The LA Auto Show has always been a reliable barometer of American automotive trends and the direction of future development. This year is no different, but those trends might surprise and polarise some show-goers. Large-displacement V8 engine fitted to two-and-a-half ton SUV’s is no longer the ultimate object of automotive desire, albeit they still have a strong following. Let’s look closer at how the new and the old worlds collide at the 2019 LA Auto Show.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Ford Mustang is perhaps the most recognisable muscle car model as it always carried that name plate through the ages on a two-door coupe with V8 under the hood. So, for purists, this new all-electric SUV being released by Ford under the Mustang name is nothing short of sacrilege. For the rest of us, however, this is a welcome addition to the increasingly competitive electric SUV market. Why should Tesla Motors have all the fun with their soon to be available Model Y? It’s not like its the prettiest car out there anyway.
Audi E-tron Sportback
Speaking a beautiful SUVs, Audi has revealed a coupe shape version of their E-tron. Coupe SUVs have entered the automotive world in recent years as an attempt to suit the tastes of those who want a sports car but still want to literally look down on everyone else on the road. They have been a roaring success and a somewhat lazy way for car manufacturers to make more money without additional R&D. This one is different. While mostly identical to the regular E-tron, the E-tron Sportback has been made to go further on a charge, thanks to improved aerodynamics, new motor management software with a rear-wheel drive option, and some lighter componentry.
Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid
If the Toyota RAV4 is going electric, then you know there is no turning back. The RAV4 is perhaps the most important model of this Japanese automaker when it comes to the US market, as it has been the best selling SUV for many years now. When you dominate a crowded segment, you weigh decisions carefully and experiment reluctantly. So when a plug-in version is released, you know it had to be done. Able to travel 37 miles on electricity alone and with a combined system power output just shy of 300 horsepower, this RAV4 is the most powerful Toyota has ever built.
2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63
If you don’t want anything to do with electric tech and wish the return of the good old days, rejoyce! The Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 continues the tradition of ridiculously powerful full-size SUVs with a planet-killing V8 block under the hood. Mind you, while the 600-horsepower beast will come with a bit of carbon footprint, its fitted with a 48-volt mild hybrid system that allows the engine to harvest some of the energy lost during breaking and use it to power auxiliary systems. It’s also the kind of thing that allows SUVs like this to even exist in today’s world of internal combustion engines mercilessly choke-chained by emission restrictions. Not all is lost quite yet.