February 15, 2017

Special Editions Debut At Chicago Auto Show

Unlike the razzle-dazzle of other motor extravaganzas, the annual Chicago Auto Show is usually a buttoned-down showcase for special editions of current models.  That was true this year, but there were also a couple of surprises – like the first public showing of an all-new Ford SUV.  Here are the highlights:

2018 Ford Expedition

Cribbing the F-150 pickup, Expedition debuted with a sleek aluminum alloy body over steel frame.  Interiors hold 8 passengers with second-row tip-and-slide seats.  Wireless device charging, Wi-Fi, dual headrest rear screens, and 12-speaker B&O Play audio entertain.  Safety is enhanced by active park assist to park/unpark, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise with stop-and-go.  It all moves via an EcoBoost V6, 10-speed automatic transmission, and terrain management system.

2018 Dodge Durango SRT

Billed as the most powerful three-row crossover, Durango SRT harbors a 475 horsepower HEMI V8 that tosses the three-row crossover from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds.  It can tow 8,600 lbs.  It identifies with an SRT hood with center air inlet, heat extractors, lower cold air ducts, and LED foglamps.  Available Demonic Red Laguna leather seating summons evil.  Customers receive a full-day driving session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.  Sales begin this fall.

2018 Subaru Legacy

A mid-cycle facelift enhances the mid-size Subie.  Revised front and rear styling with LED foglamps and adaptive headlights give it a sportier look while the interior is dressed with real dash stitching.  The confusing infotainment screen adopts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  Reverse automatic braking joins EyeSight crash mitigation and lane keep assist systems.  Choose a 175 horsepower 2.5-liter Boxer four-cylinder or 256 horsepower 3.6-liter flat-six – both standard with continuously-variable transmissions and all-wheel-drive.

2017 Nissan Titan King Cab

Nissan keeps slicing and dicing Titan bodystyles with the introduction of an extended-length “King Cab” on Titan half-ton and Titan XD with 6.5-foot beds.  Full front doors and rear-hinged half doors allow access to a relatively roomy cabin.  Owners can choose “rear seat delete” to increase utility on S, SV, and PRO-4X trim levels.  Additional body choices accompany the choice of a Cummins diesel engine on Titan XD.  Sales begin this spring.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT

An all new Euro design with aggressive stance glistens with LED running lights and available LED headlamps.  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto simplify the standard eight-inch screen.  Available dual-zone climate control, wireless phone charging, and adaptive cruise with stop-start capability enhance comfort and convenience.  Use Amazon Alexa Blue Link for remote starting.  Step into a 162 horsepower 2.0-liter engine, or on GT Sport, a 201 horsepower 1.6-liter turbo-four.  Click a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota Adds Adventure

Three special Toyota’s add sport to your adventure.  The Tundra TRD Sport adds color-keyed mirrors, bumpers, and hood scoop to 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, mesh grille, and TRD graphics.  Bilstein shocks and anti-sway bars enhance capability.  Step off with a 381 horsepower V8.  Sequoia TRD echoes the Tundra, but adds optional leather captain chairs and TRD interior trim.  Even cooler is the RAV4 Adventure with a tow prep package, increased ride height, 18-inch black alloys, fender flares, and black headlight bezels.

Volkswagen Atlas Weekend Concept

The three-row Atlas crossover begins rolling out of Chattanooga, Tennessee this spring, but VW sent a concept version to Chicago.  Exploring entertainment and storage solutions, the concept has an expandable 17.7 cubic-feet roof carrier, base bars for carrying bikes and skis, rear cargo divider, and side steps to enable loading.  Rear seats have tablet mounts so passengers can attach their own gear and connect through onboard Wi-Fi.  Window and hood deflectors, trunk liner, and splashguards will be optional this spring.  It’s all driven by a 276 horsepower V6 and 8-speed transmission with 4Motion AWD.

2017 Dodge Challenger 80th

Chrysler’s Mopar parts group celebrates its 80th Anniversary with a limited-edition Dodge Challenger.  Just eighty cars in Black/Confusion Blue and eighty in Pitch Black/Billet Silver will be produced.  Hellcat-inspired features like the pitch black spoiler, 20-inch wheels, cold air intakes, shaker hood, and black exhaust tips add attitude.  The 6.4-liter “392” HEMI V8 delivers a monstrous 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque.  Mopar tower braces and Brembo brakes enhance handling.

Storm Forward!

Contact Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube and Twitter:  @AutoCasey.

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