The Consumer Reports Cars team was in Los Angeles in force, covering the 2015 LA Auto Show, meeting with industry leaders, and taking first drives. Highlights from this major new-car event is posted here, including notable all-new models and concept cars. In addition, the team has shared tech trends and first drives in our car news.

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Alfa Romeo Guilia at the LA Auto Show

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo claims this car has a “new platform and new engines,” but what’s more impressive is that the 505-horsepower Giulia Quadrifoglio zipped around the notorious Nürburgring race track in Germany 13 seconds faster than any production sedan before it—and faster than Porsches, McLarens, and Lamborghinis. At a starting price around $70,000, the twin-turbo V6 Quadrifoglio edition will be a fierce competitor to the Audi S4 and BMW M3, with a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 191 mph. The Giulia line will have more mainstream editions as well, starting with the base 276-hp model at around $40,000. The fit and finish appear solid, with the soft-click rheostats of the scroll-knobs feeling premium when they fall to hand. The exhaust note of the Quadrifoglio sounds burbly and delicious.

The Giulia will arrive in showrooms in summer 2016, with the Quadrifoglio debuting about a month before the rest of the model line. The Giulia will be offered in a choice of rear- and all-wheel drive.


2016 BMW M2

BMW is making sure that top-level performance is also available in a small package. Herein is the 2016 BMW M2, equipped with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that gets a turbo boost to the tune of 365 hp. Gearheads will appreciate that a six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive are standard. Those who are phobic to leg-induced clutching can opt for a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. BMW says that the M2 will rocket to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds with the automatic and 4.4 seconds with the manual. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

Infotainment fun comes via the optional ConnectedDrive Services and apps, which includes the GoPro app and the M Laptimer app. Aimed for those taking their cars to tracks, the Laptimer records the car’s speed, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, engine’s speed, the gear engaged at any one time, steering angle, accelerator position, and fuel consumption. You can also compare laps with others drivers and share the data by email or Facebook. We loved testing the BMW M235i and imagine that the new M2 is simply more of a good thing.

2017 Buick LaCrosse at the LA Auto Show

2017 Buick LaCrosse

The redesign of the brand’s LaCrosse flagship comes on a new structure that helps reduce the sedan’s weight by 300 pounds, wrapped in exterior styling that kindly borrows from the Chevrolet Impala. Although the footprint of the LaCrosse stays basically the same, Buick stretched the wheelbase by three inches for more passenger space. Even storage is grand, with the trunk capable of swallowing four golf bags. Under the hood, a revised 3.6-liter V6 makes 305 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available. The rear suspension changes from a four-link to a five-link design. Inside, there’s a floating center console, an 8-inch touchscreen with fewer buttons, and an infotainment system that plays with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

2017 Cadillac XT5

2017 Cadillac XT5

An all-new name kick starts the growing crossover lineup with the 2017 Cadillac XT5. Replacing the dated SRX, the XT5 claims a slightly larger size with reduced weight. In the sea of Cadillac reinvention, the XT5 will have the 3.6-liter V6 engine found in the Cadillac ATS, CTS, and CT6 sedans, while also employing start/stop technology to achieve better fuel consumption. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, as well as an electronically controlled transmission shifter. The interior is simplified in an attempt to reflect the brand’s new goal of modern sophistication. It will feature infotainment already present in new Cadillacs, but the XT5 will be one of the first crossover in the industry to offer a digital rear-camera monitor system for the rearview mirror.  

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Larger, lighter, and roomier than the 2015 model, the new Chevrolet Cruze is powered by a new 153-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (with a standard fuel-saving stop/start system) hooked up to either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. GM estimates that the automatic version will return 40 mpg on the highway and deliver a highway cruising range of 530 miles. Improving the gas engine’s fuel economy and adding more room to the rear seat should also answer a few of our past criticisms.

