2009 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage Page 2

November 17, 2009

2009 Los Angeles Auto Show: Family Cars

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

We've covered the Cruze elsewhere, but the final production version should show up in Los Angeles before an on-sale date next year. GM designers explain the Cruze's more sophisticated styling language is necessary for the more upscale compact. It's detailed like a luxury car, they say--and markedly smoother and rounder than the smaller cars, to our eyes. It shows up in the second quarter of 2010, and "eventually will replace the Cobalt," which implies some life after death for the current Chevy compact sedan and coupe.

2011 Buick Regal

Just recently, GM revealed the details on the 2011 Regal. The relaunched nameplate will be applied to the car that's sold as the Opel Insignia in Europe, and was to be the new Saturn Aura in the U.S. Powertrain options will include the new, 182-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 220 hp. The latter's a surprise, since it's been expected that the Regal would get a V-6 engine--especially since Buick claims the Acura TSX and Volvo S60 are competitors. For the first model year, Buick says only the Regal CXL will be offered. In 2012 they promise other model versions, which likely means a V-6 is in the offing. A six-speed automatic is the sole gearbox, standard on both, with a manual shift mode. Buick estimates the smaller four will get 30 mpg on the highway, while the turbo engine will get 29 mpg highway ratings from the EPA.

2011 Toyota Sienna

Minivans are a shrinking market, so it pays to reinvent them every so often, as frugally as possible. Toyota is doing just that by wonking the design of its Sienna minivan to fit the company's "MC" platform. The "MC" platform is noted for its flexibility, and its ability to accommodate vehicles ranging from the Camry to the RAV4 to the Highlander attests to it.  Toyota's confirmed the new Sienna will be on display in L.A., and we know that it'll begin production in January 2010 at Toyota's facility in Princeton, Indiana for the 2011 model year. Maybe folks will even be buying cars by the time it hits the lot.

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