The 10 Coolest Cars From The 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show

Getty Images 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show
Getty Images 2021 Los Angeles Auto ShowGetty Images

Despite Covid-related cancellations, delays and general inconveniences, automakers descended upon La La Land to debut an array of new vehicles ahead of the official opening of the Los Angeles Auto Show, which runs for 10 days over the Thanksgiving holiday and is a must-see for industry insiders, car enthusiasts and consumers. Over the past decade, the theme of the L.A. Auto Show has evolved into green technology, electrification and mobility innovation, and this year was no different. This year Forbes Wheels watched as automakers, both legacy and new, pulled the veil on sedans and crossovers that embody what’s to come.

Here are the 10 coolest cars from the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show:

2023 Fisker Ocean

2023 Fisker Ocean
AFP via Getty

Henrik Fisker finally found his footing. The entrepreneur and longtime car designer stood beside the Ocean (and the ocean) in Manhattan Beach as he showed off the new electric crossover targeted at the mass market with a sub-$40,000 price tag and an expected 250-mile range. Unlike his previous ventures, the Ocean is an approachable EV that will offer younger shoppers a flexible purchase model with home delivery and no commitment leasing terms. The Ocean features several innovative modes, including the California mode that rolls down all the windows and a Hollywood mode that turns a swiveling vertical 17.1-touchscreen on its side for passenger media consumption while the vehicle is hooked up to a public charger. There also is a solar panel on the roof that will recapture energy to extend mileage as much as 1,500 miles over a year. Read the full story.

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sedan and Sport Turismo

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS and GTS Sport Turismo

Porsche expanded its electric vehicle lineup with a pair of high-performance electric vehicles: Taycan GTS Sedan and Taycan GTS Sport Turismo. Porsche uses its GTS badge to delineate a curated blend of performance and luxury. Both use the same front and rear motors with a combined output of 590 horsepower, a figure placing the new Taycan GTS and Sport Turismo comfortably between the 462-horsepower Taycan 4S and 670-horsepower Taycan Turbo. Both new GTS models use an 800-volt architecture and a standard 93.4-kWh battery, the same as the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S. Porsche didn’t provide a range for the GTS models yet (is it really about that?), but the 2021 Taycan Turbo with the same Performance Battery Plus is rated at 212 miles. Porsche did say that the Taycan GTS Sedan and Sport Turismo can sprint from zero-to-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Read the full story.

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

Subaru’s showcased is the all-new Solterra EV, which was built alongside Toyota’s new bZ4X. Though exterior styling cues are similar, Subaru’s Solterra will have a distinct personality and attract a more outdoorsy-type crowd versus the urban and suburban loyalists that will be drawn to Toyota’s version. That might be due in part to Solterra’s all-wheel drivetrain, which is the biggest mechanical difference between it and the bZ4X. It will be powered by dual motors that will deliver 215 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Subaru did not confirm battery size or range, but Forbes Wheels caught wind that it Subaru is targeting 220 miles. The Solterra will employ two new X-Mode selectable traction settings—one for sand and dirt, the other for deep snow and mud. The EV also features 8.3 inches of ground clearance. Read the full story.  

2023 Toyota bZ4X

2022 Toyota bZ4X

Toyota’s electrified collaboration with Subaru comes in the form of the 2023 bZ4X. It will be the first in a string of EVs that the company will roll out over the next three years. The bZ stands for “Beyond Zero,” which Toyota will use as a sub-brand for EVs. The 4X represents its compact size as a crossover. Like Subaru’s twin Solterra, a dual-motor, all-wheel drive variant will be available, but the bZ4X will come standard as a front-drive single-motor EV with an estimated 250 miles of range. The all-wheel dual-motor models will likely drop to around 230 miles, on par with the estimate Forbes Wheels got for the Solterra. The AWD bZ4X will also get X-mode for off-road travel and a new “Grip Control” function that serves as a sort of low-speed cruise control for off-road driving. Read the full story.

