The 106th edition of the Chicago Auto Show (February 8-17, McCormick Place) is an annual sensory extravaganza combining new vehicles with auto-themed attractions, rides, drives, technology displays, contests and celebrity meet and greets. The Auto Show offers outdoor test drives and three indoor tracks highlighted by the very popular Camp Jeep off-road simulated course, and Toyota’s proving ground with full-size vehicle teeter/totter.
Luxury vehicle intros dominated the recent Detroit International Auto Show and if you attend the Chicago Auto Show you will see plenty of examples of the strength in this surging segment. Contenders for a piece of market share are seeking to distinguish their product at the Chicago Auto Show in a changing landscape where Mercedes-Benz just broke the sub-$30,000 barrier and Kia vies for a spot in the luxury clique with the K900.
One thing you will notice if you visit this year’s Chicago Auto Show is the attention given to the full-size pickup category. This is one category where the ‘Big 3’ is unarguably — still the ‘Big 3’.
Buick’s commitment to near-luxury standards and safety shine in the manufacturer’s line of 2014 offerings including the fun Regal, refreshed LaCrosse, family-friendly Enclave and more.
Chevrolet is introducing improved fuel economy and substantial power upgrades for 2014. The Volt’s price tag drops $5,000 this year and offers an EPA combined estimate of 37 mpg. In addition, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala is fully redesigned.
Dodge is celebrating 100 years with special edition Chargers and Challengers. The two 2014 Dodge special editions combine innovative modern technology, established muscle-car styling and commemorative design details. The treatment of the 100th anniversary badging is subtle and styled along with the color choices available for the exterior paint and interior cabin upholstery.
Hyundai emphasizes economy and value for 2014, while pursuing a first-class standard of luxury. Of note, the 2014 Hyundai Sonata spotlights 50 improvements this year including refreshed interior/exterior styling, standard Driver Selectable Steering Mode, available Blind Spot Detection system and a new navigation system. The 2014 Hyundai Equus gets a notable refresh with subtle exterior modifications, major interior upgrades and new safety features.
Kia is retooling its lineup for 2014, adding more standard features and enhancing its luxury offerings. The full-size luxury class gets a Kia model in 2014 with introduction of the V8-powered 2015 Kia K900. Additionally, the FWD Kia Forte and the Soul have been redesigned. The Optima, Sedona and Sportage also offer a few notable refreshments the new model year.
Ford unveiled the sixth generation Mustang in December as part of a global public relations plan to make the 2015 Mustang launch as impressive as it was more than 50 years ago. According to Ford, they listened closely to Mustang feedback from consumers over the years and they have made some improvements they feel will widen the appeal of their 50-year-old Pony car.
Nissan’s lineup for 2014 emphasizes fuel economy, innovation and style. At a $15,990 base, high-tech meets high fuel economy with the 2014 Nissan Sentra. Redesigned inside and out, the Rogue is all new this year. And the 2014 Leaf is the most affordable 5-passenger electric car on the market.
Toyota’s 2014 lineup offers a full range of vehicles in trusted names. The Toyota Corolla is fully redesigned for 2014, while the Tundra offers new exterior styling and interior and the Toyota Highlander features improved fuel economy and a newer, more spacious cabin.