Automotive

Gallery: Pickup jeeps, 7-figure SUVs, camper vans and more from the 2018 LA Auto Show

Gallery: Pickup jeeps, 7-figur...
Ford Trucks at the 2018 LA Auto Show
Ford Trucks at the 2018 LA Auto Show
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Electric startup Rivian creates some serious buzz in the run-up to the LA show, debuting its 400-mile (644-km) R1T all-electric pickup truck 
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Electric startup Rivian creates some serious buzz in the run-up to the LA show, debuting its 400-mile (644-km) R1T all-electric pickup truck 
The R1S electric SUV is the other half of Rivian's new lineup of "electric adventure vehicles" 
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The R1S electric SUV is the other half of Rivian's new lineup of "electric adventure vehicles" 
Rivian plans to begin production in late 2020
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Rivian plans to begin production in late 2020
This Jeep Gladiator includes a set of Decked storage drawers, along with a bed rack
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This Jeep Gladiator includes a set of Decked storage drawers, along with a bed rack
Probably the most-anticipated debut of the 2018 LA show, the Jeep Gladiator pickup
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Probably the most-anticipated debut of the 2018 LA show, the Jeep Gladiator pickup
If a Wrangler with bed space to carry two dirt bikes doesn't sound like the ultimate in off-road fun, we're not sure anything does
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If a Wrangler with bed space to carry two dirt bikes doesn't sound like the ultimate in off-road fun, we're not sure anything does
Star of the show: a peek at the Jeep Gladiator's 5-ft bed
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Star of the show: a peek at the Jeep Gladiator's 5-ft bed
The ultimate go-anywhere capability of a Jeep Wrangler with a pickup bed ... yes and yes
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The ultimate go-anywhere capability of a Jeep Wrangler with a pickup bed ... yes and yes
Karlmann King shows its positively ridiculous US$1.85+ million SUV
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Karlmann King shows its positively ridiculous US$1.85+ million SUV
Karlmann King builds an oddly faceted bespoke body atop a Ford F-550 chassis. Why? We're still not entirely sure
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Karlmann King builds an oddly faceted bespoke body atop a Ford F-550 chassis. Why? We're still not entirely sure
At a press conference, Karlmann King described its prospective customer as the type who already has four Ferraris and five Lamborghinis and wants something truly special
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At a press conference, Karlmann King described its prospective customer as the type who already has four Ferraris and five Lamborghinis and wants something truly special
Not exactly trucks, but it'll likely be trucks and SUVs towing these Airstream camping trailers
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Not exactly trucks, but it'll likely be trucks and SUVs towing these Airstream camping trailers
Land Rover Disco on show in LA
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Land Rover Disco on show in LA
GMC debuted the Sierra Denali HD All Mountain Concept last year, but it still looks quite original in 2018
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GMC debuted the Sierra Denali HD All Mountain Concept last year, but it still looks quite original in 2018
Chevy toughens the Colorado up just a little more with the recently announced ZR2 Bison
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Chevy toughens the Colorado up just a little more with the recently announced ZR2 Bison
We saw plenty of the new Mercedes Sprinter at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon back in summer; here it makes an appearance in the States
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We saw plenty of the new Mercedes Sprinter at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon back in summer; here it makes an appearance in the States
Another 2018-revamped Mercedes, the new G-Class
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Another 2018-revamped Mercedes, the new G-Class
Cadillac XT4
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Cadillac XT4
Cadillac XT4
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Cadillac XT4
Lincoln debuts the new mid-size Aviator SUV, along with a plug-in hybrid powertrain option
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Lincoln debuts the new mid-size Aviator SUV, along with a plug-in hybrid powertrain option
The Aviator gets what Lincoln classifies its most advanced hybrid tech, a 450-hp drive with electric motor, 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission 
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The Aviator gets what Lincoln classifies its most advanced hybrid tech, a 450-hp drive with electric motor, 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission 
A look inside the all-new Lincoln Aviator
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A look inside the all-new Lincoln Aviator
Audi's all-electric e-tron quattro SUV
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Audi's all-electric e-tron quattro SUV
As Volkswagen moves toward production of its all-electric bus, it shows a cargo van version, the I.D. Buzz Cargo concept
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As Volkswagen moves toward production of its all-electric bus, it shows a cargo van version, the I.D. Buzz Cargo concept
The VW I.D. Buzz Cargo is powered by a 201-hp rear-drive electric motor
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The VW I.D. Buzz Cargo is powered by a 201-hp rear-drive electric motor
Volkswagen estimates range between 200 and 340 miles (WLTP cycle), depending upon battery option
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Volkswagen estimates range between 200 and 340 miles (WLTP cycle), depending upon battery option
California's Lexani offers the EXTV (Extreme Terrain Vehicle) line of Mercedes Sprinter off-road adventure/camper vans
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California's Lexani offers the EXTV (Extreme Terrain Vehicle) line of Mercedes Sprinter off-road adventure/camper vans
The all-new 2019 Ford Ranger FX4 gets some aftermarket love from LGE-CTS Motorsports
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The all-new 2019 Ford Ranger FX4 gets some aftermarket love from LGE-CTS Motorsports
After letting it lapse for over 15 years, Honda renews its Passport 
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After letting it lapse for over 15 years, Honda renews its Passport 
The new mid-size Passport is much more a crossover than the rebadged Isuzu Rodeo of Honda past, but Honda is still eager to emphasize its outdoor worthiness
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The new mid-size Passport is much more a crossover than the rebadged Isuzu Rodeo of Honda past, but Honda is still eager to emphasize its outdoor worthiness
