LOS ANGELES – All-terrain sport utility vehicles and electric cars have dominated the Los Angeles Motor Show, which concluded on Thursday its two-day vehicle exhibition that was opened exclusively to the media.
As expected, the two main revelations at the LA show have been all-terrain SUVs: Kia’s Sorento, a redesigned version of the South Korean company’s biggest crossover model, and Toyota’s FT-AC, a prototype that showcases some of the ideas that the Japanese brand will apply to its vehicles in the future.
Kia’s Multicultural Marketing Manager Candelaria Powell told EFE that the Sorento is a very important product for the company, mainly because it is one of its most popular vehicles sold in the United States.
The new Sorento’s main upgrades are the third-row seating, which are now standard for all Sorento models, and the new eight-speed automatic transmission.
Kia’s new Sorento is available in two options: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder standard engine with 185 horsepower or a more powerful 3.3-liter V6 engine with 290 horsepower.
Kia announced that a diesel-engine Sorento is also being developed and will be available in the future.
For its part, Toyota announced its new vehicle prototype Future Toyota Adventure Concept (FT-AC), a vehicle perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who want to escape from the city on weekends.
And although the FT-AC SUV is designed to be a gasoline car, the Japanese company indicated that it could also be equipped with a hybrid propulsion system.
In Los Angeles, several manufacturers also reaffirmed their commitment to adding more electric cars to their product line.
Saad Chehar, Kia’s vice president for communications in the US, said the company plans to launch 14 electric models globally by 2020, only ten of which will be available in the US.
The plug-in hybrid Niro (PHEV), one of Kia’s electric-vehicle projects which is capable of traveling 42 kilometers on electricity, was also featured Thursday at the LA motor show.
For its part, Jeep also announced a new generation of its sales-hit Wrangler, which will also come in a plug-in hybrid option and will allow the vehicle not only to reduce its fuel consumption but also increase its already impressive capacities.
The electrification of existing models will even reach vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler, whose new generation debuted in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, the three main German manufacturers, Volkswagen (VW), Mercedes-Benz and BMW, also announced their electric-car plans in Los Angeles and debuted their new production vehicles, including BMW’s two-seater i8 Roadster convertible, and some future prototypes, like VW’s I.D. Crozz.
The rising trend of electric cars and SUVs, as seen in the LA auto show, is not a mere coincidence.
Almost half of all electric vehicles sold in the US in the last six years are in California, and thanks to moderate prices of gasoline, SUVs have become fashion vehicles in the US.