Story and photos by Jim Robinson,
Metroland Media/WheelsTalk.com -
While the domestics had a large presence in Los Angeles, it was the import manufacturers that caught my eye.
Although Toyota is an import manufacturer they staged the world debut of the fourth generation RAV4, many of which will be built in Toyota’s huge, award-winning assembly plant in Woodstock.
The fundamental design elements that have defined RAV4 down the years remain equally relevant for the new fourth generation model. While it remains true to its heritage, it has evolved to meet changes in customer requirements and preferences, particularly the importance families place on space and versatility.
The new RAV4 is longer (+205 mm over SWB model without rear wheel carrier) and wider (+30 mm) but lower (-25mm) than its predecessor, and presents a new silhouette that expresses its versatility, roominess and improved dynamic capabilities.
The new Toyota “face” includes a stronger treatment of the lower grille and a smaller upper grille extending the full width between the headlamp units.
If we considered Toyota then we need to consider Honda. As an import manufacturer it may be considered the biggest exception and consider a domestic brand because of its huge assembly plant presence in North America and Alliston Ontario, in particular. It’s also the best selling passenger car in Canada for something like the last 14 years!
With that in mind, Honda staged the world premiere of the made-in-Alliston 2013 Civic at the Los Angeles Auto Show before a large crowd who greeted the unveiling with a huge round of applause.
On sale in Canada Dec. 10 with a starting price of $18,190, it gets all-new front and rear exterior styling, and retuned steering and suspension reworking along with extensive chassis upgrades including Honda’s ACE II body structure designed to improve safety, ride comfort and interior quietness.
All models receive standard Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, SMS Text Messaging, heated front seats and steering wheel audio controls
Ford picked LA to introduce its pocket rocket, the 2013 Fiesta ST with 1.6-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder producing 197 hp and 214 lb/ft of torque. It will be sold as a five-door hatchback with six-speed manual transmission.
Styling changes include a unique grille and chin spoiler with new rear diffuser and fascia extensions, bright tipped dual-exhaust pipes and high-mount spoiler along with unique 17-inch wheels.
And you won’t miss it on the streets because it is the first Ford nameplate to be finished in Molten Orange tri-coat metallic paint.
Ford also signaled its interest in re-entering the MPV/minivan segment with the new Transit Connect Wagon available in five- and seven-passenger configurations.
Ford claims no other wagon in the market offers the convenience of fold-flat seating, at least a 1,200-pound (540 kilograms) payload and more than 100 cu ft (2,800 litres) of cargo space. When properly equipped, it can tow up to 2,000 lb (908 km).
It will be sold with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder or 1.6-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder mated to six-speed automatic transmission geared for around-town responsiveness and low-rpm highway cruising.
Dodge reached back into its storied past to announce the made-in-Canada, Hemi V8-powered 2013 Dodge Charger Daytona. Available on the Charger R/T Road & Track trim level, the 2013 Dodge Charger Daytona brings back the unique style of the historic Daytona package with all the modern performance and technology offered in the current Charger line-up.
Available in a unique colour palette of Daytona Blue, Bright White, Billet Metallic and Pitch Black, Daytona models also include a “Daytona Blue” engine cover, performance 3.06 rear axle ratio, high-speed engine controller, paddle shifters with sport mode and performance steering and suspension.
Chrysler’s new partner Fiat showed the 2013 500c Abarth Cabrio as a limited production volume model for North America.
It features a twin-intercooled 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo engine with 160 hp and 170 lb/ft of torque coupled to a five-speed manual transmission.
While the 2012 LA Auto Show showcased some impressive new domestic models there is still, so much to look forward to with the Detroit Auto Show only a few weeks away. With a few more hidden surprises yet to come, local talent was still well represented at the show.