LOS ANGELES – Futuristic concept cars and high-end luxury vehicles are taking a backseat to affordable mainstream vehicles, including the 2016 Honda Civic Coupe, 2017 Ford Escape and 2016 Nissan Sentra, at this week’s 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The roll call of L.A. show unveilings includes the 2017 Buick LaCrosse, 2016 Mazda CX-9 and 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport – all vehicles within the financial reach of many car shoppers.
The rollout of the 2016 Nissan Sentra, which takes on the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, is a case in point. Consumer reaction to the Sentra will be closely watched.
“The new Nissan Sentra arrives during a precarious time when compact cars have been losing market share each year since 2012,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds.com director of industry analysis.
The Sentra is expected to show off a new exterior look patterned after the new Nissan Maxima.
The two-door Honda Civic Coupe, which is expected to arrive at Honda dealerships in the first half of 2016, is another key L.A. show debut. The coupe version follows the September rollout of the 2016 Honda Civic sedan.
Mitsubishi will have a major show presence with the debuts of the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage and 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.
Caldwell notes that Mitsubishi’s lineup will only consist of five vehicles for 2016, with the Lancer Evolution exiting the market.
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse, which previews a new design language for Buick, is another key unveiling.
“The current Buick LaCrosse holds the title for highest rate of buyers in the 65+ age bracket among all models in the industry, an image that Buick is trying to shed,” Caldwell said. “That said, loyalty is big for car companies, so with Baby Boomers living (and buying cars) for a longer period of time, it would be a shame to lose them.”
Crossovers will be a big part of the L.A. show festivities.
Cadillac’s all-new 2017 Cadillac XT5 crossover, which replaces the Cadillac SRX, arrives in North America after an official world debut at the 2015 Dubai Auto Show. The XT5 features a new chassis and a new camera system to improve visibility.
The XT5, which competes against the Audi Q5 and Lexus RX 350, goes on sale in the spring.
The next-generation Mazda CX-9 full-size crossover will debut at the L.A. show and will feature a long-awaited redesign.
“While having undergone minor changes since the model’s introduction to the market in 2007, the redesign will help align CX-9 with Mazda’s current design philosophy,” Caldwell said. “It will compete with many others in a white hot crossover segment.”
The 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque convertible will put an interesting spin on the crossover/SUV market as it debuts this week.
“Evoque is important to the brand, as it represents one out of every five Land Rover sales,” Caldwell said. “The last time anyone tried to make a convertible out of an SUV was with Nissan’s Murano, which was discontinued due to poor sales.”
Edmunds says: The 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show promises to be a car shopper’s dream event, offering a great preview of affordable products that will be seen in showrooms in just a short time.