In a pretty cool cross-segment double-debut, Honda shows the all-new Passporttowing the all-new Talon 1000R side-by-side
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In a pretty cool cross-segment double-debut, Honda shows the all-new Passporttowing the all-new Talon 1000R side-by-side
Kia once again trots out its artsy Telluride show truck ahead of the Telluride's official world premiere next year
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Kia once again trots out its artsy Telluride show truck ahead of the Telluride's official world premiere next year
Ford goes overlanding with the Base Camp Ranger
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Ford goes overlanding with the Base Camp Ranger
Ford Accessories Base Camp Ranger
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Ford Accessories Base Camp Ranger
Ford Trucks at the 2018 LA Auto Show
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Ford Trucks at the 2018 LA Auto Show
Toyota gives its 2017 Tj Cruiser concept another showing in LA
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Toyota gives its 2017 Tj Cruiser concept another showing in LA
The versatile Tj Cruiser finds a place between a cargo van and SUV
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The versatile Tj Cruiser finds a place between a cargo van and SUV
The BMW X7 shows its big, powerful grille in LA
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The BMW X7 shows its big, powerful grille in LA
Audi Q8 quattro
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This time, the Karlmann King SUV flips its lights on
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This time, the Karlmann King SUV flips its lights on
A look in the comfy passenger quarters of the Karlmann King SUV
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A look in the comfy passenger quarters of the Karlmann King SUV
VanDoIt shows off its modular Ford Transit-based camper van hardware
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VanDoIt uses floor/wall/ceiling mounted T-track and camping/storage modules to create personalized adventure vans
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VanDoIt uses floor/wall/ceiling mounted T-track and camping/storage modules to create personalized adventure vans
After its press conference outside the main exhibition hall, the Rivian R1S electric SUV finds a home inside
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After its press conference outside the main exhibition hall, the Rivian R1S electric SUV finds a home inside
The Rivian R1S seats up to seven
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The Rivian R1S seats up to seven
Both the Rivian R1T pickup and R1S SUV are based on the same battery-integrated skateboard chassis
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Both the Rivian R1T pickup and R1S SUV are based on the same battery-integrated skateboard chassis
A look inside the Rivian R1S SUV
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A look inside the Rivian R1S SUV
Rivian bills its two new electric trucks as "adventure vehicles" 
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Rivian bills its two new electric trucks as "adventure vehicles" 
A look inside the storage "frunk" on the Rivian R1T pickup
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A look inside the storage "frunk" on the Rivian R1T pickup
In addition to its bed and frunk, the Rivian R1T has a rear passthrough gear tunnel
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In addition to its bed and frunk, the Rivian R1T has a rear passthrough gear tunnel
Honda gets into sport side-by-sides with the Talon line
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Honda gets into sport side-by-sides with the Talon line
Honda Talon 1000R
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Honda Talon 1000R
Jeep Gladiator 
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Jeep Gladiator 
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade is another big SUV debut in LA
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The 2020 Hyundai Palisade is another big SUV debut in LA
The three-row Palisade becomes Hyundai's flagship SUV
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The three-row Palisade becomes Hyundai's flagship SUV
Maserati Levante 
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Maserati Levante 
"Hiring our Heroes" Tacoma on display at Toyota
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"Hiring our Heroes" Tacoma on display at Toyota
Toyota shows the TRD family
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Toyota shows the TRD family
Toyota lifeguard pickup
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Toyota lifeguard pickup
Range Rover Evoque
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Range Rover Evoque
Range Rover Evoque
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Range Rover Evoque
GMC Sierra Denali
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GMC Sierra Denali
Chevy Silverado High Country
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Chevy Silverado High Country
The new 2019 Mercedes GLE shows up in LA
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The new 2019 Mercedes GLE shows up in LA
Mercedes GLE
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Mercedes GLE
BMW X7
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BMW X7
A very different style of pop-top from the camper vans we often cover, this Pegleg van from West Coast Customs uses pop-outs to house its DJ equipment
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A very different style of pop-top from the camper vans we often cover, this Pegleg van from West Coast Customs uses pop-outs to house its DJ equipment
Growing into a DJ booth with the West Coast Pegleg DJ Van
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Growing into a DJ booth with the West Coast Pegleg DJ Van
Seriously rugged Hummer parked in an aisle of the Garage exhibition area
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Seriously rugged Hummer parked in an aisle of the Garage exhibition area
Recently acquired by German motorhome company Erwin Hymer, American Fastbacks offers a variety of adventure accessories and camping vehicles
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Recently acquired by German motorhome company Erwin Hymer, American Fastbacks offers a variety of adventure accessories and camping vehicles
Big, mean Hummer 
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Big, mean Hummer 
The good, old Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has never looked so small as it does when positioned amongst multiple Jeep Gladiators
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The good, old Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has never looked so small as it does when positioned amongst multiple Jeep Gladiators
Lexus UX crossover
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Lexus UX crossover
Audi e-tron quattro
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Audi e-tron quattro

