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Striking vehicles at LA Auto Show

Published:Friday | November 20, 2015 | 12:06 PM
AP The 2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible.
AP The 2016 Nissan Sentra.
AP The 2017 Kia Sportage at the Los Angeles Auto Show in the USA.
AP Steve Majoros (right), Chevrolet's Marketing manager, holds the Green Car of the Year award while standing beside Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal, during the Los Angeles Auto Show last Thursday. The 2016 Chevrolet Volt won the award for Green Car of the Year.


Automakers are debuting key models at this year?s Los Angeles Auto Show. Updated versions of big sellers like the Ford Escape, Nissan Sentra, and Hyundai Elantra are there, as well as new luxury vehicles like the Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan, the Cadillac XT5 SUV, and the Land Rover Evoque Convertible.

There is some flash, with the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport race car, and some hints of the future, with concept cars from Volvo and Subaru and a three-wheeler from start-up Elio Motors. Automakers are showing off in California because it?s a hot market, leading other states in new-vehicle sales. Among the hot cars at this year?s show, which opened to the public on Friday, are brands, which are represented by Jamaican dealers:

Kia Sportage: The Sportage compact SUV gets a totally new look for 2017, with engine and suspension updates to give it better performance and greater efficiency than the outgoing model. It has got more headroom, legroom, and cargo space than the old model because it is slightly longer and Kia engineers used ?clever packaging.? Outside, the Sportage gets a sleeker appearance with curves, creases, and a sloped roofline. The company says the interior has more

soft-touch materials for a luxury feel. The SUV also gets automatic braking and

lane-departure warning for safety. Electronic upgrades include a seven-inch touch screen that?s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Range Rover Evoque Convertible: SUV convertibles haven?t had an easy time of it. Remember the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet? But Land Rover is giving it a whirl with a convertible version of its Evoque compact SUV. Land Rover says the fabric roof can stow in 18 seconds and fully raise in 21 seconds at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. There?s also a rollover protection system that can deploy two aluminium bars within 90 milliseconds of a crash. The Evoque Convertible will go on sale in mid-2016 at a starting price of US$50,475.

Nissan Sentra: After four years on the market, Nissan?s nondescript Sentra compact car gets a big facelift designed to make it look more sporty like its larger cousins, the mid-sized Altima and full-size Maxima. For 2016, the compact gets new fenders, hood and front and rear fascias, as well as new wheels.

The interior is revamped with a new centre cluster and audio display, a new console, and refined seat fabrics, the company says. It?s still powered by Nissan?s 1.8-litre four cylinder engine with a continuously variable transmission or six-speed manual. Base model starts at US$16,780, and the Sentra goes on sale in late December.

Ford Escape: Ford?s small SUV, which got a major redesign in 2013, gets some updates for the 2017 model year. The new Escape has a wider, trapezoidal grille to match its bigger sibling, the Ford Edge. For fuel savings, it has two new EcoBoost four-cylinder engines a 180 horsepower 1.5-litre and a 245 horsepower 2.0-litre and stop-start technology, which automatically shuts off and restarts the engine at stoplights. The Escape is the first vehicle with Sync Connect, which lets users do multiple tasks through their phones, including unlock their doors and remotely start the car at the same time each day. The new Escape goes on sale in summer 2016.

Honda Civic Coupe:

Honda?s new two-door Civic Coupe is the second in a series of Civic variants coming to the US over the next 18 months, including a five-door hatchback. The Civic Coupe has a sportier ride and styling and a quieter, more refined interior. It?s more spacious inside, with an added five inches of rear legroom. New options include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Under the hood are two, more powerful engines a 158 horsepower, 2-litre four-cylinder; and the Coupe?s first turbocharged engine, which gets 174 horsepower. Both get an estimated 35mpg in city/highway driving. The 2016 Civic Coupe goes on sale in March. Coupe pricing wasn?t announced, but the 2016 sedan starts at US$18,640.

Buick Lacrosse: General Motors hopes an all-new Buick LaCrosse will juice sales in the slow-selling full-size car segment. Like most new GM models, the LaCrosse gets longer, lower, and lighter than the outgoing version, with more interior space. The 2017 loses 300 pounds due to lighter high-strength steel and lower mass sound insulation.

The car gets GM?s new 3.6-litre, 305 horsepower V6 engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine also will cut off at stop lights and go to four cylinders on the highway to save fuel. The car gets a nicer interior with an eight-inch touch screen that can handle Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Fiat 124 Spider: Fiat gets away from cute, bulbous, and tiny with an Italian-designed twoseat sports car. The low-slung convertible has some classic looks of its predecessor from nearly 50 years ago, but it comes with many modern updates. The rear wheel drive roadster is powered by Fiat?s venerable 1.4-litre turbocharged engine that puts out 160 horsepower. It comes with six-speed manual or automatic transmission.