The new Cruze gets a standard MyLink radio with a 7-inch touch screen, along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Available safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, and forward-collision alert. A rearview camera is standard. Boasting a sticker price that’s just about $2,000 less than a 2016 Honda Civic LX, it’s clear that Chevrolet is coming out swinging. The all-new 2016 Cruze goes on sale next spring, starting at $17,495. A diesel model is said to follow in 2017.

2016 Fiat 124 Spider

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The collaboration between Mazda and Fiat to share the latest MX-5 roadster platform sees its Italian iteration with the Fiat 124 Spider. But the Spider is more than a rebadged Miata. The Fiat carries a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder MultiAir engine from the Fiat stable that generates 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, to be paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. While that’s a smaller engine than the Mazda’s non-turbo 2-liter, the Fiat makes more horsepower and torque. Both the Fiat and Mazda share a front double-wishbone and rear multi-link suspension, although they will be tuned differently to reflect the brands’ sensibilities. The Fiat will be built at Mazda’s Hiroshima, Japan, plant and go on sale in summer 2016. 

See our first drive in the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata with video.

2017 Ford Escape

2017 Ford Escape

Making the scene at the LA Auto Show, the updated Ford Escape is boasting new technology in near every aspect of the compact crossover. From two new EcoBoost engines with start/stop technology, active park-assist, adaptive cruise control, and forward-collision warning with automatic braking, the Escape revisions are more about safe and efficient stopping than being the compact SUV that makes “customers feel unstoppable.” The Escape will be the first Ford product to feature SYNC Connect, a late-to-the-game smartphone app that allows owners to lock and unlock their Escape, remotely start the engine, and track location via GPS by cell phone. The freshened engines are the 1.5-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost and optional 2.0-liter turbo offering more horsepower and torque. Also look for a new Sport Appearance package, optional on the SE and Titanium trims. 

2016 Honda Civic Coupe

2016 Honda Civic Coupe

The Honda Civic gets an all-new coupe design as it kicks off its 10th generation for 2016. Set to be available before the end of 2015, the new Civic Coupe is longer than the previous generation coupe and consequently boasts an increase in total cabin space and rear passenger legroom. The fastback profile and sharpened front end are reminiscent of some Acura siblings of generations past, and the sporty lines are accented by LED daytime running lights and taillights. The Civic Coupe will get its first turbocharged powertrain on higher-end trims with a 1.5-liter direct-injected engine with 174 horsepower, while lower-end trims will get the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine with 158 horsepower. Both engines are standard issue for the Civic sedan.

See our complete first drive in the 2016 Honda Civic with video.

2017 Hyundai Elantra

Redesigned for 2016, the Hyundai Elantra joins a graduating class of newly designed competitors, including the Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic, that aim to feel more substantial and upscale—regardless of their size.

At first glance, it's easy to confuse the 2017 Hyundai Elantra for Hyundai's midsized Sonata sedan. While the Elantra retains a class-standard 106-inch wheelbase, somehow Hyundai eked out two more inches of rear-seat leg room. Cabin space feels much like a midsized sedan from a decade ago, rather than a cramped compact car. The open and airy feeling inside is helped by windows that seem slightly larger than the previous Elantra, as well as a dashboard design that avoids the enveloping, cockpit-like feeling found in many rivals.

See our complete first look at the 2017 Hyundai Elantra with video.

Indian Scout Sixty

Cars aren’t the only things breaking cover in Los Angeles. America’s oldest motorcycle company, Indian, has unveiled the new Scout Sixty. Providing a lower-cost entry into the premium Indian line, the Scout Sixty starts at $8,999 for basic black. It is distinguished from the regular Scout by a new 60 cubic-inch engine, with 78 horsepower. For contrast, the $10,999 Scout uses a 69 cubic-inch engine with 100 horsepower. Both bikes share frame, suspension, and braking components, and they tip the scales at about 540 lbs. The Scouts both have an especially low seat height at 25.3 inches. The Scout Sixty should broaden the brand’s appeal, with a more affordable price point and milder powertrain that may attract less experienced riders.  

