“As cool as the Chev Chaparral concept is, I am not sure I’d really love to drive a car that I sit head first in – think of the Olympic sport – the skeleton!”

Chaparral Gran Turismo
Chaparral Gran Turismo
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept
Ford Explorer
Ford Explorer
Ford Mustang Shelby

Los Angeles, California.

The 2014 Los Angeles International Auto Show debuted some brilliant vehicles that will (and won’t) be coming to the streets near you.

Whether it’s an all-new sedan/coupe, a car that will take you from point A to B, or a vehicle that was designed for the virtual world, the Golden State’s auto show had all of the above and more. Here’s a look at what the North American manufacturers have been up to in the last while.

Cadillac ATS-V Coupe and Sedan

The long anticipated “V” series of ATS sedan and coupe is just around the corner. When Cadillac’s ATS hit the streets two years ago, it not only impressed the journalistic community, but buyers alike. It even earned the title of the 2013 North American Car of the Year, and rightfully so.

Now the ATS comes with more potency, more performance, and a lot more of everything. The ATS-V will introduce class-leading twin-turbocharged power and a comprehensive suite of design and performance systems when production begins in spring 2015.

Under its carbon fibre hood – a standard feature on all ATS-V models – is a newly developed 3.6L, V6 with an impressive 455 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque. The well–endowed engine can then be matched with either a 6-speed manual (yay, a manual!) or a paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission featuring launch control and Performance Algorithm Shift.

It looks beautiful and I can’t wait to get behind its wheel. The crowd was also assured they wouldn’t be disappointed. I am counting the minutes.

Ford Explorer

The 2016 Ford Explorer was introduced at 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show to an excited crowd. With a fresh look, a newly available 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine (expected to deliver approximately 270 horsepower and at least 300 lb.-ft. of torque, an increase of 13 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, over the 2.0-litre EcoBoost), and an all-new, range-topping Platinum series, this SUV keeps getting better.

It improves on many different levels.

For example, for the first time, a four-cylinder Explorer will be available with Ford’s intelligent four-wheel-drive system and will be able to tow up to 3,000 pounds (1,361 kgs.), outperforming the current Explorer equipped with 2.0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder.

Furthermore, this sixth generation SUV – which has been selling for over 25 years and is available in over 100 markets worldwide – will come equipped with ability to park itself, if you happen to select the Platinum edition.

The system helps the driver parallel park or perpendicular park using ultrasonic sensors and electric power-assisted steering. Park-out assist uses sensors to assist in pulling out of parallel parking spots. All you have to do is control the throttle and brake.

Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

A friend of mine named her daughter Shelby. Yes, after the Mustang. She likes cars, too.

Aside from it being an icon of North American culture, it also represents how engineers continue to push the envelope in regards to engine development.

The GT350 is powered by a unique, high-revving flat-plane crankshaft 5.2-litre V8 engine that will produce more than 500 horsepower – the most powerful naturally aspirated Ford production engine ever.

No turbochargers necessary!

The Shelby GT350 Mustang is the latest in an all-new line of Mustang fastback and convertible models, including the specially designed 50th Anniversary Edition Mustang.

Fun fact, more than 9.2 million Mustangs have been sold since the car’s 1964 debut.

Chevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo

As a kid, I would envision myself as a cartoon/video game character. Maybe it’s because I often become so animated. Okay, bad joke, but it’s sometimes nice to see make-believe come to life.

The Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept is a car that was designed for the virtual world, and for young ones, or the young at heart to play with in the comfort of their living room.

As cool as the Chev Chaparral concept is, I am not sure I’d really love to drive a car that I sit head first in – think of the Olympic sport – the skeleton! And mid-mounted laser, beamed-energy propulsion system might take some getting used to. But heck, it’s worth a go!

Regardless, the concept was developed as part of the Vision Gran Turismo project, which celebrates the future of automotive design and innovation. The Chaparral 2X VGT concept is inspired by the innovative racecars Chaparral Racing and Chevrolet partnered on more than 45 years ago.

Gamers can race the Chaparral 2X VGT this Christmas season by downloading an online update for Gran Turismo 6.

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept

I can’t count how many times I’ve encountered a concept and wished upon shooting stars for it to become a production vehicle.

Well, perhaps, this one might (fingers crossed) come true. After all, a few components of the all-new midsized Colorado are coming to life. We just have to wait a little while for it.

One of those magical parts is the 2.8L Duramax diesel, which is expected to be outfitted in the truck sometime in 2015 for the 2016 model year.

That diesel packs an estimated 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm for your towing pleasure.

The 2.8L Duramax diesel is part of a new, global family of turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines designed to deliver more-efficient capability.

When looking at it, well, it’s not your ordinary truck.

The Colorado ZR2 wears a concept Cyprus Green exterior color, with Henna Orange accents and custom ZR2 identification on the rear fenders, tailgate and grille.

Not to mention a sizeable set of off-road ready tires; a set of 275/65R18 off-road rubbers mounted on custom 18-inch aluminum multi-spoke, bead-lock-style wheels.

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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