Los Angeles is awash in hot new cars. The 2018 LA Auto Show brought forth a torrent of meaningful new vehicles at ground zero for car culture, automotive design, and trend-setting: Southern California. The LA show pushed all the hot buttons for cars heading into 2019: more SUVs and pickups, more models with hybrid powerplants, and enough high-end rides to entice the Golden State’s makers-not-takers. Even Tesla has a stand at the LA Civic Center; it has skipped most auto shows the past several years.
Here are our favorite dozen cars of the LA auto show. There are so many good cars, we didn’t have room for the new Porsche 911. Suffice it to say this 911 is faster, hugs the road better, and still costs a bunch, so we made it the top image. The 2018 LA Auto Show — also called AutoMobility, because of the concurrent conferences and alternative-energy-vehicle ride-and-drives of the first week, runs through Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Civic Center.
The LA Show hits all the hot buttons for technology and emerging trends. The Kia Soul gets a new EV version and a ruggedized, off-roadsy edition. There are vehicles brought back to life: the Honda Passport, a midsize two-row SUV, not seen since 2001, and the Ford Ranger midsize SUV last offered in North America in 2002. It would be surprising if they don’t easily sell 100,000 units a year in their first full years. Mazda is making a strong effort to keep sedans alive with a sporty new Mazda3 compact sedan/hatchback. Hyundai has a big-looking midsize SUV ready to compete with Ford Explorer. The BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLE SUVs are just right for SoCal’s makers-not-takers. And virtually no automaker introduced a car with a smaller grille. We’ll have to see if they become cliches in a decade.
Now read: 2020 Toyota Corolla Shames Luxury Sedans With Standard Safety Suite, 2017 Honda CR-V improves comfort, adds volume knob, loses LaneWatch, and 2017 Mazda CX-5 first drive review: Will more tech, quieter cockpit match Audi, BMW?