Coverage of the latest production cars, concept vehicle, and tech trends from Los Angeles

The Consumer Reports Cars team was in Los Angeles in force, covering the 2015 LA Auto Show, meeting with industry leaders, and taking first drives. Highlights from this major new-car event is posted here, including notable all-new models and concept cars. In addition, the team has shared tech trends and first drives in our car news.

Get the latest news and show coverage by following us on Twitter @CRCars.


2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo claims this car has a “new platform and new engines,” but what’s more impressive is that the 505-horsepower Giulia Quadrifoglio zipped around the notorious Nürburgring race track in Germany 13 seconds faster than any production sedan before it—and faster than Porsches, McLarens, and Lamborghinis. At a starting price around $70,000, the twin-turbo V6 Quadrifoglio edition will be a fierce competitor to the Audi S4 and BMW M3, with a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 191 mph. The Giulia line will have more mainstream editions as well, starting with the base 276-hp model at around $40,000. The fit and finish appear solid, with the soft-click rheostats of the scroll-knobs feeling premium when they fall to hand. The exhaust note of the Quadrifoglio sounds burbly and delicious.

The Giulia will arrive in showrooms in summer 2016, with the Quadrifoglio debuting about a month before the rest of the model line. The Giulia will be offered in a choice of rear- and all-wheel drive.


2016 BMW M2

BMW is making sure that top-level performance is also available in a small package. Herein is the 2016 BMW M2, equipped with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that gets a turbo boost to the tune of 365 hp. Gearheads will appreciate that a six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive are standard. Those who are phobic to leg-induced clutching can opt for a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. BMW says that the M2 will rocket to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds with the automatic and 4.4 seconds with the manual. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

Infotainment fun comes via the optional ConnectedDrive Services and apps, which includes the GoPro app and the M Laptimer app. Aimed for those taking their cars to tracks, the Laptimer records the car’s speed, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, engine’s speed, the gear engaged at any one time, steering angle, accelerator position, and fuel consumption. You can also compare laps with others drivers and share the data by email or Facebook. We loved testing the BMW M235i and imagine that the new M2 is simply more of a good thing.


2017 Buick LaCrosse

The redesign of the brand’s LaCrosse flagship comes on a new structure that helps reduce the sedan’s weight by 300 pounds, wrapped in exterior styling that kindly borrows from the Chevrolet Impala. Although the footprint of the LaCrosse stays basically the same, Buick stretched the wheelbase by three inches for more passenger space. Even storage is grand, with the trunk capable of swallowing four golf bags. Under the hood, a revised 3.6-liter V6 makes 305 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available. The rear suspension changes from a four-link to a five-link design. Inside, there’s a floating center console, an 8-inch touchscreen with fewer buttons, and an infotainment system that plays with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2017 Cadillac XT5

An all-new name kick starts the growing crossover lineup with the 2017 Cadillac XT5. Replacing the dated SRX, the XT5 claims a slightly larger size with reduced weight. In the sea of Cadillac reinvention, the XT5 will have the 3.6-liter V6 engine found in the Cadillac ATS, CTS, and CT6 sedans, while also employing start/stop technology to achieve better fuel consumption. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, as well as an electronically controlled transmission shifter. The interior is simplified in an attempt to reflect the brand’s new goal of modern sophistication. It will feature infotainment already present in new Cadillacs, but the XT5 will be one of the first crossover in the industry to offer a digital rear-camera monitor system for the rearview mirror.

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Larger, lighter, and roomier than the 2015 model, the new Chevrolet Cruze is powered by a new 153-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (with a standard fuel-saving stop/start system) hooked up to either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. GM estimates that the automatic version will return 40 mpg on the highway and deliver a highway cruising range of 530 miles. Improving the gas engine’s fuel economy and adding more room to the rear seat should also answer a few of our past criticisms.

The new Cruze gets a standard MyLink radio with a 7-inch touch screen, along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Available safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, and forward-collision alert. A rearview camera is standard. Boasting a sticker price that’s just about $2,000 less than a 2016 Honda Civic LX, it’s clear that Chevrolet is coming out swinging. The all-new 2016 Cruze goes on sale next spring, starting at $17,495. A diesel model is said to follow in 2017.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The collaboration between Mazda and Fiat to share the latest MX-5 roadster platform sees its Italian iteration with the Fiat 124 Spider. But the Spider is more than a rebadged Miata. The Fiat carries a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder MultiAir engine from the Fiat stable that generates 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, to be paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. While that’s a smaller engine than the Mazda’s non-turbo 2-liter, the Fiat makes more horsepower and torque. Both the Fiat and Mazda share a front double-wishbone and rear multi-link suspension, although they will be tuned differently to reflect the brands’ sensibilities. The Fiat will be built at Mazda’s Hiroshima, Japan, plant and go on sale in summer 2016.

See our first drive in the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata with video.

2017 Ford Escape

Making the scene at the LA Auto Show, the updated Ford Escape is boasting new technology in near every aspect of the compact crossover. From two new EcoBoost engines with start/stop technology, active park-assist, adaptive cruise control, and forward-collision warning with automatic braking, the Escape revisions are more about safe and efficient stopping than being the compact SUV that makes “customers feel unstoppable.” The Escape will be the first Ford product to feature SYNC Connect, a late-to-the-game smartphone app that allows owners to lock and unlock their Escape, remotely start the engine, and track location via GPS by cell phone. The freshened engines are the 1.5-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost and optional 2.0-liter turbo offering more horsepower and torque. Also look for a new Sport Appearance package, optional on the SE and Titanium trims.

2016 Honda Civic Coupe

The Honda Civic gets an all-new coupe design as it kicks off its 10th generation for 2016. Set to be available before the end of 2015, the new Civic Coupe is longer than the previous generation coupe and consequently boasts an increase in total cabin space and rear passenger legroom. The fastback profile and sharpened front end are reminiscent of some Acura siblings of generations past, and the sporty lines are accented by LED daytime running lights and taillights. The Civic Coupe will get its first turbocharged powertrain on higher-end trims with a 1.5-liter direct-injected engine with 174 horsepower, while lower-end trims will get the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine with 158 horsepower. Both engines are standard issue for the Civic sedan.

See our complete first drive in the 2016 Honda Civic with video.

via consumer reports