See our guide to motorcycles, including reliability and owner satisfaction.

Infiniti QX30

2017 Infiniti QX30

The Infiniti QX30 is a four-door compact crossover built on the bones of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and it is similar to its hatchback sibling, the Q30. Teased at previous auto shows, the QX30 is now set to be on dealer lots in mid-2016. The QX30 represents another offering from Infiniti’s pursuit to create global products that will be relevant in many markets, to many people, especially hoping that this model impresses young professionals seeking a luxury experience. Highly contoured lines and sloping roofline hide the back doors, giving the QX30 the appearance of a pinched coupe. Set to have all-wheel drive on an adapted front-wheel drive platform (referred to as Intelligent AWD), the curvy crossover touts a host of standard Infiniti safety and technology, including Around View Monitor and a touch-screen infotainment system for navigation and audio controls. 

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

The 2017 Jaguar F-Pace represents the brand’s foray into the competitive luxury SUV segment. Debuting as a midsized SUV, the F-Pace draws design cues from the F-Type sports coupe and convertible, while inside, the five-seater shares interior details with XE and XF sedans. Built on Jaguar’s aluminum architecture and combined with strategically placed steel, the combination of materials is meant to give the F-Pace a combination of safety and heightened responsiveness. The SUV will arrive on dealer lots with either the 340- or 380-horsepower V6 gasoline engines found in the F-Type, and it will be followed in late 2016 by a 180-horsepower, four-cylinder diesel engine. Safety features include stereo cameras enabling a 3D view of the road ahead, a pedestrian detection and alert system, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assistance to aid tired drivers. 

2017 Jaguar XE

2017 Jaguar XE

The Jaguar XE compact executive sports sedan is getting an AWD option for the 2017 model year, one year after the F-Type rear-drive sports coupe was expanded to include an all-wheel drive version. The real news with the BMW 3 Series and Cadillac ATS competitor is the introduction of new safety and information systems, including a choice between two different infotainment systems, Apple Car Play, and Apple Watch device integration for locking and unlocking the sedan, monitoring fuel levels, and setting optimum temperature settings before even entering the car.  

2017 Kia Sportage

2017 Kia Sportage

Aimed at capturing the current trends set by European design, Kia has redesigned its longest-running model, adding features and enhancing driving dynamics. The signature raked roofline is still there, but from the nose back, the overall look is now more aggressive, more firmly planted, and contemporary. The Kia “tiger-nose” grille stamp is offset by headlights and driving lights that lend an air of huffy sophistication. Inside, the Sportage has an updated design that compliments the focus on the new safety and technology features. The turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine promises to bolster performance and improve mileage in the SX trim, while the EX and LX trims will have a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine that has been tuned for efficiency. 

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Making its North American debut, the Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet is showing off its convertible SUV stuff at the LA Auto Show. The four-seater has a ragtop with a unique slope that reflects the hardtop design. With a 240-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Evoque Cabriolet has a system that is designed to deploy two aluminum bars to create potential protection if a roll-over should occur. Land Rover gets its first implementation of the Jaguar Land Rover infotainment system in the Range Rover Evoque, which promises an improvement on a system that was lagging behind current industry standards. The Evoque convertible goes on sale spring 2016.

2017 Lincoln MKZ

Upscale brother to the engaging Ford Fusion, the Lincoln MKZ is updated for the 2017 model year with more power and increased luxury appointments. Basic motivation is provided from a 2.0-liter, 245 horsepower four-cylinder engine with front-drive models. For more verve, a Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter V6 fed by twin turbochargers will spool up to 400 hp and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, routed to all four corners. Adaptive cruise control will be offered to aid cruising, and an auto hold feature can keep the car at a standstill during stop-and-go traffic, rather than have the driver leave a foot on the brake pedal. Forward-collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection bolsters safety credentials, while enhanced park assist can have the car park itself in either parallel or perpendicular parking spots. The updated 2017 MKZ goes on sale in summer 2016. 

