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Prepare for 'wow!': These 3 hot SUVs could blow the doors off the LA Auto Show

Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES – Ford has long battled the likes of General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota. Now, it has a new automaker in its crosshairs.

It's Tesla.

Ford plans to introduce a “Mustang-inspired” SUV next week, dubbed the Mustang Mach-E, as part of the media preview of the Los Angeles Auto Show. It's one of three new vehicles well positioned to become the breakout stars of the first big event of the new auto show season.

This year's 10-day event is kicking off with media previews Tuesday and opens to the public Nov. 22. It will have about 1,000 new vehicles on display.

Let's take a look at the SUVs that are expected to wow the crowd.

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Ford Mustang Mach E

Ford's goal is to try to build excitement around an electric SUV by borrowing some of the magic of its internationally known sporty car. 

"Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric SUV will likely steal the show, which is exactly what the company needs as it tries to establish itself in this space," said Jessica Caldwell, executive director for industry analysis for auto buying site Edmunds.com. "A lot of EV buyers want a vehicle that has a distinct design and makes a statement," she said, adding "if Ford can deliver on that, it will give the brand a great halo to build around."

It also could help blunt the impact of the next Tesla electric vehicle to hit freeways, the Model Y, its first mass-market SUV. That will give Tesla four models in the market, two sedans and two SUVs. Tesla is also expected to introduce a new electric pickup, which could come as soon as Thursday.

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Ford has had hybrids and electric vehicles before, like the Focus Electric, but none have lit up consumers. Hence, it's hoping that the magic of the Mustang might just do the trick. Then again, maybe not.

"Borrowing a successful vehicle’s name to help a new, lesser-known vehicle can work, but only if the newcomer is well-executed, otherwise you risk damaging the more iconic model’s image," said Karl Brauer, executive publisher for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.

Land Rover Defender 

The Defender has long been known as one of the toughest go-anywhere vehicles on the planet – a four-wheel-drive meant for off-road treks in distant lands. How distant? So remote that the original had exposed bolts so damaged body panels could be easily replaced with a wrench on the spot.

The Defender was yanked from the U.S. market in 1997 as U.S. safety and emissions grew more strict. Though Land Rover executives went on to make stars of its luxury Range Rover line – better suited to Fifth Avenue than the Third World – they have long talked of introducing Defender to the U.S. market.

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That moment has come, though the new one is meant to be as comfortable on the Garden State Parkway as it is the African veldt. Though it has rubber flooring and can wade across streams nearly three feet deep, the new Defender, as least as it was seen when introduced in Europe, can be ordered with leather seats and walnut veneer.

Volkswagen hopes its ID. Space Vizzion Concept will be an auto show hit

Volkswagen's ID. Space Vizzion

Along comes Volkswagen with the latest concept for its much-hyped but yet to debut electric-vehicle lineup.

It's Volkswagen's ID. Space Vizzion Concept, the latest prototype to highlight the brand's plan to introduce electric models. This one has a futuristic station wagon, um, make that "crossover" figuration. Like other automakers struggling with trying to make boxy, high-profile vehicles sexy, the goal in creating the ID. Space Vizzion was to combine an aerodynamic design with high people- and cargo-carrying capacity, VW says.

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The vehicle will have 300 miles of electric range, VW says. And it's not just "a dream," the company says. A production version will arrive in late 2021, with different versions set to hit North America, Europe and China.

Contributing: Nathan Bomey and Dalvin Brown

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LA Auto Show: Mustang, Land Rover, VW ID are SUVs poised to 'wow'