By Steve & Tamami Laser
Following last year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, we were glad to attend the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show® and take a close-up look at some of the latest concepts and upcoming production vehicles from a variety of automakers.
Before the show opened to the public at the Los Angeles Convention Center, journalists had the opportunity to check out the new cars, trucks, and SUVs, including the 2023 Nissan Z and Ariya EV (above), at AutoMobility LA, the show’s industry and media gathering. In this first of our multi-part series, we highlight the Toyota, Lexus, and Nissan displays.
The all-new bZ4X is an important vehicle for Toyota, as it signals the beginning of a new series of “beyond Zero” battery electric vehicles. Expected to go on sale in spring 2022, as a 2023 model, bZ4X rides on Toyota’s new e-TNGA platform, and offers a new all-wheel-drive system.
We made a quick walkaround video of the exterior and interior of the new Toyota bZ4X at the LA Auto Show. This was our first opportunity to get a close-up look at the new EV. With its futuristic design, bZ4X blends dynamism with utility, features high-tech styling, and a road-hugging look with large wheels and fender flares.
Developed with Subaru, bZ4X offers an AWD system with X-MODE® and Grip-Control. Inside, the “driver centric” style up front offers a low instrument panel and panoramic visibility, while the instrument panel and MID screen expand the sense of roominess. Toyota’s initial manufacturer-estimated range for bZ4X is up to 250 miles-per-charge for the XLE FWD model.
Our video highlights the TRD Desert Chase Tundra, a customized 2022 Tundra TRD Pro, envisioned as a chase support vehicle. It features a TRD-designed long-travel suspension, a wide-body kit, carbon fiber fenders and bed sides.
Under the hood, Toyota’s hybrid i-FORCE MAX twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 teamed with an electric motor, is rated at 473 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft. of torque. Custom equipment includes Rigid lighting, CNC bent bumpers, Method Race Wheels, a roll bar and off-road jack, two spare tires, ARB Tred Pro Recovery Board, and two-way chase/race radio system.
Tacozilla tugged at our heartstrings with its Tacoma-based custom-built camper that brought back memories of Toyota campers from the past. Toyota says the interior is fully insulated, wears teak sauna-style flooring, offers a full bathroom, kitchen, and 3D-printed dining table.
Every facet of this “micro-house” is beautifully built. There’s an aluminum camper exterior featuring rounded, smooth surfaces, a pass-through from the front cabin to the living space, and a rustic and cozy ambience. Tacozilla features a 3.5-liter V6 engine, 6-speed manual gearbox, TRD two-inch lift suspension, TRD Pro wheels, and custom dual 12-volt batteries.
Toyota’s new GR86 for 2022, like the previous 86, is a joint-development project with Subaru, and built at Subaru’s plant in Japan. In addition to the new name and styling, GR86 receives a more powerful Boxer engine, improved handling, and a new interior.
Our video shows two Toyota GR Supra variations; the coupe is dressed with carbon-fiber trim, matte-black wheels, and Black/Red Alcantara®-trimmed sport seats. While the GR Supra Sport Top is a concept car with a custom removable roof.
As a tribute to previous generation Supras, the Sport Top has a cool, open-air look. Two composite 3D-printed removable panels can be stored in the cargo area. Revealed at the SEMA 2021 show in Las Vegas, the lead builder for the Supra Sport Top concept is the Toyota Motorsports Technical Center.
All-new for 2022, the Toyota Corolla Cross fits neatly between the C-HR and RAV4. Riding on the TNGA-C platform, it’s powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine teamed with a Continuously Variable Transmission, plus a choice of front and all-wheel-drive. The crossover offers three trim levels, a roomy interior, and available high-tech connectivity and safety features.
Toyota Rhombus is a battery electric concept vehicle that was developed by TMEC, Toyota’s R&D base in China. Following its premiere at Auto Shanghai 2019, Rhombus has been traveling auto shows across the globe.
