Odometer (Legend): 531,869
Odometer (ILX): 104,848
Trip Distance: 764 Miles
It would have cost me $460 to fly round-trip from Phoenix on Southwest for this week’s trip to Los Angeles. Was there any question I’d rather get behind the wheel and just drive? Still I get the “Are you driving or flying?” question from plenty of people who don’t yet know me well enough! For this trip, I had a copilot who’s a fellow seasoned driver: Jason from Las Cruces, who you’ve read about on Driven for Drives, accompanied me on this trip to the City of Angels.
The LA Auto Show started in 1907 with 99 vehicles on display at a skating rink. Since then, it has evolved into one of the largest annual automotive events in the country, filling 760,000 thousand square feet of space at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I’ve attended on two occasions in the past:
I attended this year’s show as an Associate Editor for DC-based automotive media company Redline Productions. Jackson and Sofyan from the Redline management team had asked me to work with them on some vehicle launch videos, and I was excited for the opportunity to collaborate with them again. Jason rolled into Phoenix on Tuesday afternoon from Las Cruces, New Mexico, and we hit the road just in time to savor some of Phoenix’s worst afternoon stop-and-go westbound traffic on Interstate 10. It was a relief when we finally broke free from the gridlock and set the cruise on 80 for the next 5 or so hours.
(photo credit to Jason)
Taking the ILX for a quick lap around Los Angeles International Airport’s terminal 5 to scoop up Sofyan and Rob, we checked in at the Sheraton in downtown LA for the night and charged up our batteries – literally and figuratively – for the adventures the following day would provide. Equipped with our press credentials and loads of ambition, we attacked Wednesday’s Auto Show with organization and strategy.
Throughout the day, each automaker got a 25-minute window of time to “wow” the journalists. We got ahold of the schedule and decided which press conferences we each wanted to attend. When we weren’t following the hordes of press people around, we spent time tidying up our scripts and networking with old friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen since last year’s show. I ran into Acura’s Chuck Schifsky and we caught up for a few minutes.
I got my moment in the spotlight when I did an on-camera preview of the newly-refreshed 2015 Chrysler 300 (above picture captured by a friend during my on-cam time), and then had some free time to explore at my leisure. Some of the automaker booths offered free food, drinks, and swag, so I was keen to keep my eyes open for such goodies. In all, I walked over 5 miles during the day while exploring the huge conference center, according to my iPhone’s “Health” app.
The afternoon hours flew by, and before we knew it, the 5:45 p.m. PA announcement was made: The show halls would be closing in 15 minutes. We hurried to wrap up our current activities and then made our way back to the hotel. The evening’s activities included dinner with a friend from Acura’s PR team and then a drop-in at a Hyundai-sponsored after-party at historic Hotel Figueroa.
Honda’s all-new 2016 HR-V model, a subcompact crossover based on the Honda Fit platform, was the subject of my focus on Thursday morning for day 2 of the auto show. After completing a quick vehicle intro on camera for Redline Reviews, I scampered quickly to the Acura press conference which was scheduled to begin at 9:35 a.m. Luckily I was able to score us some second-row seats for the entertainment. Right on cue, we were surrounded by thundering music, spotlights through smoke, and a gigantic countdown clock on the big screen ahead of us.
Acura’s Senior Vice President Mike Accavitti took the stage and teed up his introduction of the refreshed 2016 Acura ILX. As most of my readers will know, the ILX debuted for the 2013 model year and aside from some new standard features, has been largely unchanged since. For 2016, the car will now get a host of new appointments to sweeten its appeal to young car buyers looking to enter the luxury segment.
The climax of Mike’s presentation happened when two Acura ILX models – one in silver and one in stunning Catalina Blue – blazed their Jewel Eye headlights at us and drove up onto the elevated stage. Mike proceeded then to teach us a little about what makes the new ILX so special.
Among those highlights are the following:
- Now-standard 201-horsepower, 2.4 liter direct-injected 4-cylinder motor (up 51 horses from the prior “base model” engine)
- Standard 8-speed dual-clutch transmission
- New front & rear styling, including signature Jewel Eye headlamps
- Addition of power passenger seat and available memory seats
- Seven-inch touch-screen on the instrument panel
- New trim levels: Standard, Premium, and Technology Plus.
- Available A-SPEC package for Premium & above – rolling in 18″ wheels, fog lights, suede seat inserts, red instrument illumination, gray interior stitching, and aluminum brake & throttle pedals
- Advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies (blind spot detection, rear cross traffic monitor)
I’m saddened by the elimination of the 6-speed manual as a transmission offering, but I love everything else about the new ILX. It looks like Acura has listened to customers who had complained about the previous ILX 2.0-liter “base” engine being underpowered, at only 150 horsepower. I love the resurrection of of the “A-SPEC” name, as it’s great to see Acura getting back to its “Precision Crafted Performance” heritage. I look forward to taking a new ILX for a spin.
Among the show’s other world debuts were some important vehicles, 18 of which are listed on the show’s Wiki page under the “2014” heading. All-too-soon, it was time for Jason and me to collect our gear and ponder the 400-mile trek back to the desert. We said farewell to our friends from Redline Media and grabbed some boxed lunches to-go from the Media Center, then hit the road. Jason was great company for the drive and I thank him for coming along! Thanks also to the Redline Productions team for making it a great experience. I hope that you as my readers enjoyed the show as much as we all did. Below are the rest of my pics!
This is a video of an 8-minute segment of the Acura press conference, leading up to the ILX rollout/unveil.
Wednesday morning view from the 20th floor of the Sheraton in downtown Los Angeles
Jason, Tyson, Rob, Sofyan, ready to tackle the first day of the Auto Show
Media Center: Getting set up with our camera gear
The 2016 Acura ILX waits under black covers until its reveal the following day.
Celebrity encounters in the Media Center: Steve Ewing, Sr. Editor of Autoblog, and Steve Siler, featured author in Car & Driver
Another celebrity encounter: Davis Adams of Honda Public Relations, and “Lance the Driver.”
And a third! This is the MAN behind Acura: Mr. Kurt Antonius. His name appeared as the designated point of contact on the press releases back in the mid-1980’s when the Acura brand was created as a separate entity from Honda. He’s since retired, but still comes back to attend the shows from time to time. It was great to run into him!
Honda HR-V debut
Filming the HRV with Jason and Sofyan the following morning
Dinner meet-up with great friends
Hyundai after-party with a plexiglass cover over the swimming pool at Hotel Figueroa so we could walk on top of it.
Additional pictures of today’s 2016 Acura ILX unveiling – first, Mike Accavitti’s presentation.
This is the A-SPEC model that rolled out to the stage in Catalina Blue.
2.4 liter engine
Driver’s side interior
Driver’s side exterior
Accompanying silver ILX on display, with the new accessory 18″ wheels
Nice looking rear end
My good friend Scott who works for Acura’s media agency, Mullen
A few other sights from around the show: Mazda – with Jason conducting a review of the newly-revised 6
Volkswagen’s sexy new “Golf R”
Infiniti concept car
My trusty old car when leaving the Sheraton to head home from Los Angeles.
Whew!!!! Thanks for reading!