May 27, 2024

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The 10 Coolest Cars From LA Auto Show 2022

The 10 Coolest Cars From LA Auto Show 2022

LAAS 2022
Hyundai’s N Vision 74 riffs on the company’s 1970s-era beginnings, and dazzles with retro touches. Sasha Lekach

Auto shows haven’t been quite as flashy as they used to be since Covid-19, but even with a more subdued tone, the 2022 Los Angeles Auto International Show managed to dazzle. Fresh ideas and sparks of excitement crept onto the show floor and into events surrounding the show. New looks for familiar hybrids, SUVs and others were revealed along with futuristic fantasies of what EVs could one day look like. 

From minivans to convertibles, sports cars and funky concepts, the show had it all and will have it all if you’re in Southern California. The L.A. Auto Show runs from Friday until November 27 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. If you’re keen to know what awaits, here are 10 of the coolest new vehicles we saw at this year’s media preview.

Porsche 911 Dakar LAAS 2022
The Porsche 911 Dakar celebrates both historic Paris-Dakar wins in the 1980s and the modern trend of modified “Safari” 911s. Porsche

Porsche 911 Dakar

Inspired by both the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally winning Porsche 953 and the contemporary trend of off-roading “Safari 911s,” the newest variation of Porsche’s famous sports car is a high-riding machine that promises dirt trail capability. With chunky treads, towing lugs, widened wheel wells, protective stainless steel throughout and optional camping gear stowed on the roof, it can handle tough roads but still make a stylish appearance on the street. 

Only 2,500 units will be available of the $222,000 911 Dakar. An option Rallye Design Package in two-tone gives the 3-liter bi-turbo six-cylinder the Rothmans racing livery of the Dakar-winning 953 and later 959 models of the 1980s.

New Fiat 500e
The 2024 Fiat 500e is a pure-electric version of the famous city car riding an entirely redesigned platform, but the looks and size are as fun as ever. Alex Kwanten

2024 Fiat 500e

It’s back. North American drivers can once again squeeze into an all-electric Fiat with the 500e’s return in 2024. Redesigned in 2020 for Europe, it’s back on U.S. shores with 198 miles of range on a 42 kWh battery pack. 

On display at the show were bespoke versions from big Italian designer names including Armani, Kartell and Bulgari with vibrant and eclectic interiors to match the big personalities of those labels. It’s still a tiny vehicle with a tight backseat, but a hardtop hatchback version has a rear-hinged door for easier backseat access.

2023 Toyota Prius
This very cool-looking Toyota Prius Prime almost screams “concept car,” but is in fact about to go into production. Toyota

2023 Toyota Prius

Curvy, low and long: These are not usually associated with the Uber-friendly, fuel-efficient Toyota Prius, but with 2023’s redesign, here we are. The new look gives the hybrid (and its plug-in Prius Prime twin) a sharper nose, tighter waist, sloped rear window and wider stance. 

All eyes are on the new aesthetic, but new powerplants are also upping the performance ante for the well-known model. The Prime’s pure electric range reaches nearly 40 miles, up from 25 miles. The front-drive hybrid’s 2-liter inline four-engine and two-motor electric system boosts power to 194 horsepower (up from a paltry 121).

LAAS 2022
The 2024 Impreza will come only a wagon-like hatchback but revives the famous 1990s RS badge. Sasha Lekach

2024 Subaru Impreza 

Subaru is switching things up for the next generation of the Impreza. With a simplified lineup, the 2024 Impreza will only be available as a hatchback, although it seems closer to a small station wagon in practice. As Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll said at its reveal, the hatchback is “more youthful, more fun…more flexible” compared to the soon-to-be-discontinued sedan. It’ll certainly have more cargo space.

More changes are coming to the long-running hatch (it first arrived in 1992): Reviving the RS model while dropping the Premium and Limited trims, along with a manual transmission option. The RS will have a slightly re-tuned version of the current 2.5-liter flat-four with the same 182 horsepower but slightly more torque at 178 pound-feet. Old-school Subaru fans may recall that in the 1990s, the automaker tested the waters for the WRX by marketing a higher-performance Impreza as the RS.

Kia Seltos LAAS 2022
It feels like we just met the Kia Seltos, which debuted in 2020, but it’s already due for a mid-cycle refresh and gets this bold new look for 2024. Kia

2024 Kia Seltos

The Kia Seltos is one of our favorite small crossovers, and it’ll get a midlife makeover for 2024. The most noticeable change is the new Pluton Blue paint, one of three new colors, that make the SUV pop. Beyond the eye-catching blue it’s a feistier SUV than its predecessor with a new front and rear and geometric wheels. The classic Kia tiger nose grille is heavily featured along with a new bumper design. A highly requested addition, a power tail gate that opens at the push of a button, will also feature on the updated model.

