Step Into Our Time Machine…Los Angeles Circa 2002

Having just wrapped up the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show we thought it was only appropriate to take a look back to the world of 10 years ago… It’s amazing just what has changed and what has very much remained the same.

2002...A world where we still had a new NSX and Hummers reigned supreme.
2002…A strange world where we still had new NSX’s on the lot and Hummers reigned supreme. A world eagerly awaiting the new “Z” car!

112 02As La02 Acura ClAs the enthusiast market keeps ratcheting up performance levels, Acura has breathed new spark into the CL for 2003 with styling and mechanical enhancements. The Type-S-exclusive 3.2-liter V-6 will now be offered with a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission. Coupes fitted with the six-speed stick shift also benefit from a new limited-slip differential that uses a fear system to properly route torque to side with the most traction. The interior has been updated to accommodate the manual gearbox, include a hand-operated parking brake, new cupholder, revised instrument cluster, and optional OnStar communications service.  Long-known as the exotic supercar with Honda sensibilities, the aging Acura NSX has been revitalized with a significant update with this late 2002 model. Most obvious is the exterior makeover, with changes including dramatic fixed HID headlamps, fresh front fascia, more substantial side sills, integrated rear air diffuser, and restyled tail lamps. The facelift results in a drop in aerodynamic drag coefficient from 0.32 to a cleaner 0.30. Wheel sizes have increased from 16-inch to 17-inch diameter up front; rear wheels remain 17-inches though expanded a half inch to nine total in width. Two new exterior colors and six new interior color ensure your new NSX won’t be confused with your dentist’s. Top power remains at 290 horses from an all-aluminum 3.2-liter V-6. 112 02As La02 Acura Ns The all-new BMW 7 Series made its North American debut at the Los Angeles show, just prior to the 745i and long-wheelbase 745iL going on sale late January. The styling has been met with some criticism at previous overseas shows, though most appreciate the boundaries pushed by the lux sedan’s technology. For example, BMW engineers show off with the Active Roll Stabilization that uses active anti-roll bars to dynamically reduce body roll. Another innovative element is the iDrive system, which uses a game-paddle-like device to control myriad functions via a central display, thereby radically reducing the number of buttons and switches. The 4.4-liter V-8 has been enhanced to produce 325 horsepower for the new 745i, reportedly good for 5.9-second 0-60 mph times. 112 02As La02 Bmw 745I The Chevrolet Avalanche was named Motor Trend‘s 2002 Truck of the Year last month. The editorial staff selected this year’s winner after conducting 10 rigorous tests on six trucks. In identifying the winner, factors including engineering, powertrain, payload, performance, interior, safety, quality, special features, livability, and overall value were evaluated. The Avalanche shined with its innovative midgate shifting the traditional pickup truck focus from cargo to passengers, yet remaining flexible enough to hold eight-foot-long payload. Chevrolet proudly touted the honor at the show with an illuminated sign, inviting attendees to see why the Avalanche impressed the MT staff. 112 02As La02 Chevy Av Responding to customer’s demands for more interior space,Chevrolet will offer an extended version of the TrailBlazer sport/utility vehicle with a third row providing seven-passenger seating. The overall vehicle length has been bumped up 16 inches to 207.8 inches, increasing total cargo capacity with the second- and third-row seats folded to more than 100 cubic feet. Powered by the same Vortec 4200 inline six-cylinder engine as the standard wheelbase model, the 270-horsepower EXT in two-wheel-drive form can tow as much as 6000 pounds. Look for the enlarged EXT wearing LT trim in Spring 2002. Two-wheel-drive EXTs will base at $31,385, while 4wd models will start at $33,610, including destination charges. 112 02As La02 Chevrole Chrysler is fast-tracking the Crossfire concept into production after being so well received at last year’s Detroit show. Like the PT Cruiser, the Crossfire successfully embodies a heritage spirit without using a derivative design. Beyond its gorgeous appearance, the Crossfire appeals with its rear-drive configuration. Under the hood is a 3.2-liter/215-hp SOHC V-6 engine available with a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The suspension uses an independent double wishbone set up in front and a five-link configuration for the rear. Remaining faithful to the original concept vehicle, the Crossfire will be built early 2003 in Germany in cooperation with Karmann. 