2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio
The return of Alfa Romeo to the United States just got a lot more interesting. The Stelvio SUV is aimed directly at the heart of the luxury market, and it will arrive here next year. Like many of its European rivals, the Stelvio is more about performance than utility. It offers a vast array of options that are designed to make it perform more like a sports car than a spacious utility vehicle.
There will be a base model and a midlevel trim called the Ti, but the real excitement begins with the top-of-the-line Quadrifoglio. It boasts a twin-turbo V6 with 505 horsepower that sends power to all four wheels, a setup that Alfa says is good for a 0-to-60 mph time of just 3.9 seconds. Additional upgrades include a retuned suspension, upgraded brakes, and unique wheels and tires.
2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
Midsize trucks are making a comeback thanks to the return of the Chevy Colorado and the continued popularity of its main rival, the Toyota Tacoma. Chevrolet is aiming to attract hard-core off-roaders with the new Colorado ZR2.
This is a truck built for serious off-road excursions. The engineers at Chevrolet made sure the ZR2 was capable of both high-speed desert running and low-speed rock crawling with the addition of a 2-inch suspension lift, a 3.5-inch-wider track, 31-inch all-terrain tires, ultra high-tech shocks and locking differentials front and rear. Heavy-duty skid plates and fully functional side rails add much-needed protection from the elements, while reshaped bumpers give the ZR2 much-improved departure and approach angles.
Like the standard Colorado, the ZR2 will offer the option of either a gasoline V6 or a four-cylinder diesel. Both will use eight-speed automatic transmissions and two-speed transfer cases. An unique "off-road" button is also part of the package that automatically tailors all of the vehicle's settings for optimal performance in the dirt.
2017 Mazda CX-5
Next year the Mazda CX-5 receives the first significant update since its debut in 2013. Moving the windshield pillars back nearly 1.5 inches gave designers more room to lengthen the hood and reshape its surface, yielding a more windswept profile than the stubbier predecessor. Up front, the CX-5 gets a wider grille, narrow headlights, and a more streamlined lower lip and bumper.
Inside the cabin, the vents have been reshaped, the center armrest is wider, and the infotainment display, previously recessed, now sits atop the dash. There's also enhanced smartphone app integration, navigation information beamed into the head-up display, and rear seats with improved cushioning and optional heating.
One interesting new option is a 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel alongside the current 2.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder. Like the regular gasoline engine, the diesel should pair with a six-speed automatic transmission. As before, the CX-5 will offer optional all-wheel drive or standard front-wheel drive when it goes on sale in the spring of next year.
2017 Porsche Panamera
This is the first major redesign for Porsche's first-ever sedan. Although it retains its unmistakable overall shape, everything under the skin has been upgraded. The overall dimensions are similar, with only slight increases in overall length, height and wheelbase. One notable exception is the new Executive model, which features a nearly 6-inch-longer wheelbase for exceptional rear seat comfort.
At the other end of the range, a new base Panamera was also introduced with a 330-horsepower V6. Midrange Panamera S models get a twin-turbocharged V6 with 440 horsepower, while the top-end Panamera Turbo comes standard with a twin-turbocharged V8 that develops 550 hp. The upper-range sedans use an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive, while the base model is offered in both rear- and all-wheel drive.
If you're looking for something a little more high-tech, the new Panamera E-Hybrid features a twin-turbo V6 coupled with a single electric motor that can deliver up to 31 miles of all-electric range. The interior design also emphasizes the Panamera's increased level of technology — many of the buttons and knobs have been replaced by touch-sensitive displays for a cleaner look. We haven't yet tried the new systems, but given the sheer number of controls on the previous Panamera, any measure of simplification will be a welcome change.
2018 Volkswagen Atlas
The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is big new entry into the German brand's U.S. lineup. With three rows of seating it can accommodate up to seven passengers. The middle rows have 60/40-split folding seats, but two captain's chairs can be substituted, dropping passenger capacity to six. Access to the two third-row seats is made easier thanks to middle seats that slide and tilt forward.
Up front, there's an abundance of room, with a wide center console and plenty of space between the door and seats. The windows are somewhat short for an SUV of this size, giving it a more carlike feel. Even so, visibility is excellent, aided by very thin front roof pillars.
