hyundai’s first attempt at a three-row SUV. You may recall that the short-lived Veracruz fit that bill, followed by the more successful three-row Santa Fe and its recently renamed twin, the Santa Fe XL.

Hyundai recently told Roadshow that the midsize SUV segment moves about 1.5 million units per year in North America, so it will be interesting to see how many of those sales the Palisade will capture when it hits dealers next summer.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator will be more than just a Wrangler with a truck bed.


Jeep Gladiator Forum

Jeep

For Jeep fans, 2018 will be a memorable year at the LA Auto Show thanks to the debut of the 2020 Gladiator. Jeep hasn’t offered a pickup truck in its lineup since the Cherokee-based MJ Comanche pickup of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

It’s easy to write off the Gladiator as just a Wrangler with a pickup bed, but when it hits the market, according to leaked screenshots from Jeep Gladiator Forum that purportedly were grabbed from FCA’s media site, the midsize pickup will offer the segment’s best towing (7,650 pounds) and 4×4 payload (1,600 pounds) ratings while offering diesel power in addition to the standard 3.6-liter V6 that can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission.

Other Wrangler-derived conveniences and capabilities are expected to transfer to the Gladiator, such as the folding windshield with available removable hardtops, a folding soft top, plus the ability to ford 30 inches of water.

We dig that dark green paint.


Kia

Kia

The third-gen Kia Soul debut is likely to whip up excitement at this year’s LA Auto Show. Last week, we were hit with a teaser, while also getting confirmation about the upcoming crossover’s numerous powertrain choices. The most buzzworthy among them is the battery-powered Soul EV. Unfortunately, it looks as though that one will still be limited to sales in specific markets, just like the current version.

Kia is also bringing its three-row, eight-passenger Telluride SUV to the show, this time in fully fledged production form. We first laid eyes on the Telluride in concept form back in Jan. 2016. Since then, Kia has brought more production-minded concepts to New York Fashion Week in September and the SEMA Show in late October. It’s likely the final V6-powered production version will look pretty similar to those more recent concepts. Expect the 2020 Kia Telluride to hit dealers in the first half of 2019.

It may have had three facelifts, but the LX 570 still looks fresh for 2019.


Lexus

Lexus

The Toyota Land Cruiser-based Lexus LX 570 is old. In its 11 years on the market, it has done its best to compete with Joan Rivers by undergoing three facelifts. Rather than bringing a welcome redesign to the LA Auto Show, Lexus is just showing off the 2019 LX with a new appearance package called the Inspiration Series. In a nutshell, you’re dealing with an ordinary LX 570, but “murdered out” as the kids say, with blacked-out 21-inch wheels and a black grille, along with several other dark bits to peg the sinister meters. The Inspiration Series also pegs the price alarms with its $100,420 MSRP, but that’s due to a lot of bundled-in optional features.

Only 500 units of the LX Inspiration Series will be made, so place your orders now. While you’re at it, you can learn more about this special SUV here.

With twin-turbo V6 power, a plug-in hybrid option and three rows of seating, the Lincoln Aviator should be a hit with LA Auto Show-goers.


Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Lincoln

First shown in concept form this past March at the New York International Auto Show, the Lincoln Aviator was the belle of the ball with its head-turning looks and cutting-edge features. Now it’s time for the production version to debut in LA, and you’ll be happy to know it’s slated to receive many of the features first showcased on the concept. That means rear- or all-wheel drive, twin-turbo V6 power and optional plug-in hybrid propulsion.

We find this three-row SUV to be one of the more exciting debuts in LA. There’s plenty more to learn about it, too. The fact that Lincoln used the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for the Aviator’s warning tones truly resonates (pardon the pun) with my inner car nerd. Read more about that particular feature here.

The next Mazda3 should be a looker.


Mazda

Mazda

The Mazda3 is about to enter its fourth generation and it’s going to do it at this year’s LA Auto Show. Mazda’s next compact sedan and hatchback are expected to be design powerhouses, as previewed by the Mazda Kai concept shown at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show.

The new Mazda3 will likely be just as innovative under the hood — we expect the compact to employ Mazda’s new line of SkyActiv-X homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines that should be good for a 20-percent fuel economy bump over the current car. Find out more about the new Mazda3 here.

This hyper-luxe SUV has a trunk, lending to a high-riding sedan-like silhouette à la the Presidential Limo. 


Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is swan-diving into luxury’s deepest waters by unveiling the Mercedes-Maybach GLS SUV in LA. As we’ve said in the past, Mercedes is never one to be left out of a luxury segment. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS will rise to the occasion of providing German competition to the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

Expect the Maybach GLS to look a bit different from the standard GLS upon which it’s based. We anticipate the hyper-luxury SUV to borrow heavily from the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept that bowed earlier this year at the AutoChina show in Beijing.

Anticipated to be manufactured alongside the existing GLS, that would make this the first US-produced Maybach. But American assembly of plutocratic models is nothing new: Rolls-Royce built cars in Springfield, Massachusetts from 1920 until the Great Depression.

