We found the good stuff and put it into this deep-dish list

If you just read our recently published Worst In Show piece from the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, then you’re probably thinking 1) we’re a bunch of trolls, and 2) CAS 2017 was a complete waste of time. And that’s simply not true, at least as far the second point is concerned. There were at least five really nice debuts that dropped in the Windy City this year, including a few SUV’s, a new sport compact, and a revamped muscle car. We even threw in a few special edition models because they were, you know, actually special.

In fact, looking over this list, it’s clear the 2017 Chicago Auto Show has a lot to offer. But we wanna know – what do you think were the best debuts at this year’s show? Did we get them all, or miss a few? Should a few of these entries go on the Worst In Show list instead? Tell us in the comments, and we’ll be happy to get into a big, public Internet fight with you.

Continue reading for the full story.

Best In Show

Dodge Durango SRT

2018 Dodge Durango SRT High Resolution Exterior
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Any debut that includes a video of a massive four-wheel burnout at a drag strip is okay by us. In fact, I don’t even care if it is a silly performance SUV. The Durango SRT is very exciting indeed, packing a 6.4-liter all-‘Merican hemi V-8 heartbeat thumping out 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. All that muscle is fed to an eight-speed automatic transmission and performance-ready AWD with multiple drive modes, while ultra-grippy Pirelli P Zero rubber wraps around 2—inch forged aluminum wheels to make the smoke. Unchained, the Dodge Durango SRT will manage 60 mph in a mere 4.4 seconds, while the quarter mile is completed in 12.9 seconds.

Pair all that goodness with a high-riding SUV body style, leather-laden interior, seating for six, and a decent amount of cargo space, and well, you can see why it’s on this list.

Good job Dodge. You’ve really been bringing the heat lately, and we can’t wait to get a taste for the Demon you’ve got waiting in the wings.

Read the full review here.

Elantra GT Sport

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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From the big-and-bad domestic performance SUV, we pivot to the light and nimble imported hot hatch. Say hello to the latest from Hyundai, which just introduced us to the newest Elantra GT. While the base model is worth a glance, packing a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 162 horsepower, the one you really want is the Sport model, which gets a 1.6-liter turbo with 201 horsepower. Mated with either a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, or the true gear head’s choice, a six-speed manual, this little Korean five-door should be a blast to drive, especially when you consider the bones.

You see, under the skin, you’ll find the i30 hatch, a nippy little machine tested and developed at everyone’s favorite German proving grounds – the Nurburgring. The interior also gets the latest infotainment gear, like a standard 8.0-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Outside are LED headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Read the full review here.

Dodge Challenger Mopar 80th Anniversary Special Edition

2017 Mopar '17 Dodge Challenger High Resolution Exterior
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If you happened to read that Worst In Show piece I mentioned in the introduction, you might be under the impression that we hate special edition models. In reality, we like ‘em just as much as any other model, just so long as they’re actually special in some way. This thing is a good example of that. Our man Kirby Garlitos explains:

“To be fair, the Chicago Auto Show had its share of impressive reveals. The Dodge Durango SRT packed some serious meat and power. The Volkswagen Atlas Weekend Edition definitely stole some glances on the auto show floor. But the hands down winner for Best In Show, at least in my book, are the pair of limited edition Dodge Challengers that were rolled out to celebrate Mopar’s 80th anniversary.

“Between the exclusive paint finishes – Billet Silver or Contusion Blue – the plethora of Mopar parts and accessories, and the fact that it’s limited to just 160 units, the limited edition Challenger stood out completely, largely because there weren’t that many interesting cars in the show to begin with. Out of all the impressive aspects of the special edition Challenger, the fact it costs just $56,885 – it’s only $5,595 more expensive than a standard Challenger SRT 392 – is the most enduring of them all because it essentially invites those who are interested in it to trip over themselves to score a piece before they sell out. And yes, these two special edition Challengers will sell out faster than it takes the muscle car to hit a quarter-mile.”

Read the full review here.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon

2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon High Resolution Exterior
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Here’s yet another special edition worthy of the designation of being “special.” With the new-generation Wrangler headed to dealers sometime in the next year or so, the Rubicon Recon is the latest in a serious of trail-ready off-roaders based on the legendary Jeep. This one gets a huge array of upgrades to make it even more worthy of the rough stuff, including a new front axle with stronger housing tubes, a sturdy, rock-resistant cast-steel differential cover for the front and rear, 17-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels rolling with knobby BFGoodrich tires, and a winch-ready bumper. It also looks pretty badass thanks to new graphics and badging.

This is exactly what a proper off-roader should look like. You see, Toyota? Take a few notes.

Read the full review here.


2018 Ford Expedition High Resolution Exterior
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The Expedition SUV has been around for about two decades now, and the latest generation is looking mighty impressive indeed. Based on the endlessly popular F-150 and incorporating the pickup’s boxed steel frame underneath the body panels, the new Expedition is actually up to 300 pounds or so lighter than before, which should make it quicker, more efficient, and more comfortable. Take a peek inside and you’ll find three rows of seating, plus the latest in infotainment, safety tech, and convenience features. Highlights include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and automatic braking. Making it go is a new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and 10-speed automatic gearbox, with the former likely creating 375 horsepower 470 pound-feet of torque. Not exactly Dodge Durango SRT levels of go, but not too shabby either.

Read the full review here.

Jonathan Lopez
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