The four-wheeled mob descends on Chi-Town

Chicago might be a bit low on the snow this year, but it’s got the goods when it comes to the latest cars and trucks. As is tradition, the arrival of February means the Chicago Auto Show is at the McCormick Place convention center, with lots of shiny new autos lined up to catch the attention of hordes of prospective car buyers. Framed as the “largest” auto show in North America, the Chicago Auto Show (CAS) is also one of the oldest, first taking place in 1901. It offers over a million square feet of exhibition space and roughly 1,000 vehicles on display, including 20 new vehicle debuts. Enthusiasts will find cars, trucks, crossovers, and concepts in attendance, not to mention racing cars, collector cars, and antiques.

If you’re looking for a car to buy, then CAS is the place to be to get a taste for the latest. Approximately a million visitors are expected to fill the show grounds by the time it’s all said and done, most of which are reportedly interested in buying a new ride sometime in the near future. With that interest comes a high level of social media engagement, with tons of tweets, posts, and impressions flooding the web with the show now running at full steam.

With the latest and greatest vehicles on the docket for CAS 2017, we were on the ground to bring you the big debuts as they happened. Read on for all the big news recaptured here, plus the important info you need to know if you plan on attending in person.

Updated 02/13/2017: We’ve updated this guide with the latest info on all the big reveals!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.

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 2017, 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 new 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 2017 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.

McCormick Place
2301 South Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60616

2017 Chicago Auto Show – Visitor's Guide
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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 $163, 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 9th and 10th.

After the Media Preview came 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. Attendees also had a chance to win a 2017 Acura TLX and 2017 Lexus NX. You can find more information by clicking here.

The general public is now invited to attend until Sunday, February 19th. Hours are between 10 AM and 10 PM, while hours on Monday, February 20th 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.

Throughout the eight-day public show period, there will be a variety of theme days geared towards specific audiences:

2017 Chicago Auto Show Special Days

Women’s Day Wednesday, February 15th Reduced ticket prices for women ($7), as well as “women-oriented programs on the purchase and lease of cars and maintenance”
Chicago Auto Show Food Drive Wednesday, February 15th, through Friday, February 17th Exchange three cans of food for reduced adult ticket price ($7). Donated food will go to A Safe Haven Foundation
Telemundo Hispanic Heritage Day Friday, February 17th CAS partners with Spanish-language TV network Telemundo to celebrate Hispanic heritage
Family Day Monday, February 20th Kid-friendly activities

For more information on dates, times, and special days of the show, please click here.

Media Preview News Conference Schedule

Thursday, February 9th
9:30 AM Toyota
10:00 AM Hyundai
10:30 AM Nissan
11:00 AM Dodge
11:30 AM Ford
1:30 PM Mitsubishi
2:00 PM Chrysler
3:30 pm Chevrolet
Friday, February 10th
8:30 AM Mopar
10:00 AM BMW
10:30 AM Hyundai
11:00 AM Mazda
11:30 AM Nissan
11:45 AM Subaru
12:00 PM Volkswagen

For more information on the news conference schedule, please click here.

Nine Chevrolet Redline Special Edition Models

Chevrolet Unveils Nine Redline Editions in Chicago High Resolution Exterior
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The Bow Tie is going big with the special editions in Chicago this year, bringing no less than nine individual models wearing a ‘lil SE gloss. Making the list of vehicles and trim levels to get Redline’d this year include the Cruze LT, Malibu LT, Camaro LS and SS, Trax LT, Equinox LT, Traverse Premier, Colorado LS, Silverado Double Cab LT Z71, and Silverado Crew Cab LTZ Z71.

While there are a few unique applications of the Redline package depending on the model (for example, the Camaro Redline gets exclusive black hash marks on top of its front fenders, while the Silverado and Colorado Redlines get tow hooks finished in red), the majority of the package consists of the same gear – blacked-out wheels with a red dash mark, a blacked-out grille, and blacked-out nameplates outlined in red.

Read the full review here.

Six Nissan Midnight Special Edition Models

Nissan's Rolling Out The Goods With Its New Midnight Edition Package High Resolution Exterior
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Nissan is doing something similar to Chevy and bringing its own lineup of special edition models. Dubbed the Midnight Edition, the package was originally offered on the Maxima, but after seeing how successful it was, Nissan decided to extend it to the Altima, Murano, Pathfinder, Rogue, and Sentra. Each of the Midnight Editions brings the usual blacked-out finishes for the trim, aero, side-view mirrors, and the wheels, but there are a few unique tweaks that are model-specific. For example, there are illuminated kick plates for the Pathfinder and Rogue, and LED headlights plus a remote engine starter for the Altima. Pricing varies, but slots in around $1,000.

