Big, Small Cars Adorn LA Auto Show

The Los Angeles auto show is open to the public beginning Friday. It's the first of the U.S. car shows, and it helps set the pace for the new year in the auto industry. Some of the hottest cars there are big luxury vehicles, and the tiny one are terrific too.

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NPR's Nina Gregory was also looking around the L.A. Auto Show searching for new extremes. She wanted to see some of the biggest offerings automakers had on display this year and also the littlest.

NINA GREGORY, BYLINE: The newest entry to the teeny tiny market is the Chevrolet Spark, a 144-inch four-door.

BRANDY SCHAFFELS: You might like the sound...

(SOUNDBITE OF DOOR SLAMMING)

SCHAFFELS: ...of the door slamming because a lot of people associate these small cars with being like little tin cans. But honestly, for a car this size...

(SOUNDBITE OF DOOR SLAMMING)

SCHAFFELS: ...it's got a really solid door, so you know you can feel safe in it, too.

GREGORY: That's editor Brandy Schaffels, from the auto information site, Truecar.com. She says of the sub-compacts, this one feels big - unlike some of its competitors.

SCHAFFELS: This car actually has a lot of functional space inside. The rear seat can accommodate two full-size people. And if you've got tall people in the front seat, there's still room for the people behind them.

GREGORY: For the back seat passenger who wants a lot more room, it may be worth wandering across the convention center to Bentley.

(SOUNDBITE CAR DOOR SLAMMING)

GREGORY: The Bentley is probably one of the biggest passenger cars that you can buy. Like the Chevy Spark, the Bentley Mulsanne Executive Interior Concept car seats four. But the Mulsanne comes in at 220-inches, twice the length of the Spark. Oh, and as Valentine O'Connor, Bentley's PR manager explains, the Mulsanne also comes with a few extra features.

VALENTINE O'CONNOR: Two rear head screens, one 16 inch screen that drops down from the ceiling and two fully integrated Apple iPads that also have keyboards. We're also famous for our woodwork. This particular car has a contrasting light and dark veneer in the style of a yacht.

GREGORY: Oh, and the $420,000 and Mulsanne also comes with a pen. And at $7000, it's totally a steal. Nina Gregory, NPR News.

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