2023 Acura Integra

2023 Acura Integra
Michael Van Runkle

In the days leading up to the show, Acura unveiled a pre-production prototype for the revived 2023 Integra at the nearby Petersen Automotive Museum. Acura promises a six-speed manual transmission harnessing power from a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine (the same used in the new eleventh-generation Honda Civic Si). An automatic with paddle shifters is widely expected to be announced closer to the car’s formal introduction next year but isn’t confirmed. The new Integra will be front-wheel drive, in line with the originals from the 1980s and 1990s. The prototype debuted with four doors and perhaps a little more Civic DNA than was expected. Read the full story.

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

2023 Kia Sportage hybrid

Kia’s all-new fifth-generation 2023 Sportage Hybrid debuted at the show with styling and features echoing its recently introduced near-twin, the non-hybrid 2023 Kia Sportage. Kia is targeting 39 mpg and a range of over 500 miles for the hybrid, numbers that put real space between it and its gasoline-powered competition. It won’t suffer for efficiency either, with a combined 226 horsepower from a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a 44kW electric motor bettering the 187 ponies of the standard Sportage’s 2.4-liter four. All-wheel drive is available, and four drive modes—Eco, Sport, Smart and Snow—are on board to help manage the situation at hand. Read the full story.

Hyundai SEVEN Concept

Hyundai Seven EV Concept

Hyundai showed off its newest SEVEN concept, an extension of the brand’s growing Ioniq EV line that strongly hints at a future Santa Fe-sized battery-electric crossover. It’s unclear how close the SEVEN is to a production vehicle, but it’s filled with contemporary design details and eco-friendly materials. It also features an air sterilization system to keep the SUV free of bacteria when not in use much like what’s used aboard commercial aircraft. The SEVEN is built on Hyundai’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) architecture just like the 2022 Ioniq 5, but it wraps its mechanical pieces in a more conventional SUV shape. This type of “skateboard” platform, with the battery architecture as a base and the drive motors on both ends, allows for a flat floor and a scalable wheelbase, making it possible to create many different models for varying purposes. Read the full story.

2022 Mazda CX-50

2023 Mazda CX-50

Mazda is pushing into the capability game with a new SUV for 2023, the CX-50, which will sit between the smaller CX-30 crossover and CX-5 crossover. The CX-50 will offer enhanced all-wheel drive for consumers that want to dabble in light trailblazing. Positioned to compete with Subaru’s all-wheel lineup, it won’t have the off-road credentials of vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco, but it will have a slightly more robust platform for occasional off-pavement travel. Two engine choices will be available: a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine or a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine—both four cylinders and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda didn’t provide output or fuel economy ratings, but all-wheel drive will be standard. Read the full story.

Ford Bronco Sasquatch

Ford Bronco Sasquach

For 2022, Ford is adding a seven-speed manual option to two- and four-door Broncos equipped with the hardcore off-roading Sasquatch Package, or as it was being referenced during its L.A. appearance, “ManSquatch.” The Sasquatch is available across the lineup and groups together the key off-road items including 35-inch Goodyear Territory tires (the only midsize SUV to offer 35-inchers from the factory) on 17-inch bead-lock ready wheels, Bilstein dampers as part of a mil suspension lift, front and rear locking axles and fender flares. The Sasquatch also lifts the base model’s 8.4-inch ground clearance to 11.6 inches in the two-door and 11.5 inches in the four-door. The approach angle goes from 35.5 to 43.2 inches and the departure angle increases from 29.8 to 37.2 inches. Read the full first drive review.

BONUS: Hyundai Kona N and Elantra N

Hyundai N models
Michael Van Runkle

Meanwhile, in Northern California, Hyundai was busy showing off its new N models at the Sonoma Raceway on and off the track through the hillsides of wine country. The Hyundai Elantra N and Kona N join the Veloster N in its performance line, which is more than an appearance package. Both are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injected engine with an N eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters that deliver 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque (the Elantra comes standard with a six-speed manual). Hyundai says the Kona is the first SUV N to join the lineup, but it’s really a tall hot hatch. Both of these vehicles are all about cornering and tight suspension, but they’re respectably fast off the line.

This article, The 10 Coolest Cars From The 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, originally appeared on Forbes Advisor.