Claimed to be the largest auto show in North America, the 110th edition of the Chicago Auto Show did not disappoint. The 2.7 million square feet of exhibition space was filled with activity through February 10th-19th, 2018. The event showcased an array of new models and exciting concepts—it’s a good place and time to be a car lover.
The 2018 show featured wild concepts, a slice of new-meets-old Americana, and a long list of automotive safety updates. We selected our top 5 favorite highlights from the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.
For the Urban Vanner – Ford Transit Connect Updates
Banking on baby-boomer buying power and van popularity, Ford introduced the 2019 Ford Transit Connect, with upgraded styling, safety improvements, entertainment and a new diesel-engine option.
The Transit Connect now comes standard with autonomous emergency braking, which includes pedestrian detection—a major step for safety. There’s also new adaptive cruise control and a lane-keep assist system, offered as upgrades.
With the new optional 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel, or the standard 2.0-Liter gasoline engine, the 2019 Ford Transit Connect can haul more than just the family.
For the Impractical Snowboarder – Nissan Concept Snowmobile
Normal convertible owners avoid cold weather, but not Nissan. This one-of-a-kind Nissan 370Zki, as in 370-ski, is a 332-horsepower snowmobile, with a radio.
The sport cars conversion required significant custom work, including specially designed spacers, modifications to the wheel wells and custom tracks. Operation is just like a regular car, but we doubt it handles the same.
Photo courtesy of Chicago Auto Show.
For the Practical Commuter – a Pair of New Hyundai Sonata Hybrids
Hyundai introduced two new Sonata Hybrids at the Auto Show, an update on the standard Hybrid and a new plug-in Hybrid. Both models receive updated exterior and interior styling and safety enhancements like lane-departure warnings.
The Sonata Hybrid comes equipped with a 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder gas engine, producing 154 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft of torque. A 38 kW electric motor allows for electric-only power up to 75 mph.
The 2018 Plug-in Hybrid is powered by a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, roughly five times larger than the Hybrid’s battery, producing an EPA all-electric range of up to 27 miles. The Sonata Hybrid estimated 39 mpg and 45 mpg on the highway, means fill-ups are only every 650 miles.
For The Upscale Market – VW Arteon
Some journalists were confused with the marketing of the new VW Arteon. Is it a hatch? Is it for families? Or was it designed for the sensible-sedan market? Either way, it’s a bold new replacement for the VW CC, and considered VW’s new top-of-the-line sedan.
Introduced in Europe a year ago, VW announced it’s US arrival for the 2019 model year. The standard VW 2.0 TSI produces 268 horsepower and backed by an eight-speed automatic with standard front-wheel drive, or the optional VW 4Motion all-wheel-drive.
For the Lovers of Old – 2019 Mustang Bullitt
Ford’s opening event stole the show, with a introduction accompanied by the original 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT fastback driven by Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt. Recently found and showcased in its original, unrestored condition, the unveiling was accompanied by the 2019 Mustang GT Bullitt.
The new Bullitt, a true tribute, features a GT350 intake manifold, 87mm throttle body and recalibrate powertrain control module. With those upgrades the Mustang makes 475 horsepower, 15 more than the standard Mustang GT.
Exterior modifications include a single, subtle trunk-mounted emblem, and thin chrome window and headlight trim. Red brake calipers shine through the 19-inch black wheels. The Mustang is available in two colors: Highland Green, like the original, and Shadow Black. No pricing announced, but expect pricing above $45,000.