112 02As La02 Chrysler After teasing us with the sprite 2000 Neon SRT project car at SEMA a couple years ago, Dodge has unveiled a production-ready version of the car that threatens to stake a serious claim in the sport compact market. Priced just under $20,000, the SRT-4 boasts a 2.4-liter/205-horsepower turbocharged engine. Dodge claims a musclecar-worthy 5.9-second 0-60 mph time! Power is not all at the high-end, either, with 220 lb-ft of torque available at 2000 rpm. A complete package, the SRT-4 also features aggressive fascias, dramatic spoiler, sport suspension, 17-inch wheels, large brakes, six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, leather Viper-style bucket seats, three-spoke steering wheel, power amenities, and air conditioning. 112 02As La02 Dodge Ne Leading the supersizing assault, GMC has enlarged its award-winning Envoy for more space and comfort, adding a third-row seat and 16 inches to its overall length. Seating for seven and more than 100 cubic feet of storage space offer considerable comfort and roominess for a midsize sport/utility vehicle. Two trim levels provide a variety of features ranging from four-wheel anti-lock brakes, theft deterrent system with remote keyless entry, and Next-Generation OnStar services on SLE models, as well as leather trim, heated seats, six-CD changer, driver information center, and seat and mirror memory in uplevel SLT trim. Prices range from $31,595 for a 2wd Envoy XL SLE, up to $36,595 for a 4wd Envoy XL SLT. 112 02As La02 Gmc Envo An “Ahnold”-tough, off-road-bred machine, the Hummer H2 sport/ute packages the rugged characteristics of the original military-spec Hummer H1 in a more refined, full-size-truck-based vehicle. Powered by a 6.0-liter/325-horsepower Vortec V-8 linked to a heavy-duty 4L65-E four-speed automatic transmission, the Hummer H2 promises to out-muscle and out-torque its premium off-road competitors. Meanwhile, interior comfort and convenience items abound, including heated seats, rear-seat audio controls, driver information center, numerous powerpoints, and plentiful stowage compartments. Additional dealer-installed custom accessories will be offered at purchase to suit an owner’s personal style. 112 02As La02 Hummer H When it goes on sale this spring, the Honda Civic Hybrid will replace the sleek Insight with a four-door sedan capable of reaching 50 miles per gallon for both city and highway driving. The significantly smaller, second-generation Integrated Motor Assist powertrain combines a 1.3-liter i-DSI four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for outstanding fuel economy and reasonable performance. Much more space efficient than the IMA system in the Insight, the Civic boasts room for five and near full-size trunk. Amenities will include cruise control, AM/FM/ CD audio system, power windows, automatic heating and air conditioning, ABS, alloy wheels, and side airbags. Customer cost is expected to be under $20,000 when this high-tech compact goes on sale in the spring. 112 02As La02 Honda Ci Honda confirmed at the show that the Model X concept will be the basis for a new Honda model on sale next year. While the official name has yet to be announced, the new vehicle will closely emulate the Model X design concept introduced last year in Detroit. The new vehicle features similar “open wide” doors along with a rugged, flexible interior designed to suit active lifestyles. All seating surfaces are made of materials that are easy to clean. Interior features include a flip-up navigation screen with integrated wireless Internet capability, video input and DVD playback. The stereo system includes MP3 download and playback capability, along with satellite radio, cassette, and CD player.112 02As La02 Honda Mo Hyundai enlived its booth with a couple eye-catching project vehicles built for the fall’s aftermarket-focused SEMA show, including this flaming Sante Fe built by Rick’s Kustoms. Beyond the obvious hot-rod paint schemed, the exterior has been modified with a hand-milled grille, shaved doors handles, smoothed rear, and 18-inch wheels. The lowered ride height was achieved with a suspension system from Air Ride Technologies. Inside, the Alter Ego feature five monitors wired into a DVD entertainment system. Naturally, passengers sit on custom leather seating while watching, with a megawatt stereo producing the sound score. Will real Sante Fe owners perform such radical transformations themselves? Doubtful. But it is fun to explore the possibilities. 112 02As La02 Hyundai Appearing to draw design inspiration from both Ford Mustang and Ferrari 456, the all-new Tiburon has made a significant leap forward in design, packaging, and dare say, prestige. Tthe more substantial 2003 Tiburon moves up the powertrain ladder with an optional DOHC 2.7-liter V-6 complementing the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Three transmissions are offered: a four-speed automatic with Shiftronic manual shift control, a revised five-speed manual, and a sporty six-speed manual transmission. Wider than the current model with a longer wheelbase, the reborn Tiburon promises improved ride and handling. Touting an extensive list of standard features, the all-new Hyundai Tiburon goes on sale in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2002 as a 2003 model. 