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More than 1,000 vehicles are on display at this year’s auto show in Los Angeles. From ‘retro’ to cars with a ‘Star Wars’ theme, here are our picks for the best and worst at the show.
USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — In a state known for its love of sexy convertibles and electric cars, the focus of the Los Angeles Auto Show this week is on those road beasts once scorned as too big, thirsty and ostentatious.

A raft of SUVs are being introduced here, from compacts to showboats, and all that past animosity has disappeared.

The new models, from Hyundai’s Kona to Lexus’ three-row RXL, are decidedly more fuel efficient than the land barges of the 1990s. And they are loaded with tech features and enough space to carry large families — or small ones — in comfort.

Basically, they reflect sub-$3-a-gallon gas and the nation’s buoyant economy.

“It reflects the overall taste of in America,” says Jessica Caldwell, analyst for Edmunds.com. “Every auto show from here on out, you are going to see more SUV’s.”

The Los Angeles gathering is the start of an auto show season of that moves to Detroit in January, followed by Chicago and New York. That’s a lot of sport utility vehicles. Will consumers tire of them? It appears unlikely.

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South Korean automotive brands topped the ranks in one of the auto industry’s most closely watched quality surveys.
USA TODAY

 

Car sales were down 10.4% during the first 10 months of the year compared with the same stretch last year, Autodata reports. But light trucks, a category that includes SUVs and pickups, were up 4.3%. The shift has been so profound that trucks outsell cars now by a wide margin.

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Automakers, generally, have been using auto shows to fill out their SUV lines. Over the past couple of years, there have been many subcompact and compact SUV entries. Now, some brands are turning to the big ones. On Tuesday night, Subaru showed its first three-row SUV, the Ascent, and BMW previewed its concept of a super-premium, super-big model.

More: Infiniti unveils SUV with radical new engine tech

More: Subaru finally goes big with new Ascent SUV

More: Lincoln renames its midsize SUV after a sea creature

A big incentive for automakers: SUVs and pickups generally command higher prices than cars, even…