Los Angeles Auto Show hits and misses

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Automotive News let its resolutely bureau-bound news editor Krishnan M. Anantharaman go to a car show and write about motor vehicles, completely without supervision. What now? A fully electric pick-up?

HIT: Rivian R1T

I wanted to say no to this idea of ​​an electric pickup – who needs it? – but he kept looking up at me with those big round eyes and that silly smile. Do not tell my children, but I admitted. And I give Rivian the honor of studying in stealth mode for nine years to study and control the peculiar needs of lifestyle pickup and family SUV markets, rather than just half a million -dollar electric two-seater which he will never sell. Such a contemplative time leads to surpassing performance specifications (range of 400-plus-mile) and playful touches, such as the gear tunnel on the pick-up and the unfolded flashlight inserted into the driver's door of the accompanying SUV. When the pair is built – Rivian has the money, the factory and the smarts to get it done and plans a late 2020 launch for the pickup – it can give Jeep and Range Rover customers something they had: way to get up in the world and still show that they care about the habitats they walk through.

MISS: Honda Passport

The 2019 passport, a revival of Honda's first SUV nameplate, was designed and built for adventure in all weather and off-road. I know this because the press release said that, and there was mud in one of the photo's that I saw. On the exhibition floor, however, the vehicle seems to have been designed for a trip to the public library, as if it were a bit eager to fit unobtrusively between the CR-V and Pilot. Not that something is wrong with that. It is better to be subdued and capable than the opposite. But the conservative, almost dated styling here, inside and out, is a missed opportunity for Honda, who could have stamped his passport with a visual reference to his badass sports bikes and ATVs. The passport fills a space in the cross-over line-up, and its 3.5-liter V-6 engine should gain some attention, but it can be difficult to break through models like Toyota's RAV4. Adventure trim, which generously draws off the brand trends off-road champions, or the upcoming Ford Bronco.

Mazda3

SO-SO: Mazda3

Our little dream car for teenagers is now all grown up, with a sparer, more premium interior and a truly innovative combustion engine. It's a smarter, more confident car, sure and completely in line with Mazda's up-to-date spin. But when the cheeks of the Mazda3 were full, it seems that it has lost part of its Kodo mojo. Gone are the tendons that have made the Mazda profile distinctive among sedans and even crossovers. Mazda calls this an evolved version of Kodo design, in which clean, beautiful designs are combined with a delicate play of light and reflections & # 39 ;. But unless the light is just right, and especially on the hatchback, the clean shaved folds make the Mazda3 look more 2D, less emotional.

HIT: Kia Soul

Keep doing what you're doing, Kia. We know it can be a rut to be a specialist in small cars in the current market, but the 2020 Soul continues to show a truck-obsessed market how much more fun a cheap car can be as a form of personal expression, even if it is shaped like a cardboard box on top of another cardboard box on swivel wheels. While young people inevitably revolt against their parents and the columns of crossovers for biscuits and cutters, the Soul has them well armed with six trim levels, plus an electric variant, the need for personalization and technical touches, such as charging and mood of a cordless telephone, feeds lighting. Slender headlights, reminiscent of a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet, a slightly modified roofline and cargo transhipment improvements, mark the 2020 as a redesigned model, but in general Kia has retained what works.

Hyundai Palisade

SO-ZO: Hyundai Palisade

The Hyundai design team promised to abandon the philosophy of Russian pop design and make crossovers that differ from each other. Certainly, the three rows Palisade does not look like his stable companions and is a worthy new flagship for the brand, that its luxury cars have been lost to Genesis. On the other hand, the Palisade looks a lot like competitors like the Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse, boxy and big. The Palisade is a coup for Hyundai's efforts to keep its small car and small crossover buyers in check as their families grow, in a way that the cramped Santa Fe XL could not. Thanks to the space they have, they can skip the minivan phase altogether. But it will be difficult for this latecomer to overtake the Explorer, Traverse and Toyota Highlander.

MISS: Volvo … nothing

Speaking of cardboard boxes, what happened to the Volvo exhibition on the first day of the media preview, without vehicles? It was nice to have at least something – an arrangement of Amazon packages designed to demonstrate a delivery to the suitcase, made possible by Volvo's telematics application. But I prefer to have my Swedish furniture removed from the box and assembled first for me, please.

HIT: Jeep Gladiator

It is a jeep. It's a pick-up. And it is here. Any questions? Yes, the doors, the roof and the windshield are all coming loose. Wait a second. Any other questions?