Domestics star at the LA auto show


By Lorne Drury

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – Not to be outdone by their Asian and European counterparts, domestic automakers made quite a splash as new vehicles were unveiled at press days for the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

Cadillac took the wraps off its eagerly awaited 2017 XT5 midsize luxury SUV, a replacement for the popular SRX model.

The XT5 will be the cornerstone in a new series of crossovers in the brand’s ongoing expansion. The crossovers will wear the “XT” designation in Cadillac’s new naming system.

This is a completely new vehicle, built on a unique chassis and structure and should be Cadillac’s best-selling model as midsize luxury SUV sales take off in North America and China.

In the North American market, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 will be powered by the new 3.6-litre V6 engine which debuted earlier this year on the brand’s ATS and CTS sport sedans and is featured on the CT6.

Ford picked Los Angeles to unveil its 2017 Escape compact SUV, the same place where the successful third generation was launched in 2013.

This is a high-growth segment in the auto industry as compact SUVs are about to surpass compact cars in sales in the Canadian market. The Escape has been and still is the best-selling SUV in Canada.

When the 2017 model goes on sale next year, it will be loaded with a host of new features like a start-stop fuel-saving system, driver-assist technologies like enhanced active park assist, adaptive cruise control and a lane-keeping system.

Ford will offer two new EcoBoost engines on the 2017 Escape, a 1.5-litre and a 2.0-litre twin-scroll. Standard will be a holdover 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, which will only be available on the entry-level S model. All come with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse shows off the new face of Buick, featuring a dramatic new grille design with the return of a three-colour Buick tri-shield insignia. Longer, lower and lighter than the current model, the new LaCrosse will also set a new standard for quietness – a Buick hallmark.

Power comes from a second-generation 3.6-litre V6 engine paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard stop-start technology will improve efficiency in stop-and-go driving. Front- and all-wheel drive will be offered.

Technology will be front and centre, bringing connectivity from home to wherever you’re going.

Much like Buick, Lincoln will have a new face with the introduction of the 2017 MKZ midsize luxury sedan.

Sporting a bold, new front grille, the MKZ is the volume leader for Lincoln and the firm hopes the 2017 model will continue the trend of striking a chord with a younger demographic.

A potent 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo will power the new MKZ. Driving enthusiasts will love this engine, which produces 400 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque. A gas-electric hybrid model will also be available.

In Canada, all models will have all-wheel drive except the hybrid, which will be front-drive only.

Among the new technology available will be an auto hold feature that keeps the car at a stop with the push of a button, allowing the driver to take his/her feet off the brake pedal in stop-and-go driving.

Half a century after the original introduction of the 124 Spider, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has revived the iconic nameplate with the introduction of a new roadster that continues the expansion of the Fiat brand in North America.

The new 124 Spider will have a MultiAir 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine, producing 160 hp and 184 lb/ft of torque. It will be available with a manual or automatic transmission and will be the engine’s first application in a rear-wheel drive vehicle.

The Fiat 124 Spider will be available in two trim levels, Classica and Lusso, while the first 124 vehicles will be offered as a limited edition, individually numbered with a commemorative badge.

Based on the same platform as the Mazda MX-5 launched earlier this year, the Fiat 124 Spider will arrive at dealerships next summer.