The Los Angeles Auto Show offers automakers the chance to spotlight their latest and greatest in a location known for movie stars, palm trees and perpetually azure skies. The show this year reflected all the industry’s dominant trends. That’s another way of saying there were lots of crossovers on display, along with some models offering their take on green technology.
There were many exciting new contenders to enjoy, but the five models listed below struck us as being particularly noteworthy.
1. Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Car buyers are currently in the throes of a passionate love affair with SUVs. Alfa Romeo seeks to take its dip in this pond with its first-ever entry in the segment, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. This compact crossover has sheet metal that brings considerable amounts of Italian glamour to the table, and we can see it capturing the hearts of car shoppers seeking a sexy spin on the fun and functional small-SUV formula. The engine range includes a 2.9-liter V6 good for 510 horsepower and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that generates 280 horsepower. Both engines are mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is on tap for those traveling in rain and snow, and Alfa Romeo promises the SUV will deliver superior fuel efficiency.
2. Honda Civic Si
The Civic Si has a special place in the hearts of rabid fanboys everywhere, and for 2017, Honda is taking the 2017 Civic and rolling out the 10th generation of this popular pocket rocket. The new Civic Si will be faster and more powerful than its predecessor, and it benefits from performance upgrades that include active steering, active suspension, a limited-slip differential and high-performance tires. All models are governed by a short-shifting six-speed manual transmission, and a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rests under the hood. Honda unveiled a prototype of the upcoming model in Los Angeles. Look for the Si coupe and sedan to roar into dealerships early next year.
3. Jaguar I-Pace
There’s lots of buzz surrounding both crossovers and electric vehicles, and Jaguar combines these two trending flavors with the I-Pace. This electric crossover is set to launch in 2018, and Jaguar whetted appetites by previewing a concept version. Jaguar’s most recent additions have shown the manufacturer knows how to design an eye-catching vehicle, and the I-Pace easily maintains this tradition. Simply put, it’s sculpted and stunning. If early electric cars were the class nerd, this model is undeniably the homecoming king. A full-length panoramic sunroof drenches the cabin in natural light, and a spare and uncluttered motif rules within the SUV’s interior. All-wheel drive is on call, and the I-Pace’s twin electric motors pack 400 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The crossover sprints to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4 seconds, and it offers a range of 220 miles.
4. Jeep Compass
If ever there was a model in dire need of a makeover, it was the Jeep Compass. The Cherokee and Grand Cherokee prove Jeep knows how to make a desirable crossover, but the Compass was always a segment laggard in quality and refinement. Jeep breathes new life into the Compass with a 2017 redesign. The compact crossover’s sheet metal clearly takes a page from the Cherokee’s book, and this is a good thing: The Compass now has a look that’s more solid and mature. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine providing 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque provides motivation, and three transmissions are available: a six-speed automatic, a nine-speed automatic and a six-speed manual. Available features include forward collision warning, lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring.
5. Volkswagen e-Golf
The mainstreaming of the electric-car segment continues with the rollout of the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf. Relative to the previous generation, the new e-Golf raises the bar by boosting battery capacity. This results in a range increase to the tune of roughly 50 percent, and the e-Golf can now travel for about 124 miles between charges. SE and SEL Premium trims now come standard with a 7.2 kW onboard charger that facilitates a full charge in less than six hours at a traditional charging station. The car’s electric motor now offers 134 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque, and the motor’s power upgrades work to reduce the car’s zero-to-60-mph sprint time by more than a second relative to that of its predecessor. The e-Golf also sees an expansion in its range of available driver-assistive technology. Volkswagens are known for offering a certain measure of Germanic refinement, and the new e-Golf makes a compelling case for the manufacturer in the electric car segment.