A biweekly roundup of automotive news, good, bad and just plain weird:
Los Angeles, the city of Angels. And by "Angels," I of course mean "smog."
Once again, it's time for the world to gather in the city where the automobile is still king, where concrete off-ramps swirl and tangle as though designed by a cat with a ball of yarn, and where entire generations of families have been born, raised, and finally laid to rest, all in the space of a single traffic jam. Yep, it's the L.A.
I'm coming to you live from Los Angeles, but only in the sense that I'm actually sitting on my couch, freezing my tuckus off with the rest of you, watching the updates come through via Twitter and email.
So here it is, the Braking News roundup of this year's most important show.
2012 Honda CR-V: Totally redesigned
We kick things off with a car I actually had the privilege to drive some weeks ago, but haven't yet been able to talk about. It's the long-awaited redesign of the crowd-pleasing Honda CR-V, and just wait until you hear what those crazy folks at Honda have done now!
Well, not too much actually, turns out the "C" in CR-V is going to stand for "conservative." The new CR-V maintains its four-cylinder, small-footprint design, with tweaked aerodynamics, a pleasant new style, better fuel-economy and some trick folding rear seats.
Other than that, it's pretty much a honing of the previousgen CR-V. However, when you tot up the numbers, the fuel-economy is surprisingly good considering that it's equipped with a five-speed transmission, albeit one with taller gears. And you know that, being a Honda, it'll be fairly well bullet-proof.
As a family-haulin' alternative to a minivan, it's a safe, practical little cute-ute, just like the original.
2013 Ford Escape revealed
If Honda thinks it's going to have it easy with the improved CR-V, they better think again. In a field which includes the popular Toyota RAV4, the stylish Rogue and the hot-looking Kia Sorento, the CR-V's mortal enemy has traditionally been the Ford Escape. For the 2013 model year, the Ford's being updated as well.
A new, Ford Focus-like design adds some much-needed flair as the old Escape was starting to look a bit boxy. What's more, there are three new engine options: of particular interest are the two EcoBoost turbo motors, with 173 and 237 horsepower.
I'll wait to test it, but Ford is also saying they've revised - read as "fixed" - their complicated MyFord Touch interface, and added a few cool new features like the hands-free tailgate. This last automatically opens the back of the trucklet if you waggle your foot underneath the back bumper. They should call it the MyFordhokey-pokey.
Subaru BR-Z STi concept revealed
As if it weren't bad enough that we've seen umpteen different Toyota and Scion variants of the FT-86 two-door coupe over the past year, it looks like this auto-show is going to have Subaru get in on the action.
But fret not: this "concept" is going to be almost exactly what the production car looks like, and seeing as some other publications have already had the chance to drive prototypes, it's not too much longer before we see the two-door Subie arrive.
So what does the BRZ have, aside from a name Mike Ditka must have come up with? Like the Toyota FT-86 or the Scion FR-S, it's a low-slung, two-door coupe with somewhere in the neighbourhood of 200 h.p. Think MX-5 Miata, more so than Mustang.
As you might expect, the BR-Z's got a boxer engine, which allows for a Lotus-like incredibly low centre of gravity. What you might not expect is that it's rear-drive only, stepping away from Subaru's legacy (pardon the pun) of building a full line of all-wheel-drive cars.
2013 Mustang Shelby GT500 is a bit peppy
It would seem to me that the current Mustang is a bit of a performance bargain. With even the base V-6 making over 300 horses, it's a pony car that can really prance. Option up to a V8 GT with the performance package, and you can hang out on the racetrack with M3s and AMG Mercedes.
However, who wants to hang out - let's blow them into the weeds.
Here is the perfect tool for doing so: the new 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500. With a 650 h.p. all-aluminum supercharged V-8 and improved aerodynamics, the Shelby is capable of punching its way to more than 322 kilometres per hour. That's right, it is possible in this day and age to walk into a Ford showroom and buy a Ford Mustang that would be capable of out-running a Ferrari F40.
XTS brings back the fullsized Cadillac
It's all well and good for Cadillac to show off its various high-performance models like the 'Vette-engined V-series, and to showcase its sporty new style. But what about an important core group of Cadillac owners?
You know, mobsters.
A Don in a CTS? Fugeadabouddit. After a long, hard day of shaking down bodegas and buying white hats, a mid-sized sedan is not going to cut it. Plus, there's not enough trunk space to cart around horse heads and "ex-employees."
Not a problem. Here's the latest Cadillac, the XTS, and while it shares that sharp-edged styling with its smaller lieutenants, it's the size of a small tanker. With air-ride suspension, magnetic ride control and available all-wheel drive, it's sure to get you places with comfort, especially on this, the day of your daughter's wedding.
Follow Brendan on Twitter: @ brendan_mcaleer, or submit your own auto oddities to firstname.lastname@example.org.