Measured by attendance only, the Chicago Auto Show looms above other major shows, attracting more than a million visitors annually. However, wedged between the North American International Auto Show and the
But the high attendance at Chicago is also why all the major makes who sell in the U.S. will be there and there are certainly enough interesting introductions to underscore the importance of this show in reaching the car-buying public.
This year’s event will be decidedly skewed towards crossover SUVs and trucks of all shapes and sizes. Among the expected showings include a new full-size Nissan Armada, which will be based on the current Infiniti QX80 and home market full-size SUV, the Nissan Patrol. That means the new vehicle will now be built in Japan rather than being built in the U.S. using Titan pickup underpinnings. Toyota will also have truck news, with an off-road variant of its recently refreshed Tacoma mid-size pickup, while Ram will also tout 4-wheel-drive capability with its latest take on the legendary Power Wagon. Mercedes-Benz weighs in with a work version of its Sprinter and an extreme concept called Sprinter Extreme based on its cab chassis platform.
Car-based crossover SUVs will be well-represented by the likes of the subcompact 2017 Chevrolet Trax, which benefits from a mid-cycle facelift, while Hyundai will present 2017 versions of the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport. Kia will also introduce its first dedicated gas/electric hybrid model in the Niro, a crossover we drove last fall. Further on that theme, Kia will also introduce its 2017 Optima Hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, which share the Niro’s technology.
Another pair of sedans, the Chrysler 200S and 300S will also use Chicago to debut a new Alloy Edition package, which adds a touch of elegance to these respective mid-size and full-size 4-doors. We’ll have all this and more as the show progresses.