Rhombus has a single, swivel seat up front, with two seats in the back that are said to make up a lounge-like space. While Rhombus is a fun concept, it’s unlikely to make the leap to a production model in this form.
Redesigned inside and out, the 2022 Lexus LX 600 is available in F SPORT and Ultra Luxury models for the first time. The LX rides on a lighter and more rigid GA-F platform, and receives a high-output 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 that puts out an impressive 409 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque.
The LX F SPORT takes the sporty styling theme to the next level with an F mesh-style spindle grille, and unique 22-inch forged alloy wheels. It also gains specially tuned performance shocks, a Torsen® Limited Slip Differential, rear stabilizer, and enhanced Adaptive Variable Suspension.
Inside, F SPORT gains unique styling touches, offers a sporty Circuit Red interior, and specially designed, custom-crafted F SPORT seats with firmer side support and cushions. And with Multi-Terrain Select, the driver can choose from six modes: Auto, Dirt, Sand, Mud, Deep Snow, and Rock. Meanwhile, Crawl Control can automatically accelerate and apply the brakes while driving off-road in low range.
Lexus has completely redesigned the NX crossover for 2022. The model lineup includes the NX 450H+ shown in our video with F SPORT trim. As the brand’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, NX 450H+ has an EPA-estimated 36-mile range on electric power only. Lexus says that with a maximum charging current of 240V, it can be fully charged in about two-and-a-half hours with an available 6.6kW Expedited Onboard Charger.
The interior features a newly developed Lexus Interface multimedia system with standard 9.8-inch touchscreen, and an available 14-inch touchscreen with the F SPORT Handling with Luxury package. F SPORT models also gain bolstered sport seats, sport pedals, unique sport trim, and a new steering wheel design.
This modified Lexus LC 500 Convertible, with customized performance and styling, features an Artisan Spirits body kit with front and rear splitters, side skirts, carbon fiber hood and rear carbon fiber tonneau cover. Performance mods include Artisan Spirit exhaust, KW suspension, Brembo® GT brakes, Titan-7 forged wheels, and Toyo Proxes® sport tires.
We were fortunate to get another close-up look at the new 2023 Nissan Z and Ariya EV, following our first encounters at the Japanese Classic Car Show in Oct. Nissan brought two of each model to its display at the LA Auto Show along with other vehicles from its lineup.
Our video highlights two 2023 Nissan Z models, plus an engine display, at Nissan’s LA Auto Show exhibit. The next generation Z is expected to go on sale in spring 2022 as a 2023 model. Design cues, like the teardrop-shaped LED headlights, and the hood profile, are inspired by the first generation Z.
Nissan powers up the new Z with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine that’s rated at 400 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. It sends power to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox, or new 9-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
The 2023 Nissan Ariya EV is the automaker’s all-new battery electric crossover. It’s targeted to launch in the U.S. in fall 2022 with a variety of model choices. Ariya is said to combine Nissan’s advanced electric vehicle technology with a new level of seamless human-machine interface connectivity.
Ariya’s interior design, inspired by “Timeless Japanese Futurism,” features a minimalist instrument panel with primary climate controls integrated into the wooden center dash as capacitive haptic switches. Two displays, a 12.3-inch instrument monitor and 12.3-inch center screen, are included, while a head-up display is also available. Ariya’s lineup includes the Venture+ FWD, Evolve+ FWD, Premiere FWD, and Platinum+ e-4ORCE AWD.
Click or tap on the following links for our additional 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show stories:
2021 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 2 – Corvette Z06, Ford Lightning, Grand Wagoneer, Kia EV9
2021 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 3 – Hyundai SEVEN, Range Rover, Subaru Solterra, Fisker Ocean
CarNichiWa.com thanks the Los Angeles Auto Show for providing us with a press pass to the media preview days.
Note: Features, specifications, and launch timing for U.S. market production models in this story are subject to change without notice
Story, photos and videos © 2021 CarNichiWa.com