Top 10 Lease-Worthy Vehicles From The 2018 Los Angeles Auto ShowDecember 7, 2018
From its humble beginnings at a skating rink in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show has grown to become a major event on the world’s auto show calendar. In 2006, it moved from early January (where it conflicted with the Detroit Auto Show) to late November/early December. Since then, the Los Angeles Auto Show has evolved into a multifaceted international auto show that serves the unique California vehicle market. The 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show focuses not only on luxury vehicles and high-performance sports cars, but also highlights “green” cars and advanced mobility concepts.
The 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, which runs from November 30 through December 9, will be hosting the debuts of many all-new vehicles from manufacturers worldwide. Reflecting the current consumer preference, most of these new vehicle introductions at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show are SUVs. But sprinkled in among the SUVs are a compact car, a pickup truck, and an iconic sports car. Most are gasoline-powered, but there are also some hybrids, as well as a couple of battery electrics, one of which is from a brand new American carmaker. Listed in alphabetical order, here are the Top 10 Lease-Worthy Vehicles from the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show:
The all-new 2019 BMW X7 is BMW’s first full-size three-row SUV. With this vehicle, BMW can now compete head-on with the Mercedes-Benz GLS, the Audi Q7, the Lexus LX, and the Range Rover. All-wheel drive is standard equipment, as is air suspension. Engine choices are a 335-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine, and a 456-horsepower twin-turbo V8, both of which are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Seating for seven is standard, with optional second-row captain’s chairs making the X7 into a six-seater. Standard equipment includes a 10-speaker audio system, a three-panel panoramic glass sunroof, wireless charging, four-zone climate control, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Dual 12.3” digital screens act as the instrument cluster and the central display. A personal assistant responds to the voice command, “Hey, BMW.” Luxury options on the 2019 BMW X7 include soft-close automatic doors, a panoramic sky lounge LED roof, heated and cooled cupholders, a heads-up display, glass control knobs, and laser headlights. Pricing for the BMW X7 starts at $73,900; it will arrive at BMW dealers in March of 2019.
If the 2019 Honda Passport looks like a shortened version of the Honda Pilot, it’s because that’s exactly what it is. The all-new Passport is a two-row version of the mid-sized Pilot, designed to do battle in the marketplace with the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Honda Passport uses the same 280-horsepower V6 engine as the Pilot, driving through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring is an option. The 2019 Passport offers higher ground clearance and a shorter rear overhang than the Pilot, making it more suitable for off-roading. Standard Passport equipment includes 20” wheels, a 215-watt audio system with a 5” display monitor and six speakers plus a subwoofer, and three-zone climate control. A suite of driver assistance technology, consisting of forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control, is also standard. Some options on upper trim levels of the Honda Passport are a power tailgate, tilt/slide moonroof, a 590-watt, 10-speaker premium audio system, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, navigation system, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, blind spot information and rear cross traffic monitor. The 2019 Honda Passport goes on sale in early 2019; pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade, a mid-size three-row SUV, is the all-new flagship of Hyundai’s SUV lineup. The longer, wider, and taller Palisade will replace the 2019 Santa Fe XL (formerly known as the Santa Fe). The Palisade, with bold styling reminiscent of Cadillac SUVs and seating for up to eight inside, will compete with Subaru Ascent, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse, and other three-row mid-sizers. The standard and only engine in the Palisade is a 291-horsepower V6, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, while multi-mode all-wheel drive with torque vectoring is available. Standard equipment on the Palisade includes a 10.25” touchscreen center display, coupled with a 12.3” digital TFT center instrument cluster offering various view modes, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and 16 cupholders. Also standard are an array of advanced safety technologies, including forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, blind spot collision-avoidance assist, lane following assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, safe exit assist, driver attention warning and smart cruise control with stop and go. Some of Palisade’s optional features are quilted Nappa leather upholstery, second-row ventilated captain’s chairs, wireless phone charging, heads-up display, LED headlights, and an Infinity premium surround sound audio system. The 2020 Hyundai Palisade will be available at US Hyundai dealerships in the summer of 2019. Pricing will be announced around that time.
