2019 Chicago Auto Show - Everything You Need To Know
The industry’s latest and greatest descend on Illinoisby Jonathan Lopez, on LISTEN 27:02
The Windy City looks like it’s starting to warm up a little bit now that the polar vortex has passed, and it’s good timing, because the 2019 Chicago Auto Show is bringing the heat with a full list of debuts. Per tradition, CAS will once again occupy the McCormick Place convention center with a variety of new trucks, crossovers, luxury rides, and muscle cars, and Top Speed will be on the scene to bring you all the big news as it happens.
Framed as the “largest” and “longest-running” auto show in the U.S., the Chicago Auto Show has been going strong since 1901, and this year, it will once again offer up roughly 1,000 vehicles for our collective admiration. We’ve listed the big names slated to show right here in this in-depth guide, plus we included all the info you need to know if you want to attend the show yourself.
The Big Names Slated To Show
Based on the gorgeous concept car of the same name, the LC 500 Inspiration Series takes Lexus’ halo performance nameplate to new aesthetic heights thanks to a unique Flare Yellow paint job, upgraded 21-inch wheels, and a carbon fiber roof.
We think this thing looks awesome in stock form, but the upgraded exterior on the Inspiration Series is a perfect complement to the standard car’s curves.
More goodness can be found inside, where you’ll find standard Touring seats, semi-aniline leather upholstery, yellow stitching, and yellow Alcantara door inserts, as well as unique carbon door inserts. Meanwhile, the performance bits are unchanged. Motivation comes from a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 making 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, all of which is sent to the rear axle through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Sixty mph arrives in 4.4 seconds, while top speed is pegged at 168 mph. Pricing starts at $106,210.
Teased with a shadowy interior image, the 2020 Subaru Legacy will make its grand entrance in Chicago this year. While the exterior will look more or less unchanged from the outgoing model, the 2020 Legacy will double down on technology and luxury for the interior spec.
The first thing to catch our eye is the new center console design, most of which is occupied by a huge new touchscreen sporting more digital inputs for the various onboard features, including the heated and ventilated seats, the HVAC system, and the infotainment system.
The Legacy will get new upholstery as well.
Under the hood, the Legacy will rock a slightly revised 2.5-liter four-cylinder connected to a CVT and standard all-wheel drive system. It’s also possible Subaru will replace the 3.6R’s six-cylinder with the same turbo four-banger found in the Ascent SUV. Meanwhile, underneath it all will be a new modular architecture. Expect a small bump over the current model’s $22,545 MSRP.
Dodge will be on the scene this year with the Challenger and Charger, both of which will receive a mild update for the 2020 model year. The big headline is a new paint option, which recalls Dodge’s racing past with a searing shade dubbed Sublime green. The update also affects the R/T Scat Pack Widebody trim bits, which throws in wider fenders that add 3.5 inches to the muscle car’s overall width.
Under the new arches, the wheels measure in at 20 inches in diameter and 11 inches in width.
Tires from Pirelli (measured at 305/35R20) and six-pot front brakes from Brembo round it out. The Challenger GT RWD model also gets the Super Track Pak as standard.
The rest should be familiar to fans, with both nameplates once again offering both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive drivetrain options. Engine options include a 3.6-liter V-6, a 5.7-liter V-8, a 6.4-liter 392 Hemi V-8, and a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8. At the top of the heap is the 797-horsepower Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye. For now, pricing starts at $27,845 for the Challenger and $29,220 for the Charger, and both figures are not expected to rise much with the latest model year.
While not yet confirmed, it’s possible Jag will show up in Chicago with this special edition F-Type. As a nod to Jag’s performance past, the F-Type Checkered Flag Limited Edition Coupe comes with a host of aesthetic upgrades, starting with exclusive 20-inch wheels, a black roof, and blacked-out trim bits, as well as three paint options to choose from. Inside, the F-Type is bathed in Ebony Windsor leather upholstery, complete with an embroidered logo on the headrests.
There’s also complementary dark-brushed aluminum trim, while the InControl Touch Pro infotainment system plus 10-inch touchscreen is added as standard.
Making the go is one of two engine options, starting with a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, and ending with a supercharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder making 380 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. Pricing starts at $71,900 for the coupe and $74,300 for the convertible.
With major reveals expected from both Ram and Chevy, Ford is looking to meet the competition head-on with the refreshed Super Duty truck. Offering seating for 3 to 5 passengers, the Super Duty’s exterior was revised heading into the new model year. Infotainment features should include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, as well as Sync 3 and a navigation system.
Luxury goodies will include ventilated and heated seats, plus leather upholstery, while safety is upped thanks to lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert.