Inside, a new panoramic display takes up nearly 2 feet with two 10.25-inch screens. But it’s also more powerful with a 20-horsepower increase to 195 hp on a 1.6-liter turbo-GDI engine and a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Lucid Air Pure LAAS 2022
The Lucid Air Pure will be a more affordable version of the high-performance, ultra-long-range EV luxury sedan. Lucid

2023 Lucid Air Touring and Pure

The wait for a more affordable luxury EV with the longest range available has come to an end: The Lucid Air Pure and Touring were introduced this week. Still boasting an impressive 410- and 425-mile range, respectively, the two options round out the Air lineup and still top the Tesla Model S. Pure will first arrive as an all-wheel drive before a rear-wheel Pure joins later in 2023. The Touring is a dual-motor, all-wheel drive powertrain that can hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. 

One of the most noticeable differences from the sumptuous launch-model Air Dream edition is an all-metal roof on the Pure and the option for a windowless roof on the Touring. The Pure also has a deeper foot well in the back with the smaller powertrain. The Pure starts at $87,400 and introduces a drool-worthy new blue-gray paint hue called Fathom Blue, inspired by the Pacific Ocean.

VinFast VF 6 LAAS 2022
VinFast teased the VF 6 at this year’s CES event, the Vietnamese startup is now much closer to launching them for retail sale. VinFast

VinFast VF 6 and VF 7

Vietnamese EV startup VinFast introduced two new compact SUVs to its growing lineup with the VF 6 and 7. Designed by Pininfarina and Torino Design, the two smaller crossovers join the VF 8 and VF 9 as some of the newest EVs soon to be available in the U.S. 

VinFast designer Dave Lyon called the designs “futuristic” and advised not to discount the midsize and smaller crossover despite the smaller stature compared to VinFast’s other SUVs. Both are five-seaters with a flat open floor with the battery lying low across the floor bottom. Both offer two trims: Eco and Plus with a panoramic glass roof available in the upper trim along with more horsepower and torque (201 hp for the 6 Plus and 349 on the 7 Plus).

Genesis X Convertible LAAS 2022
Although plans for production aren’t clear, the Genesis X Convertible is yet another design stunner from the Korean luxury brand. Genesis

Genesis Convertible X 

The Genesis X Convertible concept is a dreamy idea of what could trickle into reality if the stylish brand made an all-electric drop-top. Maybe one day. It’s the third concept to complete the Genesis’ X trilogy with the X Concept and X Speedium Coupe concept, all of which used design themes evolved from the brand’s stunning G80 and G90 sedans. 

Some familiar design features are seen in its rear lights and front grille while swooping lights and concave sides make for a unique convertible look. Inside, the symmetrical four seats covered in navy and orange contrast starkly with the white exterior. Genesis fans can also check out the Electrified GV70 at the show.

Hyundai N Vision 74 LAAS 2022
Hyundai’s N Vision 74 channels the company’s past, but also Radwood-era themes of DeLoreans, Sciroccos and Alfa Romeos related to ItalDesign chief Giorgetto Giugiaro, who penned the original 1974 Hyundai Pony. Hyundai

Hyundai N Vision 74

Introduced as a surprise after the Hyundai Ioniq 6 (arriving in spring 2023) made an in-person splash, the N Vision 74 concept is a hydrogen fuel cell hybrid. A fully functional prototype was revealed with a 62 kWh battery with over 370-mile range. 

The N Vision 74 is inspired by the very first in-house car the Korean company built, the 1974 Hyundai Pony, and includes some of the features (look at the B-pillar) and profile from the Giorgetto Guigiaro-designed original. A retro “Hyundai” font adorns the backside, while modern lighting and touchscreens remind you this is a concept from 2022.

Toyota bZ Concept SUV LAAS 2022
Toyota may be late to the battery electric party, but it has quite a few BEVs in the works, including the Scion-esque bZ compact crossover. Toyota

Toyota bZ Compact SUV 

If the new Prius had people rethinking the hybrid, the Toyota bZ Compact SUV concept is all about pure electric power in a bigger body. It certainly has a dominating futuristic stance and features a curved front touchscreen with an in-car personal assistant. 

The bZ name might sound familiar from Toyota’s first all-electric SUV, the bZ4X, that’s already on the road (although the model suffered a major recall), but the bZ concept feels far from the 4X’s more conventional small SUV presence.