Los Angeles Auto Show Highlights

By John Stewart

The Los Angeles Auto Show is the first of the international auto shows and, for that reason, provides an early look at some of the vehicles that could be important to SEMA-member companies in 2014. Shown here are a few of the most interesting cars and trucks. Many of these vehicles and others will be available to SEMA members for Measuring Sessions in the near future, so stay tuned.

’15 Chevrolet Colorado

Colorado Breathes Life into Midsize Truck Segment

Chevrolet unveiled the all-new ’15 Chevrolet Colorado—a midsize truck for customers who don’t require a fullsize truck. Colorado goes on sale in fall 2014. A 2.5L I-4 is standard, and a 3.6L V6 is available. Each engine is designed specifically for truck use, and each features direct injection and variable valve timing to make the most of power and efficiency. Each is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. Colorado will also offer the segment’s only diesel engine in its second year—a Duramax 2.8L I-4 turbodiesel already offered in global markets. The diesel engine will expand Colorado’s powertrain lineup to cover the broadest range of needs.

When properly equipped, the Colorado is expected to offer class-leading payload and trailering capacity of more than 6,700 lbs. The ’15 Colorado’s configurations will include an extended cab model with a 6-ft. bed, a crew cab with a 5-ft. bed and a crew cab with a 6-ft. bed. With the tailgate down, the 6-ft. bed allows hauling of 8-ft.-long items.

WT, LT and Z71 trims are available in 2WD or 4WD. The off-road-inspired Z71 is shown on the truck unveiled at the Chevrolet press conference. It also features a gunmetal grille surround—a change from the chrome standard on the other models—projector headlamps and 17-in. aluminum wheels. Safety features include an available forward collision alert system and lane departure warning.

’14 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec

Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec

Hyundai showed a sport-tuned version of the Veloster—the Turbo R-Spec—at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Turbo R-Spec is based on the aftermarket-tunable 1.6L, direct-injected, turbocharged engine, along with unique design cues, enhanced chassis tuning, a short-throw B&M Racing Sport Shifter and the lowest price point in the Veloster Turbo lineup. R-Spec production will begin in December 2013 with availability in early February 2014.

For Veloster Turbo R-Spec, sport suspension and steering settings have been retuned for optimum responsiveness, with higher spring rates and a more rigid transmission mount. On the powertrain side, R-Spec is available only with the six-speed manual transmission, and a short-throw B&M Sport Shifter has been added for a tighter, more direct shift feel.

All ’14 Veloster Turbo R-Spec and Turbo models will include Torque Vectoring Control (TVC). This active cornering feature, utilizing capabilities from the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and powertrain control systems, improves dynamic cornering during more enthusiastic driving. TVC uses wheel-speed sensors coupled with ESC algorithms to apply precise braking force to the inside front wheel during spirited cornering. This active braking redirects power to the outside front wheel in the turn, reducing wheelspin, for enhanced cornering grip and corner-exit acceleration.

Hyundai also showed an ultra-clean hydrogen fuel-cell version of the Tucson designed to launch in the spring of 2014. To address the issue of affordability, Hyundai announced a sales program of $2,999 down with payments of $499 a month, and unlimited free hydrogen refueling.

’15 Subaru WRX

’15 Subaru WRX

Among much fanfare and bursts of steam, Subaru of America unveiled the ’15 WRX—a more powerful and better-handling version of the brand’s high-performance model. Powered by a new 268-hp 2.0L direct-injection turbo boxer engine, the ’15 WRX debuts the model’s first six-speed manual transmission and a new, optional performance automatic transmission—the Sport Lineartronic with two manual modes. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard.

The world debut of the ’15 WRX marks an evolutionary step for the rally-bred performance car. The WRX will employ a new torque-vectoring system that supplements the standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, and allows for improved cornering speeds and handling. The new powertrain also yields higher fuel efficiency than the previous model. At the same time, a roomier interior, upgraded cabin comfort and materials and a wide array of new user technologies were included to give the new WRX a more refined feel.

Six-time Olympic Gold Medal winner Usain Bolt (left) helped Nissan's Fred Diaz introduce the ’15 GT-R Nismo.


Nissan emphasized performance by making the North American debut of the most powerful Nissan GT-R supercar ever—the GT-R NISMO. As the fourth model in the ’15 GT-R lineup, along with the GT-R Premium, Black Edition and Track Edition, the GT-R NISMO features extensive engine, suspension, exterior and interior enhancements. It is scheduled to be available later in 2014, following the January on-sale date of the other ’15 GT-R models. Nissan spokesperson Fred Diaz said that the GT-R NISMO would offer 600hp and be capable of blistering acceleration.

The new GT-R was joined at a press conference by the world debut of a custom-built Sentra NISMO Concept and the debut of the production version of the new ’14 Nissan JUKE NISMO RS.
The press conference also featured a surprise appearance by Usain Bolt—six-time Olympic Gold Medal winner and 100-meter world record holder. Bolt, who owns a special gold-painted Nissan GT-R, assisted Diaz in revealing the new GT-R NISMO.

’15 Kia K900

Kia’s Big Step

Marking 20 years in the U.S. market, Kia Motors America (KMA) took the wraps off its new flagship amid a packed house of media representatives from around the world at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. The all-new ’15 K900 is designed to challenge the fullsize rear-drive luxury sedan segment with an extensive list of standard equipment, world-class accommodations and refined design that will redefine consumer perception and expectations of the Kia brand.

The K900 will be offered with a V6 or V8 engine. The range-topping V8 equipped with the VIP Package will add luxury amenities, including reclining outboard rear seats. The K900 Premium V6 will launch with an available Luxury Package and Technology Package. The all-new K900 is expected to go on sale during the first quarter of 2014; pricing will be announced closer to launch.


Viper GTS Limited Edition

The Chrysler Group’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology) brand announced it will produce an exclusive, limited-run Anodized Carbon Special Edition package for the SRT Viper GTS model.

Under the hood is the handcrafted, all-aluminum 8.4L, mid-front V10 overhead-valve engine. Performance ratings are 640 hp and 600 lb.-ft. of torque—the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world, according to the Chrysler Group.

Part of the special-edition package is the new metallic matte exterior color that is being used for the first time by the Chrysler Group to add to the exclusivity of the SRT Viper.

A limited-production run of 50 Viper GTS models with the Anodized Carbon Special Edition Package begins in January 2014 at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.

Galpin Ford GTR1

1,024 HP Galpin Ford GTR1

Building on Galpin Ford’s 60 years of customizing vehicles, Galpin showed the GTR1—an ultra-high-performance mid-engine supercar based on the Ford GT. The hand-crafted all-aluminum body was constructed by concept car builder Metalcrafters. Notable components include Pirelli P-Zero tires, six-piston brakes with full carbon rotors, and 20-in. forged aluminum knock-off wheels. The car is powered by a twin-curbocharged 5.4L V8 engine that produces an estimated 1,024 hp and 739 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is a six-speed manual with dual clutch. The car is said to be capable of 0–60 acceleration in 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 225 mpg. According to Galpin, GTR1 will be extremely limited in production, with a choice of aluminum or carbon-fiber bodies.