112 02As La02 Hyundai2 Jaguar continues to improve the feline breed, with a significant update to the S-Type sedan that enhances appearance, performance, and comfort. All models benefit from a stiffened body structure, lightweight structural elements, and myriad premium features. At the top of the range, the S-Type joins the XK Series in offering a R model. Base S-Types feature a 240-hp/3.0-liter V-6, but the S-Type R touts a 400-hp/4.2-liter supercharged V-8 capable of making 0-60 mph in an estimated 5.2 seconds. R models are fitted with either a five-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission. The S-Type R also boasts performance-tuned suspension, brakes, tires and wheels, as well as model-specific interior and appearance upgrades. 112 02As La02 Jag S Ty Kia celebrates a surprisingly successful desert racing history by embarking on its greatest off-road racing challenge yet, competing in the premier class of SCORE Desert Series, Trophy Truck. After winning the Class 3 championship four times in four years, Kia took a year off to develop this entry, which happens to be based on a larger sport/utility vehicle Kia says will be in showrooms this summer. The one-seater Trophy Truck is powered by the 3.5-liter V-6 engine found in the 2002 Kia {{{Sedona}}} and that is also destined for the upcoming sport/utility. The race-tuned engine will produce 350-horsepower at 6200 rpm. Driver Darren Skilton will debut the truck January 24-27 in Laughlin, Nevada, at the SCORE Desert Series season opener. 112 02As La02 Kia Race Named for a fierce bull spared in an 1879 fight for its exceptional courage, the Murcielago is a more sinister and refined Bull than the Diablo it replaces. Odd name aside, the Murcielago is an evolution, not a revolution, improving the breed with a more refined suspension and potent mid-mounted V-12 engine. The 60-degree, aluminum powerplant cranks out 580 horsepower, enough to push the aerodynamic wedge to a claimed — dramatic pause — 205 mph! The mighty engine is commanded via a six-speed transmission, with power routed through an all-wheel-drive system with a viscous coupling, as found in the Diablo. All together, the improved drivetrain and chassis delivers 0-60 mph times of a mere 3.8 seconds. Start saving: the Murcielago goes on sale in the spring at $273,000. 112 02As La02 Lamborgh Designed as a high-performance two-seat sports car for the year 2054, this futuristic Lexus has a muscular design with extreme cab-forward seating, wheels tracked out to each corner, and proportions so unusual that at first glance it’s hard to tell the front from the rear. Lexus’ fantasy car of the future will star alongside Tom Cruise in this summer’s Steven Spielberg film, “Minority Report,” a science-fiction adventure set in a futuristic judicial system in which killers are arrested and convicted before they can commit murder. The custom car was created by conceptual artist Harald Belker (“Batman & Robin,” “Inspector Gadget,” and “Armageddon”) in association with Spielberg and the Calty (Toyota/Lexus design studio) team. 112 02As La02 Lexus Mi A four-door follow up to the massive MK 9 concept unveiled at the 2001 New York show, the Continental concept further illustrates the simple, elegant direction for future Lincoln design. Key feature, and heritage cue, is the powered “suicide style” doors that create a nearly six-foot opening as they swing out to 90 degrees. Other neat features include a powered decklid that remains level as it motors out of the way, exposing a 20.5-cubic foot trunk with sliding luggage trays. Interior fiber optics and Organic Light Emitting Diode technology (OLED) provide stunning, leading edge visuals. Under the massive hood is a 6.0-liter/414-hp V-12 engine, and the body-on-frame car rides on giant 22-inch aluminum wheels. 112 02As La02 Lincoln Lincoln has revitalized the Navigator to defend its sales against the new Cadillac Escalade. While the exterior may look familiar, beneath the sheetmetal skin the Navigator rides on a new fully boxed, hydroformed frame fitted with four-wheel independent suspension. An improved four-wheel-drive system more effectively routes power, allowing even a single tire to claw the full-size SUV out of a slippery situation. The brakes have been enlarged slightly to 13-inch diameter. Sole engine offering is a 5.4-liter/300-hp V-8. A rear powered aluminum liftgate also numbers among new features. The interior features a 1961 Continental-inspired makeover with pebble textures, wood, and chrome trim. Audio and optional navigation systems are concealed behind an articulating door. 112 02As La02 Lincoln3 Italian sports car builder Maserati has been reborn since Ferrari acquired the struggling firm three years ago with bold plans. The fruit of the union can be seen in the all-new Spyder. Completely new from the ground up, the Spyder features an incredible 385-hp/4.2-liter DOHC V-8 engine that Maserati claims will make 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. Shifting is conducted via a conventional six-speed manual or a clutch-free F1-style paddle shifter. Additional niceties include forged aluminum suspension, Brembo disc brakes, stability and traction control, sumptuous Italian leather interior, and (of course) fully automatic convertible top. Start saving your pennies, as we expect a base price beginning at $88,000. 