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a mid-size, four-door pickup truck based on the new Jeep Wrangler. The Gladiator is the latest in a long line of Jeep pickups that have come and gone over the years, with the original dating back to 1947. The 2020 Gladiator starts with most of the Wrangler’s mechanical and body parts, but adds a heavier frame, a longer wheelbase, a new rear suspension, and a five-foot pickup bed. This results in the Gladiator being nearly 30 inches longer than the four-door Wrangler Unlimited. Gladiator comes with a standard 285-horsepower V6 engine, with a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions. An optional torquey turbodiesel V6 will be available in 2020. True Jeep fans will be happy to hear that the Gladiator retains the Wrangler’s signature folding windshield, as well as its removable doors and hard or soft top. Maximum towing capacity is 7,650 pounds, which leads the entire mid-size pickup class. Gladiator trim levels include the basic Sport, the upscale Overland, and the off-road hero Rubicon. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator will appear at Jeep dealers nationwide during the second quarter of 2019. Pricing has not yet been announced.
The 2020 Kia Soul enters its third generation as Kia’s funky, fun and practical subcompact SUV. The all-new 2020 Soul has a longer wheelbase and is longer overall, with more cargo space and a larger rear hatch for easier loading. The Soul’s standard engine is a 147-horsepower four-cylinder, mated to a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic transmission. An optional 201-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is still not available. 2020 Soul trim levels include the base LX, the ruggedized X-Line, and the performance-oriented GT-Line. Standard on the 2020 Soul are the following: 7” color touchscreen audio display unit with AM/FM/MP3 and six-speaker audio system; Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; Bluetooth multi-connection, which allows two Bluetooth devices to be connected at the same time; air conditioning; solar front glass; privacy rear glass; tilt and telescopic steering column; and an overhead console. Optional features on higher trim levels include: sound mood lighting that emits soft, colorful light synchronized to the beat of the music; wireless charging; dual-zone climate control; 10.25” HD color touchscreen with split screen function; heads-up display; 640-watt Harman Kardon audio system with 10 speakers; and LED headlights. The 2020 Kia Soul offers a variety of available driver assistance features, depending on the trim level selected, including forward collision avoidance, lane keeping assist, lane changing assist, driver attention warning, blind-spot collision warning, rear cross collision warning, and smart cruise control. Pricing will be available closer to expected on-sale date in the first half of 2019. A battery electric version of the new Kia Soul will also be available during 2019.
The 2020 Lincoln Aviator is the most significant Lincoln vehicle to be released in many years. The Aviator is a mid-size three-row SUV that combines handsome styling, luxury, comfort, and performance, in an extremely appealing package. The all-new 2020 Aviator will be available with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, as well as with gasoline-engine and gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains. The standard and only gasoline engine is a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6, mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission. The gasoline-electric hybrid will produce 450 horsepower and a massive 600 lb.-ft. of torque, for exceptional performance. The Aviator’s suspension automatically lowers to greet the driver, allowing easier access and cargo loading. Its advanced adaptive suspension can scan the road ahead for potholes and rough pavement, and make immediate adjustments to maintain a smooth ride. Advanced driver assistance features include emergency steering assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, automatic reverse braking, and an active parallel parking system. Some available Aviator luxury features are 30-way adjustable seats with massage, a 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D premium audio system, and wireless phone charging. A Wi-Fi hotspot and multiple power outlets are standard. The 2020 Lincoln Aviator will also offer special Black Label design themes, which are unique combinations of exterior color, leather, wood, and other special materials. The 2020 Lincoln Aviator will go on sale at Lincoln dealers nationwide early in 2019, with pricing to be announced closer to that time.
