2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 2 – Chevrolet, Chrysler and Fiat

By Steve & Tamami Laser

Not that long ago, press rooms at major media events used to be smoke-filled, noisy places where cigar-chomping reporters banged out stories on typewriters to meet deadlines for newspapers and magazines. Today’s modern media centers, like the one at the Los Angeles Auto Show, are filled with reporters writing stories on laptops, editing photos and videos and publishing them instantly on the web.

We spent some time in the LAAS media center recharging our batteries, checking e-mail and sorting digital photos. Then, we took a walk-through with our video camera to show you what goes on behind the scenes of this international event.

We thank the organizers of the L.A. Auto Show for providing these services to the media. Now, let’s get back to work and continue our review of the major intros at this year’s show.

Chevrolet

It’s great to see new action in the midsize pickup segment which until recently was dominated by Toyota and Nissan. Actually, along with the Honda Ridgeline, those were the only players left in the U.S. market. Chevrolet (and GMC) to the rescue with the all-new Colorado (and Canyon) for 2015.

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Rugged looking Colorado ZR2 was unveiled at LAAS.

Chevrolet introduced the Colorado ZR2 concept at L.A. based on its all-new midsize pickup for 2015. This tall-riding pickup showcases the new 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine that’s scheduled to arrive in Colorado (the truck) later next year.

In addition to this turbo-diesel that puts out an estimated 181 horses and stout 369 lb-ft of torque, the ZR2 concept has new front and rear styling, a two-inch lift, plus skid plates, 18-inch wheels with 275/65R18 off-road tires and custom interior treatments.

Chevrolet’s second concept was custom-built for virtual racetracks. The Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Tursimo concept – an interpretation of the ultimate race car – was developed for fans of the PlayStation® 3 racing game, Gran Turismo® 6.

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We really like the idea of a “laser” powered car.

Developed as part of the Vision Gran Turismo project, which celebrates the future of automotive design and innovation, the concept is inspired by the innovative race cars Chaparral Racing and Chevrolet partnered on more than 45 years ago.

Chevrolet says the concept’s propulsion system is “inspired by technology derived from advanced work targeted at space travel and future aircraft design. It features a mid-mounted laser beamed-energy propulsion system, which pulses beams of light that focus in a shroud, creating shock waves that generate tremendous thrust in the lightweight race car.”

Imagining a 671-kW laser, powered by a pack of lithium-ion batteries, and an air-powered generator to provide 900 horsepower worth of thrust, Chevrolet says the Chaparral 2X VGT will be capable of a “240-mph top speed in the video game with 0-60 acceleration capability of 1.5 seconds.”

Chrysler

We had a great vantage point for Chrysler’s press conference as we waited for the action to begin. It’s super to see Chrysler making a major product introduction in Los Angeles where folks are still in love with full-size rear-drive sedans.

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Chrysler’s iconic 300 gets a sporty new look.

The revamped Chrysler 300 sedan’s exterior is crafted with more expressive style for 2015, with a bolder “face of Chrysler” front grille, signature LED lighting, unique finishes and new wheel designs that look sleek and sporty.

Chrysler’s press conference introduced the new 300.

The new 300S model features blacked-out accents, 20-inch Hyper Black finish wheels, more athletically sculpted side sills, unique deck-lid spoiler and a higher output Pentastar V6 engine with 300 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque, plus Sport mode and paddle-shifting capabilities now as “quick as 250 milliseconds.”

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This new 300 looks great in red.

New to the 300S, 300C and 300C Platinum models with 5.7-liter V8 engine is the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. Paired with this engine, these models deliver 363 horsepower, 394 lb.-ft. of torque, 0-60 miles per hour in “less than 6 seconds and class-leading performance.”

Fiat

We were glad to see Fiat return to the U.S. market just a few years ago with the small and cute 500. It didn’t take long for the brand to expand with the larger 500L. And now it’s growing again with the introduction of the new 500X for 2016.

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This new Fiat sports the design cues of a compact crossover.

Fiat’s 500X was designed at Centro Stile in Turin, Italy, where designers leveraged the character and iconic features of the 500 into a larger and more mature package. On the exterior, design elements like double headlamps, a trapezoidal nose, the signature “whiskers and logo” face and the rounded clamshell hood pay homage to the original Cinquecento.

500X will be available with a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, for an output of 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2.4-liter “Tigershark” MultiAir2 engine produces 180 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque, and comes with a 9-speed automatic transmission on all-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive models.

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500X is offered in five trim levels including this Trekking.

Filled with technology and convenience features, 500X is available with Uconnect 6.5 radio with a 6.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen and navigation, Bluetooth streaming audio, Uconnect Access Via Mobile, a 3.5-inch color TFT cluster display, Keyless Enter-N-Go, and heated front seats and steering wheel.

500X also offers safety features including Forward Collision Warning-Plus, LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection. Electronic stability control (ESC) with Hill-start Assist and electronic roll mitigation is standard on all models, as are seven air bags.

Click on the links below for our full coverage of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show:

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 1 – Acura, Audi, BMW and Cadillac

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 2 – Chevrolet, Chrysler and Fiat

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 3 – Ford, Honda, Jaguar and Land Rover

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 4 – Lexus, Mazda and Mercedes-Benz

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 5 – MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Porsche

2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 6 – Scion, Toyota and Volkswagen

Story, photos and videos ©2014 CarNichiWa.com

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