Monday, November 21, 2016

The New and Refreshed Small Cars from the LA Auto Show

Ford EcoSport - LA Auto Show

Our friend, Sean Murphy, attended the LA Auto Show and photographed some updated models from the event. Here are some quick takes:

By Sean Murphy

Ford EcoSport

This is Ford's late entry into a growing market of subcompact crossovers, it is also a very compelling entry. It boasts features you will not see on other cars in its class and a few that are shared with only a few models. First up is the engine line up, you have a choice of 1.0L EcoBoost or 2.0L natural aspirated engines, only an automatic transmission is confirmed right now and AWD only on the 2.0L. The most unique feature is the swing open rear door allowing easy access to the generous cargo volume of the EcoSport. Even small in size it is large in cargo space. The interior is average for a car of its class with supportive and upright seats and decent passenger volume. The infotainmet has an optional 8" floating touch screen, it is easy to read and access but its placement seems out of place like you have a tablet just sitting up off the dash. There was not a chance to drive but it should be available soon for a behind the wheel impression.

EcoSport rear door

Chevrolet Spark ACTIV

Yellow Chevrolet Spark ACTIV

This is pretty much a Chevy Spark that has a small lift, roof rack built in, and unpainted bumpers. The seating position does not feel different, the interior is the same, really the only change is external. Up close it almost feels like less of a car with the rough unfinished plastic of the bumpers.

Chevrolet Spark ACTIV rear

Toyota Yaris iA, Toyota iM and Toyota 86 

Toyota Corolla iM

The Scion line is dead and it took the tC coupe with it. The models that survived are all now Toyotas and some have new names. With the iA being folded into the Toyota line it has taken on a partially new name, going back to its roots it is now the Yaris iA to tie it to the decent selling Yaris hatch. No other changes are moving forward though, just T badges in place of S badges, still a Mazda under the skin. Toyota did update the FR-S with a new face and a new name, Toyota 86, calling back to its predecessor and the boxer engine under the hood. Unlike the Yaris iA or 86, the Toyota Corolla iM moves over with nothing more than new badges, unlike the Corolla that has a fresh face and new technology.

Kia Niro Hybrid and Soul Turbo

Kia Niro Hybrid

Kia has one new model and one big refresh at the LA Auto Show. The all new Niro Hybrid is Kia's first dedicated hybrid model. With a 1.6L hybrid engine matted to a six-speed dual clutch transmission pushing 146 HP and 195 lbs ft of torque. It has a Kia's style and substance in a compact package. MPG is expected to hit 50 MPG combined.

Kia Soul Turbo

Refreshed for 2017, the Kia Soul adds a new trim level and engine, turbo! Using a 201 HP 1.6L turbo engine matted to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, this Soul is build to move. Adding unique style to an already unique car the turbo offers a dual tip exhaust, turbo badging, and trim specific interior. Expect both on sale at the start of 2017.

Kia Soul Turbo - rear

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