2017 L.A. Auto Show: Day 1 Highlights

LA Auto Show 1

Not surprisingly, there were no world or U.S. debuts of new pickup trucks at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, but there was plenty to see. Below are just some of the things that caught our eye that could impact current or future pickup design and engineering.

Here's what we found on Day One. We'll look for more finds like these during Day Two of the show's press preview.

 

More Terror From Mercedes

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We've seen the impressive Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagens climb steel mountains at auto shows for a few years now, but this is the first time we've seen it outdoors — last time was indoors at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. The "tower of terror" is supposed to give passengers — showgoers don't get to drive — an idea of how capable the G-Wagen is. It also gives you a great view of the convention center rooftops.

 

Another Subaru Pickup?

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Subaru is not the first name that comes to mind when talking pickups, but Subaru is celebrating 50 years in the U.S. and its booth reminded us that it did have two impressive pickups in its past. The 1978 Brat sported two bed seats with lap belts and was produced for 15 years, and the 2003 Baja — one of the many car-based pickups that never seemed to sell well in the U.S. — which was produced for just four years. Could it be time to try again?

 

Gobs of Traction

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We could sit next to the GMC Sierra 2500 All Mountain concept all day. It has a tall and strong presence, even when not moving, and more traction at the ready than a bulldozer. But we're guessing the road noise and presumably poor fuel economy would be impractical for a long-term relationship. And then there's the price: for this one, add about $10,000 per wheel to its base price.

 

Tesla Pickup With a Hitch

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We've been hearing there is a huge ordering backlog on trailer hitches for Tesla's Model X SUV, so we were glad to see one in the Tesla booth. In our opinion, the hitch needs to be upgraded when Tesla eventually produces a pickup. There will be plenty of challenges for a full-electric pickup — think towing, payload and off-road performance — but Tesla will need this hitch sorted out first if it wants to be a serious contender in the pickup market.

 

Feeling Blue

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The previous photos we posted of the 2018 Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport did not do its color justice. The color is absolutely striking in person. We got a closer look at the special edition and some additional photos. Pricing will start at just more than $47,000 for a crew cab with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, but it will be available in both 4x4 or 4x2, and with or without the RamBox and four-corner air suspension.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

 

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Comments

Absolutely --- bring out a Subaru pickup, but only if the 3.6 motor is available and a six speed manual trans is the base package.

The 2.5 twin turbo with a six speed twin clutch trans would make a great upgrade package with 0-60 times in the five second range.

The Ridgeline would have nothing to compare.

Honda is the best. Subaru is for losers.

@Mark Williams
The fact that Subaru dropped the mini Pickup from it's offerings suggests the very low demand for it globally ,compared to it's SUV's.
As well the 1 tonne Pickup segment has gone through the roof. Subaru was never a competitor in BOF Pickups


We've been hearing there is a huge ordering backlog on trailer hitches for Tesla's Model X SUV, so we were glad to see one in the Tesla booth. In our opinion, the hitch needs to be upgraded when Tesla eventually produces a pickup.
There will be plenty of challenges for a full-electric pickup — think towing, payload and off-road performance — but Tesla will need this hitch sorted out first if it wants to be a serious contender in the pickup market
/QUOTE

Me thinks Tesla will destroy all competition with their pickup

https://youtu.be/cmGz7HPgyJ8

Tesla will destroy Chevy.

I am not too sure how a Subaru pickup will do, but it could do better than many think it would. Subaru is on a hot streak and has had steady growth. If the price were not too high and it were a true compact pickup maybe. Hyundai is the one to watch if they decide to actually make the Santa Cruz concept and offer an extended cab. If Hyundai succeeded with a compact truck then Subaru and some other manufacturers might introduce a compact truck. I just cannot see Subaru being the first to reintroduce a compact truck. Subaru can't keep up with the demand for Outback and some of their other suv type vehicles. Subaru has plans to get out of the outdoor power equipment business and other like businesses and concentrate all their efforts on vehicles. Subaru makes a good engine for outdoor equipment, but Honda has a larger share of that market along with Briggs & Stratton and Kohler.

