By Steve & Tamami Laser
This is the second part of our series highlighting the new models and concept vehicle debuts at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. In this article we take a closer look at the Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar and Land Rover displays.
The big news at the Ford display was the debut of the 2017 Escape. Ford says the revamped crossover offers more driver-assist technologies, new mobile connectivity that allows owners to interact with their vehicle from anywhere through a smartphone app, and two new EcoBoost engines.
Escape SE and Titanium trim levels come standard with a new 1.5-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine, while the new twin-scroll 2.0-liter EcoBoost is optional. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard with new paddle shifters available for SE and Titanium.
Our video captures the revised appearance of the new Escape as it rotates on a turntable at Ford’s L.A. Auto Show display.
Escape is the first Ford to make Auto Start-Stop standard with either EcoBoost engine. The technology senses when the vehicle is sitting idle and shuts off the engine to conserve fuel. Ford says this results in a four-to-six percent improvement in fuel economy in stop-and-go traffic. The engine restarts automatically when the driver releases the brake pedal.
The gearshift lever has been repositioned to allow improved access to climate buttons and a new storage bin at the bottom of the center stack. The media bin houses a USB port and a covered power outlet for mobile device charging. Updated cupholders, a longer driver’s armrest and a push-button parking brake are also new.
SYNC Connect, available with SYNC 3 for the new Escape, comes with complimentary activation for five years, says Ford. SYNC 3 features faster performance, conversational voice recognition, intuitive smartphone-like touchscreen and easier-to-understand graphical interface.
Ford says the 2.0-liter EcoBoost delivers 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, along with greater efficiency and improved noise, vibration and harshness. New pistons provide a higher, more efficient compression ratio, and a newly designed, integrated exhaust manifold is optimized for the twin-scroll turbo system.
The 1.5-liter EcoBoost is projected to deliver horsepower and torque output comparable to the 1.6-liter – an expected 180 horsepower and 185 lb-ft. Along with the new EcoBoost offerings, the 2.5-liter i-VCT 4-cylinder engine carries over as standard for the Escape S.
Honda held a press conference at the Advanced Design Studio of Honda R&D (below) prior to media days at the show. “This location in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, with its very progressive and high-energy fashion, arts and cultural scene, is a great place for designers to be able to think about the challenge of future design,” said Jason Wilbur, Design Manager.
“Our studio is playing a lead role within Honda R&D’s global advanced design activity to help imagine the products of tomorrow and to create more expressive design that will influence our future products for both the Acura and Honda brands,” said Wilbur. “Today, we are proud to host the debut of two Honda vehicles on opposite ends of the spectrum, the hot new Civic Coupe, and the zero emission Clarity Fuel Cell.”
We visited the Honda display at the show the next day. The first-generation Civic was represented by this beautifully preserved bright yellow model from Honda’s collection. Check out other historic models during our previous tour of the American Honda Museum in Torrance.
Based on the new 10th generation, the 2016 Civic Coupe delivers an even sportier and more emotional take on the new Civic design while benefitting from a multitude of upgrades to the new lineup, including a sporty new chassis, and more spacious and refined cabin.
The coupe includes a bold front fascia, fastback profile and sharp-edged detailing, as well as more athletic proportions with a stretched wheelbase (+2.9 inches), wider body (+1.9 inches), shortened front overhang (-1.4 inches), and wider stance.
We take a quick walkaround of the new Civic Coupe’s exterior in our video from Honda’s display.
From the A-pillars rearward, the Coupe features unique styling with a lower and more steeply raked roofline and more compact proportions, with rear overhang and overall length shortened by 5.5 inches. The Coupe also gains an exclusive rear taillight design that carries the arch of the C-shaped LED taillights across the full length of the deck lid.
Honda says the Coupe will launch with two powerful and fuel-efficient engines. There’s a new 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC with 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque, and a CVT or 6-speed manual gearbox. The new 1.5-liter DOHC direct-injected Turbo puts out 174 horses and 164 lb-ft.
Interior space grows by 8.4 cubic feet and rear seat legroom is increased by more than 5 inches. The new interior sports a one-piece, soft-touch instrument panel with molded stitching, premium seat fabrics, a new color TFT meter, an LED shift indicator, and LED overhead lighting.
The new Coupe offers an Android OS-based, 7-inch Display Audio touch screen, streaming such as Pandora, SiriusXM and HD Radio, and with Display Audio, full compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Highest trims will also feature a new Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System developed in cooperation with Garmin.
