Live! From the 2018 Chicago Auto Show!

Revised Feb. 8, 2018, to reflect expanded auto show news.

Chicago new car reveals and concepts from McCormick Place.

2018 Chicago Auto Show
The Chicago Auto Show runs from Feb. 10-19, 2018.

The 2018 Chicago Auto Show kicks off this week and yours truly will be in attendance for the media days scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The public days begin Saturday, Feb. 10 and extend through Monday, Feb. 19. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, plan a visit to the McCormick Place to take in upwards of 1,000 new vehicles, concepts and displays.

The Big Show

The Chicago show doesn’t have the number of new reveals as do Los Angeles, Detroit, and New York, but it does make up for it by offering the largest display space and most visitors of any show. The original show launched in 1901 and continues at the location it has used for more than a half-century. Indeed, the McCormick Place is the show’s venue, benefitting from numerous updates down through the years and boasts sufficient space to carry off a show of this magnitude.

I’ll be representing Auto Trends Magazine directly at this show and will share much of what I discover through my social media interactions as well as in articles published here and elsewhere. Feel free to follow my Twitter (@theautowriter), Facebook (RealAutoTrends) and Instagram (RealAutoTrends) accounts to track my many updates. I’ll be using the #CAS18 hashtag most of the time during the three days I’m in Chicago, along with various manufacturer tags.

The Hit Parade

Among the models on display in McCormick Place are the following:

2019 Ram 1500
The 2019 Ram 1500 Limited is top-end of a seven trim product lineup. This model sits on the longest of the 1500’s three wheelbases and has a 6-foot, 4-inch bed.
2019 Volkswagen Arteon
This Volkswagen Arteon succeeds the CC, a coupe-like four-door model. The Arteon, already on sale in Europe, will make its official North America debut at the Chicago Auto Show. We’ll have more details following the press conference.
Toyota FT-4X concept
This FT-4X concept may point to a feature styling direction for Toyota. The FT-4X stands for Future Toyota Four-Wheel Drive, suggesting a new type of vehicle for the brand.
Kia Stinger Federation Concept
The Kia Stinger flies in the face of convention for two reasons: 1), it is a sedan in a utility vehicle market and 2), it a premium model served up by mainstream Kia. This orange fastback is the Federation Concept, which comes outfitted with special aftermarket parts, including TSW wheels, a K&N cold-air intake and a low-restriction quad-tipped Borla exhaust.
2018 Nissan Kicks
The Nissan Juke is on its way out, soon to be replaced by this 2018 Kicks. The new model doesn’t have the polarizing design of the outgoing Juke, but it does advance a styling edge all of its own. Arrives in Nissan showrooms this June.
2019 Mercedes-Benz E53 Cabriolet
This 2019 Mercedes-Benz E53 Cabriolet should have you thinking about warmer days as it rolls into McCormick Place. This all-wheel drive beauty comes with a 3.0L 6-cylinder in-line engine with exhaust gas turbocharger and electric auxiliary compressor paired with a 9-speed transmission. With an output of 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, this top-down luxury delight has a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds.
2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
On sale in Europe since last November, the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio arrives this spring in the US. This model has a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 engine making 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. A 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds is the estimate.

Toyota Introduces 2019 TRD Pro Line

Off-road fans know that Toyota is a significant player in the segment, delivering three models for your selection. The 4Runner SUV, Tacoma midsize pickup truck and the Tundra full-size pickup truck are the trio of Toyota models comprising the brand’s off-road capabilities.

At the Chicago Auto Show, Toyota unveiled three TRD Pro versions off its powerful threesome, offering important changes, including Fox 2.5-inch Internal Bypass Shocks across the TRD Pro line. Further, the Tacoma TRD Pro now offers an available TRD desert air intake while the 4Runner TRD Pro earns a TRD roof rack. As for the Tundra, Toyota fits this model with available Rigid fog lights and BBS wheels.

Customers have a choice of three exterior color schemes for the trio: Super White, Midnight Black Metallic and Voodoo Blue, the latter exclusive to the TRD and a color once popularized with the now retired Toyota FJ Cruiser.

2019 Toyota TRD Group
Toyota updates its TRD Pro group for 2019. Check out the cool desert air intake on the Tacoma!

Ford Rolls Out New Transit Connect Wagon

The Ford Motor Company introduced a new vehicle today. Instead of targeting young buyers as they usually do, the automaker chose to go after Baby Boomers with its new 2019 Ford Transit Connect wagon. The Transit Connect comes in smaller than today’s minivans, but it does offer room for seven. The idea here is for owners to carry their grandchildren, pets and maybe make some room for their geriatric equipment (kidding. not kidding).

Ford asked Chicago native Jim Belushi to introduce its new wagon. Belushi sang, “My Sweet Chicago,” before Mark LaNeve — vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service — took over.

Key among the may changes for the 2019 Ford Transit Connect is a newly available 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Ford expects this new powertrain combination to deliver at least 30 mpg highway. The standard engine is a 2.0-liter gas user, paired with the same transmission.

2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon
The 2019 Ford Transit Connect wagon offers two powertrain choices, including an all-new 1.5-liter turbo-diesel inline-four.

Chicago Auto Show Concept & Technology Garage

Each of the models mentioned here are showcased in the McCormick Place’s Concept & Technology Garage. Journalists are supplied with a two-hour preview window to view each vehicle, take photos and video, and interview OEM representatives. It is an invaluable opportunity, therefore yours truly will take every advantage while there.


See AlsoLive! From the 2017 Chicago Auto Show!

Photos courtesy the respective OEM. All rights reserved.

Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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