@papajim--Honda makes excellent outdoor trimmers and power washers.

@Trucker
A question not asked. SUV's yes and fast small sedans., Yes

Zero to sixty in the five second range---you're saying there's no market for a midsize pickup that can smoke the average muscle car in the boulevard racing wars?

My granddad would always buy last years pickups after the new models came out. The dealer always wanted to get rid of those trucks and for cash they were more than willing to sell him the truck.

"Subaru is not the first name that comes to mind when talking pickups, but Subaru is celebrating 50 years in the U.S. and its booth reminded us that it did have two impressive pickups in its past. The 1978 Brat sported two bed seats with lap belts and was produced for 15 years, and the 2003 Baja — one of the many car-based pickups that never seemed to sell well in the U.S. — which was produced for just four years. Could it be time to try again?"

---- They would have sold more if they'd kept it on showroom floors just one more year. Ended up buying a Wrangler BECAUSE the Baja had been dropped.

as for that blue Ram... I like the grill; nicely understated. But that bloated hood...!

The fact that Subaru dropped the mini Pickup from it's offerings suggests the very low demand for it globally

@Robt Ryan

you conveniently leave out key factors in the "death" of Subaru's last attempt in that market.

1. Sluggish economy in 2007 & 2008
2. Inefficient dealer network

@papajim--It's not Honda's problem Subaru is inefficient. I am not going to judge the Ridgeline or the people that buy it. I will leave the judging up to you since you like to judge others.

@Trucker

take a look in the mirror. You keep posting under different ID's. So pathetic. How's Australia these days (or is it Saudi Arabia)?

Subaru is doing great, by the way. During the last five years their products have been a hit with consumers in the US. Their dealers couldn't be happier.

An AWD compact pickup with a sporty street racer cred would build on their current success with the turbo Boxer engines.

And another thing. Subaru has just introduced a 3 row SUV called the Ascent. Given the choice of building just another small or midsize, they chose a full size three row model because it's want families want.

Sorry BAFO.

Oh and by the way, Big Al, the US economy is setting records for consumer confidence and continued growth in the financial markets. Please call Ms LaGarde and let her know.

Another Subaru car with a bed... well for the small pretend non working truck market it makes lots of sense, annnnd Subaru does it every now and then and they always kinda come and go without much notice. While car based little trucks are a far smarter choice for most than little body on frame trucks the car based ones lack the vanity cool that is the cornerstone of the little pretend truck market.

the car based ones lack the vanity cool that is the cornerstone of the little pretend truck market.

@Clint

the zero to sixty cred is real though. Blowing by Raptors in suburban boulevard traffic is definitely cool

Papa- I did not think you were into turbos?

I do agree this truck would be a sweet addition. I wish there were more Foreign trucks in the truck mix. I remember years ago, when my wife was buying a Honda car, the dealership told us Honda was looking at doing a V8 full size pick up. apparently that never happened.

-CT

@Road Whale--True, but I don't anticipate Subaru getting into the pickup truck business anytime soon. I doubt Subaru would develop a full size pickup to compete with Ford,GM, and Ram--that is being done by Toyota and Nissan with less than stellar results. As for a midsize truck maybe but not that likely because then they would compete with Toyota, GM, Nissan, and soon Ford. Possibly compact truck based on one of their existing vehicles (not body on frame) but then Subaru might be waiting to see if Hyundai decides to make a Santa Cruz and if so how success it will be. Subaru does have one of the best all wheel drive systems and a solid boxer engine but I believe they might be waiting to see what the competition does. So far it is speculation and until Subaru announces that they will make a truck I wouldn't hold my breath. These are just my opinions but Subaru is doing very well with their suvs especially the Outback.

@Robert Ryan--Subaru's cars are not doing that well and there is talk of them dropping their cars. Subaru's suvs on the other hand are hot commodities and they cannot make enough of them.

