Hits and misses at the 2018 L.A. Auto Show

If there was a theme to the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, it was business as usual. At both the Automobility LA tech conference on day one and the main automotive reveals on day two, the vibe was positive but not effusive. The two biggest debuts were startup company Rivian’s new electric truck and SUV, each touting up to 400 miles of range, and the anticipated Jeep Gladiator pickup. Elsewhere, mainstream, high-volume models like the new Honda Passport and Toyota Corrolla were the flavor of the day. Here’s our picks of the best debuts and a few that missed the mark.

Hit: Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator grand wagoneer trailer
FCA
2020 Jeep Gladiator

As the owner of two Wranglers and a full-size pickup, the Gladiator makes me think I could ditch one Wrangler, plus the pickup, for one Gladiator. — Joe Dematio

Hit: Rivian R1S and R1T

Rivian R1T truck
Brandan Gillogly
Rivian R1T

The promise of an electric vehicle with not only exceptional range but also off-road prowess and towing capability is exciting. While the styling is a bit polarizing, it certainly can't be accused of cribbing from anyone else’s design, and I like the interior. Rivian’s novel use of cargo space could shake loose some loyal buyers from the Ford, Chevy, and Ram. — Brandan Gillogly

Hit: Lincoln Aviator

2020 Lincoln Aviator driving
Lincoln Motor Company

Lincoln is emphasizing the luxury angle with the Aviator, calling it “effortless performance,” with 400 horsepower in the base model and a 450 hp hybrid with 600 pound-feet of torque in Grand Touring form. Effortless, sure, but also pretty badass. — Mike Austin

Hit and Miss: Mazda 3

2019 Mazda 3 hatchback
Brandan Gillogly
2019 Mazda 3

Overall, the fluid shapes create a concept-like look you might see from an Italian design house. It makes the new Corolla across the hall look dated. — ­Brandan Gillogly

For me, there’s too much mass in the C-pillar area, causing it to look awkward in profile and from the rear 3/4. It’s all out of proportion. — Aaron Robinson

Hit and Miss: Kia Soul

2020 Kia Soul front 3/4
Kia
2020 Kia Soul

The third-generation Soul looks great. I love the sleek, futuristic look, especially on the front end. Oh, and the fact that a 233-mile EV is just a regular part of the lineup is pretty cool too. — Mike Austin

It's sure to sell like hotcakes, but with the narrow headlights, big grille, and massive marker lamps, I can’t help but see a tired, droopy-eyed bulldog with big jowls every time I see the front end of the new crossover. — Brandan Gillogly

Hit and Miss: Porsche 911

2020 Porsche 911 (992) rear 3/4
Porsche
2020 Porsche 911 (992)

At once familiar and completely different, this eighth-generation 911 will surely continue the love affair. — Joe Dematio

The back is definitely a miss. Ew! — Aaron Robinson

Hit: Audi E-Tron GT

Audi e-tron GT front 3/4
Audi
Audi e-tron GT

Between the wide rear fenders and the 3.5-second 0–60 mph time, it’s hard to pick a favorite thing about this car, but here goes: What I like most about it is how much more sophisticated it looks beyond the first glance. — Mike Austin