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7 adventure vehicles from the LA Auto Show that made us want to play outside

The Los Angeles Auto Show is known as the place where automotive companies launch their sports cars and SUVs and the 2016 show didn’t disappoint. With more than 50 unveilings at this year’s show, nearly half of them were SUVs. That means awesome off-roaders with really interesting technology made their debuts. Here are seven of our favorite vehicles that make getting outside a ton more fun.

Kia Sorrento Ski Gondola

2016 Los Angeles Auto Show adventure vehicles
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The Perfect Ski-mobile

Another autonomous concept that Kia showed off at SEMA in Las Vegas was the Kia Sorrento Ski Gondola, a Sorrento SUV with snow-cat treads instead of tires. It also graces the floor of the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

The Ski Gondola concept has space for skis on the roof, and four center-facing seats with enough room for big boots, helmets, and jackets as you make the trek to the highest snowy peaks. The floor and seats get a treatment of waterproof Line-X to prevent any damage from snow and ice melt from boots.

It could be a real blast to take this baby up a mountainside if it ever becomes reality.

2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2

2016 Los Angeles Auto Show adventure vehicles
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The Offroad Truck That Can Rock Crawl or Bomb Through the Desert

This week Chevy pulled the sheet off one of the last true off-road trucks we may see; the 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2.

First off, the Colorado ZR2 gets two more inches of ground clearance than its normal Colorado variant. That makes crawling over huge rocks that much easier. In addition to more clearance, however, Chevy took the shock technology first developed for the 2014 Chevy Camaro Z/28 and used it in the Colorado ZR2. The Mulitmatic shocks have been machined to within very tight tolerances and give the Colorado ZR2 the ability to handle big jounces and rebounds without knocking your knees into your teeth. This is the first time Chevy has used the DSSV dampers on an off-roader.

The truck is targeted at hardcore off-road enthusiasts and falls between the high desert duster, the Ford Raptor and really solid rock crawlers like Jeep’s incredibly popular Wrangler. The Colorado ZR2 is about a foot narrower than the full-size Colorado and has upgraded skid plates. It also gets a wider track than its smaller more road-going brethren.

In a world where every SUV and truck on the market has some sort of soft-roading setting that automatically helps you descend or climb a hill, and get through snow, sand, or ice using a simple toggle wheel, the Colorado ZR2 is a refreshing move toward the good old days of camping and driving off the beaten track.

2017 Jeep Trailcat concept

2016 Los Angeles Auto Show adventure vehicles
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The Hellcat Powered Jeep

Take a Jeep Wrangler, drop in a Hellcat V8 and voila! Instant power for serious offroading. Meet the 2017 Jeep Trailcat.

The Jeep Trailcat concept made its debut at the Easter Jeep Safari earlier this year but we couldn’t help but include it in our list of awesome vehicles for the outdoor enthusiast. The 6.2-liter Hemi under the hood puts out 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque and Jeep had to lengthen the wheelbase of the Wrangler by 12 inches to make it fit.

Inside the Trailcat gets sport bucket seats from the Dodge Viper and a few other Mopar bits to make it that much more performance-biased while still remaining off-roady.

Colorado Z71 Hurley concept

2016 Los Angeles Auto Show adventure vehicles
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The Ultimate Surf Wagon

This sea foam green matte truck may not look quite like what you’d think of when you think of a surf vehicle, but Chevy would like you to rethink your preconceptions. They teamed up with the guys at Hurley to create this concept based on a Colorado Z71, to show just how great a pick-up can be for the beach.

First there’s the canvas Bimini-style cap topper that offers space for surfboards, water and wetsuits in the bed-mounted Thule rack. The canvas topper gives surfers a place to get out of the sun and the rack can be used to dry wetsuits.

Inside the cabin, the seats are covered with a quick drying wetsuit-like material called ventiprene so that when you’re bombing from one big surf location to the next, you can keep your soggy wetsuit on.

It’s important to stay as connected as possible even when you’re off searching for the perfect wave so Chevy equipped the slightly lifted Colorado Z71 Hurley concept with a 4G LTE wifi hotspot so you can still check the surf and the weather at your next location.  The truck also gets a set of knobby tires and a snorkel for those times when you want get a little closer to the surf.

Chevy first showed off this concept truck at SEMA in Las Vegas this year and it made its LA debut this week.

Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4²

2016 Los Angeles Auto Show adventure vehicles
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The Ultimate Luxury Off Roader

The world of luxury off-roading is quite small, but Mercedes-Benz has dominated it for years with its incredible G-Wagen. If you haven’t seen the monstrous 6×6 Mercedes-Benz created, you should check it out it, now.  Once you’ve done that, imagine what a four-wheeled version looks like and you have the Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4².

The Mercedes-Benz 4×4² gets three locking differentials, front, center and rear, and gets just as much ground clearance as its big 6×6 brother. That means it gets 18 inches of space underneath which is nearly double the Ford Raptor 9.3-inches. That means that it can ford nearly three feet of water. It also gets an additional 9-inches of track in the front and 10-inches in the back making going over and around a boulder a whole lot easier.

Add to that that the 4×4² gets all of Benz’s bells and whistles including a luxurious interior, navigation system, and super fast 0-60 times (under 6 seconds), and you have the ultimate luxury vehicle that can literally go anywhere.

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

2016 Los Angeles Auto Show adventure vehicles
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The Soft-Roader for the Athletic Set

Have you ever wanted to go kayaking or hiking and not have to carry your keys? Well, Jaguar has created a system they call the Activity Key for its new F-Pace SUV, on sale now.

Think of it like a Fitbit for your car.  Strap the waterproof wristband to your wrist and leave your keys in the car. To lock the car, tap the band to the ‘J’ on the tailgate and the car will lock.

The system uses RFID to lock and unlock the car and renders the fob inside your vehicle useless once the car is locked. That means that once you’ve locked it with the Activity Key, no one can break in and drive away with your car even though the fob is inside of it. The band is waterproof up to 66 feet.

Add to that the F-Pace’s soft-roading capabilities (it has controlled hill climb and descent) and some of the neat accessories you can add to the SUV, like waterproof seat covers and rear or top mounted bike racks, and the F-Pace is the perfect SUV for the weekend sports warrior.

Kia Niro Triathelete

2016 Los Angeles Auto Show adventure vehicles
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The Ultimate Triathlon vehicle

Another fun concept that made its debut at SEMA in Las Vegas this year and is now on the floor of the Los Angeles Auto Show is the Kia Niro Triathlon. The autonomous vehicle is based on Kia’s mid-size SUV, the Niro that is rumored to hit U.S. shores soon.

The back top half of the vehicle has been chopped to provide room for a unique bike rack, space for a toolbox and a computer platform.  A laser light projects a road behind the autonomous vehicle to help a training bike athlete keep pace and keep an eye on their speed, time, and distance.

In addition, the b-pillar has been removed to provide for easier access inside the car where items like shoes, bathing suits and even a tiny hand shower is stored for post-race rinse off.

While the Niro Triathlon is still a concept and autonomous driving is still very far away, it’s pretty amazing to see what could be done to make the ultimate athlete more comfortable on the road.

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Abigail Bassett
Abigail Bassett is a former CNN journalist whose fascination with fitness, travel, and the quantified self began when she…
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