With wildfires still raging in Southern California, leaving tragedy and destruction in their path, denizens of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas have much more serious things to think about right now than what latest car models will be hitting dealer lots in the coming months. Beyond donating money to relief organizations, there's just not a hell of a lot most of us elsewhere in the U.S. can reasonably do to help.
But the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show is upon us once again, and the timing of that is out of our control. Still, we can at very least send some happy vibes to our West Coast compatriots as we celebrate a part of American culture that's still alive and kicking in Cali even amid the ride-hailing-obsessed present and the autonomous future: our shared love of getting behind the wheel, hitting the open road and just ... driving, man.
Related: More 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show News
L.A. is a crucial player in auto show season, occupying the unique position of being the last major show of the calendar year and the first major event of the new auto show season. It's already shaping up to be a, frankly, strange season, with organizers of the Detroit show having announced that their influential show would move from January to June in 2020 and assume some decentralized format, while a handful of major, or at least significant, debuts have occurred at smaller regional shows ahead of the proper season — the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer in Orange County being the standout.
Jeep to Pickup the Slack
Frankly, the lineup at this year's L.A. show (at least as of this writing) feels a little light. That's not to say it's lacking in things to get excited about — not by a long shot. It would be hard to rationalize shrugging at a show where a brand that simultaneously pleases the mainstream and enthusiast crowds so seamlessly as Jeep unveils an all-new pickup truck — the off-road-SUV specialists' first since Bill Clinton's inaugural year in the White House. We're referring, of course, to the Gladiator ... or Scrambler ... or whatever Jeep actually ends up calling it by the time the cloth officially drops next week (it's almost certainly Gladiator at this point, so have your best Russell Crowe or "Airplane" references at the ready).
SUVs? Yes, Please!
As a little nod to the La-La Land elite, Hyundai's all-new-for-2020 three-row flagship SUV, the Palisade, should be at least a little amusing to locals, named for the West Side's well-heeled hood, the Pacific Palisades. Moreover, appropriate to the automotive era we currently occupy, more than a third of announced debuts at the show are SUVs: Honda will show its renewed Passport for 2019, while the Lincoln Aviator will touch down in L.A. exactly one year after the Ford luxury brand unveiled its renamed-and-refreshed Nautilus (nee MKX) at this very show. Elsewhere, BMW will bring along its new X5 and X7.
BMW Blows It Out
Speaking of Bimmers, the makers of the "ultimate driving machine" will be gracing the City of Angels with an expansive roster of new vehicles led by the new 2019 3 Series, including its performance-focused variation the M340i; that's in addition to the 2019 8 Series coupe and convertible, 2019 Z4 roadster and futuristic Vision iNext concept. Elsewhere on the concept front, Audi will bring along its Sport e-tron GT and Infiniti its Prototype 10.
All the Rest
Coming back down to earth a little: New and refreshed versions of popular civilian cars will also debut, including the 2020 Kia Soul hatchback, and 2019 Mazda3 and Nissan Maxima sedans. That's in addition to a new version of a car that is ubiquitous in Los Angeles, yet virtually useless in this subtropical climate — except maybe for weekend trips up to Big Bear — a purportedly all-wheel-drive Toyota Prius. Showgoers also won't wanna miss their chance to bid adieu to the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, which rides into the sunset next year with the 2019 Beetle Final Edition.
And last but not least, although we don't yet have confirmation, we have a pretty strong hunch that the eighth-generation Porsche 911 will show itself for the first time — appropriately — in the city purported to buy more 911s than any other in the U.S.
Time, Date, Place and Price
The 2018 L.A. Auto Show kicks off with a media preview Nov. 28-29, where Cars.com will have automotive journalists onsite reporting straight from the exhibit floor. The show opens to the public Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., in downtown L.A. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec. 2 and Dec. 7-8; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 3-6; and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 9.
General admission is $20 for visitors age 13-64 ($15 if purchase in advance online), $10 for senior citizens age 65 or older and $5 for children age 6-12; kids younger than 6 get in free. Dec. 3 through Dec. 6, general admission is discounted to $15 at the door and $12 in advance online. Early entry tickets, group discounts and guided tours are also available; visit the show's website for more ticketing info.
Related: Video: How to Shop at an Auto Show
Here's everything, so far, we expect to see:
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