Chicago Debuts

MotorWeek is on the floor of the Chicago Auto Show.  Toyota kicked off press days with more off-road cred.  They unveiled the next generation TRD Pro Lineup.  For 2019, the Tundra, 4Runner and Tacoma will all feature Fox 2.5-inch Internal Bypass Shocks.  TRD engineers tuned the shocks to handle a wide variety of situations from high-speed desert running to daily driving. Ford is showing the 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon.  It’s redesigned and ready to haul as many as 7 people.  Engine choices are 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine or an all-new 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel engine.  Both work with an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission.  Driver-assist technology includes standard Automatic Emergency Braking.

The new Volkswagen Arteon made its North American debut in Chicago.  We showed you the global premier in Geneva last year.  The Arteon rests on the MQB architecture.  The mid-size sedan features a 268 hp 2.0-liter TSI engine paired with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and optional 4Motion all-wheel drive.  The Arteon replaces the CC and slides into the line-up above the Passat. Hyundai brought the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models of the 2018 Sonata to the Chicago Auto Show.  The Sonata Hybrid is powered by 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine working with a six-speed automatic transmission that houses a 38 kW electric motor and clutch where the torque converter would normally be found.  The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid has an EPA estimated all-electric range of up to 27 miles.

Hyundai also announced they’ll compete in 2018 Pirelli World Challenge TCR Class.  They’re teaming up with Bryan Herta Autosport to drive two Hyundai i30 N TCR racecars.

Nissan brought their winter gear to the Windy City.  They rolled out a one of a kind Nissan Armada Snow Patrol.  Nissan modified their flagship SUV with a three-inch suspension lift, extreme off-road tires, and a huge front bumper. It was followed by the Nissan 370Zki.  They turned a stock 370Z Roadster into a 332-horsepower snowmobile with ski tracks up front and snow tracks in the rear.

Subaru is marking 50 years in the United States.  They’re making a 50th Anniversary Edition for each vehicle in their 2018 line-up.  They’ll be based on a high-level trim, and come with a new Heritage Blue exterior paint job, and anniversary badging inside and out. Fiat is giving the little 500 much more muscle.  The company has announced all 2018 Fiat 500 models will come standard with a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine.  That 135 horsepower for Pop and Lounge models is 34 more horses than last year. The new engine will give Fiat 500 Abarth models 160 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque.

Lexus is marking 10 years of the “F” performance brand.  The 2019 Lexus GS F and 2019 RC F 10th anniversary special editions were displayed for the first time in the U.S.  Outside, they’re wrapped in a coat of matte finish Nebula Gray paint. Inside, blue leather and carbon fiber trim set them apart.  They both feature a 467-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 that sends power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The crowd in Chicago saw the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 customized with the Mopar treatment.  The transformation includes a 2-inch lift kit, off-road wheel flares, off-road beadlock-capable wheels and off-road style running boards.

Mazda is continuing their MX-5 Miata tradition in Chicago.  This is where they launched the fun to drive two seater in 1989.  This year they’re providing pricing and packaging details for the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, or retractable fastback.  Some of the features include standard heated cloth sport seats in MX-5 Club models, and standard Advanced Keyless Entry on all models.  The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF goes on sale nationwide this month starting at $25,295.