Posts Tagged ‘2014 LA auto show’

Booth Professionals of the 2014 LA Autoshow.

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Another car show, another gallery of booth professionals. Every car show, automotive manufacturers bring a group of booth professionals to work at their booths. While you may think they’re only there to look pretty and to literally remove the veil off the cars during the reveals, you’d only be half right.

Media kits are provided, but more often than not we don’t even bother. We’ve found that most of the time, the “eye candy” at the booths know a fair bit about the cars they are working with and we’ll just ask them if we missed something during the press conferences. In our rush to get our posts up, we have resorted to getting some quick facts and specs that we missed during the press conferences. It sure beats looking up a press release when we can just ask one of the pros :)

This gallery of booth professionals from the 2014 LA Auto Show is a bit late, but like the saying goes, better late than never right?

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Mazda Brings New MX-5 Miata To First Auto Show

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While Mazda has already unveiled the new ND MX-5 Miata back in September, it is making it’s first official International Auto Show appearance here in Los Angeles. There still isn’t a whole lot of information coming from Mazda, all we know is that the ND Miata is quite a bit shorter than the previous generation (about 100mm) and has a shorter wheelbase, although just a fraction of the overall shortened length (15mm). Weight is still not known but Mazda claims it has shed at least 200 pounds distributed with an even 50:50 ratio. We’ve seen the car a few times now so hopefully the next show we see it, Mazda will reveal the full specifications.

They did bring another variant here to LA which we’ve shot some pictures of. In fact it was at SEMA a couple weeks ago but we somehow missed it when we went through their booth. I’m still trying to figure out how we missed it since they only had a couple cars, but perhaps we were distracted by the model standing next to it? Anyways, we’ve included a bunch of pictures of the Mazda MX-5 Miata Cup car this time so check it out after the break.

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Porsche Reveals Two New GTS Models

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While the GT and GT-RS badges represent Porsche’s pure motorsport models, the GTS brings a compromise between daily driveability, affordability and pure racing experience. Here in Los Angeles for the 2014 LA Auto Show, Porsche unveiled the all-new Carrera GTS and Cayenne GTS models, adding to the Boxster and Cayman in the GTS line-up.

The 911 GTS includes the Sport Chrono and PASM options as standard, along with the wider Carrera 4 body regardless of whether you choose RWD or AWD. It makes 430hp, a 30hp increase over the regular Carrera S, which sends the coupe from 0-60 in 4.0s. If open tops are more your style then you’re in luck – both drivetrains are available as a cabrio model. Along side the 911 was the Cayenne GTS with its 440 naturally aspirated horsepower and sporty air suspension. The ride height has been dropped by 20mm and the exterior boasts fancy new bits all around.

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Mirai Fuel Cell Concept – 2014 LA Auto Show

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Hydrogen powered cars were huge in Los Angeles this year and, of the half dozen variants we saw, the Toyota Mirai concept was the closest to hitting North American streets. And by “close” we mean, “they had a driveable model at the show and it’s definitely being released”. We talked about the Toyota FRV in two previous articles and this is the production model. Toyota has committed to building 48 H2 filling stations in California and at least 12 in North East USA, and will be offering free Hydrogen for all Mirai customers. That should help offset the $57,500 they want for what is essentially a beta test. Nobody really likes the looks, but drawing attention to the fact you’re driving a Hydrogen powered vehicle is probably a good thing.

We were caught off guard with how hard Hydrogen was being pushed at the show. It still feels like fully electric cars are on the outside looking in, so to find out that a Hydrogen car is making it into production and 60 filling stations are being built in America was a shock. That said, it’s a pleasant shock. The more options we have for the future, the sooner we’ll get there.

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Kia Sorento Facelift Is More Than Skin Deep

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There’s a significant discussion going on in our forums about whether Acura is a luxury brand. Well let me drop this bomb. If Acura is a luxury brand, then so is Kia. The Sorento, Kia’s CUV, was recently refreshed for model year 2016 and revealed in Paris, but we were short-staffed and it got cut from our coverage. With no such issues at the 2014 LA Auto Show we were ready to tackle the Sorento’s North American debut, and boy am I glad we did.

