LA Auto Show 2019

New 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S continues a 20-year tradition

The SUV blends power and performance.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes has given the new GLE an expected AMG upgrade. It delivers the exterior looks, interior refinement, and power that Mercedes GLE buyers are looking for. Again, a formula done right by the German automaker.

This is the 20th anniversary fo the M-Class based ML 55 AMG, the model that would evolve to become the modern GLE.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S The SUV features AMG-specific exterior features.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The exterior of the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S gets an AMG-specific radiator grille with vertical louvers and a silver chrome front splitter. Its mirror housings and flared wheel arches match the color of the vehicle. Two rectangular tailpipes sit at the back of the SUV along with a spoiler. The GLE 63 S has standard 21-inch wheels. Additional 21- and 22-inch wheels are standard.

An available AMG Night package includes the front splitter, front and rear bumper trim, inserts in the side skirts, mirror caps and window frames in distinctive black. The twin tailpipe trim is finished in black chrome.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S The model is powered by a biturbo 4.0-liter V8 engine.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Under the SUV's hood is a biturbo 4.0-liter V8 engine that is paired with an EQ Boost starter-generator and generates 602 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. The electric output adds 21 horsepower off the line to maximize the vehicle's efficiency without sacrificing fuel economy or power. The engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard. Trail and Sand drive modes have been added in this vehicle.

The SUV comes loaded with a standard air suspension and adaptive damping system. The drive height can be adjusted depending on the drive mode selected. The car's Active Ride Control system keeps he cabin stable despite what the road throws at it.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S The car has an air suspension that helps keep it stable on the road.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

There are separate steering control options designed to offer varying degrees of feedback. The model also comes with an AMG high-performance braking system featuring six-piston fixed, red-colored brake calipers and disc brakes. A ceramic braking system with bronze-colored six-piston fixed calipers is available.

On the inside, the SUV has Nappa leather upholstery, a crystal grey seat band, and crystal grey contrast topstitching. The model has crystal gray seat belts. Individually adjustable 64-color ambient lighting comes standard. Its steering wheel features a lined with Nappa Leather and a midnight marking. An AMG-specific control panel features additional switches.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S The SUV's interior is familiar but customized for the AMG model.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Further, there are AMG brushed stainless steel sport pedals, door sill panels, and black floor mats with the AMG logo.

The MBUX infotainment system features four AMG-specific display styles including the Supersport mode, which has information specific to AMG with a focus on motorsport.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S The SUV is built for performance (see the grab handles) but also luxury and comfort (see the plush seats).Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

A long list of safety and driver assistance technology is available.

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S goes on sale in the U.S. in mid-2020. Pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle's on-sale date.

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.