"And another thing. Subaru has just introduced a 3 row SUV called the Ascent. Given the choice of building just another small or midsize, they chose a full size three row model because it's want families want." ---- Posted by: papajim


Let's wait and see how they sell before we make that statement, papa. While I agree with your earlier one about the economy and inefficient dealerships, I don't necessarily agree with your other arguments. There's no proof yet that these oversized crossovers are really that desirable; it's the compact to mid-sized market that seems to really be holding. These 3-row things can't help but grow from near zero sales but will they grow enough to even come close to dominating the crossover market? Bigger is not always better, especially when so much usable space is wasted by un-used seating.

"Another Subaru car with a bed... well for the small pretend non working truck market it makes lots of sense, annnnd Subaru does it every now and then and they always kinda come and go without much notice. While car based little trucks are a far smarter choice for most than little body on frame trucks the car based ones lack the vanity cool that is the cornerstone of the little pretend truck market." ---- Posted by: Clint

Did you know that "the little pretend truck market" is wide open and NEEDS product, especially here in the US? Not everyone needs or wants something the size of even the current round of mid-sized trucks. Sure, in some countries the kei trucks are popular, but they're limited to 35mph and not legal for operation on, for instance, expressways. There IS demand for the Fiat Strada/Ram 700; there IS demand for the Chevy Tornado/GM Montana. A properly-designed and styled compact truck would impact the compact- to mid-sized CUV market while having next to no impact on the full-sized pickup market.

"Subaru does have one of the best all wheel drive systems and a solid boxer engine but I believe they might be waiting to see what the competition does. So far it is speculation and until Subaru announces that they will make a truck I wouldn't hold my breath. These are just my opinions but Subaru is doing very well with their suvs especially the Outback." ---- Posted by: Jeff S

---- While I agree that Subaru has one of the best, I've become quite enamored of the Fiat AWD system as I have seen and felt it in operation over the last year under a Jeep Renegade. Subaru's system works reasonably well but I think Fiat's system may now have it beat.

"Subaru's cars are not doing that well and there is talk of them dropping their cars. Subaru's suvs on the other hand are hot commodities and they cannot make enough of them." ---- Posted by: Jeff S


I don't really think you can call the Outback package an SUV; SUW (wagon) maybe, but they're not quite SUVs. After all, they're based on the wagon version of the Legacy while the Crosstrek seems based on the Impreza. The Forester seems to be the only true SUV but even that's little more than a boxy version of the Crosstrek by appearances. It seems fun AND functional are becoming the fad of the day and jacked-up station wagons are the most popular, short of pickup trucks.

@Road Whale--Ok, crossover. Subaru is doing extremely well in both crossovers and suvs and has a very loyal following. Not familiar with the Fiat all wheel drive except Jeep, but from what I have heard they have an awesome system that puts many others to shame. Seems that if Subaru does a truck it should contain both the boxer engine and their all wheel drive system which draw many to Subaru. That is their strength along with having some of the best advertising of any vehicle. A compact pickup with a boxer engine and Subaru's all wheel drive could sell, but my opinion is that they will not do anything until they see what a manufacturer like Hyundai does with the Santa Cruz concept. I don't see Fiat bringing their compact pickup to the US anytime soon unless Hyundai does it and becomes successful. Not saying there is not a market for a compact truck but it has to be priced right and properly marketed. My opinion is that until Subaru builds a concept and displays it at a major auto show that nothing will happen. Hyundai's decision to build the Santa Cruz could change things.

Bigger is not always better, especially when so much usable space is wasted by un-used seating. Posted by: RoadWhale™ | Dec 1, 2017

@roadwhale

Let's be serious for a second.

Last year American consumers bought over 160,000 new Suburbans, Tahoes, Yukons and Ford Expeditions. That total does not include all the people who bought one of the above models as a used car.

Your assertion is bunk.

Bigger is not always better, especially when so much usable space is wasted by un-used seating. Posted by: RoadWhale™ | Dec 1, 2017

@roadwhale

Let's be serious for a second.

Last year American consumers bought over 160,000 new Suburbans, Tahoes, Yukons and Ford Expeditions. That total does not include all the people who bought one of the above models as a used car.

Your assertion is bunk.