The all-new 2019 Mazda Mazda3 continues the evolution of this attractive, fun-to-drive compact car. Still available as both a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback, the 2019 Mazda3 brings even more style and driving pleasure, as well as some significant technical improvements. The most important of these is its new 2.0L Skyactiv-X engine, which uses the best of high-compression diesel technology to make a gasoline engine with impressively high horsepower, torque, and fuel economy. This groundbreaking new engine will be available late in 2019; until then, the current Skyactiv-G 2.0L and 2.5L four-cylinder engines will power the Mazda3. The other big news is the availability of all-wheel drive in the Mazda3, for the first time ever. Both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions will continue to be available. Inside the 2019 Mazda3, you’ll find more spine-friendly seats, a quieter cabin, a larger 8.8” center display, and an upgraded eight-speaker audio system, all standard. The driving position has been improved, with more steering wheel and seat adjustability, as well as better positioning of the shift lever, infotainment controller, and cupholders. A 12-speaker Bose premium audio system will be optional. The fabric interior is available in a new Greige color. Burgundy leather is exclusive to the hatchback, as is a new Polymetal Gray exterior paint color. Available driver assistance technologies on the 2019 Mazda3 include an infrared driver monitoring system to detect driver fatigue or drowsiness, a front cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control that can accelerate, brake, and steer in stop-and-go traffic. The 2019 Mazda3 will be available at Mazda dealers in early 2019. Pricing has not yet been announced.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE is the all-new version of Mercedes’ mid-size luxury SUV. It has grown larger, with more than three inches added to the wheelbase, which provides more rear seat legroom. Aerodynamics are also improved, for better fuel economy. A third-row seat for occasional use is now an option. The all-new 2020 GLE has a standard 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and is available with rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. The 2020 GLE will also be available in a 48-volt mild hybrid all-wheel drive version, pairing a 362-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine with an integrated starter-generator, to maximize fuel economy and also provide some electric power boost. Both engines are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Two different air suspensions are also available. Inside the GLE, two 12.3” widescreen displays act as the instrument panel and the central infotainment touchscreen. An internet-connected, voice-controlled MBUX command system responds to “Hey Mercedes.” Other standard features are LED headlights, blind spot assist and active parking assist. New available technology includes a large heads-up display, wireless charging, four-zone climate control, and adaptive cruise control with stop and go that automatically adjusts to speed limit changes. Some available luxury features are: six-way power-adjustable second row seats; energizing comfort system with programmable light, music and massage modes; and gesture control of the MBUX system. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE will be priced from $53,700, and will be available in the spring of 2019.
The 2020 Porsche 911 represents the all-new eighth generation of this perennial sports car icon. Nearly two inches wider than its predecessor, it retains its classic rear engine layout, with a turbocharged six-cylinder that puts out 443 horsepower through either the rear wheels (in the Carrera S trim), or all four (in the Carrera 4S). Spotter’s tip: the rear-wheel-drive models have black louvers on the rear grille air intake, while the all-wheel-drive models have chrome elements added. With the exception of the front and rear clips, the new 911’s entire outer body is formed from aluminum. The 2020 911’s flush door handles extend when you approach, then retract when you drive or park it. LED headlights are standard, as is automatic emergency braking, plus a Wet Mode that can detect water on the road and adjust the stability control and anti-lock brakes to compensate. Optional safety systems include night vision assist with a thermal imaging camera, and adaptive cruise control with stop and go function. Inside the new 911, the seats have been redesigned for lower weight, better lateral support, and increased comfort. The new instrument cluster combines the traditional central analog tachometer with digital display screens on each side of it. There is also a central 10.9” central infotainment touchscreen, and a large cupholder in the center console – hooray for America! The 2020 Porsche 911 arrives at US Porsche dealers in the summer of 2019. Pricing starts at $114,250 for the Carrera S, and $121,650 for the Carrera 4S.
The Rivian R1S took nine years to come out of nowhere. Acting like the polar opposite of Elon Musk and Tesla, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe has quietly brought out a fully-formed, all-electric full-size SUV, as well as a companion R1T pickup truck. The all-wheel drive R1S offers seating for seven. It is sized for American tastes, with a wheelbase halfway between a Chevrolet Tahoe and a Suburban, and a width that’s within an inch of both. How about some impressive performance stats? The Rivian R1S produces up to 700 horsepower from its four motors, does zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, has a top speed of 125 mph, and provides a range of over 410 miles with the largest battery. The R1S can hold nearly 12 cu. ft. of additional cargo in its power-opening and closing frunk (front trunk). It was designed to go off-road, with plenty of ground clearance, short overhangs, and aggressive approach and departure angles for rough terrain. Three different battery sizes are planned: 105 kWh, 135 kWh, and 180 kWh. Fast charging capabilities will allow the R1S to add 200 miles of range in just 30 minutes. The Rivian R1S has a high-speed Ethernet operating system that is both secure and allows over-the-air software updates. It will connect to a cloud-ecosystem for data exchange and processing. Maps, music, navigation and other features will also be provided digitally. Level 3 autonomous highway driving will be included at launch, incorporating camera, lidar, radar, ultrasonic, and a high-precision GPS with high definition maps. The Rivian R1S (and R1T) will be produced in the former Mitsubishi Motors assembly plant in Normal, Illinois. Deliveries of the R1T are planned for late 2020, with the R1S following it in early 2021. Pricing of the R1S starts at $72,500; you can preorder one now, with a $1,000 refundable deposit.