As for the powerplants, the Super Duty currently gets two options, starting with a 6.2-liter V-8 making 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. Above that is turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel making 450 horsepower and 935 pound-feet of torque. For the 2020 model year, Ford is also adding a 7.3-liter V-8 gas option that promises to be “the most powerful gas V-8 in its class.” The six-speed automatic will be replaced by a new 10-speed automatic, while either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive will put it all to the ground.
Note: 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro pictured here.
While the Tacoma has enjoyed a good degree of success in the mid-size pickup segment, competition from the Jeep Gladiator and Ford Ranger won’t make it easy heading into the 2020 mode year.
While the mid-cycle update won’t mess too much with the general aesthetic, we think the interior bits will likely get a more substantial refit, and will throw in the latest version of Toyota’s Entune infotainment and Apple CarPlay support. The rest of the spec remains a mystery, so for now, it’s worth mentioning that the current model is equipped with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder as standard, with output rated at 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Above the ‘four is a 3.5-liter V-6 making 278 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. Both a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic round out the transmission options. Properly configured, the Tacoma can tow 6,800 pounds. Hopefully that spec will see a boost heading into the 2020 model year.
While Chevy may have already lifted the sheets on the new Silverado HD’s reshaped exterior, the Bow Tie has yet to spill the beans on all the pertinent specs we wanna know.
Well, that’s all gonna change in Chicago. Framed as the “most capable and most advanced Silverado HD ever,” the 2020 HD model takes styling cues from the Silverado 1500 model unveiled last year, with a similar interior layout and technology features. However, outside we find a unique exterior style to help underline the pickup’s heavy duty attitude. There’s also more room inside the cab.
Under the hood, the Silverado HD will offer two engine specs, including a gasser connected to a six-speed automatic, and a Duramax turbodiesel V-8 twisting out 910 pound-feet of torque and connected to an Allison 10-speed automatic transmission. We’re still waiting on all the nitty gritty details, but expect both the towing and payload capacity to improve compared to the outgoing model. Sales kick off in mid-2019. Pricing is so far unannounced, but for reference, the current Silverado 2500HD starts at $37,600.
2020 Nissan Rogue
Nissan is selling huge quantities of its Rogue crossover, even nipping at the heels of such segment standards as the Toyota RAV4. Part of the appeal is fantastic value for money, high fuel mileage, and solid reliability, all of which Nissan is sure to double down on with a facelift for the 2020 model year.
Overall, we don’t expect any big changes, but rather incremental improvements for a package that’s clearly working for consumers.
For reference, the current model comes equipped with interior gear like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus tech like Intelligent Lane Intervention, plus Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection. Outside, there are LED daytime running lights, while under the hood, motivation is derived from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder. The ‘four produces upwards of 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, which is then directed towards a CVT and FWD drivetrain, with AWD heading the options list. There’s also a hybrid variant that’s sure to come back for 2020, once again offering fuel returns of 34 mpg. Pricing should stay more or less static with the update, once again starting close to the current model’s MSRP of $24,920.
Note: Current Ram Chassis Cab pictured here.
Following hot on the heels of the debut of the Ram 1500 and Ram HD, the new Ram Chassis Cab is due to show in Chicago, likely with both the 3500 and 5500 variants dropping cover in the Windy City. The Ram Chassis Cab is a staple for those who use their trucks for work and require big torque and capability, and all that goodness is sure to get an extra bump heading into the 2020 model year.
In terms of exterior styling, the 2020 Ram Chassis Cab will likely pull from the smaller 1500 in terms of exterior styling, offering a new grille as well.
Stepping into the cabin, we expect nicer materials throughout. Holding down the infotainment duties will be FCA’s the Uconnect 4 system, which will utilize an 8.4-inch touchscreen for user inputs. The screen will take over for various hard buttons in terms of functionality, including the HVAC system and monitoring the vehicle status. Buyers will also have the option for a 12-inch screen, if desired. Engine options will include a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, and a turbocharged 6.7-liter Cummins diesel, with transmission duties handed to a six-speed automatic. Meanwhile the diesel can also be had with a six-speed manual. Pricing is so far unknown, but for reference, the current 3500 model carries a tag of $34,445.
Lexus NX F Sport Black Line Special Edition
Unsurprisingly, the compact Lexus NX has been selling quite well lately, and now the luxury brand is offering up a well-polished limited edition to tempt even more buyers.
Limited at just 1,000 units, the Lexus NX F Sport Black Line Special Edition is based on the NX 300 F Sport model, but gains aesthetic upgrades like sharp graphics along the lower flanks of the car.
