The 2018 L.A. Auto Show was a glittering affair filled with splashy reveals and impressive new technology. Some old favorites, like the Porsche 911, showed off their new looks, while newcomers like EV-maker Rivian emerged on the scene. Oh, and there was a Jeep truck. So it was a huge show, to say the least, but as always, there were standouts.
Note: We vote for the winners based using a points system, and we had a rare three-way tie for third place. We broke that tie by ranking the vehicles based on the number of editors who voted for them.
Research the Porsche 911
Rivian R1S – Fifth Place (37 Points)
Senior Editor (Green) John Beltz Snyder: Wow, I just love the boxy look of this thing. And the fact that it’s electric. And that it has over 400 miles of range. And its three-second 0-60 time. And its hefty tow rating. And the impressive sensor suite for semi-autonomy. And that roomy, fresh interior. And …
Contributing Editor James Riswick: Few cars have caught me by surprise like Rivian’s SUV. Anyone can make outlandish claims about range and 0-60 times, but it’s quite another to make a pair of vehicles that look as solidly complete as this. Actually, the R1S looks more like a production car than does a Tesla Model 3. They have a factory, they seem to have the know-how, so let’s hope this one really does come to be.
2019 Mazda 3 – Fourth Place (37 Points)
Senior Editor Alex Kierstein: Mazda has done it again. The new 3 looks great and gets some truly compelling new options: Skyactiv-X, all-wheel drive, and the manual will stick around. What engines and transmissions come to the U.S. is still TBD, but even so, it’s the most compelling car in its segment by leaps and bounds.
Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: Best car of the show for me. Both the hatchback and sedan are stunning, and the interior looks more upscale than luxury compacts. I’m not sure if there were many people asking for all-wheel drive, but it sure does open the door for future high-performance variants.
Research the Mazda Mazda3
Audi E-Tron Concept – Third Place (37 Points)
Managing Editor Greg Rasa: Lots of people seem to think Teslas are attractive. This, however? Gorgeous. Maybe the prettiest Audi ever. It answers the premise that “EVs don’t have to be weird looking” with, “They sure as hell don’t!” This show has so many great vehicles, this one almost gets overlooked — but Tesla had better take notice.
Senior Producer Chris McGraw: An electric Audi that looks like it is ready to come down the assembly line. Build these quickly please.
Contributing Writer Sven Gustafson: I love its planted frontal appearance, high shoulders and fastback styling. It manages to look like a confident, understated electric car without being showy or “different” looking, as some EVs are.
Research the Audi
2020 Porsche 911 – Second Place (49 Points)
Associate Editor Reese Counts: Anyone who says the 911 is boring is either jaded or has no experience with the car. It’s the best sports car around, and that’s coming from a dyed-in-the-wool Corvette guy. It has the looks, the heritage and the performance. I cannot wait to drive it.
Social Media Manager Michael Ferrara: The new generation looks fantastic. The updated interior styling is spot on, and yes even the shifter.
Manager, Video Production, Eddie Sabatini: The 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera is gorgeous. The exterior isn’t wildly different than the outgoing model but that isn’t a bad thing. I think the biggest change is how the door handles now sit flush with the bodywork. I’m digging the sleek effect that it has. The biggest design changes come on the inside, and I think Porsche nailed it here. The shift knob is gonna be polarizing to some but the overall impression of the interior is quite stunning. Besides, just wait for the manual and you won’t have to deal with the stubby shift stalk. It’s a much-needed update in my opinion, and I can’t wait to see how these aesthetic and technical updates translate to the 911 driving experience.
Research the Porsche 911
2020 Jeep Gladiator – First Place
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: In a show of really compelling new cars and trucks, this is the one I would want as my personal vehicle. It checks all the boxes. It’s a pickup. It’s a Wrangler. It’s a touch retro. It would work for me in daily life. We’ve been waiting for the Gladiator, and Jeep delivered.
Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: Not a total surprise, but it looks amazing, packs all the Wrangler’s fun features, and actually promises real truck capability. Should be a hit.
Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski: The big question is why it took so long for Jeep to put a pickup truck back into production. Now that it’s finally here, the problem may be how to build enough of ’em to satisfy demand.
Research the Jeep