New SUVs will star at the Los Angeles Auto Show – USA Today – USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES — Whether they come from Italian, Japanese, British, German, Swedish or U.S. brands, new SUVs will be the stars this week as the press preview of the Los Angeles Auto Show kicks off.
With gas prices tame and growth in truck sales far outdistancing those of cars in recent years, automakers can’t roll out new or updated SUVs fast enough. Plus, SUVs are generally far more profitable for cars because they generally sell for higher prices, without costing a lot more to manufacture.
Here are some of the top ones expected to debuts:
•Alfa Romeo. A certain scene stealer, Fiat Chrysler’s Alfa Romeo brand will roll out its first SUV. Unconfirmed reports say Alfa’s SUV, which shares its underpinnings with the dynamic Giulia sedan, will be named Stelvio, in keeping with Alfa’s Italian heritage. Stelvio is an Italian mountain pass famous for its twists and turns.
Little is officially known about the vehicle, but expect it to deliver supremely powerful engines, sporty handling and little or no pretense to off-road competence.
•Jeep. The compact Jeep Compass replaces the lackluster but popular Compass that dates to Daimler-Benz’s ownership of Chrysler, the new model must have meaningful off-road chops to persuade demanding Jeep fans. The Compass’s looks are intentionally reminiscent of the larger Jeep Grand Cherokee.
•Mini. Vehicles filed under “bigger” include the Mini Countryman, an SUV — of course — that’s bigger than anything the Mini brand, with its British heritage, has offered so far. It will use the same platform as the popular BMW X1, a good place to start. In addition to more room and power than the old Countryman, the new model will offer a plug-in hybrid version.
•Subaru. The Japanese brand joins the march to larger SUVs with a concept vehicle that confirms its plan to build a production model with three rows of seats. Insiders say the concept’s styling bears little resemblance to the production model due in spring 2018. The as yet unnamed family hauler will look more like the brand’s current lineup.
Volkswagen Group. VW’s Audi luxury brand offers a redo of the popular Q5 midsize SUV. will also make its North American debut.
Volkswagen’s long-awaited Atlas three-row SUV gives the German brand a competitor in the heart of the U.S. market. Built in Chattanooga, Tenn., the Atlas promises room for “seven adults and their luggage.” Sales should begin in the spring.
Volvo. It’s also the auto-show debut of the Swedish brand’s sleek S90 sport wagon. While most automakers have abandoned station wagons in favor of SUVs, Volvo will honor its roots by offering the family- and Fido-friendly wagon alongside its growing line of SUVs.
Toyota. Small SUVs at the show include the North American debut of the Toyota CH-R. This quirky-looking little SUV was originally meant for sale as a Scion, before Toyota pulled the plug on that struggling brand. Built in Turkey, the CH-R may compete with offbeat models like the Nissan Juke and Hyundai Veloster.
Ford. Thinking small, at least when it come to crossovers, Ford offers a subcompact SUV with the mainstream looking Ecosport, which will compete with vehicles like the Chevrolet Trax and Honda HR-V. The little EcoSport’s grille borrows from the looks of the popular — and much pricier — Ford Edge.
Mitsubishi. The brand now part of the Nissan-Renault alliance will offer the eX electric crossover concept. Mitsubishi’s strength in SUVs was one of the main reasons Nissan-Renault reached out to rescue the brand when it was caught cheating on Japanese fuel-economy tests.
Land Rover. The famous British SUV brand will offer its big Discovery, which follows the debut of the Discovery Sport last year. The new Discovery, a big three-row SUV, is 1,000 pounds lighter than the vehicle it replaces to save on fuel.
Phelan reported from Detroit and Woodyard from Los Angeles