Hottest New Debuts at the L.A. Auto Show

  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

can be reached at wgcla@hotmail.com
  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

can be reached at wgcla@hotmail.com
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Founded in 1907, the annual Los Angeles Auto Show is one of the biggest events of its kind worldwide. For a few days each year, it serves as a space where automakers can show off their latest and greatest new products to a rapt audience of journalists and car lovers.

At the most recent L.A. Auto Show in late 2018, more than 60 vehicles were debuted by automakers, and nearly half of these were world premieres. It’s a sign of our times that many of the most exciting introductions at the show involved “green” vehicles such as electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

Below, we’ve listed the hottest new debuts at the most recent L.A. Auto Show, with a focus on clean, fuel-efficient transportation. Our picks are listed in alphabetical order.

Byton M-Byte

Byton M-Byte Concept in Gray
The list of new models introduced at the L.A. Auto show includes the Byton M-Byte concept vehicle, a luxury SUV with an electric powertrain. (Byton)

What is it?

Byton is a global start-up that hopes to build a name for itself as a luxury carmaker specializing in electric vehicles. It’s off to a running start with the M-Byte concept vehicle, a premium SUV that reflects the automaker’s commitment to technological innovation. Byton expects to have a final production version of the M-Byte ready by the middle of 2019, with production starting by the end of that year.

Why is it hot?

Byton views its vehicles as “next-generation smart devices,” and this philosophy is baked into the futuristic M-Byte. The M-Byte offers abundant screen space, including a wide curved display that measures a whopping 48 inches across. There’ s also a 7-inch driver tablet located at the center of the steering wheel, as well as an 8-inch touchpad perched between the driver and front passenger. The front seats can be rotated inward 12 degrees, creating a space that facilitates passenger interaction when the vehicle isn’t in motion.

2020 Kia Soul EV

2020 Kia Soul EV in Green
Kia’s redesigned 2020 Soul EV makes a fresh design statement with its boxy lines. (Kia)

What is it?

In a sea of curvaceous crossovers, the boxy Kia Soul has always been a standout. The Soul is available with a gas-only or electric powertrain, and both variants have been redesigned for the 2020 model year. The 2020 Soul EV offers 201 hp and a robust 291 lb.-ft. of torque (up from the previous generation’s 109 hp and 210 lb.-ft.). And although exact details regarding how far the 2020 Soul EV can travel between charges haven’t yet been released, it’s expected to offer far more driving range than the outgoing model.

Why is it hot?

With its unique and stylishly angular exterior design, the 2020 Soul EV will be an appealing pick for efficiency-minded drivers seeking a vehicle that makes a fresh visual statement. And with its four driving modes, the Soul will be attractive to those who like the idea of customized performance.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Plug-in Hybrid

2020 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring Plug-in Hybrid Silver
With the 2020 Aviator Grand Touring Plug-in Hybrid, Lincoln serves up an opulent green SUV. (Lincoln)

What is it?

The successful Navigator has shown that Lincoln knows its way around a luxury SUV. The automaker seeks to expand its reach in this area with the upcoming Aviator, a 3-row SUV that will replace the outgoing MKT. The Aviator will be available with a gas-only powertrain or as a plug-in hybrid. The hybrid version generates a net 450 hp and more than 600 lb.-ft. of torque.

Why is it hot?

Lincoln’s Aviator plug-in hybrid provides frugal performance and jaw-dropping luxury, as well as a wealth of exciting new tech features. For example, it’s available with Lincoln’s Phone as a Key technology, which allows drivers to use a smartphone to access and start the vehicle with no key fob present.

2021 Rivian R1S and R1T

2021 Rivian R1S SUV in Green
The 2021 Rivian R1S offers both luxurious accommodations and rugged capability. (Rivian)

What is it?

Tesla currently has a lock on the market when it comes to luxury vehicles with an electric powertrain, but newcomer Rivian hopes to change that. At the L.A. Auto show, the automaker rolled out the R1S, a luxury SUV that can seat up to 7 passengers, and the R1T, an electric crew-cab pickup truck (pictured at the top of this article).

Why is it hot?

Rivian brings rugged electrified capability to the most popular segment in America. With ground clearance of nearly 14.4 inches, the R1S and R1T are built to get their tires dirty on mountain paths, and they can wade through up to 39 inches of water, according to the automaker. No need for range anxiety here, since these Rivians are capable of traveling up to 410 miles between charges. Best of all, they’re quick as a bullet train, hurtling from zero-to-60 mph in as little as 3 seconds, the automaker says.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid in Blue
The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid boasts a green powertrain and off-road-friendly capability. (Subaru)

What is it?

The Crosstrek has been a big hit for Subaru, rising to become the brand’s third best-selling model in the land since its debut for the 2013 model year. This subcompact crossover has attracted a loyal following thanks to its generous cargo capacity, pleasant ride quality, and off-road-friendly disposition. Offering a net output of 148 horsepower, the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid takes this familiar formula and gives it an eco-friendly spin.

Why is it hot?

Plug-in hybrids that have the goods to get the job done in off-road environments are relatively rare, and this is the sort of capability that this new Subaru delivers. With standard all-wheel drive and ample ground clearance, the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid is an excellent choice for environmentally conscious drivers who love exploring the great outdoors.


About the Author

  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

can be reached at wgcla@hotmail.com
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