Chicago Auto Show Car reviews

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2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

This is Jeep’s way to introduce new Mopar products for the Wrangler

It won’t be wrong to say that the Jeep Wrangler is a cult of sorts when it comes to customizing a vehicle. The Wrangler is one of the most customizable vehicles not just with aftermarket accessories, but also thanks to the rich directory of the in-house guide, Mopar.

The Wrangler comes with so many optional accessories and packages that it might leave you scratching your head. To help you with this conundrum, Jeep decided to customize the Wrangler in-house with accessories and call it the 2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20. It was showcased at the Chicago Auto Show and it did grab a fair bit of attention. Looks pretty sweet, doesn’t it?

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2020 Mercedes-Benz Pop Up Camper Van

2020 Mercedes-Benz Pop Up Camper Van

Ready your stuff, son, you’re going camping in a Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz’s first pop-top camper for the U.S. market just took a bow at the 2020 Chicago Motor Show. Five can sit in it with sleeping room for four and there’s a plethora of camping-specific features to take you through your outdoors-y weekend in full comfort.

Mercedes says its pop-up camper was developed jointly with Driverge Vehicle Innovations and that it appeals a wide range of potential customers, from "adventure seeking millennials to hip retirees." To support that claim, the Metris Weekender comes fitted as standard with an elevating roof with a sleeping area for two, a 2-inch-thick memory foam mattress, three windows, and USB ports for charging and lighting purposes.

In addition to those, the camper also offers the likes of:

a multipurpose rear bench that can be transformed into a bed for two or into a seat swiveling front seats that rotate 180 degrees a second battery to power electronic devices

In addition to those, customers can pick from a handful of optional features. These include integrated solar panels, upgraded audio and navigation systems, and 3M exterior wraps in any of the 200 colors available.

Camping wise, the list of amenities comprises:

an 8-inch awning for rain and sun protection mosquito and bug screens for the rear hatch and sliding doors a tent that can be mounted on the rear liftgate roof racks (useful when hauling snowboards, surfboards, or extra luggage) a pullout kitchen that extends from the rear of the vehicle

There’s no word on what will power the camper, but we know that Mercedes-Benz fits its Sprinter van with a turbocharged gasoline engine good for 188 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque available in the 2,500-3,500 rpm band. The unit is twinned to a smooth-shifting 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic gearbox.

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2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave And High Altitude Special Editions

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave And High Altitude Special Editions

Jeep has put in a lot of effort to make this worthy of a Desert-Rated badge

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator has proven its mettle since its launch and it’s not a bad off-roader by any means. However, Jeep decided to up the ante and make it even more suitable to desert terrain.

Called the Gladiator Mojave, this is the first Desert-Rated vehicle to come out of Jeep’s factory. Ever. Jeep has improved focus on the Gladiator’s suspension on this rugged pickup truck’s desert-ready version. Jeep also launched the High Altitude Edition that’s got to do more with extra features and luxury than ruggedness itself. This trim will be available on the Wrangler as well.

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2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon Edition

2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon Edition

The 2020 Ford GT receives more oomph and visual flair

Big news from FoMoCo on its supercar. It’s still powered by the same 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6, but for the 2020 model year, power goes up from 647 horsepower to 660 horsepower. Torque stays unchanged (550 pound-feet), but it’s now available within a broader band.

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2021 Toyota Highlander XSE

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE

Toyota gives the Highlander a meaner mug and subtle performance gains

Toyota is bringing an armada of trucks and SUVs at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, including the Highlander XSE that’s infused with enough sporty characteristics that make us wonder if Toyota’s deliberately trying to jolt some life into what otherwise is a family-oriented three-row crossover. To be clear, the Highlander XSE is not a special edition Highlander; it’s a new trim level that comes with significant visual and performance upgrades that you normally don’t see in a Highlander. If this is Toyota’s attempt to catch our attention with the 2021 Highlander, consider our attention’s caught. The Toyota Highlander XSE will go on sale in the fall of this year as a 2021 model. No pricing details have been revealed, but Toyota did say that the Highlander XSE will slot between the XLE and Limited trims. With the Highlander XLE starting at around $40,000 and the Highlander Limited starting at $44,000, expect the Highlander XSE to start at $42,000.

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2017 - 2020 Nissan Armada

2017 - 2020 Nissan Armada

The Patrol-based SUV is back with a vengeance

The new Armada is a giant leap forward for Nissan. Its comfort levels, active and passive safety features, and rigidity within the ladder frame and body structure are all vastly improved. It also bookends the automaker’s complete revision of its SUV and crossover lineups over the last three years, with new editions of the Pathfinder, Murano, and Rogue.

As before, the Armada sits atop the Nissan SUV lineup as the flagship. It offers the highest levels of available luxury and comfort, especially in its range-topping trim, the Platinum. Lower trim levels include the “base” SV and mid-grade SL trims.

Update 2/5/2020: Nissan has updated pricing for the 2020 model year and introduced a new wheel package. Learn about the updated pricing and everything else you need to know in our “What’s New for 2020” section below.

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2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty STX

2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty STX

A well-priced package that makes the base trim look a lot more premium

Heard of the Ford F-Series? Okay, that’s a pretty stupid question to begin with. The F-Series has been a top-seller for decades. So, unless you live under the rock, you have definitely seen and heard about it. But, what about the Ford F-250 Super Duty STX? Now, this is not a variant of the truck. It is merely a package to make your truck look prettier. However, the STX package is one of the cheapest ones out there and is actually a value-for-money proposition.

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2020 Ford F-250 Black Ops by Tuscany

2020 Ford F-250 Black Ops by Tuscany

Spice up you F-250 with this stunning all-black edition!

Ford has been selling the F-Series for ages now and people love it. The fact that Ford keeps updating the lineup often is also what helps keep the sales volumes ticking. The F-Series is an extensive lineup with more than 20 variants on offer that caters to the needs of every truck buyer. Apart from this, Ford has also worked in collaboration with multiple tuners, and it even sells some of those trucks through its own dealerships. One of them is the special-edition Black Ops F-250 by Tuscany. This beast is based on the Ford F-250 and it looks stellar to say the least. As the name suggests, this truck is a tribute to the Black Op veterans, and for every Black Ops truck sold, Tuscany makes a donation to the Wounded Veterans Organizations - that’s something we can all get on board with!

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2019 Mahindra Roxor

2019 Mahindra Roxor

An inexpensive, tiny off-roader for those weekend adventures

Although Mahindra has now streamlined into passenger vehicles, the company’s roots belong to off-road, tough vehicles. In India, it sells highly reliable vehicles like the Thar and Bolero, which are known to handle abuse very well. In the States, the company sells Utility vehicles and tractors mainly. In 2018, the company launched the Roxor, a utility vehicle that is meant only for off-roading. It garnered a lot of attention when it was showcased at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, and it serves as a perfect little truck for people would like something small and that doesn’t cost a bomb to own and maintain.

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2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD High Country

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD High Country

If this is the best that Chevrolet has to offer, then we are disappointed

Chevrolet has offered the Silverado pickup for over two decades now, but the automaker has almost a century’s experience in building them. The moniker was previously used for various versions of the Tahoe, Suburban, and C/K pickup trucks. Chevrolet sold almost 600,000 examples of the Silverado in 2018, which is quite impressive, but it is quite far from the pole position held by Ford. However, Ford is not the problem here. Ram has grown exponentially over the years and has stolen the Silverado’s thunder. