THE KIA TRAIL'STER, BASED ON THE POPULAR SOUL, WHICH MADE ITS DEBUT AT THE 2015 CHICAGO AUTO SHOW, IS THE ONE I HOPE THEY BUILD
PHOTO BY VINNIE RICHICHI
The Chicago Auto Show is much like the city of Chicago. Not as intense as New York, as revealing as Detroit nor as Hollywood as Los Angeles but none the less it gives the Second City a chance to show off a few never before seen cars in one of the greatest cities in the world to visit!
As far as the city...I liked Giordano’s Pizza better than Geno’s, got a chance to see Harpo Studios and felt my bones freezing whenever I spent time outside. It was 7 degrees in front of the McCormack Center where the show is being held.
Nissan may have been all about speed….while it doesn’t seem like the new Maxima which made a quick appearance in Nissan’s SuperBowl commercial is quite ready to go…rumors are all over the place that it will come out from under the covers in New York in April… we were treated to a look at a couple of NISMO products from its high performance shop…the GT-R LM Nismo was shown off at a private reception and a stunning 370Z NISMO roadster made its debut on the show floor.
Chevrolet rolled out a refreshed version of the 2016 Equinox crossover. The SUV is Chevy’s second best- seller next to Silverado. It will get what Chevy calls contemporary use of chrome, tech improvements and nicer wheels in this refresh. Chevy also trotted out a lower budget Silverado called the Custom.
Honda found itself getting more than a few oohs and ahhs with its redesigned Pilot SUV. Honda went out of the box literally when it tossed away the square shape of the Pilot in favor of angles, curves and a more contemporary look that fits in what I call the new Fun Honda image.
Honda also showed a drawing of the 2016 Ridgeline pickup (below) showing lower leaner lines in a truck they hope will cash in on the newly revived small truck market.
Acura showed off a new RDX luxury crossover that gets some improvements including a more powerful engine.
HONDA GETS THE POPULAR PILOT SUV OUT OF THE BOX BY SOFTENING UP ITS LINES
Police departments got a little something besides overtime out of this show as Ford unveiled its new Police Interceptor Explorer (photo below). Ford builds this flagship of its police fleet right here in Chicago so what better place to show it off. Still with 6 cylinder Ecoboost power the Interceptor also gets a number of high tech improvements including a Surveillance Mode warning system that automatically alerts officers, closes the windows and locks the doors if someone approaches the vehicle from behind.
The one concept I need to see built out of the whole show was at the Kia stand, a car company that continue to show it has it’s finger on the pulse of cool. The Trailster (photo below) puts Kia and the Soul which it is base on squarely in the Renegade/Fiat 500 X fun and funky all wheel drive small recreation vehicle category. In both two and four door versions the Trailster will be part electric, part Turbo and all about off roading.
Mitsubishi is continuing their comeback story with another concept...the GC-PHEV, a crossover that carries Mitsubishi's new design mantra as well as a basketful of high tech goodies to enhance safety and connectivity of all people in the car.
Among the other highlights at the show...Ram trotting out a meatier, beefier version of its pickup to take on the Ford Raptor, a more aggressive looking Toyota Camry and the second show look of everyones automotive fantasy, the Ford GT.