The other major news at the Honda stand included the North American debut of the Clarity Fuel Cell that we saw make its world debut at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Honda says technological innovations have created a fuel cell stack that’s 33 percent more compact than its predecessor with a 60 percent increase in power density compared to the outgoing Honda FCX Clarity.
According to Honda, the new Clarity Fuel Cell will feature a driving range estimated to exceed 300 miles, and an anticipated refueling time of approximately three minutes at a pressure of 70 MPa.
The more compact fuel cell powertrain, comparable in size to a V6 engine, fits entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a spacious cabin with seating for five passengers. The vehicle on display in L.A. was a right-hand-model (meaning it followed us home from the Tokyo show).
Honda said it will begin deliveries “in late 2016 through select fuel cell dealers in California markets starting in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. Eventually, Honda will expand the scope of its marketing to additional California markets and other states, including the Northeast as hydrogen refueling networks expand.”
Another transplant from Tokyo (following its display in Frankfurt) was the Honda Project 2&4, a collaboration between Honda’s motorcycle and automobile divisions on a new performance vehicle concept, that combines the open and engaging feel of a motorcycle and the handling capabilities of a car.
The concept is powered by the RC213V competition motorcycle engine, a 999cc V4 unit, originally developed for the MotoGP motorcycle racing series and specially tuned for use on public roads. With a 14,000 rpm red line, the powerplant is mated to a 6-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and delivers peak power of 212 horsepower at 13,000 rpm, and peak torque of 87 lb-ft at 10,500 rpm.
Hyundai continues to capture the attention of journalists and consumers alike with its array of attractive new models. At the L.A. show, Hyundai introduced the all-new 2017 Elantra. With a bold new look, all-new powertrains, improved ride quality and comprehensive safety features, it should attract lots of traffic in the showroom when it goes on sale in January.
The new Elanta wears Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille flanked by available HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Lights and unique vertical LED daytime running lights, which are firsts for the model.
Available features include 17-inch alloy wheels, LED door handle approach lights, side mirror LED turn signal indicators and LED taillights.
We made a video of Hyundai’s press conference (above) that includes the reveal of the all-new 2017 Elantra sedan.
The standard engine on the SE and Limited is a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder producing a peak 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 132 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm (estimated). Hyundai says this Atkinson cycle-type engine reduces pumping loss by delaying the close timing of the intake valve in the compression stroke, maximizing the expansion ratio.
An all-new 1.4-liter Kappa turbocharged GDI 4-cylinder engine on the Eco trim will be available in Spring. This engine produces 128 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 156 lb-ft of torque at 1,400 – 3,700 rpm and will be mated to an EcoShift 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
All Elantras come standard with iPhone/USB and auxiliary input jacks and SiriusXM satellite radio. New for 2017, the Elantra features two advanced infotainment systems – an available 7.0-inch Display Audio touchscreen system with rearview camera, and Hyundai’s next-generation 8.0-inch navigation system.
Both are equipped with Android Auto for seamless operation of the most commonly used smartphone functions including app-based navigation, streaming audio, voice-controlled search capabilities, plus any approved smartphone apps.
Hyundai says Elantra’s available hands-free Smart Trunk allows drivers to open the trunk if their hands are full by simply approaching the rear of the vehicle with the key fob in a purse or pocket. A beep will sound three times, and the trunk will automatically open, making it easier to place items in the cargo area.
Elantra also offers an array of advanced safety technologies including Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist, and a rearview camera with dynamic guidance.
The Infiniti QX30 premium active crossover made its simultaneous global debut at the 2015 Los Angeles and Guangzhou auto shows. As a member of its new premium family, the QX30 will be built at new manufacturing facilities in Sunderland, UK, becoming part of Infiniti’s first car production in Europe.
The QX30 exterior wears dramatic curves and “turbulent, sculpted character lines” that Infiniti says makes an emotional statement, evolving into new dynamic shapes for a more purposeful appearance. The double-arch grille with three-dimensional mesh draws a flowing, fluid link to the headlamps for an organic shape.
The lines of the QX30 flow up the double-wave hood, over the fenders, across the bodyline and into the shoulders of the vehicle. The overall effect is designed to look “stretched over bone and muscle,” rather than “straight mechanical” lines.
Asymmetric interior surfaces feature wave shapes and dynamic lines that twist apart and flow away from the driver. These give an “in-motion” feel when natural light moves over the sculpted lines and contrasting materials in the cabin.
New seat design employs Infiniti’s advanced “spinal support” research. The seatbacks are said to be engineered to match the curvature of the spine, providing consistent spinal support by more equally distributing load across the seat to minimize pressure on back muscles. Testing by Infiniti engineers showed that the QX30 seat provides greater levels of support and comfort to reduce driver fatigue on longer journeys.
