Driving Forces 

LA’s car culture comes to the spotlight in time for this year’s LA Auto Show.
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LA’s car culture comes to the spotlight in time for this year’s LA Auto Show.

Los Angeles is the car culture capital of the world. With scenic routes from PCH to Mulholland Drive, it’s no wonder that LA is the go-to spot for car aficionados. What’s more? Living in LA you’re bound to spend countless hours in your vehicle, whether it’s going to and from work to just sitting in traffic on the 405 or taking a quick weekend road trip getaway to one of the many drivable spots —Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, San Diego and even Las Vegas being a drive away, it’s a given that LA’s car culture is top notch.

Just in time for this year’s LA Auto Show, running November 18 – November 27, check out these women of influence who are empowered by their vehicles while juggling careers, families, social lives and more all while driving through the city.

Adrianna Costa

Adrianna Costa

is an entertainment journalist and TV host and correspondent who could be seen on Extra, Access Hollywood, and People tv. She’s currently working on a podcast with People. When she’s not focusing on her career, Costa is spending time with her family — her husband, a car aficionado and her two children.

“I currently drive a limited-edition Defender 110,” she says of the exclusive car made by Land Rover, who released just 500 to sell in the US. “Ours is number #322,” she adds of the serial number on the back of the car. In 2023, Land Rover launched an anniversary series to mark 30 years after the Defender 110 as a tribute car. “It’s a true collector’s truck and the only real off road first truck, making this the holy grail for all off roaders,” Costa says. “These cars range from $100,000 to $225,000 depending on condition and originality, though in 1993 they had a sticker price of $37,000.” The way the Costa found their highly coveted Defender 110 is by driving by a neighbor in their Encino neighborhood who had one in his driveway. After some convincing, her husband got him to sell. “It uses diesel fuel which is better for the environment in my opinion,” she says.

Costa, a native Angeleno, was born in Santa Monica and grew up in Agora Hills. “I actually love driving! When it’s the family and we’re going anywhere, I love to be the one driving, even on date nights — I think I’m the better driver. We didn’t grow up with using the public transit system as much in LA, and if you have your own car, you spend a lot of time in it,” she says. “I’m the person blasting music with all four windows down and singing at the top of my lungs while driving.” As for her Defender, she calls it their weekend car and otherwise drives an electric vehicle. “The kids are obsessed with it — they climb all over it and it feels like a time capsule from back in the day — a real novelty item.” When looking for her next vehicle, she says, “I will only drive electric because I care about making sure I keep my carbon footprint small.” She also is a pescatarian who doesn’t eat dairy and tries to keep in line with living a lifestyle similar to those who live in the Blue Zones across the world.

For the pop-culture reporter, she looks for specific features in a car. “I like a heated seat, even if it’s 100 degrees outside. I also need a sub-roof and Sirius satellite radio of course, because I listen to Howard Stern all the time,” she notes.

An important moment in Costa’s life was when she got her first big job at CNN in Atlanta and decided to splurge on a luxury vehicle. “I bought myself a Mercedes Benz, I felt like ‘Wow I really reached a goal for myself.’” While growing up in LA she got her first car, a Ford Mustang, pretty early on. “I remember driving to Malibu with friends blasting music in the car… there’s something empowering about love the car you’re driving in, with the wind blowing in your hair, you feel youthful and carefree.”

Jessica Naziri

Jessica Naziri is a leading technology content creator, who is also an LA native. She lives in West Hollywood with her husband and her son. When looking for a new car, the most important thing for Naziri is upgrading to the highest technology available. “Car technology has changed over time, in the past cars wouldn’t have the latest technology but now, in each car, the tech is getting better and better. It’s state of the art and I make sure I’m up to speed by upgrading to the latest technology. It’s important to me because I’m such a tech geek myself,” she adds. “I live and breathe tech, and I want that to follow me in my car where I spend so much time every day.” As for her next vehicle, she is looking for a smooth drive because in LA we’re stuck in so much traffic, she says. “In the past, when I was single in LA, speed was my thing but now I’m a mother and space is so much more important. I look for space and the smoothness of the drive.”

The technology reviewer likes the INDI EV vehicle “they’re the epitome of what the future cars will look like — future of car design.” She also believes having cars with computers in the dashboard that will tell you all the information of the drive, such as speed and direction are so important. “What I’m most excited about when I think of the future of the cars are driverless technology, autonomous vehicles. I could imagine sitting in the car, while the car is driving me, knowing where and when my next meeting is and letting me check emails while I’m on the way there.”

As a millennial mom, she is seeking advancements in modern car technology, that are happening faster and faster. She looks for sophisticated infotainment systems, stereo systems, and big screens and for electric cars, better batteries and battery time.

“I remember I was living in New York for four years and I was carless. When I finally moved back to LA, I knew I had to get a fast car with a convertible top and I’ll never forget that feeling of driving on PCH,” she says of how her vehicle has empowered her before. “I was working at the LA Times covering technology at the time — it was such a ride of my life, with hair blowing in the wind, wearing a cute dress and driving a fast car. I felt like I had my life in my hands and from there I could go anywhere.”

This year, the LA Auto Show celebrates its 115th anniversary. Naziri’s favorite past memory about the Auto Show is seeing what’s in the market before everyone else and getting excited about it through a first-hand experience.

Jennifer Chan

Jennifer Chan, a fashion and beauty editor as well as an on-air host, understands the importance of having an elegant vehicle. “In LA we live in our cars and it’s super important that it’s comfortable and functional,” she says. “I also like my car to have a style statement because of the nature of what I do, cruising up to events or hotels and places that are more elevated and I like my car to match my personality so I gravitate towards cars that are sleek and powerful.” Chan currently drives an electric vehicle because she feels good about leaving a smaller carbon footprint — “I feel like I’m doing good for the environment,” and “because I can charge it anywhere in the city!” She adds that her car needs to look stylist but also be functional. “I can’t tell you how many times I had to pull over on the side of the road and connect to my hot spot. I need my car to be comfortable and have the amenities — high tech advancements, and to make sure I get to place safely but also style.”

Now that she is driving an electric vehicle, she doesn’t see herself turning back. “But I may get an SUV version because I’m always changing on the go or throwing things in my car. I also like to be constantly pushing the limit in terms of luxury and the overall appearance of my vehicle.” For her next car, she wants something that looks more futuristic and modern looking — I always like to keep my pulse on what’s hot and new and keep things elevated and luxurious.”

An established reporter, Chan has always had a fast-paced career in entertainment. “I cover fashion and celebrity, among other things, so it does make me feel empowered when I drive up to an event in a more luxurious vehicle,” she says. Plus, often times in an EV, you get preferential parking, she adds. “I’m always on the go and I’ve definitely worked from my car many times, meeting deadlines, taking calls — I constantly have to throw in extra outfit changes and shoes and makeup and equipment such as a ring light or tripod, shuffling from one shoot to another, so I need a car with a spacious trunk and not worry about someone breaking into it is important.”

Her favorite LA Auto Show memory is going there on a first date. She reveals, “It actually ended up being a great idea because there’s no way you could get bored and you get to know someone’s style and their first car as a teenager and what they aspire to get in the future — there’s a lot of points of interaction and conversation, and distractions in case it’s not going well.” Chan admits that because there’s lots to see, going on that date to the LA Auto Show definitely ended up being better than sitting across from each other at a coffee shop. 

Get your tickets to this year’s LA Auto Show