By Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global
The 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show Media week unveilings provided a slew of small and compact SUVs and has brought about a big discussion around mobility and the integration of new technologies. The swarm of media opinions range from the best and the worst, but I will say there’s a consensus, for the most part, among auto writers. I don’t believe everyone should get a trophy because they participated, so I will exercise free will in my praise and criticism.
Alfa Romeo surprised me by being the one company least likely to reveal an SUV, and it looks good. The Alfa Romero Stelvio is a well-appointed compact SUV that’s a balance of style, technology and performance.
The Jeep Compass gets a nod for no longer being the “not as attractive” sister in the Jeep family. The new Jeep Compass finally looks like the rest of the family, instead of that the child no one wants to claim. The new Jeep Compass sports similar trim levels like the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee and is designed appeal to a global market.
Mercedes-Benz gets a spot in my Top 3, not because it won Motor Trend’s SUV of the year, but because it defined its segment. The Mercedes-Benz GLC has the perfect proportion for those who don’t like the boxy SUV look and benefit from the crossover look and feel. And, let’s face it, it a Mercedes. The GLC is equipped with the style, efficiency and technology that’s synonymous the Mercedes-Benz product lineup.
Now, the other SUV’s that were introduced. They serve as placeholders for their segments or for those product lines that needed a compact SUV stand in.
The new “fun size” Ford Eco-Sport was revealed at the show as well. I understand the high efficiency Eco-Boost engine and the size and proportion of the vehicle, but I didn’t think something smaller than an Escape was on everyone’s radar. I’m curious to see how this will do in the sub-compact SUV market
The new Nissan Rogue was a nice introduction this year, until marketing convinced someone to theme it with the Star Wars movie, offering a “special edition” package. I still like it. May the Force be with you.
The new Mazda CX-5, appeared to be late to the styling show even with its all-new sheet metal. Even though Mazda boasts new technology, drivetrain, and safety features, it didn’t move the needle for design.
The new Toyota C-HR is the first small utility vehicle introduction since the folding of the youth-focused Scion brand. Though it’s designed to appeal to a younger audience, will it connect with the typical Toyota buyer? The form vocabulary looks totally new and leaves me to wonder if the rest of the product lineup will follow suit.
The all new Volkswagen Atlas is birthed from a 2013 concept vehicle the “CrossBlue.” Its evolution was inspired by the North American market of SUV’s. While distinctively German is design, a seven passenger SUV is not exactly going to create a ground-breaking entry especially as a 2018 model.
Look for more commentary on reveals and technologies from the LA show, in the following days. There’s a lot more to talk about.