The limited run is offered in exterior colors like Atomic Silver and Obsidian, as well as an exclusive Ultra White, while in the corners, you’ll find 19-inch forged alloy wheels.
There’s some unique interior bits as well, with white and black upholstery, plus a black headliner and details like new floor mats, a new cargo mat, and a new key glove. There’s also a 14-speaker Mark Levinson stereo making 835 watts of sound, plus a 10.3-inch infotainment screen. For the oily bits, the limited-run Lexus is offered with both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive drivetrains. Pricing starts at $48,575, which is a little over 12 grand more than the standard model’s MSRP of $36,485.
We’ve seen the 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque before, but this is the first time we’ve seen it on U.S. shores.
Rocking the streets with sleek styling and undeniable presence, the Evoque just oozes luxury.
It’s smart too thanks to a new hybrid-electric powertrain option. Inside, you’ll find number of top-shelf materials, both as standard and as optional equipment, while a pair of InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment screens control the various onboard functions. There’s more room inside as well thanks to a longer wheelbase. Pricing will likely get a small increase heading into the 2020 model year. For reference, the outgoing model starts at $41,800.
Here’s another one we’ve already see in its full glory, but we can’t wait to see it in the metal all the same. Offered as a celebration of sixty years of history behind the Land Cruise nameplate, the special Heritage Edition gains a new dark exterior color treatment, with either Midnight Black Metallic or Blizzard Pearl offered for the paint options, plus a blacked-out grille, dark chrome trim, tinted headlights, and 18-inch BBS wheels. Inside, you’ll find black leather upholstery, bronze contrast stitching, and all-weather mats for the floor and cargo area.
There’s also high-end infotainment goodies, such as a 9.0-inch touchscreen and 14-speaker JBL sound system.
Making it all go is a 5.7-liter V-8, while a two-speed transfer case and locking differential to help it crawl over anything in your path. Pricing is not yet known, but expect it to cost more than the standard model’s MSRP of $85,015.
We’ve known about the Urus for a while now, but we can’t help but fawn over this Raging Bull SUV all the same. Look for it to appear in Chi-Town with the usual specs and figures, including an aero-friendly exterior style, fighter-bomber interior layout, and 650-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine.
Originally shown in Las Vegas at SEMA, the Lexus ES 350 F-Sport Cross Country Custom is a rolling compilation of modifications and upgrades. You see, this particular Lexus has been all around the country gathering new parts from each shop it visited along the way, including an Apexi N1-X muffler, RS-R USA springs, and Vossen forged wheels wrapped in Nitto NT 555 G2 tires. It’s also got a satin exterior wrap and some blue underglow lighting to boot.
Like the ES 350 featured above, the Lexus UX 250h Cross Country Custom is another modified ride showing what’s what in the world of Lexus. This time around, the crossover is rocking an Apexi N1-X cat-back exhaust system, Apexi N1 dampers, and a set of Vossen VFS-1 wheels once again wrapped in Nitto tires. A Nia Auto Design ABS lip kit adds extra punch to the light blue paint color.
2019 Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravan 35th Anniversary Edition
First arriving back in the ‘80s, the Dodge Caravan is pretty much a standard in the business of moving the family from A to B. The same goes for the Pacifica, which took the torch passed oer by the Chrysler Town & Country in 2016. Now, FCA is celebrating with a pair of special edition models equipped with new paint and new badges to boot.
Both models also come with black interior, plus Cranberry Wine contrast stitching.
You’ll find the fresh treatment added to the floor mats, door, steering wheel, instrument panels, and door handles.
The 35th Anniversary Edition is offered with Pacifica trims that include the Touring L, Touring L Plus, and Limited trim levels, as well as the hybrid powertrain option. Meanwhile, the Grand Caravan gets the 35th Anniversary Edition on the SE and SXT trim levels. Look for it in dealers this summer. Exact pricing information is still forthcoming, but the limited equipment upgrade shouldn’t pad the bottom line too much. For reference, the standard Chrysler Pacifica starts at $26,985, while the standard Grand Caravan starts at $26,790.
Note: standard Mazda MX-5 pictured here.
Where does the time go?
The first Miata arrived in the U.S. at the Chicago Auto Show thirty years ago, which means it’s time to celebrate with this special limited edition of the latest fourth-gen ND model.
Details are still forthcoming, but based on a single teaser image, it’s believed the two-door will offer a hard-top roof body style, bright red paint, and some split five-spoke wheels finished in a shade of gunmetal. We’d also expect a few new bits and pieces for the interior as well. Meanwhile, the performance spec will most likely remain static, including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual will send output to the rear axle, yielding a 0-to-60 mph time around 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph. Of course, the real draw is the way this thing handles, with the small dimensions, low curb weight, and faultless Mazda chassis tuning combining to create sheer brilliance behind the wheel.