2016 Mazda CX-9

Mazda gains more independence from former Ford overlords with the redesigned CX-9 crossover, as the model moves from the shared CD3 platform to a stretched version of Mazda’s own midsize platform used for the Mazda6 and CX-5. Although slightly shorter overall, the redesigned CX-9 gains two inches of wheelbase, which pushes the wheels further to the corners of this three-row SUV. The CX-9 also ditches the 3.7-liter V-6 it shared with the old Ford Edge, and it now uses a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 250 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque when using 93-octane fuel. (Horsepower numbers drop to 227 with regular gas.) As part of its corporate weight-saving campaign, the CX-9 weighs nearly 200 pounds less than its predecessor in front-drive setup and 287 pounds less in all-wheel drive configuration. Mazda claims a 20-percent improvement in fuel economy. Despite the weight reduction, Mazda installed 53 pounds of sound-deadening material, which Mazda claims reduces interior noise by 12 percent. 

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS

What was once referred to as the GL—Mercedes’ top-of-the-line SUV…as long as you’re not counting the limited-edition G-Class—is now called the GLS. The seven-passenger 2017 model gets new interior and exterior styling, enhanced nine-speed automatic transmission, and upgraded air suspension. The suspension is what we’re most interested in since our last tested GL earned a poor rating for emergency handling. Engine news for the 2017 model starts with the 255-hp GLS350d V6 diesel model. Next up is the 362-hp, 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo found in the GLS450. V8 options continue with the 4.7-liter GLS550, which puts out 449 hp (a 20 hp boost over the last version). The flagship AMG GLS63 churns out up to 577 horsepower (27 additional hp compared to last year’s model). All but the AMG model are hooked up to the nine-speed transmission; the AMG GLS63 gets a seven-speed unit. Available safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, cross-traffic alert, blind-spot warning, and lane-keeping assist.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL

The always lovely drop-top SL has several changes for 2017, including styling updates and more horsepower. The entry-level SL450’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine gets a boost to 262 hp and is mated to a new nine-speed automatic. The next step up the SL ladder, the SL550, is powered by twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8, now making 449 hp. The monster AMG models – SL63 and SL65 – make due with a 577-hp twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 and 621-hp twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 engines, respectfully. AMG models also work through a seven-speed automatic. Other notable features include a driver-adjustable system that allows the driver to custom tailor settings for the engine, transmission, suspension, and steering systems—from sporty to economical. Optional features include Apple CarPlay, autonomous braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot detection, and adaptive cruise control. The 2017 SL goes on sale late next spring. 

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage

Competitive pricing, segment strong fuel economy, and the availability of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are what’s new about the 2017 Mirage. The car that everyone seems to love to hate also gets new exterior styling, interior trim, and equipment updates. The 2017 model chugs along with the same 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine but gets a boost all the way up to a dizzying 78 horsepower. The company also claims that the car’s handling and brakes are enhanced for the new model year, with improved shock absorbers, bigger diameter front brake discs, and larger rear drums. Our last tested Mirage had a very low $16,000 sticker price and good fuel economy of 37 mpg overall. But its slow acceleration, noisy cabin, and clumsy handling made this a low scoring and regrettable little car. The Mirage should appear at dealers in spring 2016. 

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The new 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport gets some exterior styling updates to separate it from the crowded small SUV field. Some details include new power folding side mirrors with LED turn indicators, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and new-look 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, changes include a redesigned steering wheel, new 6.1-inch audio display, and new fabric for the seats. One of Mitsubishi’s calling cards is low introductory prices – and the Outlander Sport gives it a go with a starting price of just $19,595. Another key selling point is Mitsubishi’s generous warranties: fully transferable 5-year/60,000 mile new vehicle limited warranty; and a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty. Whether or not these changes can lift this decidedly un-sporty SUV from near the bottom of our ratings is another issue. The model we tested had a choppy ride and a very noisy cabin.  

