The Week in Luxury Cars: The Los Angeles Auto Show, 2017 Range Rover Evoque, Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2, and More


This week’s automotive news focused largely on the Los Angeles Auto Show, taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center now through November 29.

The 2015 edition of the event—which kicks off the motor showcase season in the United States each year—is featuring roughly 50 introductions from brands including Buick, Mazda, Fiat, Jaguar, Lincoln, Cadillac, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

Land Rover’s latest Evoque—the first crossover to lose its head—was among the most talked-about, with much of the buzz revolving around its unconventional physique.

“It’s interesting when automakers pull the roof off anything other than a sedan or convertible,” Stephanie Brinley wrote. “Often, however, ‘interesting’ does not translate to commercial success.”

Bill Visnic counted the fresh Range Rover as a major letdown in his roundup of the show’s best and worst vehicles. “The 2017 Evoque is coming next summer regardless of the fact that nobody on this planet has indicated a desire for a convertible utility vehicle of any size or stripe,” he said, refusing to cite any favorable aspects of the SUV-convertible mashup.
Other “misses” on his list include the 2016 Nissan Sentra (with its “downcast appearance of a pudgy puppy you just smacked with the newspaper because it peed on the carpet”); the 2017 Lincoln MKZ (whose near-imperceptible revisions he feels hardly warrant a new model); and the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, which he describes as an overpriced machine ”with a guttural name and unbecoming lines” that holds little promise in reviving the brand’s fading image.
Josh Max also took a stab at the Italian brand, declaring the 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider a “speedy, noisy, cramped toy whose main pleasure for anyone not a track nut involves finding hills ne­ar where you can blast off and hear a satisfying, growly burp when the turbo on the four-cylinder turbo kicks in. Once you’ve done that a few times a day for, say, a day, it’s over,” he lambasted.
Among Visnic’s “glitz”—or hits—were Subaru’s Impreza Sedan Concept (“a design that’s sharp and confident with no fussy details”); the 2017 Buick LaCrosse (a “formal but contemporary big car without baggage”); and the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider, which he contended may have some performance advantages over the Mazda Miata many critics say it ripped off.
(Jim Gorzelany admitted that though the Spider “handily beats its Asian associate’s anime-infused appearance by a wide margin,” the sleek roadster will unlikely produce Fiat’s much-needed sales boost due to the minisculity of its market niche.)


Sports utility vehicles spotlighted at the show include Cadillac’s XT5 (a larger and more lightweight model set to replace the popular SRX); Mazda’s second-generation CX-9 (equipped with SkyActiv technology and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine); and Jaguar’s F-Pace, the British brand’s first-ever SUV.

(In other big-car news: Mercedes-Benz launched its new cargo van, Metris, entering an auto market sector increasingly gaining traction in the United States.)

Karl Brauer once again offered his two cents on the 2016 Camaro SS in commending Chevrolet’s new marketing efforts. Outfitted with a 6.2-liter V8 engine and an all-new, lighter-weight chassis, the 455-horsepower, high-tech automobile is capable of hitting 60 mph in four seconds.

“Leave the 2016 Camaro SS to folks seeking rapid acceleration, responsive handling, refined ride quality, and an exhaust note that will scare dogs and small children,” he said. “If small trunk openings and tiny rear seats are [deal breakers] for you, this isn’t your car.”

Meanwhile John McCormick highlighted Ford’s new Escape—which debuted in Hollywood ahead of the L.A. Auto Show with the help of Jimmy Kimmel’s sidekick, Guillermo—and wondered whether Toyota’s “radical” new Prius was a step in the right direction, questioning the brand’s decision to add a sporty touch to its aesthetic in an effort to widen its consumer appeal.

“Toyota is gambling that more buyers will be attracted by the relatively dynamic, fun-to-drive personality of the car,” he said, noting that at the same time, the automaker is hoping eco-conscious drivers will still approve of the newcomer due to its improved fuel economy. “It may just work—although I’m sorry that in the transition [it has] lost some of the elements that made the Prius so distinctive in the first place.”

Jason Fogelson, however, applauded the drastic makeover. “No longer does the hybrid look like a Dustbuster—it actually looks like a modern car,” he wrote, praising its revamped interior, new front fascia, reduced wind resistance, and improved acceleration. “Prius fans will find much to like in the 2016 model.”

Last but not least, Mark Ewing introduced Lamborghini’s Huracán LP580-2, deeming the old-school rear-wheel drive version the perfect car for hooligans.

“I can’t wait to shoot the car up a favorite long freeway onramp to see if it will slew a little sideways and light up its big tires,” he said. “In rear-drive form, Huracán should indulge all sorts of naughty behavior.”