The annual Chicago Auto Show opened for press corps debuts late last week and is now open to the public until February 19th. This year’s show features a lot of the cool stuff we’ve come to expect from CAS through the years. Instead of crowds of gawkers looking at the newest unveilings and crowding into the booths where the latest additions are shown, the Chicago show features one of the world’s largest show floors (in terms of sheer real estate), allowing a lot of spread for manufacturers and outfitters to showcase their wares.
The more laid back atmosphere of the Chicago Auto Show also means that there are more fun things to see and do and less elbow-knocking crowds to deal with. Making it well worth a trip. Many thanks to Nissan for hosting us at this year’s #CAS2018!
Debuts At CAS2018
Ford took the opportunity of the Chicago Auto Show press days to unveil its new Transit Connect Wagon. This second-generation of the Wagon builds on the first with more people-friendly seating and a more comfortable appeal on a better chassis. The van is being marketed heavily to baby boomers and those who need a more versatile van for both people moving and stuff hauling.
Hyundai entered the Chicago Auto Show with three unveils, two were expected and the third was a surprise. The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models were unveiled to no one’s surprise, but everyone’s interest as they are more driver-oriented with fuel efficiency being a side note rather than a major focus. That makes these electrified mainstream sedans less about “green cred” and more about being just another option, a big step forward for plug-ins. Also unveiled, to everyone’s surprise, was Hyundai’s entry into the Pirelli World Championship with a race car based on the Elantra GT (i 30N TCR). This will be a factory entry under the Bryan Herta Autosport team’s tutelage.
Slingshot, the three-wheeled “autocycle” division of Polaris, unveiled a new Grand Touring model with a fixed roof and fittings to match its more car-like status. This was great to see and their booth features a really cool little track for kids to drive small electric versions of the Slingshot on.
Finally, Volkswagen unveiled its new flagship sedan, the Arteon. The Arteon will replace the outgoing CC model as the top-most offering in VW’s car line. It features some beautiful lines and unexpectedly graceful looks. Quite the showstopper from Volkswagen!
Factory, Dealer, and Aftermarket Upgrades for Trucks and SUVs
Also showcased and unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show were several factory and dealer-based kits for off-road pickup trucks and sport utilities. These include lift kits, aftermarket add-on accessories, and more.
Toyota took the chance to unveil their new TRD Pro line of models for the Tundra, Tacoma, and 4Runner. These feature the expected performance and off-pavement additions found in most previous Toyota Racing Development Pro series. A new signature white and black color scheme was also showcased with the new TRD Pro line.
Ram’s Mopar division showed a huge number of upgrades available for the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup that unveiled in Detroit. This new lineup includes cast aluminum running boards, color-matching bead locks for specialized wheels, huge 5-inch exhaust tips, and more.
Nissan, of course, is a bit new to the truck game but finally thought Chicago would be a good place to unveil some factory-approved lift kits for their Titan and Titan XD pickups. Showcased at the Chicago Auto Show under a fun “snowglobe” booth, the lift kits add three inches of suspension lift to the Titan and Titan XD without affecting the class-leading warranty. Aftermarket kits to double that lift and add a lot more accessories were also on display.
Concepts and Old Vehicles
Also on display at the Chicago Auto Show are numerous concept vehicles unveiled in Los Angeles and Detroit as well as some classic cars from various collections in the Chicago area. These are always worth seeing!