Part II of our take on the Los Angeles Auto Show, where SUVs rule the world.
This is where we are headed, folks. We need room, but want good fuel economy. The auto show saw the introduction of SUVs ranging from subcompact to extra large. A little something for everyone.
2018 Chevrolet Equinox
The Chevrolet Equinox has done well for itself, with over two million units sold since it was introduced, and laying claim to the second best-selling Chevrolet product behind the Silverado pickup truck. For 2018, the Equinox has been redesigned, and now resembles more of the family, with sculpted areas now seen in the Volt, Cruze and Malibu. Standard projector beam headlamps, LED DRLs, and horizontal taillamps are spotter’s guides to the new model. Inside features a new flat-folding rear seat for easier loading. Because it’s been redesigned, Chevy was able to add a host of safety technologies, such as Surround Vision, Forward Collision Alert, low-speed auto braking, blind zone alert and lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning. For power, the Equinox offers three turbocharged engines, including a turbo-diesel. The new 2018 Equinox is about 400 pounds lighter than the previous model, which usually translates to better fuel economy, but no numbers will be released until the Equinox goes on sale sometime early next year.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV
Alfa Romeo is working on upping its presence in the U.S. with the introduction of its third model, an SUV called Stelvio. It will share the same platform as the Giulia sedan, as well as the same engine lineup, and is the first SUV ever from Alfa Romeo. The Stelvio (so named for a famous driving road, the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps) is mid size, and comes in base, Ti, and a high-performance version called Quadrifoglio. The first two models feature an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine good for 280 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, while the Quad will get a 2.9-liter biturbo V6 that makes 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Standard on all models is a Q4 all-wheel-drive system, selectable drive modes, a chassis dynamics setup called Chassis Domain Control, and a mechanical limited-slip differential (why isn’t this electronic?). Designwise, the Stelvio is Alfa Romeo all the way: family grille, low to the ground, big rear haunches, and a sporty hood with air intakes. A-R also is offering two different packages for the Stelvio: the Sport and Lusso, which provide a variety of different options. Go for the Quadrifoglio and you’ll get high-performance leather with Alcantara front seats, leather IP and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and carbon-fiber interior trim, among other things. The on-sale date is first half next year, but no pricing has been announced yet.
2017 Jeep Renegade Deserthawk
The Jeep Renegade is a cute yet capable off-road compact ute that’s doing well in sales. As we’ve said before, if some is good, more is better. Hence, the new Deserthawk, which features a desert theme to emphasize the Renegade’s ability to tackle any environment. On sale later this month, the ‘hawk features painted black 17-inch wheels, unique hood and rear body decals, rock rails, and a Trailer Tow Group package. You can also choose one of three colors, white, black or the exclusive Mojave Sand, for those who literally want to get lost out there. Inside you’ll get black leather seats, light accent stitching, all-weather floormats and a cargo tray mat. FCA has priced this one at $28,140, about a $1,500 bump from the top line Trailhawk.
2017 Jeep Renegade Altitude
For those who prefer the mountains over the desert, opt for the new Renegade Altitude. It offers a blackout look with 18-inch gloss black wheels, accents, grille rings, and taillamp rings. Inside is more black — a LOT more black — on seats and trim. Metal Diamond accents touch assorted interior items like the door handles and shifter knobs. The Altitude is based on the Latitude, the second level of six trims in the Renegade lineup. At $22,390, it’s only a $1,000 added cost to the Latitude’s base price.
2017 Jeep Compass
Old Compass not so good; new Compass, much better looking. For those who have trouble sizing up the Jeeps, the Grand Cherokee is the papa bear, the Cherokee is the mama bear, the Compass is the brother bear, and the Renegade is the baby bear. The Patriot is waiting for its transformation still. The all-new Compass will be powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark I4 that makes 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or two different automatics. Both a 4×2 and 4×4 model will be available, and the 4WD model will be as capable off road as any other Jeep, which is to say, extremely. Compass will share the Trailhawk name with the rest of the family. Inside, the Compass is familiar territory to newer Jeep owners, with an LCD center screen traditional console-mounted shifter, and three-spoke steering wheel. Accent trim on the available leather seats looks good as well. No pricing has been announced yet, or exactly when the vehicle will go on sale next year, but it should do well if it comes in at the right price.