LA Auto Show: Hydrogen cars, electric vans and a gold-gilded rarity

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The LA Auto Show is an annual automotive sensory overload. It’s all new cars and trucks, technology innovation and, in recent years, an increasing focus on hybrid, electric and other alternative fuel vehicles.

The 2017 Infiniti Q60, Neiman Marcus special edition. Image © James Raia/2016.
The 2017 Infiniti Q60, Neiman Marcus special edition at the 2016 LA Auto Show. Image © James Raia/2016.

This year’s show is no different. With new focuses on custom and vintage vehicles in the “garage” (basement), the future of autonomous vehicles, and the usual offering of global and North American debuts, there’s a lot see across the automotive spectrum.

Including a full day’s schedule on Thanksgiving, the 2016 LA Auto Show will continue through Nov. 27 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

(Video produced by Bruce Aldrich (www.tahoetruckeoutdoor.com)

Here are five highlights from this year’s show:

2017 Chevrolet Bolt — With a 238-mile range, the Chevrolet Bolt changes the electric vehicle platform. It’s no longer a niche vehicle with limited appeal. It’s now a viable option for EV owners to expand their daily driving habits — with miles to spare. The MSRP begins at $37,495, but buyers may be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. The Premier model has front-and-rear heated seats, surround vision, a rear camera mirror and leather-appointed seats.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica (Hybrid) — An industry first, the plug-in is rated with a 30-mile range in electric mode only and a 500-mile range on gas. The Pacifica Hybrid has an MSRP of $41,995 for the premium base model; The platinum model is priced at $44,995.

Both models are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, and depending on the state purchase, additional tax incentives. The new Pacifica is redesigned with a larger and more sporty interior. It’s expected at U.S. dealers in early 2017.

2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell — Long range, zero emissions, hydrogen. That’s the equation for Honda’s continuing efforts in its forward-thinking, alternative-fuel efforts. Honda’s natural gas Civic was innovative, but it was never able to build a strong following and is now defunct.

The Clarity has an attractive exterior design, the comfort of an Accord, and operates entirely on hydrogen from a fuel cell, not batteries. Refueling the Clarity takes only a few minutes, and the range is more than 350 miles. But hydrogen is expensive and not readily available. The Clarity will be available soon in selected California cities.

2017 Infiniti Q60 (Neiman Marcus edition) — Based on the 400-horsepower Red Sport variant, the gold-gilded coupe has a $63,000 price tag and includes a garage full of Neiman Marcus extras — a leather weekender bag, Neiman Marcus-branded car cover and a plaque featuring the car’s identification number. There’s a letter of authenticity, and Infiniti will donate $1,000 to The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation with every purchase. The exterior color could generate more attention than expected and only 50 of the special edition vehicles are available via the upscale catalog.

2017 Kia Telluride — Presented as a concept this year, the Telluride has a good chance to go into production soon as a full-size, three-row, rear-wheel drive SUV. It’s head-turning handsome, not the least of which is because of the bold color on display in Los Angeles, Hunter Pyrite Green.

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