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Highlights From the Los Angeles Auto Show

by Clarence D. Staley

It’s always sunny in Los Angeles

Paris is over, Detroit is on the freezing cold horizon and Geneva is just a Swiss dream in the far off future. But dropped right in before the Holiday onslaught, the Los Angeles Auto show, now in its 103rd year, is one of the best of the year. The weather is great, and as car towns go, the City of Angels is the ne plus ultra. While the LA show doesn’t have the sheer amount of crazy concepts as its European counterparts, there is something for everyone.

Launch the gallery here for our highlights of the show.

Subaru Impreza Concept

Subaru’s “Confidence in Motion” design and brand strategy debuts on the new Impreza concept. We like the four-door coupe design and the sweeping lines, as well as the changes under the new sheet metal—the next generation Boxer engine and an all-new CVT transmission. After a few polarizing designs, Subie’s hit the right blend of quirky and future-luxe.

2012 Range Rover Evoque Five-Door

Range Rover showed the Evoque three-door at the Paris show earlier fall; now it’s time to take the sheet off the five-door version. We like the bigger brother more than its smaller sibling.

2012 Mazda5

While it may not seem like an exciting ride—really, it’s a small 5-door minivan—the Mazda5 is the shape of things to come. With rising gas prices and stricter emissions standards, smaller family cars—like this and the Ford C-Max we wrote about in Paris— will become common. Shown last year at Geneva and making its North American debut in LA, the Mazda5 gets a little bigger and more powerful, with a 157-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a choice of manual or automatic transmission. This could be a sweet and—gasp—tunable family car.

Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet

A few “what tha heck?” cars pop up at every show, and here it’s the 2011 Nissan Murano Convertible. With a lot of cajoling and some serious design and custom work, Nissan turned a basic Murano CUV into a swell-looking, weirdly likeable roadster.

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Mitsubishi finally revealed the North American version of its heretofore Japan-only all-electric i-MiEV, which is set to go on sale in the US next year. The i-MiEV is larger than its Japanese-market counterpart by 11.2 inches in length, 4.3 inches in width, and is priced to compete with the Nissan Leaf and the new Honda electric Fit.

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