A broad diversity of products debuted at this year’s L.A. Auto Show, from pickup trucks and crossovers to small cars and luxury offerings.
But of all the vehicles that were unveiled, here are seven of the most significant, models that raise the bar for their brand, change the game in some way or otherwise knock our proverbial socks off.
2020 Hyundai Palisade
Replacing the Santa Fe XL is Hyundai’s new three-row Palisade crossover. With premium design, a spacious interior and an efficient drivetrain, it should be a more-than-worthy successor to the model it’s superseding. Power is provided by 3.8-liter Atkinson-cycle V6, the latest member of the automaker’s Lambda engine family. It delivers 291 horses, 262 pound-feet of torque and is matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The all-new Mazda3 debuted in Los Angeles. This 2020 model is completely fresh from the ground up, riding on a new architecture, with updated powertrains and completely reworked styling. Offered in sedan and hatchback flavors, this versatile offering has a premium interior and lots of driver-assistant tech. Interestingly, the two models share no body panels in common, meaning the styling on each is totally unique. For the first time, AWD is also available.
2019 Honda Passport
Honda is reviving its long-retired Passport nameplate, applying it to a new off-road focused crossover. Essentially a truncated Pilot with a touch more ground clearance, it slots in between this model and the smaller CR-V. The Passport seats up to five people, which means there’s no third-row seat. Under the hood is a familiar 3.5-liter V6 engine that’s good for 280 horses and 262 pound-feet. It’s matched to a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional, and when so equipped it can tow up to 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg). Front-drive models can only drag 3,500 pounds (1,588 kg).
2020 Kia Soul
The Soul is perhaps Kia’s most important model, selling in huge volume every year and practically defining the segment it competes in. Keeping this breadbox on wheels competitive, the South Korean automaker just debuted the third-generation Soul, which is completely new. Maintaining its signature style, the 2020 Soul is slightly larger than its predecessor, offering more interior space. The vehicle gains an extra helping of technology and offers two engines, a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter unit or a 1.6-liter turbo that’s good for 201 horses. Looks like a winner to us!
2020 Porsche 911
Arguably the most exciting model unwrapped in L.A. this year is the new, eighth-generation Porsche 911. Completely overhauled (even if it doesn’t look it), this legendary sports car is wider and dressed in more sculptural styling than before. Upping the cool factor, eclectically operated door handles pop out when needed and the rear 911 badge is rendered in a retro font. As for performance, Carrera S and 4 S models will feature a turbocharged flat-six engine that’s rated at 443 horsepower. Thanks to a different fuel-injection process it should be more efficient than before. An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic will be the only transmission offered for the time being. When properly equipped (read: with optional all-wheel drive), the dash to 62 miles an hour (100 km/h) should take as little as 3.6 seconds.
2020 Lincoln Aviator
Likely pushing the Lincoln brand to new heights, the production version of the brand’s Aviator three-row luxury crossover took a bow in Los Angeles. Stylish and upscale, this revived nameplate looks like a more sensibly sized Navigator. Standard models feature a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that’s rated at 400 horsepower and an equal measure of torque, however, Grand Touring models will come with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that’s estimated to offer 50 extra ponies and a whopping 600 pound-feet of twist. Lincoln’s Co-Pilot360 suit of advanced driver aids is standard, while an available adaptive suspension system scans the road ahead, automatically reacting to surface imperfections to provide a smoother ride.
2020 Jeep Gladiator
But many would argue the coolest vehicle revealed at this year’s show is the new Jeep Gladiator. Essentially a Wrangler with an open-air bed, this midsize pickup should be every bit as versatile as it is capable off-road Competing with trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma, this anvil-tough Jeep promises best-in-class capability, able to haul up to 1,600 pounds (726 kg) in its cargo box and tow up to 7,650 pounds (3,470 kg). A 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is standard, delivering 285 horses, but an EcoDiesel six-shooter will be offered at some point in 2020, offering up to 442 pound-feet of torque.