This past week we covered the Chicago Auto Show. This show is one of the most fun and interactive we go to, and thankfully, all the fun is indoors. The McCormick Convention Center gets transformed into the biggest automotive playground with many manufacturers creating indoor attractions where you can ride the cars or trucks as if you were a kid in an amusement park. Why does the show do this?
Simple. It’s freezing outside for the most part this time of the year and taking the cars for a ride in the outdoors is just not the brightest idea. That’s why companies like Jeep, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, RAM and Mercedes decide to bring the fun indoors.
Mercedes had one of the coolest rides named after the Schöckl mountain in Austria. Imagine taking the G Class into a 45-degree upwards incline towards a seesaw-like bridge where you reach the edge past the center point and the platform which is held in the center by an axis, tips 45 degrees downwards to start the descent. It is heart-pounding fun. With a starting price of over $120k, I’d expect the G Class to do that and make me coffee in the morning too.
Ford revealed their 2018 Expedition which received a full makeover and looks spectacular. It’s incredibly spacious and loaded with tech. I liked the new wireless charger that hopefully soon we’ll be able to use with the iPhone 8, if the rumors are true. How does it work? You just place the phone over the front center console and that’s it. I know a couple of people that desperately need this functionality. The Wi-Fi hotspot, which is a must in large family vehicles these days, support up to 10 devices and works within a 50-foot radius around the vehicle, which is convenient.
Dodge showcased the Durango SRT, possibly the fastest production SUV. It can go from 0 to 60 in just 4.4 seconds, which is impressive for any car and for an SUV, almost unheard of. Dodge claims it’s the most powerful three-row SUV and I believe them. It has a 475-horsepower HEMI V-8 engine, best in class towing capability of 8,600 pounds and my favorite part is that customers that buy this Durango, will receive a one day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, which they are probably going to need if they want to drive this beast.
Toyota presented the Sequoia and Tundra TRD. This is now a tradition for the brand since the TRD Pro family was launched in Chicago. The TRD badge aims to produce some of the toughest trucks in the industry and Toyota takes them to off-road events and races to prove their capabilities. They took the Tundra to the treacherous Baja 1000 race and won in their category, they’ve gone to volcanoes in Chile and even to the Arctic. This year’s Tundra TRD Sport comes with a 381-horsepower, 5.7 liter V8 engine, tuned shocks and even anti-sway bars. Toyota is looking to enhance the safety by adding their Safety Sense suite as standard equipment which includes: a Pre-Collision System, Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The Sequoia will also boast a new instrumentation panel, gage cluster and a multi-information display that tracks the status of the different functions in the safety suite.
The Chicago Auto Show is always fun and it’s great to have the opportunity to do what I love and broadcast live to some of the most prestigious TV outlets in the US and internationally. Until next year!