As the 2017 Los Angeles auto show wraps up today, let's take a look back at the new vehicles we saw. Part one, the largest grouping by far, the mainstream crossovers and SUVs.
2018 Nissan Kicks
The Details: The Kicks has been sold in the South American market for a few years. It migrates north to replace the Nissan Juke. It comes with a 1.6 liter engine and CVT routing all 125 stampeding horses and 115 lb-ft of torque through the front wheels.
Why it Matters: A rolling mass-market crossover cliche; Floating roof, genuine simulated contrast stitching, flat bottom steering wheel. Product planners pulled out all the stops when faced with trying to make a crossover that could only be had with front-wheel drive and a 125 hp 4-cylinder interesting and relevant. Expect performance to be sedentary and price to be cheap. The 2018 Kicks probably sell well for price alone, but the Kia Soul seems more interesting if AWD is not on the shopping list and Renegade or Ecosport if AWD is needed. Click here to read more about the 2018 Nissan Kicks.
Competitors: Kia Soul, Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, Ford EcoSport, Mazda CX-3, Ambien, Tylenol PM
2018 Jeep Wrangler
The Details: New Turbo-4, updated V6, 8-speed auto or 6-speed manual, 3.0 liter diesel coming, plug-in hybrid coming. Lots more details at our 2018 Jeep Wrangler article.
Why it Matters: The Wrangler was easily the most iconic vehicle shown at the 2017 LA Auto Show. FCA finally modernized the Wrangler, a feat hard to do with tons of purists out there. I think they have managed to pull it off in such a way that brings the Wrangler up to date and will still satisfy all but the staunchest of luddites. The Wrangler has been a segment of one for years with the only close competitor being the Toyota 4Runner. Click here to read more about the 2018 Jeep Wrangler
Competitors: Toyota 4Runner, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon with a 66% discount
Next up: Subaru Ascent and Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line
2019 Subaru Ascent
The Details: Subaru gets back into the mid-size crossover game with a conventional looking 3-row. Power only comes from an all new direct injected 260 hp, 277 lb-ft turbocharged boxer 4-cylinder. AWD and CVT are standard.
Why it Matters: Subaru’s last attempt at a mid-size crossover bombed hard. It was odd looking, over priced, and had terrible fuel economy. This time Subaru took the safe route, put their Forester on the copy machine and enlarged it 150%. Of the mass-market crossovers I visited during the show, the new Ascent had one of the nicest interiors I encountered. That said, it will need that asset because it is definitely on the smaller side of the segment. People shopping the Chevrolet Traverse or Honda Pilot will probably find this Subaru to be too cramped. Subaru is one of the strongest growing brands in the US and the new Ascent is going to add to that momentum. Click here to read more information about the 2019 Subaru Ascent
Competitors: Every mainstream 3-row crossover made, but especially the Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Kia Sorento, Volkswagen Atlas ,and Nissan Pathfinder
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line
The Details: A sport appearance package for your smallish-midsize Volkswagen crossover. 19” wheels for R-Line SEL trims and 20” wheels for R-Line SEL Premium trims. Sportier bumpers with ample gloss black applique, black headliner, R-Line logos plastered on everything. Otherwise, it’s the same as any new Tiguan available at your local VW dealer since July. Click here to read more information about the Volkswagen Tiguan
Why it matters: Audi tastes and Volkswagen budget? Say no more!
Competitors: Every small crossover made, but especially Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue
Next up: Hyundai Kona, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Kia Sorento
2018 Hyundai Kona
The Details: A funky new compact crossover from Hyundai that you’ll either love or hate the looks of. All of the standard stuff is there, two choices of 4-cylinder, turbocharged and not, Front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, floating roof treatment.
Why it matters: A Hyundai designer and Jeep designer snuck into a Citroen design studio one night and made a baby. As crowded as the compact crossover segment is getting, there are a lot of forgettable entries. Hyundai made sure you won’t forget theirs. Click here to read more about the 2018 Hyundai Kona
Competitors: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Toyota C-HR, Chevrolet Trax, Ford Ecosport, used Pontiac Azteks
2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
The Details: A compact crossover with more of an emphasis on sport than most of its peers. A 1.5 liter turbo direct-injected 4-cylinder offers a compelling 152 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. Super All-Wheel Control, Mitsubishi’s selectable all-wheel drive system offers a bit more control over exactly what the wheels are up to. The transmission is a CVT. All trims except the base model get Android Auto and Apple Car Play.
Why it matters: I knew the Mitsubishi Eclipse. The Mitsubishi Eclipse was a friend of mine. You sir, are no Mitsubishi Eclipse. That said, Mitsubishi is clinging on for dear life in the US market at the moment, and sports hatchbacks are not where the money is at right now. Name issues aside, the Eclipse Cross was one of the bigger surprises for me at the 2017 LA Auto Show. It looks great in person, the interior is up-market for the segment, the powertrain sounds promising, and pricing is set to start at $23,295. Mitsubishi could have a hit on their hands if they manage to get the word out. Click here to read more about the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Competitors: Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX3, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, Ford Eco-Sport, Subaru CrossTrek
2019 Kia Sorento
The Details: The 2.0T is gone. The 2.4 4-cylinder and 3.3 V6 continue on, but now paired with a new Kia designed 8-speed automatic. Light interior and exterior refresh that won’t be noticeable to most people. Diesel option is on the way.
Why it Matters: The Sorento is Kia’s 4th best selling models clocking in almost 92k units for 2017 so far. This incremental refresh keeps it up to date and relevant in a competitive market. The Sorento is Kia’s largest crossover, but like the Subaru Ascent, it is on the small side of the 3-row crossover segment. It’s most compelling feature being price and warranty. Click here to read more about the 2019 Kia Sorento
Competitors: Subaru Ascent, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX9, Toyota Highlander, Mitsubishi Outlander