The Chicago Auto Show, which made its debut in 1901, is the largest of its kind (over 1 million square feet of space), bigger than Detroit and even Houston. This year was the 105th edition, and the Auto Show flexed its muscle by embracing social media and showing off some sexy new models. Walking around all the shiny new models, was a bit like being in a candy store, so many things I wanted to see and take home.
I was in the thick of things on media day, as I walked the huge exhibition floor exploring the changes manufacturers are making for more fuel efficient and tech savvy vehicles. Toyota revealed a redesigned version of its Tundra full-size pickup, the first major changes made since the Tundra rolled into the market in 2007. The changes are mostly superficial, as the mechanics are unchanged. The interior has been upgraded for a more luxurious feel with new seats, instrument panel, a rear back-up camera and blue tooth connectivity standard features.
You know how Superman has often been confused with a bird or a plane? The Superman-themed Optima Hybrid by Kia, has no such identity crisis. This sedan is the sixth of eight customized Kia vehicles that represents characters from the Justice League, and was created to benefit DC Entertainment’s “We Can Be Heroes” giving campaign. Its also the first hybrid produced by Kia. Drivers and superheroes alike, will find the adjustable suspension system that can raise and lower the vehicle with the push of a button, impressive. The red headlights are made to glow with the same intensity of Superman’s heat vision, and Kryptonite is no match for this hybrid vehicle.
Even Superman’s heated stare couldn’t distract me from the rugged good looks of Ford’s Atlas Concept truck. This bad boy has some features that will appeal to anyone in the market for a truck. How many times have you tried to attach your boat or trailer and had difficulty? With Ford’s Dynamic Hitch Assist, the driver is guided by the truck’s center display screen, which eliminates the guesswork used in positioning the truck. One of the biggest complaints of truck owners involves the fuel needed to keep them on the road. Ford has addressed the issue with active grille shutters and active wheel shutters, which open and close to cool the vehicle or improve aerodynamics depending on your speed.
In Detroit, the sexy Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was the superstar, and I can see why. The seventh-generation of “America’s Sport Car,” (C7) can travel 0-to-60 mph in less than four seconds! I can’t even change a diaper that quickly! Impressed, did I mention it also gets 30 mpg? The snazzy instrument panel is directed towards the driver, and has two 8 inch monitors which change depending on the three modes: touring, sport and track mode. For all the guys out there, that can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this beauty, I have two words, “Ladies first!”
With so much to see and do, this is just a snippet of my day. A few other vehicles that caught my eye were the 2013 Hyundai Veloster with its roll top roof,
the Honda EV-STER Small Sports Car Concept was a head turner,
the Cadillac ELR was sleek, modern and gorgeous,
the Toyota Fun Vii concept was probably the most futuristic vehicle I saw,
the Kia Cross GT concept crossover vehicle looks like it may rival the Sorento in space and luxury,
the 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO and 370Z NISMO – both beauties to behold,
the Hyundai Elantra Coupe Zombie Survival Machine was probably the most talked about vehicle of the show,
and the new 7 seater Hyundai Santa Fe was especially interesting with it’s thoughtful family focused design and features. (stay tuned for the official test drive and launch mid march!)
The Chicago Auto Show is open now through February 18 at McCormick Place. You can see more of this year’s vehicles when you “Like” Chicago Auto Show on Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter @ChiAutoShow using #CAS13.
Thank you to Nissan and The Chicago Auto Show for inviting me attend this event in person. My travel expenses have been provided. All opinions are 100% original. All photos taken with my amazing new Samsung Galaxy Camera, provided by Samsung Mobile.