This year’s Chicago Auto Show featured some of the best and brightest as well as quite a few surprises. If you were not able to attend, here’s a wrap of some of the highlights of the show and the vehicles that made the biggest impressions.
Dodge Challenger – The muscle care is back with a vengeance in 2008. This model has been panted after by enthusiasts for months and spy photos have been leaked out on a consistent basis. The debut at the show did not disappoint as Dodge unveiled their 425 hp powerhouse vehicle. Estimates place the 0-60 rate at about 4.9 seconds and its half mile time should clock in at under 14 seconds. The design is everything that fans could have hoped for and 6.1 liter Hemi V8 is a true marvel. Overall, this was probably the most popular and highly anticipated vehicle at the show.
Ford Transit Connect – While this isn’t exactly a vehicle that inspires when you first see it, it may just revolutionize the transit industry. Ford is aiming this vehicle at small businesses who need to move products around large cities quickly and efficiently. It features 143 feet of cargo space, as well as boasting 19/24 mpg. This should make the vehicle very attractive for businesses looking to upgrade their fleets. It is estimated that this vehicle should sell very well, considering that there is not much competition for its class, with other companies offering only larger models that do not appeal to smaller businesses.
Volkswagen Routan – Is this also the year for the return of the mini-van? Volkswagen seems to hope it will be. Priced at just under $25k, it offers a sleek alternative to the Chrysler mini-van that was its inspiration. Like them or not, they still serve a purpose and VW hopes that this one will help them top their goal to sell 800,000 cars in America this year. Whether or not they are successful remains to be seen, but this is certainly an interesting entry for the company.
Chevrolet Traverse – Chevy’s cross over vehicle was met warmly at the show. Not quite car and not quite SUV, the company hopes that they will capitalize on the popularity of both with this hybrid. The six speed automatic transmission, coupled with the V6 286 hp engine should make this a capable little vehicle. The smart modern looks and overall handling make this an excellent entry for Chevy into this market.
GMC Denali Concept – This is one neat vehicle and GMC really outdid themselves with this concept. It’s modern, it’s a little odd, but it may just be what GMC needs to get back on top. The company is calling this one a “compact truck” and its low profile certainly looks interesting. Overall, it’s comparable to the Honda Ridgeline in overall size, but blows it out of the water with its innovative design. With a four foot bed though, customer interest may be limited to those who just need a pickup for fun.