112 02As La02 Maserati Putting the “mini” in minivan, the MPV’s Achilles heel has been not its size but rather its power. As anticipated, Mazda has infused MPV with more zoom-zoom courtesy of a 3.0-liter/200-hp DOHC V-6 paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The 24-valve engine produces more than 90 percent of its 200 lb-ft torque peak from 1800 up to a heady 5500, ensuring responsive power through the rev range. Other 2002 enhancements include revised suspension settings and avaliable 17-inch wheels to ensure a sportier look and feel. Newly available traction control enhances active safety. Passengers can now access the seven-place setting more easily with the addition of power sliding doors. The improved MPV arrives at dealers in February. 112 02As La02 Mazda Mp The first new Mercedes-Benz SL since 1990 made its North American debut at the Los Angeles show, its final stop on the world circuit. Sure to become a Beverly Hills staple, the premium roadster offers celebrity-caliber looks, convenient retractable hardtop, and bleeding-edge technology. Systems like Active Body Control, brake-by-wire Sensotronic, and Electronic Stability Program work behind the scenes to enhance the driving pleasure and safety. The SL will be launched with a 5.0-liter/302-horsepower SOHC V-8 good for a claimed 6.3-second 0-60 mph time. An SL 55 AMG model will follow with more aggressive styling, sportier suspension settings, and potent 476-horsepower supercharged V-8 engine. 112 02As La02 Mercedes Count down to Mini is almost over, with the adorable heritage-enriched two-door going on sale in the spring. Center of attention at the cube-themed Mini booth was the sporty S model. The brand’s flagship Cooper S model looks the part with its air-gulping hood intake, special bumper caps, twisty-road S badge, twin chrome exhaust tips, chrome fuel filler cap, rear spoiler, and 17-inch wheels. Inside, the car is distinguished with leather trim elements, standard sport seats, “S” logo on door sill, and chrome accents. Underhood is an intercooled, supercharged variant of the 1.6-liter engine producing 163 horsepower, a significant increase over the 115 horses in the standard Mini Cooper model. Matched to a six-speed manual transmission, the S is quick, fuel efficient, and fun. 112 02As La02 Mini Coo After months of speculation, and teasing appearances at auto shows, the Lancer Evolution VII has been confirmed for sale in the United States beginning spring 2003. This extreme, motorsports-tuned Lancer variant features a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, lightweight body pieces, and ferocious powerplant in pureblood Japanese form. For the American market, expect the rally-bred sedan to make the trip almost entirely intact, with the exception of the 276-horsepower output. The four-cylinder peak will be dropped to 250-plus due to emissions and intercooler packaging issues. Price is promised to be under $30,000, which will put this ultra-sports sedan in elite performance company. Subaru is expected to counter this move with its potent WRX STi. 112 02As La02 Mitsu La The Montero Evolution Concept makes its North American debut at the 2002 Los Angeles Auto Show, though we also saw it at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Mitsubishi’s visual emphasis on passion and driving enthusiasm is apparent in the Montero’s (aka Pajero in Japan) athletic posture and chiseled design, presenting an urgent sense of race-ready passion present in this Paris-Dakar bred Montero Evolution Concept. Mitsubishi technology resides beneath the alluring skin of this concept with a 3.5-liter V-6 MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Lift & timing Electronic Control) engine powering a Super Select 4WD system with AYC (Active Yaw Control) and an ACD (Active Center Differential). 112 02As La02 Mitsu Pa The much-awaited new Z is not just another retro evolution, but the birth of a totally new car that blends tradition with cutting-edge technologies and a fresh design. While it retains the “Z” heritage passed through successive generations, this 350Z embodies many new features for a high-performance sports car. Although we’ve seen evolving show vehicles in the past, this is the final design for the Z that will be on sale come July 2002. Under its sloped hood, the Z will get a version of the same 3.5L VQ35DE V-6 used in the Altima and Maxima, although in the Z it will produce about 300 horsepower. A close-ratio six-speed manual will be standard for acceleration befitting such a sports car, and a limited-slip differential and traction control will be available. Estimated price is less than $30,000. 