You can tell that L.A. (and CES) is mattering more because the mix of cars and brands shown is diverse. Thematically this year’s L.A. event highlights tech, futuristic thinking, and autonomy, with lots of hybridization and pure EVs in the mix.
Still, most of what we like at this year’s Los Angeles show amounts to beauty: even the SUVs are cleaner, sleeker, and more stylish. Yes, even the new Jeep Wrangler gained some curves. A look at the best of what we saw below.
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Lincoln is making a reasonably hard push now that the seven-passenger Navigator has been well received. So here’s the new 2019 Lincoln Nautilus, that replaces the MKX. One update over the MKX is that displacement drops; the largest engine is a 2.7-liter engine, but it actually delivers more juice than the outgoing V-6, with 335 horsepower and 380 lb. ft. of torque. The smaller mill is a 245hp turbocharged two-liter four; both get automatic stop-start and are mated to eight-speed drivetrains.
Of course, power is less the point these days than luxury marques competing on tech, and Lincoln is pushing not just lane-keeping but lane-centering, so the likelihood of the nannies letting you drift off course is reduced. We’ll have to wait and see; one major critique of Tesla is just this sort of technology, because actually allowing the car to drift alerts the driver that they are, in fact, still in charge.
We like the look of the Nautilus (and the fact that Lincoln is slowly moving away from alphabet soup naming), although the dash doesn’t look as slick as what Lincoln is doing with Navigator, where a real emphasis on keeping view expansive and the switching and dials emphasizing that perspective. Still, they’re moving away from wood trim toward something cleaner and simpler, the seats look great, and Lincoln has clearly managed to push Ford toward better paints and higher quality overall—all very good things.
Credit: Image via Lincoln
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2018 Jeep Wrangler
Here are three things you need to know about the newest Jeep Wrangler:
1. It’s finally, finally, finally being offered with both optional full-time four-wheel drive, and an optional diesel. For Wrangler fans, or people who wouldn’t buy one before because having to shift from RWD to 4WD only makes sense for genuine off-roading, the addition of AWD for on-road use is a big deal. All those Wrangler Unlimiteds you see at the mall? They weren’t purchased for off-roading, and in the Snow Belt their drivetrains really didn’t fit for pavement. As for diesel, this is massive for all buyers. While it won’t be available until 2019, this V-6 should deliver far better highway fuel economy than the existing gas V-6. And while we don’t know exactly where peak torque arrives, Jeep says the new engine will deliver 442 lb.-ft. of torque, and if you get a good chunk of that churn just off idle, that’s a big deal when you’re trying to crawl carefully up something very steep.
2. You can get both two- and four-door editions with a four cylinder. Okay, that might seem like a poor choice compared to the diesel, but for most non-off-roaders, it could prove the better choice. It’s both direct-injected and turbocharged, and again, while they’re not releasing the exact power characteristics, as with Ford’s recent efforts in this realm, we’re expecting quick off-the-line acceleration, minus the penalty of extreme fuel consumption. It’s rated at 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque (the latter bests the gas V-6).
3. There’s a new eight-speed automatic transmission, a definite boon for smoother in-city driving, and the use of higher-strength aluminum and magnesium body panels should both increase safety as well as body rattles. Speaking of which, Jeep says the suspension has been optimized for on-road comfort, without, they claim, compromising off-road wheel articulation, thanks to options like electronic sway-bar disconnect. And that goes double for the bulk of buyers who will never touch the Rubicon’s 33-inch rubber to dirt.
Bonus: While we didn’t see the expected Jeep Scrambler, the Wrangler-based pickup, in L.A., there are a lot of hints to the design in the new Wrangler 4x4. Including multiple ways to remove body panels. So, yes, an open-air pickup truck, is a very cool new way to think about convertibles.
Credit: Image via Jeep