New Crossovers Dominate Mass-Market and Premium Debuts at L.A. Auto Show

Crossovers continued to pull their weight among major introductions at the L.A. Auto Show. A few of the introductions featured in the segment that is favored by nearly one of every four or five new-car buyers:

Ford introduced its new 2013 Escape with sleek styling changes that take cues from its Focus sibling and simpler, enhanced telematics—Sync with MyFord Touch—and more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine options as well as a remote liftgate feature. A new version of the Ford Flex midsize CUV also was unveiled, featuring a slightly less dramatic front end, but new inflatable seat belts to protect children and older passengers.

Honda’s CR-V, the best-selling model in the category from 2007 through 2010, debuted. The fourth-generation model, which will be built in East Liberty, OH, along with two plants in Canada and Mexico, offers better fuel economy, one-touch fold-down rear passenger seats and more standard equipment, including USB audio, Bluetooth connectivity, color rearview monitor, Pandora radio, and SMS text messaging.

Mazda’s new CX-5 compact CUV features what it claims is segment-leading fuel efficiency along with “Zoom Zoom” driving fun and styling.

• A new JX luxury CUV was introduced by Nissan’s Infiniti brand as a luxury family vehicle that seats 7. The larger CUV features second- and third-row seats that fold down for children and can be reconfigured for adults. Information connections are linked with Google’s calendar. A bevy of safety features are standard, including: lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection, back-up collision-intervention system.

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