The cars of the 2018 LA Auto Show handily outnumber the trucks, but the trucks and SUVs are absolutely the bigger story. This year's show hosted the debut of one of the most highly anticipated vehicles of modern times, the Jeep Gladiator, as well as a pretty compelling take on the all-electric on/off-road adventure truck. There's also a newly detailed all-electric VW Microbus concept, a Ford F-550 dressed up in its fanciest US$1.8 million clothes, a number of brand-new and revived SUV models, and even a few camper vans and trailers. All in all, a great show for truck and utility vehicle fans, particularly the most outdoorsy among them.

Bedding the Jeep Wrangler

It was 2010, and I was covering my first auto event ever as a journalist, the 44th Annual Easter Jeep Safari. A clear standout among that year's concept Jeeps was the NuKizer 715, a Wrangler gone full retro with a military grade body kit and a pickup bed. Staring at the NuKizer, I realized how great an idea a Wrangler pickup was and I decided the world really needed one.

Me and every other hardcore and casual Jeep fan in the world – not my most original idea. Scores of others had come to the same conclusion half a decade earlier when Jeep revealed the Gladiator Concept. And still others had been hoping for it since 1992, when Jeep pulled the plug on the Cherokee-based Comanche, or the 80s, when the CJ-8 Scrambler and J-series pickup/Gladiator took their final bows.

Probably the most-anticipated debut of the 2018 LA show, the Jeep Gladiator pickup
Probably the most-anticipated debut of the 2018 LA show, the Jeep Gladiator pickup

For its part, Jeep played coy for years and years, teasing the world by releasing subsequent Jeep Safari pickup concepts like the 2012 Mighty FC and 2015 Red Rock Responder. Years later, in 2018, it's finally relented and given folks the production pickup they've been clamoring for. And the Jeep Gladiator certainly looks like a convincing mash-up of Wrangler and pickup truck, a stretched, go-anywhere 4x4 with a 5-ft (1.5-m) steel bed and all the off-road readiness the Wrangler is all about – Dana axles, low-range gear ratios, Tru-Lok differentials and a tsunami of forthcoming accessories.

