Along with the redesigned LaCrosse full-size sedan comes a new look for Buick. Previewed with the Avenir concept shown in Detroit in January, the new design language that debuts on the LaCrosse will spread to the rest of the Buick lineup by 2018. The next LaCrosse rides on GM's Epsilon platform, which also underpins Chevy's recently redesigned Malibu and upcoming versions of the Opel Insignia/Buick Regal. The car is set to go on sale next summer as a 2017 model.
Spotlight will shine mostly on practical cars and crossovers
|Key Los Angeles debuts|
Audi RS 7 Performance
Fiat 124 Spider
Honda Civic coupe
Kia Forte 5
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque convertible
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Volkswagen Beetle Dune
Scion crossover concept
Subaru Impreza sedan concept
Caddy's all-new XT5 crossover comes to North America just a week after its official world debut at the Dubai auto show. The XT5 is 278 pounds less than the SRX midsize crossover it replaces thanks to a new chassis. A 3.6-liter V-6 makes 310 hp and 270 pounds-feet of torque and is hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Other goodies include a new camera system that will enhance the rearview mirror by eliminating obstructions such as headrests and roof pillars, an updated version of Cadillac's unpopular CUE infotainment system and optional all-wheel drive. The XT5 goes on sale in the spring.
Hyundai plans to unveil a redesigned Elantra compact sedan, nearly identical to the model that debuted in Seoul in September as the Avante. Highlights include available automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, a redesigned suspension for better handling and comfort, and more powerful and efficient powertrains. The Elantra is Hyundai's most popular model in the U.S., and trails Toyota's Corolla and Honda's (also redesigned) Civic in the compact-sedan segment.
Infiniti will show a production version of the QX30 compact crossover that it showed in concept form at this year's Geneva auto show. It's based on the Q30 compact hatchback that Infiniti unveiled in July. Both vehicles use Daimler's MFA compact-car platform. The QX30 crossover arrives in U.S. showrooms next summer, after a launch in Europe.
Kia is expected to debut refreshed versions of its compact Forte sedan and Forte 5 hatchback. Riding on the same platform as Hyundai's Elantra, the restyled Forte models also may pack powertrain upgrades as they work hard to keep up with the updated Elantra and Civic.
Land Rover will be one of the few brands paying homage to the city's eternal sunshine with the world debut of the Range Rover Evoque convertible. The fabric roof on this two-door droptop folds in 18 seconds and still allows room for four adults and 8.9 cubic feet of cargo when it's stowed. The Evoque convertible comes with the same powertrain as its fixed-roof sibling: a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 240 hp and is hooked up to a nine-speed automatic transmission, with standard awd. The Evoque convertible will go on sale in the middle of 2016 and will start at $51,470, including shipping.
Mazda has confirmed it will debut its redesigned CX-9. The three-row large crossover will incorporate Mazda's Skyactiv philosophy of reducing weight and increasing efficiency. It will ride on a new platform carrying new powertrains. Mazda hopes to take the CX-9 upmarket with a more premium look; spy shots show the crossover's design closely mimicking that of the Mazda6 midsize sedan. The CX-9 is expected to go on sale this spring.
Mercedes' refreshed SL roadster will make its world debut, as will the GLS full-size SUV. The SL gets a face-lift worthy of the best plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, one that brings the look of the hard-top convertible in line with other models in the Mercedes lineup, notably the AMG GT coupe. Expect interior improvements as well.
The GLS is the SUV formerly known as the GL; it's the final utility vehicle in the brand's lineup to be pulled under Mercedes' new naming system. The GLS gets minor upgrades inside and out to go with its new name.
Mitsubishi is saying little about its two L.A. debuts, the 2016 Outlander Sport and a 2017 Mirage subcompact, except that both will help bring a more unified look to the brand's lineup. The Mirage will go without a 2016 model.
The Sentra making its global debut is technically a midlife refresh but one that's expected to be much more thorough than the average midcycle tweak. Like the Altima, which got a thorough redo earlier this year, the Sentra is expected to get a new exterior design similar to that of the recent Maxima and Murano. Nissan clearly takes its Civic fighter and Corolla fighter very seriously and for good reason: Sales are up nearly 10 percent so far in 2015, and that's on top of a stellar 2014.
Southern California has long been one of Porsche's most loyal markets, and the German automaker has rewarded the L.A. show with regular global debuts. This year, it's the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, a track-only version of the Cayman GT4, which went on sale this year. A roll cage, single seat with six-point racing harness and the road-going GT4's 3.8-liter, flat six-cylinder engine are all standard. Porsche also will roll out the next 911 variants to get its new 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged engine. This time, it's the 2017 911 Targa 4 and Targa 4S.
Scion is expected to debut a concept vehicle that previews a long-promised third new model, behind the iA and iM that went on sale in September. The smart money is on a subcompact crossover: Toyota showed the CH-R concept for the European market at the Frankfurt show, and it's expected that a similar concept will bow in L.A. wearing the Scion badge. The tidy CH-R is aimed at a young, urban buyer who favors style over functionality, similar to Nissan's funky Juke crossover.
Subaru will debut a sedan version of the Impreza hatchback concept it showed last month at the Tokyo Motor Show. The production version of the next-generation Impreza is expected to debut late next year, so Subaru is teasing that car's design with these two concept compact cars.
Volkswagen is expected to have a relatively quiet L.A. show, choosing to release the Beetle Dune, a production version of the Dune concept from the 2014 Detroit auto show. Set to go on sale early next year, the Dune evokes the Baja Bugs of the 1970s. It rides 2 inches higher than a standard Beetle and has a wider track and fender flares and unique bumpers. The Dune will be powered by the same 170-hp 1.8-liter as the Beetle.