For only being a facelift, the Sorento underwent quite a few significant changes. So let’s start from the bottom. The wheelbase has been extended 3.1 inches and overall track widened 0.2 inches to increase cabin space without enlarging the vehicle. The chassis has been redesigned and rebuilt to increase torsional rigidity by 14 percent. The previous 2.4L I4 and 3.3L V6 engines have been improved to 185 and 290 horsepower respectively, and a new 240 horsepower 2.4L turbo I4 has been added to the mix. All three engines send power through Kia’s 6-speed auto down to all 4 wheels through an AWD system which features 4WD locking and torque vectoring.

On the outside the refresh is highlighted by an all-new front end featuring narrower headlights as well as bigger air dams and fog light pockets. LED fog lights and rear taillights are now optional and look great. New wheel options range from 17-19″ based on trim. The longer wheelbase provides a more aggressive stance and the entire package looks sportier than the outgoing model.

The interior is where the biggest improvements are seen. There are soft touch materials throughout, optional heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 14-way power driver and 8-way power passenger seats, driver’s seat thigh extension, a 4-way headrest with one-button adjustment, dual-zone HVAC and a panoramic sunroof. Premium Nappa leather is available on all seating surfaces and the optional stereo is a 630 watt, 12-speaker Infinity system. A lot of these options aren’t available on German cars but, here you are, getting them on a Kia. Not even the flagship, but their CUV.

It’s no secret that the Koreans are building cars head and shoulders above their products from as recently as 10 years ago. It wasn’t long ago that people were complaining of Kia and Hyundai copying existing luxury brands. These days I wish Honda and Nissan would take a page from the Koreans because they’re doing a lot of things right.

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Android Auto Expected To Launch In February 2015

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First of all, I just wanted to say that Android Auto and CarPlay are both going to be great departures from the antiquated systems from automakers which are obsolete the day the vehicle rolls off the production line. Both third party systems get the benefit of being perpetually updated with the latest features, and as owners upgrade their phones the processing power of their vehicle infotainment systems also gets a boost. This is because on both Android Auto and CarPlay, the phone does all of the processing. The vehicle’s infotainment system simply hands off control to Android Auto, or CarPlay depending on what phone is connected to the cable.

While this flexibility is great, it can sometimes result in a less than ideal user experience. For example, in the Hyundai Sonata demo vehicle, if you are in navigation mode and now want to listen to the radio, the system has to exit back out to the Hyundai system where you can choose the station you want to listen to and then jump back into Android Auto to return to your navigation. A more elegant system would be to have both systems running simultaneously without the need to switch between the two interfaces. For users that will stay inside of Android Auto however, the strict design guidelines do provide a consistent user interface throughout all of the apps. It looks like Google is taking a page out of Apple’s playbook here with a more “closed” system, at least on the design restrictions.

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Acura Refreshes a Car

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So I recently turned 30. This doesn’t mean I’m the oldest person in the world, but I’ve clearly crossed the threshold into really ridiculously old people who enjoy things like porridge and a good sit. How do I know this? I just came from an Acura presentation thinking “Hmm, neat”.

Modern Acuras are boring. This is a fact of life almost as old as I am. If you were to ask somebody to draw a normal car, whatever scraggled output they presented would resemble an Acura. When the new RLX and TLX were revealed, I said the same thing. I talked about how much more I respected Lexus for releasing a bold new design. I said that I don’t care if Honda keeps pushing out boring cars, I just wish they’d stop pretending the white rice they put in showrooms is exciting. I posited that these cars are for boring people who pretend they know what a fun driving experience is.

This year Acura repeated the same schtick for a third time except, prior to the reveal, they droned on about the TLX instead of the NSX. They emphasized that Acura listened to the fans, who apparently love the exterior, and made the ILX more fun, more luxurious and more technological. I don’t know who these people are, but I’m skeptical of any claim where people are okay with Acura’s current styling. Anyway, the new ILX grabs the 200 horsepower 2.4L and 8 speed DCT avec torque converter from the TLX, along with a handful of AcuraWatch safety features. New technology includes a smartphone-managed nav system in addition to the onboard unit. There’s even a new top-of-the-line A-spec with bigger wheels and Acura’s attempt at sporty styling.