The QX30 is equipped with an intelligent all-wheel drive system that sends up to 50 percent of the engine’s power and torque to the rear axle to maintain traction on slippery surfaces. Another standard feature is the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Infiniti says that depending on the market, there will be a choice between gasoline and diesel engines for QX30 buyers with specific details becoming available closer to its launch.
Jaguar introduced the 2017 XE with key updates and new specifications ahead of its expected arrival in North American showrooms next Spring.
Updates include the addition of an optional torque on-demand all-wheel-drive powertrain and newly available infotainment and driver assistance technologies like a Driver Condition Monitor and convenience features such as Apple Watch connectivity.
At launch Jaguar says the XE will be available with a choice of three powertrains; the 35t, a 340-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6; the 25t, a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline 4-cylinder, and the 20d, a 180-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel.
Check out highlights from the Jaguar Land Rover new model introduction at the show above. (video: L.A. Auto Show)
For 2017, customers can choose two infotainment systems – the Jaguar InControl Touch, and the next-generation InControl Touch Pro system. InControl Touch relies on an eight-inch capacitive touchscreen, while InControl Touch Pro is designed around a tablet-style 10.2-inch touchscreen.
InControl Touch supports Bluetooth, audio streaming and USB connectivity. The XE can also be fitted with an SD card-based navigation system which allows easy upgrades of map data. Voice control is said to give access to any level of the system, without the need for drivers to take their eyes off the road or navigate through menus.
The XE will be equipped with All-Surface Progress Control (ASPC). This new system is said to work like low-speed cruise control. Functioning between 2 mph and 19 mph, ASPC is designed to control brake and powertrain systems for optimum traction.
An optional laser head-up display (HUD) technology provides the driver with information such as speed and navigation instructions by projecting high-contrast color images onto the windshield. The XE also features an available Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system.
Also on display was Jaguar’s new 2017 F-PACE, planned for a spring introduction. It features strong and stiff Lightweight Aluminum Architecture, optional Jaguar InControl Touch Pro infotainment system and available InControl Wi-Fi capable of hosting up to eight devices.
Activity Key is a new, optional waterproof, wearable vehicle access technology, allowing the keys to be securely locked inside the vehicle while engaging in outdoor activity.
F-PACE has double-wishbone and Integral Link suspension, F-TYPE-derived chassis technologies including Torque Vectoring, Adaptive Dynamics and Configurable Dynamics, and a supercharged 380 hp V6 engine said to deliver 0-60 mph performance in 5.1 seconds.
At launch, Jaguar says U.S. buyers will have a choice of a 3.0L 340 hp or 380 hp supercharged V6 mated to an 8-speed transmission with power being routed to all four wheels via a torque-on-demand all-wheel-drive system. Later in 2016, a 180 hp 4-cylinder Ingenium diesel engine is also planned to be added to the lineup.
The new Range Rover Evoque convertible was so popular at the L.A. Auto Show media days that we had to wait for the crowds to clear so we could take these photos. Meanwhile, a TV news crew was busy taping a segment with a reporter in the driver’s seat.
As Land Rover’s first convertible, the Evoque is bound to turn heads on the street when it goes on sale here in mid-2016. It will be offered in SE Dynamic and HSE Dynamic models with seating for four passengers.
The Evoque Convertible has a sophisticated fabric roof shaped to create a silhouette that remains faithful to the vehicle’s original design. Its Z-fold mechanism lays flush with the rear bodywork for a sleek, uncluttered appearance when lowered.
The automaker says the fully-automated roof stows in 18 seconds, and can be raised in 21 seconds, at speeds up to 30mph. When closed, it provides refinement with a layer of acoustic insulation “ensuring interior comfort on par with the five-door Range Rover Evoque.” The 8.9-cu. ft. (251-liter) luggage space offers added practicality.
The Range Rover Evoque Convertible is underpinned by the all-terrain capability expected of all Land Rover vehicles and uses the same advanced technologies as the Evoque five-door and coupe derivatives.
The standard all-wheel drive system works with the vehicle’s 240-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 9-speed automatic transmission, and Terrain Response system to “ensure the Range Rover Evoque Convertible retains its capability in a variety of conditions, on- and off-road, in all seasons.”
Preliminary features, specifications and prices in this story are subject to change without notice by the automakers.
Click on the links below for our additional 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show stories:
Story, photos and videos (as noted) © 2015 CarNichiWa.com