Two engines will be available: a 238-horsepower four-cylinder or a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Both engines will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Four-cylinder models will have front-wheel drive only, while the V6 models will offer either front- or all-wheel drive.
2018 Toyota C-HR
This is Toyota's take on the ultra-compact SUV segment that already includes vehicles such as the Honda HR-V and Nissan Juke. In the case of the C-HR, Toyota went for aggressive styling and a sporty driving character to match. All C-HRs come standard with 18-inch wheels and tires, a suspension designed to deliver sharp handling and a 144-horsepower engine. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) sends power to the front wheels.
The interior has the same kind of dynamic styling as the exterior. There are aggressively bolstered sport seats, a driver-oriented cockpit design and multiple information screens. Initially available in XLE and XLE Premium trim levels, the C-HR is well equipped with features such as automatic climate control, a 7-inch audio display and adaptive cruise control.
2017 Jeep Compass
The Jeep Compass has been totally redesigned and goes on sale next year. The standard 180-hp engine is a bit more powerful than what was offered last year, and it's paired to a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic or a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is optional on the Sport and Latitude, while 4WD comes standard on the Limited model. The off-road-ready Trailhawk comes with an upgraded 4WD system with low range and a Rock terrain mode.
Inside, the Compass looks very much like its baby brother, the Renegade. Cabin materials are much more luxurious than in the previous Compass, and the central touchscreen is larger, more attractive and quicker to respond to user inputs. A 5-inch touchscreen is standard, with upgraded models getting a 7- or 8.4-inch screen. The larger screens come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can rock out while you ford rivers up to 19 inches deep.
2017 Honda CR-V
Fully redesigned from top to bottom, Honda's top-selling compact SUV now offers a more powerful turbocharged engine option along with fresh new styling and an updated cabin. The new 1.5-liter turbo engine is rated at 190 horsepower and will be available on EX and higher trim levels. Honda says it will deliver some of the highest EPA mileage ratings in the class, but final numbers have not been announced yet.
Although it's not much bigger on the outside, the CR-V has slightly more room on the inside, according to Honda. New features are also part of the redesign, including remote start, dual-zone climate controls and rear seat USB power ports. There's also an optional 7-inch display interface that offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The Honda Sensing package of advanced safety features first introduced on the CR-V in 2015 will be standard equipment on EX and higher trims. New safety features include automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.
No one was expecting an all-electric vehicle from Jaguar, but the British automaker used the LA Auto Show to shock the world with the I-Pace crossover EV. It uses a 90-kWh battery pack to power twin electric motors that generate up to 400 horsepower. Jaguar is estimating that the production version of the I-Pace could get as much as 220 miles on a charge. That's right, this is more than just a concept: Jaguar intends to put the I-Pace into production in 2018.
Although the I-Pace is slightly smaller than Jaguar's new F-Pace SUV, the flexibility allowed by the electric drivetrain means there will be nearly as much room inside. Cargo capacity behind the rear seats maxes out at 18.7 cubic feet, and there's a tiny 1-cubic-foot space under the "hood."
The cabin will feature the premium materials and sturdy craftsmanship that Jaguar is known for, as well as all of the latest technology found in other vehicles in the manufacturer's portfolio. With another year of development still to go, expect to see a few all-new features find their way into the I-Pace before it arrives in final production form.
2018 Audi A5/S5 Sportback
With the growing popularity of four-door "coupes" and the sales success of its A7 Sportback, Audi looks to continue capitalizing on the trend by introducing the 2018 A5 and 2018 S5 Sportbacks, on sale beginning in spring 2017.
The A5 model is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (252 hp, 273 lb-ft) and a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. It is estimated to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. The sportier S5 receives a new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (354 hp, 369 lb-ft), replacing the current supercharged engine in the 2017 S5 coupe. It sends power through an eight-speed automatic and scoots this four-door to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Both A5 and S5 models come standard with Quattro all-wheel drive, tuned for sporty driving.
The Sportback model popularity is likely due to an increase in cargo space versatility (because of the rear hatch) and passenger space (it seats five) without sacrificing beautiful bodylines or a ton of performance. We suspect this will be another home run for Audi.