Read the full review here.

Crossovers, SUVs, Trucks, And Minivans

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Special Edition

2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon High Resolution Exterior
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You gotta love the capability of the Wrangler. Off the beaten path, there are few vehicles out there that can match it. With that in mind, Jeep decided to give the current JK generation even more rough-stuff readiness with the Recon special edition. Offered for the Rubicon trim level, the Recon gets beefed-up goodies like a new, stronger front axle, extended rock rails, and resilient differential covers. With these upgrades added to an already impressive off-roader package, this thing looks ready to roll over anything.

Read the full review here.

Ram 1500 Copper Sport Special Edition

2017 Ram 1500 Copper Sport High Resolution Exterior
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To give the popular Ram 1500 Sport an extra ‘”customized” flair, Dodge has introduced the Copper Sport Special Edition model. What makes this thing standout first and foremost is a unique ruddy red paint hue called Copper Pearl, which is nicely complemented by two big matte-black stripes that were added to the truck’s enlarged hood nostrils. In the corners are large, 22-inch chromed-out wheels, while more copper coloring was added inside on the upholstery and trim details. Motivation is derived from a 5.7-liter V-8 making 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, which is fed through an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard RWD. You can also get 4WD as an available option. The Copper Sport Special Edition will have limited production at 3,000 units total. Look for it in dealers later this month.

Read the full review here.

Ford Expedition

2018 Ford Expedition High Resolution Exterior
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This year’s CAS brings a much-needed update for the Blue Oval’s big SUV, and the list of changes is extensive. Starting it off is the inclusion of more aluminum in the construction, with the body panels mostly made of the stuff. There’s still steel underneath, but despite longer dimensions, the new model is upwards of 300 pounds lighter compared to the outgoing model. That makes it more efficient, a factor helped by the new turbocharged EcoBoost V-6. Exact output levels are still up in the air, but if we were to guess, it’s probably making around 375 horsepower. The interior gets the Sync 3 infotainment system, plus Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an optional Wi-Fi hot spot. There are also modern assists like a blind-spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, and automatic braking.

Read the full review here.

Nissan Titan King Cab

Nissan Titan And Titan XD Receive New King Cab Body Style High Resolution Exterior
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We first got wind of this as a rumor, but now it’s a reality. The Titan King Cab is Nissan’s final addition for the Titan full-size pickup, getting rear-hinged doors in back for easier access to the rear seating. Alternatively, you could get yours with no back seat whatsoever, expanding the truck’s impressive cargo room even further. The King Cab is offered on the S, SV, and Pro-4X trim levels, packing a 5.6-liter V-8 across the board. Get with RWD as standard, or 4WD as an available option.

Read the full story here.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Limited Edition

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Limited Edition High Resolution Exterior
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Mitsu is doubling down on crossovers to help it stay afloat in the U.S. market, including this special edition Outlander. To brighten the compact SUV’s prospects, Mitsubishi added a black finish to the 18-inch wheels, black side-view mirrors, HID headlights, and some special badging outside, while the interior is decked out in red contrast stitching, aluminum pedals, and a standard heating function for the front seats. Meanwhile, the powertrain remains unaltered, packing 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque.

Read the full review here.

Dodge Durango SRT

2018 Dodge Durango SRT High Resolution Exterior
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For those folks who love to imbue their tall-riding SUVs with a silly amount of power and surprising levels of performance, Dodge and SRT are offering this – the new hotrod Durango. Essentially a Grand Cherokee SRT powerplant stuffed into a Durango, this thing makes 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, AWD traction, and optional Pirelli P Zero tires, the Durango SRT manages a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds, after which it’ll rip down the quarter mile in a mere 12.9 seconds. So it’s basically got sports car levels of go, but inside it’s also got three-row seating, leather-clad sports seats, and an 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment screen. The handling also got a re-tune, with stiffer suspension components, adaptive dampers, stiffer sway bars, and six-piston disc brakes in front. The rear axle gets four-pots. Meanwhile, the exterior gets 20-inch wheels and a helluva lotta attitude.

Read the full review here.

Sports Cars

Ford Mustang

2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Exterior
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Following the release of the sixth-generation ‘Stang for the 2015 model year, Ford’s most famous sports car heads to Chicago for a mid-cycle update. The recently upgraded independent rear suspension and recently added 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine are both kept as is, although new shocks and more bracing was added for enhanced handling. The old 3.7-liter V-6 was scrapped, but you can still get it with a V-8 if desired. Of course.

