11 hot cars at the LA Auto Show
— FIAT 500e: The Fiat 500 mini-car is bulking up and going electric. The Italian automaker is showing two new versions of the 500 at the show: An all-electric model that Fiat says will go 80 miles when fully charged and a longer, four-door model that seats five and offers twice the room of the tiny 500. The 500e will go on sale in California in the second quarter of 2013, while the elongated 500 will hit dealerships all over the country in the middle of next year.
— BMW i3: The battery-powered concept car, which swaps the traditional steel body for lighter carbon fiber, gives some clues about where BMW is going with its first electric car. BMW says the concept car can go 80 to 100 miles on a battery charge. It has a 170 horsepower electric motor and is rear-wheel drive. Battery cells are under the floor, lowering the car's center of gravity for better handling. The cell around the passengers is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. No word on when the car will come to showrooms.
— ACURA RLX: It's a new version of the aging big Acura, the RL. The 2014 RLX will have an all-wheel steering system that controls the steering angles for better handling, a new communications setup and LED headlamps. It's also 275 pounds lighter and has a new 310-horsepower V-6 that gets 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The Honda luxury brand says it will deliver a new level of performance, sophistication and comfort.
— CHEVROLET SPARK EV: An all-electric mini-car that will go on sale in California, Oregon, Canada and South Korea next summer. Other markets are expected to follow. General Motors won't release many details, but says the Spark EV will cost less than $25,000 with a federal tax credit and will go at least as far on a charge as rivals like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus EV, which can go more than 70 miles.
— FORD TRANSIT CONNECT WAGON: After a six-year hiatus, Ford gets back into the minivan business with the Transit Connect Wagon. It seats up to seven, has dual sliding doors and will be instantly recognizable thanks to its short size and high roofline. It will get 30-plus miles to the gallon and start around $20,000. The Transit Connect Wagon goes on sale in the fall.
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