2016 Nissan Sentra

2016 Nissan Sentra

The mid-cycle freshening includes restyled sheet metal that shares a family resemblance with the Altima and Maxima, a retuned suspension, a five-inch center display screen, and available active safety features such as radar blind-spot warning, forward emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. It will go on sale in December, at a starting price of $16,780.

Scion C-HR

While technically a concept vehicle, Toyota executives confirmed that this weirdly styled mini-SUV will come to dealerships in 2017. The production version will run on the same “TNGA” platform as the Prius and next-generation Camry, but it will have a higher ride height than either of those vehicles. Toyota categorizes the C-HR as a subcompact crossover, and the cabin of the concept looks rather small. But Toyota says it will have room for five. Priced to top out around $25,000. 

Subaru Impreza Sedan Concept

The Impreza Sedan Concept is important to the brand, not just because it features a redesigned sedan that has previously held its own in the crowd of Honda Civics, Toyota Corollas, and Volkswagen Jettas, nor because it is coming from a brand aglow with hockey-stick-like sales charts. The Impreza Sedan Concept is noteworthy for introducing an entirely new design direction for Subaru. It will be the first model produced with a new modular design chassis that will underpin all future Subaru products. The Dynamic x Solid design language signals the inevitable end of Subaru’s traditionally slab-sided, angular designs and aims at more athletic attitude, reflective of the sportiness of Subaru as a lifestyle-oriented brand. Arguably, what is more important is the mechanicals beneath the skin, but we will need to wait for a future show to learn those details. 

2016 Toyota Prius

2016 Toyota Prius

For 2016, Toyota rolls out the fourth-generation Prius—promising to retain the sensibility but add ingredients the pioneering hybrid never had, namely styling and a fun-to-drive quotient. The 2016 Toyota Prius hybrid goes on sale in January with pricing starting at $24,200 for the base Prius 2 trimline and reaching $30,000 for the Prius 4 Touring. Only the base Prius retains a nickel-metal battery; all other versions get a more compact and advanced lithium-ion battery.

Read our 2016 Toyota Prius first drive.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

It was never a question of if, only a question of when Toyota would offer a hybrid version of the RAV4 small SUV. With the RAV4’s midlife freshening for 2016, a hybrid was added to the line. Toyota expects that about 15 percent of RAV4s will be sold as the hybrid. The hybrid comes only as XLE and Limited; both trims are fitted with all-wheel-drive. The XLE is priced at $28,370 and the Limited at $33,610. Not surprisingly, customers have been asking for exactly that kind of affordable small SUV hybrid. So in an odd homage to Toyota’s ad tagline from the Seventies, we can say: “You asked for it, you got it. Toyota.”

Learn more in our 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid first look.

Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept

VW’s new concept combines what you love about road and race machines wrapped up in futuristic styling and powered by an advanced plug-in hybrid system. Fun and frugal at the same time? We’ll bite.

The powertrain is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine adapted from the two-time World Rally Championship winning Polo R WRC and puts out 295 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The engine gets its green credibility via two electric motors – one in the front of the car and one in the rear. Both produce 113 hp apiece and total torque output of 494 lb.-ft. In ideal conditions, VW says the Golf GTE Sport operates as an electric vehicle (with an estimated 31-mile range). However, snapping into sporty mode gets all of the 395 total hp from the three motors to work together, giving the all-wheel-drive concept a 0 to 62 mph time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph. Citing the European NEDC cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, VW claims it returns 118 mpg.

Volvo S90

During the auto show, Volvo released a teaser illustration of its upcoming S90 luxury sedan. Details will be released down the road. Volvo plans to roll out 14 models over the next three years, based on a common architecture shared with the XC90, and the company is putting a concerted effort into developing autonomous driving features.