Auto shows are a good place to get a glimpse into the near future. We get to see what carmakers and designers are betting drivers will want for their next vehicle, both in terms of over all design trends that many automakers are using and distinct features they hope will set their vehicle apart. Here are five cool design features on the 2023 AutoMobility LA show floor – trends that may be coming to a vehicle near you, sooner than you think.
Hyundai Santa Fe grab handle
The all-new 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe doesn’t look like anything from its past. In fact, it looks more like a rugged Land Rover or Land Cruiser than a boring family SUV. This outdoor-focused Santa Fe XRT trim even comes with a distinct feature – an exterior grab handle on either side of the vehicle to provide a much-needed boost to the roof rack, which can often be tough to reach on those tall SUVs. Grab the handle, step on a tire, and hoist yourself up to reach items on the roof. It’s a piece of cake, even when wearing a dress. The grab handle also serves double duty – you can hide valuables, such as wallets or smartphones, in the compartment, which is lockable. The 2024 Santa Fe goes on sale in March 2024. No word yet on pricing, but it’ll likely cost less than a Land Rover and be more reliable.
2025 Toyota Camry high-tech, bold cabin
Believe it or not, this is the cabin of the all-new 2025 Toyota Camry sedan. Toyota has adorned this vehicle with eye-catching, candy-apple red leather seats and a high-tech cabin with a 12.3-inch touchscreen. Gone are the bland beige interiors of Toyota’s past. Expect to see similar trends – bold-coloured seats and larger centre screens not only in Toyota vehicles but across other brands as we move toward more connectivity and personalization touches in vehicles. This ninth-generation Camry was designed in Newport, Calif. and Ann Arbor, Mich. It’ll only be offered as a hybrid and is expected to arrive in Canadian dealerships in the spring of 2024.
2024 Acura ZDX – taller rooflines for more cabin space
Higher rooflines that translate into more cargo space and a roomier cabin will be another growing trend as we move toward open, living-room-like interiors in electric vehicles in the future. But design-wise, the taller roof can be unflattering. Case in point: Acura’s first all-electric offering, the ZDX midsize SUV. Unfortunately, its so-called “floating” black roof design that sits above a thin chrome accent line resembles a hearse when viewed from the rear. Despite the look, it does add more space, especially extra headroom for rear-seat passengers. This top-of-the-line ZDX Type S model will have 500 horsepower, all-wheel drive and an estimated range of up to 500 kilometres. It’ll be priced at more than $90,000 and arrive in Canada in the spring of 2024. The base model ZDX will start at more than $80,000.
1981 Toyota Land Cruiser with added modifications
The pandemic prompted a rise in RV-lifestyle camping vehicles – a trend that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. This 1981 Toyota Land Cruiser was originally an emergency response vehicle with a patient stretcher, lab and storage compartments inside, but a California couple bought it and transformed it into a family camper with all the creature comforts of home. The restoration quote was estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars so the couple completed the renos themselves adding solar panels to the roof, a 21-gallon water tank, full-size bed, slatted shelves, a dresser, cooktop stove, a custom spice drawer, ceramic sink and an outdoor shower.
Rivian SUV camping accessories
Continuing on the camping trend are extra accessories to embrace the great outdoors. There were dozens of vehicles on the show floor designed for camping adventures – from Jeeps and Land Rovers to electric vehicles like this Rivian R1S SUV – sporting the trend. This fabric tent add-on doesn’t take long to assemble. It is UV resistant and waterproof. It also has mesh panels for better ventilation and airflow when sleeping. It can accommodate up to three people and 800 pounds. And it folds and stores easily into the cargo area when not in use. The ladder is also collapsible so it’s easier to store in the rear, too. Now, camping is greener and cheaper than ever. No need to pay for hotel accommodations or gas with this EV and added accessory.
The writer was a guest of Hyundai. Content was not subject to approval.