SUVs are back at LA Auto Show

The LA Auto Show will attract big crowds this week to see the latest models, from Chevrolet to Ferrari. DnA went down to the convention center to find out what’s getting buzz this year.

The LA Auto Show will attract big crowds this holiday week to see the latest models, from Chevrolet to Ferrari. DnA went down to the convention center to find out what’s getting buzz this year.

A lot of people are talking about Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio, an SUV built by the famed Italian car maker better known for its zippy sports cars. We were brought to this car by Tim Stevens, editor-in-chief of CNET’s Road Show. He says it represents this year’s big trend.

Alfa Romeo's Stelvio electric SUV.
Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio electric SUV.

“We’re seeing a lot of SUVs this year, and the Stelvio is definitely a very interesting thing because this is an SUV from an Italian performance car company, really targeted to the American market,” Stevens said. “And so this is kind of emblematic of the industry. We’re seeing a lot of SUV and crossovers on the show floor this year and this one is showing that SUVs don’t have to be the typical offroader thing, they don’t have to be the typical thing for taking the kids to school or going to soccer practice. They can be a really emotional car, a performance car and ultimately a beautiful car.”

Maria Rodriguez with Jaguar Land Rover, in front of the new I-Pace electric concept car.
Maria Rodriguez with Jaguar Land Rover, in front of the new I-Pace electric concept car.

Jaguar has also developed their first electric concept vehicle, the I-Pace. It has a 220 mile range on its 90 kilowatt battery, and has a zero to 60 time of around four seconds.

“A lot of people with a lot of disposable income will buy a very nice Jaguar sports car or an Alfa Romeo sports car, perhaps. But they’ll drive on Sunday and then they’ll buy an SUV that they’ll take to work every day, maybe a Land Rover. These companies want you to have a Jaguar on the left side of your garage and a Jaguar on the right side of your garage so that you are covered every day of the week,” Stevens said.

DnA's Frances Anderton test-drives a new Acura, using virtual reality technology.
DnA’s Frances Anderton test-drives a new Acura, using virtual reality technology.

But will the incoming Trump administration, which has repudiated concerns over climate change, continue to subsidize the fledgling electric car industry?

“The Trump administration is not exactly in support of trying to stop climate change, and ultimately a lot of emissions regulations were really put in place with the idea of dropping carbon emissions and ultimately helping to slow down climate change. And so for that reason these EVs are getting incentivized by the government to help reduce the overall emissions from cars in the U.S. So from that perspective there’s definitely reason for pessimism as this new administration is coming into office,” Stevens said.

“But the Trump administration also has made it very clear they want to reduce foreign dependency on foreign oil. And ultimately they also want to bolster production of coal in the U.S. as well. And those two things actually would benefit the market because ultimately a battery-powered car is not burning any foreign oil and may be burning electricity that was generated from burning coal. And so those two things could actually result in us having even more incentive to be buying battery-powered electric cars in the U.S., even if we’re not talking about the environment so much, and we’re now talking about the economy instead.”