Monday, December 1, 2014

Neatest Thing at the 2014 La Auto Show

With lights shinning on world debuts and hundreds of models around it is hard for any car in particular to stand out by the end of the night at a major international auto show. Lines are blurring between segments it's not unusual anymore to see more advanced technology in a 15,000 entry level model from a big box brand than what is available from "handcrafted" legendary brands. Materials and craftsmanship is harder to execute or fake but brands are getting better every day at making their interiors look expensive. Leather (like) covered dashes with French stitching on mainstream models create a marketplace where it takes a truly unique feature to stand out. Unique in this case means simple and elegant. Volvo XC90's frameless rear view mirror was by far the most memorable feature at the 2014 LA Auto Show. It's a fresh take on something that is in every car and one that makes a true design statement. Much like an edgeless flat screen, the mirror looks great and makes you wonder why no one else has done it sooner. Volvo is proud of the neat touches it has put in the long overdue XC90 but the all glass mirror is the one that works the best. It won't push anyone to buy the very nicely done XC90 but it is something the rest of its very strong competition does not have and that is a win for Volvo.

  • The Audi Prologue was the most anticipated debut of the show with Audi saving it for LA instead of Paris a few months earlier. It is a mix of old Audi proportions with some new design elements from Mark Lichte, Audi's new chief of design. Overall it is a nice concept that is production feasible but it is far from groundbreaking and does not necessarily top the S Clsss Coupe even as a concept.

  •  From initial photos, the Mercedes S600 Maybach looked a bit too formal compared to the regular S class. On the show floor it does so slightly and it is only easy to pick up when the regular S class is in the vicinity. It is not really worse but it is not any better from a design point of view, it is really the S600 LL with a fancier name.

  • Crisp and clear HD displays are harder to come by than you would expect. Many displays look stuck in 480p land. Things were not as sharp as expected even in a brand new luxury model with a very prominently placed display.
  • The Infiniti Q80 takes top concept for being the gorgeous one off concept it's meant to be.

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