Read the full review here.

Mopar ’17 Dodge Challenger Special Edition

2017 Mopar '17 Dodge Challenger High Resolution Exterior
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Dodge has been busy with the new Challenger, giving customers a slew of unique takes on the next-gen muscle car. The Mopar ’17 is the latest, offered as a means to celebrate 80 years of the Mopar brand. Outside is new paint and badges, plus large 20-inch aluminum wheels. Smartly, Dodge added some performance upgrades too, including the Shaker Hood package, a cold air intake in the headlamp housings, new strut tower bracing, and four-pot brakes. Inside you’ll find additional custom touches. If you’re interested, jump on it, because only a handful will be made.

Read the full review here.

Sedans, Hatchbacks, And Luxury Cars

Subaru Legacy

2018 Subaru Legacy High Resolution Exterior
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The current sixth-generation of the mid-size Subaru Legacy sedan was introduced for the 2015 model year at the 2014 edition of CAS, and now it returns to the Windy City in 2017 for a mid-life refresh. Updates include a few styling tweaks, with a new grille and bumper, plus C-shaped headlight housings with LED daytime running lights. Inside, the materials were improved, while the center console was reconfigured. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard fitment, and Steering Responsive Headlights are offered as an available option. The CVT was also altered for quieter operation, and the powerplant was tweaked for less sound while in operation. Per usual, AWD still comes as standard.

Read the full review here.

Hyundai Elantra GT

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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gave us the sixth-gen just a few years ago, and now, it’s introducing the hatchback GT model. Standout features include GT-specific styling and interior appointment, which means unique LED strips for the front fascia, a unique grille, and LED fog lights, plus red accents in the steering wheel stitching, engine starter surround, and shift boot. But probably the most exciting thing about this new five-door is the Sport model, which tosses the base model’s 162-horse 2.0-liter four-cylinder in exchange for a 1.6-liter turbo powerplant making 201 horsepower. Handling the cog swaps on the Sport is either a seven-speed automatic or a six-speed manual, while in back is an independent suspension specially developed on the Nurburgring – home turf for rivals like the Golf GTI.

Read the full review here.

Concept Cars

Nissan NV Cargo X Project Van

2017 Nissan NV Cargo X Project Van High Resolution Exterior
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We like it when a concept build doesn’t hold anything back. Say hello to the Nissan NV Cargo X Project Van, a big and bad 4WD off-roader/mass hauler of things. Built in collaboration with Xtreme Off-Road, a TV show hosted by Ian Johnson, this van is rocking 37-inch tires for rock-crawling duties, while underneath the graphics is a fully boxed ladder frame – a great starting point for something destined for uneven surfaces. Making it go (over anything) is a 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V-8 powerplant, which was plucked from the engine bay of a full-size Nissan Titan. Output comes in at 310 horsepower and a sizeable 555 pound-feet of torque, all of which is routed to the ground by way of an Aisin six-speed transmission. Not only that, but its got enough space inside to swallow 234 cubic feet of, well, whatever.

Read the full review here.

Mercedes-Benz Metris MasterSolutions Toolbox Concept

Mercedes-Benz Metris MasterSolutions Toolbox Concept Showvan Unveiled In Chicago High Resolution Exterior
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Vans are already one of the most utilitarian body styles you can possibly buy, but Mercedes-Benz found a way to take this Metris a step further. As a means to promote the nameplate in the U.S., the Metris Concept that dropped in Chicago looks very much like a toolbox, even bearing riveted blue clasps on the body and a giant handle on the roof. Crack it open and you’ll find a ridiculous amount of equipment for fixing just about anything, offering potential customers a look at what can be done via upgrades performed by associated vendors. Motivation is derived from a turbo four-banger, while tech like Bluetooth support, Attention Assist, and Hill Start Assist are included on the production model.

Read the full story here.

Nissan Motorsports Titan XD Pro-4X

2017 Nissan Motorsports Titan XD1 PRO-4X High Resolution Exterior
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Do you like modified off-roader trucks? Then Nissan has you covered. Playing off the success of the modified Titan that bowed at SEMA a few years back, this new XD will show in Chicago with a variety of Nissan accessories, aftermarket add-ons, and one-off parts. Upgrades include an ICON Vehicle Dynamics suspension set-up, Rigid Industries grille and light bars, EGR fender flares, and Method wheels wrapped in Hankook rubber. Providing the power is a Cummins 5.0-liter V-8 turbodiesel making 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque.

Read the full review here.

Jonathan Lopez
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