In many ways the Chicago auto show is the most important major auto show in North America. Not entirely because significant automobiles are unveiled or even that it generates large headlines. What lies beneath the swirling lights and glitzy presentations are the strong relationships developed or fortified between our intrepid journalists and company executives and representatives of every major auto manufacturer in the world.
The Chicago Auto Show is an incubator of news stories developed months down the road. The dialog and discussions that occur over these “media only” days can be just as important as all of the presentations. We dig deep to get the information that helps make your task of purchasing a vehicle easier.
The icing on the cake is the vehicle introductions and as you can see by Carbuzzard’s intrepid trio, we covered the entire spectrum. Here is the third installment of Carbuzzard’s coverage of the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.
Acura unveiled the 2016 Acura RDX SUV showing off new redesigned front and rear treatments. Performance also gets a complete redo adding more performance with the new 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 gasoline engine producing 279 horsepower and 252 lb ft of torque. More important than the rise in spec numbers is the addition of a broader torque curve which increases the response to the driver’s input. Acura reported there is an increase in fuel economy, albeit a small boost. All-wheel drive models will have a better balance in power transfer between front and rear axles to enhance all-weather stability.
Mitsubishi unveiled their Concept GC-PHEV, a CUV (crossover utility vehicle) that has the appearance as though it was part transformer, cartoon character and mechanical engineering design exercise. The GC-PHEV is Mitsubishi’s futuristic look into full-size crossovers, combining highway and off-road capabilities with the energy efficiency of a plug-in hybrid electric powertrain. The GC-PHEV presents an angular and aggressive design combined with eco-friendly drivetrain that will also take you to the back country. The GC-PHEV may offer a crystal ball look at the future of Mitsubishi vehicles.
While not making a huge presentation at the Chicago Auto show, read no splashy unveiling or ear splitting sound system, Volvo offered a close up look at their new XC90. The 2016 XC90, according to Volvo, signals a refreshing new look at the Volvo safety and efficient tradition. The 2016 XC90 offers understated luxury with seating for seven, along with the efficiency of a hybrid. The top model, the T8, will be equipped as a plug-in electric, a hybrid and a high performance vehicle all rolled into one. Utilizing a 2.0-liter supercharged four-cylinder gasoline engine powering the front wheels, along with the 80 hp electric motor powering the rear wheels, the XC90 produces a whopping 400 horsepower. Volvo rates the XC90 with a 5291 pound towing capacity so the adventurer will be able to drive in luxury and tow all the gear needed for the journey.
Hyundai strives to continue to make their vehicles contemporary and stylish and with the mid-cycle redo of the Elantra GT and the Veloster, Hyundai fine tunes both the drive and the appearance. The Elantra GT receives front end styling changes to add an increase to its sporty look. A panoramic roof will bring the sun in even if you don’t want the rush of air from a fully opened sunroof.
The Hyundai Veloster since its introduction has become a popular sporty three-door coupe. The Veloster receives model upgrades and design queues. Hyundai’s Brandon Ramirez explained the Veloster is a high image and high emotion vehicle and to add to the emotion he introduced the Veloster Rally Edition, which will be available in very limited numbers. The Veloster Rally Edition features performance tuned springs, dampers, and front stabilizer bar dialing in more responsive and precise handling capabilities. The Rally Edition is only available in an exclusive Matte Blue exterior color and black leather with blue-accented sport seats. This special limited edition will be equipped with a short-shifting B&M Racing® Sport Shifter and 6-speed manual transmission. No automatic here folks.
Chevrolet Silverado Custom
Chevrolet recognizes not all truck buyers need or want a plush car-like interior. These folks want a truck that works as hard as they do without the frills. Chicago was the perfect venue for Chevy to take the cover off a new version of the full-sized Silverado pickup they call the Silverado Custom.
The Silverado Custom emphasizes a get it done mentality. This pickup truck is a work truck with rubber floor mats and many entry-level features. Powered by Chevy’s 5.3-liter V-8, the Silverado Custom comes with a price in the low $30,000s for the two-wheel drive version. A V-6 engine can replace the V-8, saving a little over $200. This is a good looking Silverado with an eye on working hard.