Find out more about what to expect from the upcoming Mercedes-Maybach GLS here, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro. It’s a more bonkers version of the already certifiable AMG GT R and you can read more about it here.

It’s the Mini in shining armor.


Mini

Mini

Ever since the first Mini arrived in 1959, the brand has been no stranger to special editions. Yet another one will make its North American premiere at the 2019 LA Auto Show. The Mini John Cooper Works Knights Edition takes a run-of-the-mill John Cooper Works Hardtop and drizzles it with a black and silver shining-armor theme.

But your eyes aren’t the only bits invited to the party. The Knights Edition also features a John Cooper Works variable exhaust so that you can drive stealthily or broadcast to the world that you’ve got some character under the hood. Read more about the John Cooper Works Knights Edition here. Also at the show, Mini will showcase the Countryman Yin Yang Edition on sale next month, as well as the Clubman Starlight Edition and the John Cooper Works International Orange Edition, both of which are currently on sale.

A new set of LED headlights can make any car better.


Nissan

Nissan

Nissan is updating its “four-door sports car” for the 2019 model year and you’ll get to see its refreshed looks with your naked eye at this year’s show. Aside from getting a glimpse of how the front of the refreshed Maxima will look and confirming that it will go on sale in December, we know few details. If you would like to dig a little deeper, though, we have those extra details for you here.

Nissan is also scheduled to reveal a refreshed Murano in LA. We’ll keep our heads up for more information as more tidbits emerge.

The Polaris Slingshot is poised to become even more fun with its impending update.


Sam Bendall/Roadshow

Polaris

Polaris is debuting its updated Slingshot this year in LA, but that’s about all we know until the sheet is lifted from its refreshingly incongruous flanks. The current Slingshot is already a hoot to drive (to me, at least) with two tires up front dedicated to steering and a single belt-driven rear wheel handling propulsion duty. I’m confident the Slingshot’s fun-to-drive nature will only be amplified with this looming update.

The 992-generation 911 should be the best 911 yet.


Porsche

Porsche

Southern California has long been Porsche’s most important market, so it’s only fitting that the sports car-maker would choose LA to unveil the next generation of its most storied model, the 911. Even though the 992-gen 911 has yet to be revealed, we already have a good idea of how it will look thanks to an assortment of teasers Porsche released earlier this month. As you’d expect, the car’s redesign will lean heavily evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary.

Rivian

Color us intrigued by what electric vehicle startup Rivian has up its sleeve for LA. The Michigan-based company will debut its R1T pickup truck and its R1S SUV, the company’s first models. We’ve already been treated to information and photos of the pickup, complete with claims of a 400-plus-mile range and a 0-60 time under three seconds. It looks like one of the more interesting debuts at LA.

When production time comes, Rivian has pledged to build its vehicles at the former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois.

This is likely the best Crosstrek yet.


Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Subaru

I just returned from my first drive of the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, which will be making its public debut at the LA Auto Show ahead of hitting dealerships before year’s end. Subaru attempted a Crosstrek hybrid a few years ago, but that was a swing and a miss. The new one is now a plug-in that borrows its hybrid tech from Toyota, and as a result, is much more compelling this time around. In fact, I think the Hybrid is the best Crosstrek in the lineup.

Find out more about it by reading my first-drive review here.

Toyota might be lending its hybrid tech to Subaru, but that doesn’t mean the automaker won’t also try to snag up some of its market share.


Toyota

Toyota

This is a huge year for Toyota at the LA Auto Show, with two major, bread-and-butter debuts in the form of the updated Toyota Prius (which is expected to get all-wheel drive to stem SUV defectors) and the 2020 Corolla sedan, which gains a hybrid variant for the first time in the US. Less significant debuts will include TRD versions of the Avalon and Camry.

We already have extensive information about the TRD Avalon and Camry as well as the Corolla Hybrid, Corolla Sedan and (likely AWD) Prius, so click those links and digest away.

The Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo is the hard-working cousin of last year’s ID Buzz passenger van concept and it looks awesome.


Volkswagen

Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s got a guaranteed show-stopper at its booth in LA this year with the I.D. Buzz Cargo, the work-van version of the passenger van that debuted last year. In addition to looks that force you to be happy, the I.D. Buzz Cargo features a passenger compartment with three-across seating along with an electric driving range approaching 350 miles.

We have a ton of additional information about the I.D. Buzz Cargo van, which you can check out here.

The Volvo 360c is a more kempt take on the driverless car.


Volvo

Volvo

Volvo is bringing what’s likely to be a game changer for autonomous mobility. That disruptor is called the 360c concept, a driverless car designed to leave the sensor hardware carbuncles behind for a smoother, less autonomous-looking (that is, more attractive) appearance. Other than that, Volvo isn’t planning to have any other production cars on display.

Our editor-in-chief, Tim Stevens, recently got up close and personal with the 360c. You can read more about this innovative machine here.



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