Electrics and SUVs are main attraction at LA Auto Show

The 2019 Kia Sorento is unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Electrics and adventurous SUVs compete for attention at the LA Auto Show

LOS ANGELES — Automakers often debut their most fuel-efficient vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and this year is no exception.

Volkswagen is showing off its I.D. Crozz, a pre-production electric SUV, and says it will go on sale in the U.S. by 2020. Land Rover, Porsche and Kia took the wraps off plug-in hybrids. Even the iconic Jeep Wrangler will get a hybrid version sometime after it goes on sale in January.

California buyers purchase a higher percentage of hybrids and electrics than the U.S. as a whole thanks to state tax credits and other incentives. Nearly 50 percent of all U.S. electric vehicle purchases since 2011 have been in California, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation. California also has 31 percent of all U.S. public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

But automakers are also appealing to buyers' sense of adventure at the show, with the debut of several off-road vehicles as well as the new three-row Subaru Ascent.

Here are some vehicles visitors can see at the show, which opens to the public Friday:


Toyota is giving Subaru some competition with an SUV for the outdoorsy mountain-bike crowd. The FT-AC prototype, which likely will go into production in the next year or two, looks like a RAV4 compact SUV on weight training. Toyota says it's being unveiled in Los Angeles because so many people there head to hills, deserts or beaches on weekend getaways. The concept vehicle has chunky black fender flares and a rugged-looking black grille. The versatile roof rack has LED marking lights and the side mirrors have detachable cameras with infrared features for night exploring. It'll have all-wheel-drive and come with a gas-powered engine, although a gas-electric hybrid is possible, Toyota says. The company didn't give details on pricing or when it might be in showrooms.


Three-year-old electric vehicle startup Bollinger Motors is debuting its B1 prototype, a utilitarian, four-seat SUV with the blockish looks of a Land Rover Defender or Mercedes AMG G63. The B1 has two battery options: a 60 kilowatt hour battery that can go 120 miles on a charge and a 100 kWh version that can go 200 miles. The company has already taken 12,000 pre-orders for the B1. Spokesman Jeff Holland says Bollinger will officially open its order banks and start taking deposits in a few weeks, when it announces pricing on the B1. Bollinger is based in upstate New York but will contract with a third party to make the B1. It hopes to start producing the vehicles at the end of 2018 and delivering them in 2019 or 2020.


Kia is updating its seven-passenger SUV for the first time since its full redesign in 2016. Exterior changes are minimal. Kia has dropped a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder from the Sorento's engine lineup but retains a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6. Kia says a diesel engine is also in development. The V6 I paired with a new eight-speed transmission borrowed from Kia's Cadenza sedan, while the four-cylinder gets an updated six-speed transmission. Kia now offers a driver attention warning system, which senses if the driver is distracted or drowsy, as well as a system that helps the vehicle stay within its lane. A wireless charging pad for smartphones is also new. Kia didn't reveal pricing or the date the 2019 Sorento will go on sale.

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