2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
Following the release of the new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta at the Detroit Auto Show, VW is prepping what appears to be hotter version under the GLI nameplate. With a teaser image showing a new grille with a red trim line, dark headlight housings, and of course, the requisite badging goodies, VW promises this tweaked four-door will offer the “body of a sedan” but the “heart of a GTI.” Speaking of which, we’re thinking around 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque from a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder, just like the standard U.S.-spec Golf GTI. Meanwhile, a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic should be on hand for the cog swaps.
Rumor has it we’ll get a new special edition of Alfa’s compact sports machine in Chicago this year, but details are scant as of this writing.
However, we expect the basics to remain the same, including the lightweight carbon fiber construction and aluminum suspension subframes.
Making the go will likely be the same turbocharged 1.7-liter inline four-cylinder, which currently doles out 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Output is routed to the rear wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. To this lovely platform of Italian awesomeness, we could see Alfa adding in some unique aesthetic upgrades to pique buyers’ interests.
The Who, What, Where, And When
Things To Do
Major auto shows are always a great place to shop for a new car. They provide quick access to multiple competing manufacturers, a preview of up-and-coming models currently unavailable at the dealerships, and zero sales pressure. Such is the case with CAS 2019, which also adds a healthy dollop of digital interaction as icing.
All attendees will have access to free high-speed Wi-Fi to keep them connected in a variety of ways, including via the official CAS app, which offers a daily schedule of onsite events, a map of the exhibition floor, a list of vehicles on display, interactive videos, access to the CAS blog, and CAS-related social media feed.
Check out the app here.
With so much available exhibition space to work with, the displays are bound to be pretty extravagant. You’ll be able to check out virtual reality, racing simulators, giveaways, and tons of touchscreens. Check out more info on the interactive displays here.
Even more exciting are the indoor test tracks and outdoor test drives, both of which give you the chance to actually climb inside the brand new metal as a pro driver takes it for a spin (for example, in years past, participants got to go off-roading in a new Jeep Wrangler). Topping it off is a smattering of OEM accessories and products from the aftermarket, not to mention lots of rare and beautiful old school vehicles to ogle.
So once you’ve had your fill of the show, what comes next? Chi-Town is full of fun things to do, from shopping to sightseeing, restaurants to cultural experiences. Just a few points of interest include the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History, and Willis Tower. Of course, don’t forget your scarf, because the weather this time of year can be exceptionally cold.
The Venue And Transportation
CAS 2019 is held at the McCormick Place convention center, located on the shore of Lake Michigan near Northerly Island, roughly 30 minutes southeast of O’Hare International Airport.
McCormick Place offers nearly 2.7-million square feet of exhibition space, making it the largest convention center in North America.
2301 South Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60616
If you want to drive to the event, you can find driving directions by clicking here. Alternatively, you can follow your nav system to the event by using the following address:
2301 South Martin Luther King Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
Parking can be found onsite at McCormick Place, with each of the three main lots costing $23 per vehicle. The secondary lot is $15. Get there after 6 PM, and parking is only $10. Free shuttles to and from the Millennium Park Garage are provided on the weekends. Handicap accessible parking is also offered. You can find more information on parking by clicking here.
Public transportation is also offered, with options including the metro and buses. Find more information on public transportation by clicking here.
As for accommodations, CAS is once again partnering with local hotels to secure special rates for attendees.
This year, the Hyatt McCormick will offer rooms for as little $171, with easy access to the show. There’s also the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, which is offering rooms for $247. Check them both out by clicking here.
Finally, if you need to print out the show floor layout with a listing of the locations for each of the various makes and exhibits, click here.
Show Schedule And Tickets
Per usual, the working press was the first to experience the show between February 7th and 8th.
After the Media Preview comes the First Look For Charity gala. This annual black tie event is put on to raise money for local Chicago nonprofits and charities, with those in attendance treated to complimentary drinks, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and live entertainment whilst perusing the debuts.
The general public is now invited to attend until Monday, February 18th. Hours are between 10 AM and 10 PM, while hours on Monday, February 18th are shortened to 10 AM to 8 PM.
Tickets cost $13 for adults, $7 for seniors (62 and older), and $7 for children (ages 7 to 12). Children under 7 get in for free.
You can purchase tickets at the gates, or online by clicking here.
For more information on dates, times, and special days of the show, please click here.
Media Preview News Conference Schedule
|Thursday, February 7th|
|3:40 PM||Alfa Romeo|
|Friday, February 8th|
|9:30 AM||Alfa Romeo|
For more information on the news conference schedule, please click here.