Posts from ‘Chicago Auto Show’
by Jack Stewart
If you attended at the Chicago Auto Show back in 2003 or 2004, you might have seen a Hummer-like SUV with “Studebaker” stamped on the liftgate. Posed by some rugged-looking rocks in a small Avanti Motor Corporation display, this hulking behemoth was a Hail Mary attempt by struggling Avanti Motor to cash in on the then-booming mega-SUV market. How did such a bizarrely branded vehicle ever come to pass?
The 2016 Chicago Auto Show opened its doors last week, and naturally Consumer Guide was there to cover all the new-vehicle introductions (which you can check out here). While the gleaming machines on display are obviously the main attractions at any major auto show, the manufacturer displays themselves are another key part of the magic. The displays are often much more than just the frame around the picture—they’re marvelous feats of architectural engineering that help a given brand stake out its space and stand out on the show floor.
Chevrolet’s redesigned-for-2016 Camaro will be offering even-more-athletic handing for 2017. At the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, Chevy announced the return of the 1LE handling package to the Camaro lineup. Availability of the package is expanded this time around to include V6-powered Camaros as well as the SS V8s (which are rated at 335 horsepower and 455 horsepower respectively, in case you forgot). In both cases, a manual transmission is mandatory.
Chevrolet unveiled a refreshed edition of its subcompact crossover SUV at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. The 2017 Chevrolet Trax gets new front and rear fasciae and an updated interior with a new instrument cluster, redesigned center panel with 7-inch MyLink touchscreen, and an updated infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.
Also new are a handful of active safety features, namely blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision alert, and lane-departure warning. LS and LT trim levels carry over, but the top-line LTZ model has been renamed Premier. Also carried over is the Trax’s 138-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic transmission.
To combat lower-priced rivals that have recently entered the commercial van segment, Mercedes-Benz introduced a cost-competitive version of its venerable Sprinter at the Chicago Auto Show.
Called the Sprinter Worker, its $33,490 starting price (including destination) undercuts the existing Sprinter 2500 by roughly $4000, yet it includes air conditioning, power windows, Crosswind Assist, and a 161-horsepower 2.1-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine. It also boasts a 3512-lb payload capacity, 5000-lb towing capacity, 319 cubic feet of cargo capacity, and a 137.4-inch floor length. Worker is due to go on sale late spring.
Infiniti rolled out its new lineup of engines for the 2016 Q50 sedan today at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. Replacing the previous 328-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 in the Q50 are a trio of turbocharged engines: a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and two versions of a 3.0-liter V6.
The Q50 2.0t will utilize a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder that is shared with German automaker Daimler. The 2.0t puts out 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque, and will be offered in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models.
Since 1998, Toyota has been offering special off-road versions of its midsize Tacoma aimed at those who venture off the beaten path. The latest, introduced today at the Chicago Auto Show, combines heightened levels of capability along with luxury amenities and modern features that make it a competent companion both on road and off.
Hyundai revealed freshened versions of its two midsize SUVs today at the Chicago Auto Show. Due to go on sale shortly as early 2017 models, the 7-passenger Santa Fe and shorter 5-passenger Santa Fe Sport boast updated styling along with added infotainment, convenience, and safety features.
Outside, a freshened front fascia hosts a brushed-appearance grille and revised headlights, with LED running and fog lights being newly available. In back, revisions include restyled taillights and exhaust outlets along with a new bumper. In between is new rocker-panel trim incorporating silver accents.
Kia’s redesigned-for-2016 Optima sedan lineup is expanding for 2017 with the addition of two new fuel-efficient models. The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid and Optima Plug-in Hybrid are both introduced under Kia’s environmentally focused EcoDynamics sub-brand. They are part of Kia’s initiative to increase fuel efficiency by 25 percent across its entire model lineup by 2020.
Kia took the wraps off an all-new compact hybrid utility vehicle at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. The 2017 Kia Niro is built on a new dedicated eco-car platform and launches solely in hybrid form. A plug-in hybrid version is slated to join the Niro lineup later in the vehicle’s life cycle. Kia is positioning the Niro as a sportier, more-dynamic vehicle that the typical hybrid, citing the vehicle’s athletic profile and aggressive, “un-hybrid” design details.