I don't really think this is so much a matter of bigger is better or smaller is better. It is more of what Subaru does best and what those who buy a Subaru want. Subaru cannot compete with Ford, GM, and Ram on full size trucks but if they use their boxer engine and all wheel drive and make a very good competitive truck whether this truck is compact or midsize. Subaru already has the platforms that could be made into a pickup. I don't think going head to head with Ford, GM, and Ram with a body on frame V-8 powered half ton will get much nor will coming out with a midsize Ridgeline competitor will be that successful. Something that is more unique but priced more competitively that would utilize their engines and drive trains. Maybe an extended cab compact truck with a bigger bed than the Brat or the Baja. Getting the right price and features that will appeal to buyers is critical. Too expensive and it will be a dud. I don't see Subaru doing anything for now but that could change if Hyundai decides to make a truck. Hyundai needs a truck more than Subaru with their declining sedan sales and their crossover sales which are OK but not as good as their competitors. Hyundai needs a real product win more than Subaru does.

@papajim
The Subaru Pickup died globally, just not in the US. Sluggish economies had nothing to do with it.

@Jeff S
That is what I inferred in my first post.

@Robert Ryan--I wasn't sure. I don't think even the midsize pickup market would be a good fit for Subaru especially with Ford reentering it with the Ranger. Subaru doesn't really need a pickup, it is doing well with crossovers and suvs.

especially with Ford reentering it with the Ranger

@Jeff S

What are you thinking, Jeff?

Ford is bringing a ten year old design to the US after bugging out back in 2011. The so-called Global Ranger aka T6 is going to outdated before it gets to US showrooms.

Subaru has an exciting selection of AWD drivetrains with turbo engines and a 3.6 liter boxer six cylinder. What's Ford going to bring?

@papa jim--Have you seen a prototype of a Subaru truck? I haven't. When we see a prototype then we will know if Subaru is interested in reentering the truck market. Ford is releasing the Ranger and whether you like it the Ranger will be competitive. There are enough Ford loyalists along with others that will buy the Ranger. Also the fleet sales will be sizable as they currently are with Colorado and Tacoma. I doubt the Ranger will be exactly like the T6 just as the US Colorado was not exactly like the Global Colorado. There also will be a Jeep pickup released.

I did not say that Subaru will never make another pickup, but that it is not likely in the near future. Hyundai at least has a prototype of the Santa Cruz that has been exhibited at auto shows. Hyundai is the one to watch because that could determine if other manufacturers who currently don't offer a truck will.

@papa jim--I have nothing against a Subaru pickup, I just don't see Subaru making one in the near future. If Subaru did come out with a compact extended cab pickup with a bigger bed than its past offerings I might buy one myself especially with a 6 speed manual.

@Jeff S

You are just offering opinions. Please cite specifics

@papajim--Yes I offered an opinion. You asked for a specifics look above about my question. Have you seen a prototype of a Subaru truck? Papa Jim, have you seen or heard of a Subaru truck prototype? I will not take Subaru serious until they state that they are considering a truck and they build a prototype and show it and even then they will have to make some kind of commitment. Do you remember all the articles on a Jeep pickup and all the prototypes shown for years? Most of us gave up on the idea of a Jeep pickup and then Jeep decided to green light a truck. Let's see a prototype of a Subaru truck first that they show at a major auto expo. Not saying it will never happen but show me a prototype. If you want to take that as an opinion be my guest but an auto manufacturer usually builds a prototype and shows it before making a commitment Let's see what happens.

@papa jim--Can you site specific information from the article above that says Subaru is building a truck?

"Subaru is not the first name that comes to mind when talking pickups, but Subaru is celebrating 50 years in the U.S. and its booth reminded us that it did have two impressive pickups in its past. The 1978 Brat sported two bed seats with lap belts and was produced for 15 years, and the 2003 Baja — one of the many car-based pickups that never seemed to sell well in the U.S. — which was produced for just four years. Could it be time to try again?"

Above was everything the article stated about Subaru and the last sentence was a question, not a specific statement that Subaru was considering making a truck.

The Baja wasn't big enough to carry anything.



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