If a Wrangler with bed space to carry two dirt bikes doesn't sound like the ultimate in off-road fun, we're not sure anything does
If a Wrangler with bed space to carry two dirt bikes doesn't sound like the ultimate in off-road fun, we're not sure anything does

You can find all the other details in our full article, but we'll leave you with one particularly warming thought that came to us as we looked over the new Gladiator – rumbling over some of the world's nastiest trail, carrying a pair of dirt bikes in back so you can continue the journey when the trail narrows a little too much for four wheels. What's not to love?

Electrifying cargo

Another of the most anticipated automotive revivals of contemporary times, the electric Volkswagen Bulli redux is working toward its 2022 launch. It seems Volkswagen will follow the formula of its fossil fuel-powered vans in offering both passenger and cargo configurations. It showed the I.D. Buzz Cargo at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show back in September and refashioned the concept for its auto show debut in LA.

Volkswagen estimates range between 200 and 340 miles (WLTP cycle), depending upon battery option
Volkswagen estimates range between 200 and 340 miles (WLTP cycle), depending upon battery option

The I.D. Buzz Cargo is now a conceptual support vehicle for the Pikes Peak-conquering I.D. R race car. The show van wears livery similar to the R, along with a map of the Pikes Peak course on its rear door. Inside, Volkswagen's concept includes Sortimo storage shelving with a sensor-based management system for tracking stored contents. There's also a workbench and I.D. R parts.

With potential lithium-ion battery pack sizes between 48- and 111-kWh, the I.D. Buzz Cargo could travel an estimated 200 to 340 miles (322 to 547 km) per charge, according to VW. Power comes from a rear-mounted 201-hp (150-kW) electric motor, but creating an all-wheel drive would be as simple as dropping a second motor up front. The concept also includes I.D. Pilot autonomous mode and a retractable steering wheel.

Volkswagen suggests that an I.D. electric cargo van could hit the market during the same 2022 timeframe as the passenger van.

Creating something ... different

There are plenty of major SUV debuts to choose from, but the SUV we just can't stop thinking about, as much as we really want to, is this not-so-important black beast from Karlmann King. Earlier this year, New Atlas' Loz Blain described this unexpected creation as a "brutal, angular Bat-SUV-looking thing of awkward and ungainly proportions."

Karlmann King builds an oddly faceted bespoke body atop a Ford F-550 chassis. Why? We're still not entirely sure
Karlmann King builds an oddly faceted bespoke body atop a Ford F-550 chassis. Why? We're still not entirely sure

We'd like to say the Karlmann King gets better up close, but we simply cannot. The thing is absolutely massive, and not in the tough, utilitarian way of heavy machinery or military vehicles, but more in a "why would anyone in the real world try to wrestle that bulky monster around a street or highway?" kind of way. The odd faceted bodywork looks vaguely tactical but is purely cosmetic, designed to set this Ford F-550 coach build apart from every other truck or SUV out there. And if you're going to pay $1.85 million for an SUV that tops out at 87 mph (140 km/h), it better not look like any other vehicle in the Starbucks parking lot.

Inside, Karlmann's truck-limo has a partitioned passenger compartment loaded with a retractable 40-in TV/divider wall, PlayStation, reclining massage seats, minibar, fridge and various other overindulgences.

A look in the comfy passenger quarters of the Karlmann King SUV
A look in the comfy passenger quarters of the Karlmann King SUV

Karlmann King is in the process of adding a Californian manufacturing partner alongside its Torino partner so it can better serve customers on both sides of the Atlantic. It now says it plans to build only nine models worldwide (perhaps because it can't find a willing dozen). Each one will reflect its individual buyer's every superficial whim, and because of that customized nature, the $1.85 million is merely an estimated average of what a Karlmann King will cost you at checkout, not a hard MSRP. A steal at twice the price, we say.

If an odd $1.9 million faux-armored SUV leaves a bad taste in your mouth (or even if it doesn't), leap to the gallery to cleanse your palate with all the other trucks and SUVs we checked out during our time in LA.

2 comments
kwalispecial
That Toyota TJ looks like a cross between a Ford Flex and a Hummer H2 (which I don't mean as a compliment).
guzmanchinky
My big question is how did someone beat Elon to market with a pickup that has level 3 autonomy?