The new Ford Explorer, ZR2 concept and other trucks of the LA Auto Show

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The ZR2 is Chevy's vision of a mid-size truck with enhanced off-road capabilities (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

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Think Los Angeles, and the first vehicle that comes to mind is probably a fast, powerful convertible along the lines of the new Ferrari F60 America. A pickup truck or SUV is likely to be well down the list. And that's largely how this year's Los Angeles Show played out with a whole lot of flashy cars. But truck lovers weren't left wanting entirely with a smattering of trucks on display, including the all-new Ford Explorer and Chevy Colorado ZR2 concept pickup.

Chevy dipped its toes in the performance off-road sector with the ZR2 concept truck, and Ford debuted the 2016 Explorer. Beyond those two notables, we've compiled a gallery spanning concept SUVs, classics dating back as far as the 1920s, and jacked-up customs straight out of the SEMA Show.

2016 Ford Explorer

The biggest truck/SUV debut of the LA show was the refreshed Ford Explorer. The 2016 Explorer marks 25 years for Ford's venerable SUV, with more than seven million of the vehicle sold in the United States during that quarter-century run.

The updated Explorer doesn't rest on its laurels, offering a range of new technologies and features headlined by the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine available in the base, XLT and Limited trims. That engine replaces the 240-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost, upgrading output to "at least" 270 hp (179 kW) and 300 lb-ft (407 Nm) of torque with no expected loss in fuel economy. Carryover engine options include the 290-hp (216 kW) 3.5-liter V6 and 365-hp (272 kW) 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, with the Intelligent 4WD with Terrain Management System also making the trip to 2016.

The new Explorer has much the same overall look as the current model, but it gets a few notable modifications. The front fascia, in particular, has benefited from some work, most noticeably in the redesigned grille. That grille has been pushed higher, along with the headlamps. The new headlamp design includes integrated cooling grilles carved around the lower lamps, adding another dimension to the Explorer's face.

Ford has retuned the Explorer chassis and will offer new tire options for the standard 18-in and optional 20-in wheels. Newly available technology features include smart-charging USB ports throughout the interior, a foot-activated liftgate and active grille shutters.

The Explorer will go on sale in the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2015 in five trim levels: base, XLT, Limited, Sport and the all-new Platinum. The Platinum trim focuses on upmarket style, including "Nirvana" leather seating, ash wood and brushed aluminum trim, a 500-watt Sony audio system, and a premium technology package with enhanced active park assist, lane keeping and rain-sensing wipers.

Chevy Colorado ZR2 concept

The Ford Explorer will have more of an immediate impact on the market, but we found the Chevy Colorado ZR2 to be the most interesting truck debut in LA. The concept carries a variety of upgrades aimed at the great rocky yonder, showing what an off-road-specific version of Chevy's midsize pickup could look like.

Chevy lifts the Colorado ZR2 with a 2-in (5 cm) kit and stretches the track by 4 inches (10 cm), offering improved clearance and stability. Clearance is also helped by the modified front and rear fascias, which raise approach and departure angles to 30.7 and 22.7 degrees, respectively, from 25/21 on the Colorado Z71.

The ZR2 puts its 181 hp (135 kW) and 369 lb-ft (407 Nm) of 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel muscle to dirt with 275/65R18 off-road tires rolled around 18-in custom aluminum beadlock-style wheels. Electronic-locking front and rear differentials assist the tires in gripping and going, and the King mono-tube coil-over shocks with remote-mounted fluid reservoirs provide cushioning. The pickup bed is home to a spare wheel/tire set and 48-in (122 cm) Hi-Lift jack.

The ZR2 wears a variety of added and redesigned components, in addition to the modified front and rear fascias with flip-out tow hooks and front winch. The all-new grille, power dome hood, custom wheel flares and rocker guards, and skid plates distinguish the truck as the off-roader in the family. The package is finished with a concept Cyprus Green paint job and Henna Orange accents.

"Chevrolet has a heritage of the ZR2 representing the ultimate in production-based off-road capability and we’ll gauge the public’s interest in this concept as we continue to explore the possibilities for the all-new Colorado," says Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager.

Check out additional photos of the Explorer and Colorado ZR2, along with loads of other trucks, 4x4s and large vans, in the gallery.

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