Due to my transition from doe-eyed youth to stick-ball aficionado, I left thinking “Huh. I’m gonna drive one as soon as I get the chance”.

“So what?”, you ask. “Wanting to drive a car is a perfectly logical response to seeing a presentation about it”.

Wrong. Wanting to drive the ILX implies that I think it’s capable of living up to its own hype.  This is awkward and unfamiliar territory for me. The car is just the same as ever. It looks like an Acura, it feels like an Acura, it’s under-powered like an Acura, it’s got all the features from the other Acuras. Clearly I’m the one who’s changed, and that’s scary. It means my thoughts are not my own, I’m just a demographic. I’m no longer an 18-29 white male, I’m a 30-DEAD  white male.

Perhaps when I slip into the grave, it will be from boredom while driving the new ILX. Or maybe it’ll be from hooning it off a cliff. I don’t even know anymore.

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Chevrolet Reveals Two Cars That Don’t Belong on the Road

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Chevrolet brought two new vehicles to the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Chaparral 2X Vision GT concept and Colorado ZR2 off-road concept.

Chevrolet’s Vision GT, like Volkswagen’s, is a purely conceptual race car designed specifically for Playstation’s Gran Turismo Vision GT project and will never see the light of production. That doesn’t stop it from being cool as hell and worthy of its own gallery.

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Like the Vision GT, the Colorado ZR2 is a concept meant for off-road use., but this one might actually show up in dealerships. The ZR2 features a plethora of off-road features which make it an enticing offering for anybody with one foot in the mud. A wider track, grille with integrated winch, quick release spare tire, 2″ lift, skid plates, and front/rear e-lock differential are some of the notable enhancements over the base model. Also new in the ZR2 is Chevy’s new 2.8L Cummins turbo diesel. Making 180hp and 365ft/lb of torque, the new engine may have been revealed in a concept car, but has been confirmed in the 2016 Colorado.

Both vehicles are exciting in their own right and deserve a thorough look. Check ’em out in the gallery below.

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Jaguar Adds Manual Rowing And AWD Options to F-TYPE

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When Jaguar first unveiled the F-TYPE, it was generally very well accepted. A great looking little coupe that had some pretty respectable performance. The only complaint from a vocal minority was that it was lacking a manual shift option. Apparently that minority is not so minor as Jaguar has just announced it is adding a manual shifting option for the 2016 model year. It will be paired exclusively to the 3.0L supercharged V6. It won’t however be available with another option Jaguar is adding for the new F-TYPE: An all-wheel-drive option. This shouldn’t be a problem since those that prefer to shift manually are likely going to stick with the rear-wheel drive versions. Jaguar also announced the addition of a F-TYPE R Convertible model, extending the range to 14 derivatives up from 6.

Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director, Jaguar Land Rover said: “The F-TYPE Coupé and Convertible already represent everything you’d expect from a Jaguar sports car – seductive design, stunning performance and amazing agility. The addition of all-wheel drive and manual transmission options to the range will further enhance the F-TYPE’s dynamic capability and offer even greater driver reward – broadening its appeal to sports car enthusiasts worldwide.”

The addition of AWD coupled with the 542 horsepower from the 5.0L supercharged V8 enable both the F-TYPE R coupe and convertible to rocket from 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds up to a governed top speed of 186mph. AWD is also available on the F-TYPE S models. I was quite surprised when Jaguar first announced the new AWD option for the F-TYPE

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Jaguar F-Type Project 7 Makes Me a Hypocrite

Jaguar-Project-7-LA-2014-1 I just spent a few sentences complaining that the Porsche Panamera Turbo S Executive Exclusive Series was lame because it’s expensive, super limited and doesn’t have any significant changes. Then the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 got put in front of me.

Well shit.

Carbon ceramic brakes, front splitter, racing seats and DAT HAUNCH. I don’t care that only 250 are being made. I don’t care that it’s out of the price range of everybody I know. I don’t care that I’ll likely never have the chance to see one on the street. It’s a throwback to some amazingly cool classic race cars and it works so well. The F-Type hasn’t aged a day since it’s initial release and the Project 7 just makes the entire range more interesting. There’s really not much more to say, only more to see.

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