112 02As La02 Nissan35 As the Firebird heads to the drag strip in the sky, Pontiac redefines its brand “excitement” with the highly adaptable, affordable Vibe crossover vehicle. Combining the best features of a sporty compact car, wagon, and SUV, Vibe defies traditional classification, but it promises plenty of fun and versatility. On sale in January as a 2003 model in three trim levels, the base Vibe will be powered by a 1.8-liter/130-hp DOHC four-cylinder engine; the uplevel Vibe GT gets a 180-hp VVT-I version and six-speed transmission. Additional features include all-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, innovative storage options, and 16-inch wheels and tires (upgraded to 17-inchers on the GT). Pontiac has promised a base price just under $20,000. 112 02As La02 Pontiac It seems we’ve been waiting for this supercar for years, and Steve Saleen, the builder, has been promising just one thing: Soon. Well, Auto Week magazine recently reported we might find this 550-horsepower, 200-mph hot race rocket in showrooms as early as March. For $395,000 (yes, that is the correct number of digits!) racers can buy a hand-built, street-legal, LeMans-capable Saleen S7 supercar powered by an all-aluminum 7-liter V-8 engine that runs on 22-octane and goes 0-60 mph in less than four seconds. Inside, the car features such niceties as a custom-fitted driver’s seat wrapped in Connolly leather, AM/FM/six-disc CD sound system, a rear-view camera system with LCD display, a 240-mph speedometer, and a theft deterrent system with electronic immobilizer. 112 02As La02 Saleen S First seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the GSX-R/4 concept vehicle combines Suzuki’s experience building both motorcycles and automobiles to create an extremely light two-seat car that looks a bit like a full-sized child’s toy. Under the distinctive bodywork hides a motorcycle-styled aluminum space frame and in the mid-rear rests a customized 173-hp/1.3-liter four-cylinder engine from the extreme 1300 R Hayabusa high-performance motorcycle. Shifting is via a manual six-speed transmission. Suzuki estimates top speeds up to 140 mph. The GSX-R/4 also uses Advanced Safety Vehicle technologies to adapt the engine settings to the handling characteristics and driving behavior of its driver. 112 02As La02 Suzuki G Termed a “CUV” for Compact Utility Vehicle, the Toyota Matrix is pitched as a small SUV in a sporty package, though it could rightfully be considered a sporty heir to the Corolla wagon with Celica underpinnings. At the Matrix unveiling, Toyota announced that the segment-blurring vehicle would be base priced at $16,180, ranging up to $19,330 for the top all-wheel-drive model. For that, targeted active-lifestyle buyers will get a sporty, fuel-efficient wagon with a versatile interior ripe with clever features. Offered in three trim grades (standard, XR, and XRS), the compact Matrix ranges in output from 123 hp to 180 hp, with a five- and six-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions available. Built in Canada, the Matrix will be available in dealerships starting February. 112 02As La02 Toyota M The sportiest model in the NewBeetle line, Volkswagen has endowed it’s the nouveau Bug with more verve from an Audi-potent 1.8-liter/180-horsepower turbo engine and a six-speed manual transmission. This arm-bruising punch Buggy combination zips the two-door 0-60 mph in a reported 7.4 seconds. The Turbo S also gets Volkswagen’s Electronic Stabilization Program for greater performance in demanding driving situations and a speed-activated spoiler to help stabilize the car at high speeds and distinguish it from its naturally aspirated kin. Leather seats (heated in front), 17-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, power sunroof, remote locks and alarm system, and eight-speaker Monsoon sound system round out the sporty package. 112 02As La02 Vw New B Volkswagen introduced its first eight-cylinder-equipped car in Los Angeles, making the new W8 the top-of-the-line Passat, and Volkswagen’s flagship sedan and wagon. At its heart is a newly designed 271-hp/4.0-liter 32-valve engine capable of pushing the Passat W8 from 0-60 in about 6.5 seconds. Its unique engine design uses two V-4 engine banks assembled in a “W” making it compact and efficient for its size and weight. Pricing for the Passat W8 starts at $37,900, and includes such features as leather seats, all-wheel drive, Electronic Stabilization Program, hearable power front seats, ABS, trip computer, power sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels, and anti-theft system. 112 02As La02 Vw Passa First shown at the 2001 Frankfurt Auto Show, the Laser-Blue Volvo V70-based Performance Concept Car (PCC2) boasts a potent 300-horsepower five-cylinder engine mated to a compact six-speed manual gearbox. A continuously controlled adjustable chassis is mated to an intelligent four-wheel-drive system to ensure that not one of those horsepower is wasted, collecting information about the way the car moves, and responding instantly by adjusting performance to suit the driver’s needs. Volvo denies this vehicle will be seen on American highways anytime soon, but rumors say it may ultimately be produced in both wagon and sedan form.