Story and photos by Jim Robinson,
Metroland Media/WheelsTalk.com –
While green vehicles played a huge role in what the imports showed at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, there were several mainstream standouts.
Leading these, because so little was known about it before the show, was the 2014 Kia Forte which also was generally seen as being one of the most attractive small cars at the show thanks to the work of its renown styling guru Peter Schreyer.
Visually, the third-generation is longer, a bit wider and lower with a choice of a 1.8- (148 hp, 131 lb/ft) or 2.0-litre (173 hp 154 lb/ft) direct injection four-cylinders depending on trim level.
The Forte was designed in Kia’s studios in Irvine, Ca.
Kia also had a one-two punch thanks to the premiere in LA of the 2014 Sorento CUV featuring an all-new platform, a great dollop of Schreyer styling and significant enhancements to ride, handling and comfort with 80 per cent of the parts being redesigned or brand new.
One of those is a new 3.3-litre V6 GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine with 290 hp.
It is also the first Kia to offer the next-generation UVO eServices voice-activated telematics system developed in co-operation with Microsoft.
Available for the first time will be FlexSteer that offers drivers a choice of three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport.
Volkswagen staged the world debut of the 2013 Beetle Convertible with the same new look and platform of the coupe, but now with a slick, full power soft-top that opens up the Beetle to the outside world in just under ten seconds.
As in the sedan, the convertible’s dashboard features body-coloured inserts and the colour matching continues throughout with space for four augmented by a (70 litres) large trunk.
Power and control have not been overlooked in the redesign. The engine is Volkswagen’s five-cylinder, which delivers 170 hp and 177 lb/ft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual override.
Featuring a fully independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes, VW Canada says the car has been designed and tested with the Autobahn in mind.
The LA Auto Show also saw the world premiere of the third generation Porsche Cayman.
It will be sold in Canada with a choice of two, “flat-six boxer” engines in 2.7- and 3.4-litre displacements.
With its specific power of 101.6 hp/litre, the 2.7-litre engine is the first Cayman to break the benchmark 100 hp per litre displacement barrier for sports car engines. Both engines now produce their maximum nominal power at 7,400 rpm; it was 7,200 rpm previously.
The new engines draw their air from both the left and right air scoops. In the 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine of the Cayman S, a switching resonance flap improves cylinder fill, providing high torque at low revs as well as a uniform torque curve. Both engines feature variable valve timing and lift (VarioCam Plus) on the intake side for optimal timing in charge changes.
The production version of the new three-row, six/seven-passenger Hyundai Santa Fe XL made its world debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Santa Fe XL is powered by an advanced 3.3-litre GDI V6 engine. Producing 290 hp and 252 lb/ft of torque, the XL’s new V6 provides a maximum towing capacity of 2,268 kg (5,000 lb).
Buyers can chose a 40:20:40 split-folding second row bench seat for seven-passenger versatility or a six-passenger layout with second row captain’s chairs. Convenient features such as rear under-floor storage and a power-operated liftgate can be found throughout the vehicle.
The totally new, five-passenger, 2014 Subaru Forester premiered in LA with a new 250 hp 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged boxer engine leads the line, which will also include models powered by a 170 hp 2.5-litre naturally aspirated boxer engine.
As with all previous Forester models, the 2014 version comes standard with Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a distinction from competitive models that come with front-wheel drive as standard and offer all-wheel drive as an extra-cost option.
The AcuraLink cloud-based connected car system makes its debut on the new RLX, offering a broad range of convenience, entertainment and security features.
The 2014 Acura RLX is powered by an all-new 310 hp direct-injected 24-Valve i-VTEC V6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management, and is expected to earn best-in-class estimated fuel economy ratings of (US) 20/31/24 mpg1 (city/highway/combined).
Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) is the world’s first technology to feature independent and continuous control of the left and right rear-wheel steering (toe) angles to achieve new levels of handling agility, high- and low-speed maneuverability, and confident handling control for a two-wheel-drive luxury sedan.