This is the state of the industry

Welp, the 2019 Chicago Auto Show is now coming to a close, and as the final sheet pulls are done, and the journalists make way for the auto-eager public, it’s a good time to take stock of what went down. Out of all the debuts that dropped in The Windy City, the tall and torquey seem to be the order of the day, while the quick corner-carvers are pushed to the side.

SUVs, Crossovers, And Trucks - Oh My!

If you use your vehicle for work, then the 2019 Chicago Auto Show was filled to the brim with debuts of interest.

2020 F-Series Super Duty Promises to Offer Highest Towing and Payload Ratings
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First up, we have the 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty, which was revealed with updated powertrain specs and a host of new technology features.

While the standard 6.2-liter V-8 and 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel are both present and correct, the Super Duty also gains a new 7.3-liter V-8 gas option that promises to be “the most powerful gas V-8 in its class.” There’s also a new 10-speed automatic transmission, as well as the latest in terms of infotainment and semi-autonomous safety features to make this workhorse more enjoyable in the saddle.

Read more about the 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty.

SUVs, Crossovers, and Trucks Reign Supreme in Chicago, Sports Cars Are An Afterthought
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Next, there’s the 2020 Ram Chassis Cab, which is another heavy duty nameplate designed to get it done. Offered in four trim levels, the latest 2020 model year gets a host of premium features in the cabin, including a large 12-inch display and a 17-speaker stereo system. Standard-spec includes a 5.4-liter, Hemi, V-8 engine making 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque, with the option for a six-speed manual transmission and standard eight-speed automatic. There’s also a turbodiesel 6.7-liter inline six-cylinder offered. All told, the 2020 Ram Chassis Cab is hugely capable, throwing out specs that include a towing capacity of 35,220 pounds and a payload rating of 12,510 pounds.

Read more about the 2020 Ram Chassis Cab.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
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Not to be outdone by the competition, Chevrolet also showed up to the party with its own heavy-duty pickup, specifically the 2020 Silverado HD.

Updates include larger exterior dimensions, with the Silverado gaining 10.4 inches in overall length, 1.4 inches in overall width, and 1.6 inches in overall height, all of which translate into more space inside the cabin as well.

Under the hood, you’ll find a new 6.6-liter V-8 gasser making 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque, which is 11 percent more than the outgoing V-8. There’s also the same Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 making 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque, which now connects to a new 10-speed transmission.

Read more about the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD.

SUVs, Crossovers, and Trucks Reign Supreme in Chicago, Sports Cars Are An Afterthought
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Of course, you can’t forget the more compact offerings in the pickup segment either, including the updated 2020 Toyota Tacoma. This legendary pickup is now facing stiff competition from the likes of the Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator, but the Taco isn’t fazed. The latest brings a new front end and new wheels, as well as LED lighting to help add to its premium appearance. There’s also Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa support for the infotainment system, complemented by a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen. The engine and drivetrain are more or less unchanged, with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder making 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, above which sits a 3.5-liter V-6 making 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. However, in addition to the standard six-speed automatic, Toyota is also offering a six-speed manual.

Read more about 2020 Toyota Tacoma.

2019 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition Combines Off-Roading Prowess and Exclusive Luxury In Chicago
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Toyota is adding even more off-roading goodness to the pot with the 2019 Land Cruiser Heritage Edition. Offered as a celebration of six decades of nameplate history, this limited-run Land Cruiser comes equipped with unique exterior pieces, including black trim bits and 18-inch BBS wheels. The running boards and chrome lower moldings were tossed as well to help underline its “overlanding focus.”

Things are pleasant inside thanks to ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, and a 14-speaker JBL sound system.

Making it go is a 5.7-liter V-8 producing 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, all of which is directed through an eight-speed automatic transmission, full-time four-wheel drive system, Torsen limited-slip differential, and two-speed transfer case. Just 1,200 units will be produced.

Read more about the 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition.

SUVs, Crossovers, and Trucks Reign Supreme in Chicago, Sports Cars Are An Afterthought
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Finally, we’ve got the 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, which arrives on U.S. shore for the first time in Chicago. Outside, the Evoque looks elegant and sharp thanks to its coupe-like profile and clean lines. Step inside and you’ll find a luxurious cabin drenched in high-end materials, as well as an InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system with a pair of 10-inch touchscreens in the center console and a 12.3-inch digital screen behind the steering wheel. The Evoque was updated under the hood with a new mild-hybrid powertrain combining four-cylinder internal combustion with a 48-volt electric assist, which create upwards of 296 horsepower total.

Read more about the 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.

Where Did All The Sports Cars Go?

While the various high-riding segments look to steal the limelight in Chicago, those who prefer their four wheels with speed as opposed to capability have just a smattering of models to choose from, all of which are glossy special editions for nameplates already on the street. I feel as though it’s kind of like the movie industry making reboots and sequels, which are much safer bets than something completely new.

SUVs, Crossovers, and Trucks Reign Supreme in Chicago, Sports Cars Are An Afterthought
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However, one of our favorites in this space is the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition, which marks three decades of the legendary two-door’s existence. Outside, you’ll find a unique Racing Orange paint job, with black interior upholstery and new black wheels as well. Speaking of the rollers, the 30th Anniversary Edition is rocking new alloys from Rays sized at 17 inches in diameter.

Unfortunately, Mazda left the performance spec unchanged, with the front-mounted 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.

Curb weight is rated at roughly 2,350 pounds. But don’t fret - this lightweight sports machine is still epic in the corners, and we think the aesthetic upgrades look pretty good on it.

Read more about the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition.

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia is a final attempt from Alfa to stay relevant
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Less inspired is the 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia, which arrives in Chicago with little more than a blue paint job, some black trim, and some extra standard equipment.

The rest of it is unchanged, including the all-aluminum, turbo 1.75-liter four-cylinder powerplant, which once again doles out 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Luckily, the 4C’s combination of low-weight carbon construction, compact dimensions, and mid-engine powertrain means it’s still one of the best sports cars out there, but at six years old, we were kinda hoping for more, especially when you consider the premium special edition pricing on the Italia.

Read more about 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia.

This Is The Industry Right Now

SUVs, Crossovers, and Trucks Reign Supreme in Chicago, Sports Cars Are An Afterthought
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Let’s face it - trucks, crossovers, and SUVs are the big cash cows at the moment, and while you and I love us some performance machines, the speed-makers out there just doesn’t make the money like the high-riders do.

All of that is very much on display at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show.

It seems like you can’t turn around without running across some jacked-up off-roader, or luxurious SUV, or economical crossover. Meanwhile, the performance segments are pushed towards the margins.

Of course, that’s to be expected. After all, the auto industry is about making money, and the best way to milk nameplates like the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Alfa Rome 4C Spider is through some kind of special edition. Anything more would likely lose money in the long run.

Are you a fan of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show debuts? Which are your favorites? Which were the worse of the bunch? Let us know in the comments section below.

Further Reading

2019 Chicago Auto Show - Everything You Need To Know
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2019 Chicago Auto Show - Everything You Need To Know

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