LA Auto Show 2019

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback continues automaker's EV-focused future

The new Audi E-Tron Sportback made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG
Audi has given the public a peek at an electric SUV, sports car, and a crossover, with promises of an all-electric-focused future on the tips of executives' tongues. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Audi took one step closer to its vision with the debut of the 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback.

The car is a four-door crossover with fastback-like styling similar to what you'll find in the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Its dimensions are similar to the Audi E-Tron, but it sits lower and its roof slopes at a steeper angle. Exterior design cements the vehicle's positioning as an Audi and as an electric vehicle with many of the design hallmarks of the larger E-Tron SUV carried over into this new model.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback rear back silver gray grey The new model features a fastback style roofline.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The model is available in 13 different paint jobs including new plasma blue metallic, which is exclusive to the crossover.

E-Tron Sportback S Line models come standard with 20-inch wheels and a sport air suspension in a nod to the lineage of Audi's more performance-focused models. It also has a more heavily contoured bumper and air curtains, S Line badging, an illuminated aluminum door silver, rear diffuser, and specific graphics on the car's instrument cluster. A black styling package is available.

Audi will offer the model in two trim levels: 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback 50 Quattro and the 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback 55 Quattro. Both models will have all-wheel drive.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback black profile side The crossover is sleek but maintains the porportions of the E-Tron SUV.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Only the E-Tron Sportback 55 Quattro will be sold in the U.S. That model has 413 lb-ft of torque that it gets from two electric motors, one attached to each axle. Using Sport mode, drivers can enjoy a brief burst of 489 pound-feet of torque to help get them off the line in a jiffy. Audi claims a zero to 62 mph time of 5.7 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 124 mph.

Audi has engineered the model to have 50:50 weight distribution, which is ideal for any vehicle. It rides on standard standard 255/55 R19 size tires. Up to 22-inch wheels are available.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback side rear profile fastback roofline roof Because of slight design differences, the model is more fuel efficient than the E-Tron SUV.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The new crossover has a 277-mile range in European testing thanks to its 95 kWh battery, but EPA estimates are expected to lower that by about 60 in for U.S. customers. The SUV can be charged up to 80 percent in under an hour at a 150-kW fast-charging station.

Most of the car's interior is identical to the Audi E-Tron SUV. Some of the fancier technology, like matrix LED headlights and cameras instead of side mirrors won't be coming to the U.S. due to government regulation.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback interior wheel screens controls The E-Tron SUV and E-Tron Sportback have very similar interiors.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The car does have some nifty tech like dual screens in the center console that control infotainment and climate controls. The top screen is 12.1 inches and the lower is 8.6 inches. Audi virtual cockpit is standard and features a 12.3-inch screen in front of the driver.

Despite the car's fastback shape, headroom in the rear seats is diminished by on 20 mm in the new model compared to the E-Tron SUV.

The Audi e-tron Sportback can be ordered as of the end of November. It will arrive at European dealerships in the spring and reach the U.S. later.

Atlas is one of Volkswagen's top-selling models in the U.S. and though it seems like just yesterday that it debuted on the heels of the Dieselgate scandal, the automaker is already preparing to give it a facelift.

Volkswagen has confirmed that the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas will sport a revised grille, head- and taillights, and front and rear bumpers when it arrives on dealer lots later in 2020. It will also have interior upgrades, and new driver-assistance and technology features.

Many of the refreshed elements come straight from the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport's design.

The three sketches that were shown as part of the tease show a more rounded, upright, and smirking grille at the front of the Atlas. Its headlights have a straighter LED light signature. The SUV's lower fascia has changed to show a more aggressive bottom half complete with the hint of a faux skid plate alongside repositioned and smaller fog light housings. Changes at the back aren't nearly as obvious.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen has released these sketches of the forthcoming 2021 Volkswagen Atlas.

VW has said that the changes add three inches to the length of the vehicle.

There aren't a lot of specifics about what potential buyers can expect from the interior upgrades but previous statements from Volkswagen indicate that there will be a new D-shaped steering wheel, an eight-inch infotainment touch screen, and wireless device charging.

Volkswagen will add new driver assistance technology to the model including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality and low-speed lane centering.

It's likely that the public's first look at the refreshed Atlas will come in February at the Chicago Auto Show.

Mazda has introduced the CX-30 for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Mazda

Fresh off the launch of the redesigned Mazda3 last year as the first model in the Japanese automaker's seventh generation of design, Mazda has introduced the 2020 Mazda CX-30. The model is a crossover, or a high-riding hatchback (six of one, half a dozen of the other), that resides adjacent to the Mazda CX-3 in the stable.

On the outside, the Mazda CX-30 features similar design characteristics of the Mazda3 including rounded styling that grabs the light and moves it along its body without the aid of creases. Sharp angles reappear at the very front and back where the CX-30 sports very Mazda-like design including neat rounded taillight housings and metal accents at the front that jut out abruptly from the car.

2020 Mazda CX-30 The front of the CX-30 is more rounded than many other models in its class.Photo courtesy of Mazda

Every CX-30 is powered by Mazda's 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine that has class-leading 186-horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Front wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are also standard. All-wheel drive is available.

The spirit of Mazda DNA lives in this crossover. While its competitors are often knocked for delivering numb steering and a disconnected drive experience, the CX-30 has none of that. Especially when equipped with all-wheel drive, the model takes to winding roads with ease allowing for a drive experience that doesn't feel like a compromise.

The car's interior is plush for its segment and right in line with recent offerings from Hyundai, Nissan, and Kia. Still, there are some questionable materials choices like the sticky faux leather dashboard covering and flimsy speaker housings on the doors. The overall aesthetic is simple and straightforward allowing for the driver to focus on the purity of a driving experience. How very on-brand.

Mazda's proud of the new seat engineering in the Mazda3 and CX-30, and they should be. The front seats are comfortable, even for long spells, and easy to get into position. Rear seat passengers have a very limited amount of legroom to work with making this crossover best for empty nesters or young professionals.

2020 Mazda CX-30 The back side of the Mazda CX-30 is more interesting than the front.Photo courtesy of Mazda

Despite lacking active noise control technology, the CX-30 delivers a fantastically quiet ride. When you want to turn up the volume on the available 12-speaker Bose audio system, you'll be thoroughly impressed. The engineers have a true winner with this system, which excelled in enveloping the passengers with pure sound.

As tested, the car came with heated front seats, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch digital gauge display, 8.8-inch infotainment screen, and head-up display. The screen is nestled in the same style dashboard cubby that it is in the Mazda3, which meant that the bottom of the screen may be unviewable depending on your height and seating position.

The current version of the car's infotainment system is easier to use than the last and the resolution of the screen is greatly improved over the last-gen.

It has a reasonable amount of cargo capacity for its class, with a number of suitcases easily able to fit in the back.

The car's safety technology is unobtrusive and its adaptative cruise control was quick to respond to changing conditions.

2020 Mazda CX-30 The interior of the CX-30 features premium materials that would be at home in much more expensive models.Photo courtesy of Mazda

Mazda is billing this crossover as being for activity-focused individuals. That includes an Off-Road Traction Assist button that performs many of the typical light off-roading duties crossovers need assistance with, including traction control and hill descent control. Its functionality is not unlike similar system that are found in the Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Outback.

The 2020 Mazda CX-30 has a value-focused starting point of $21,900. Its most premium model, which fits in with the Acuras and Infinitis of the world, comes in around $28,000. That's right in line with many of the less well-appointed and less engaging crossovers and SUVs currently on the market.

Buyers looking at the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3, and Buick Encore, among others, owe it to themselves to cross-shop the CX-30. It's really a job well done.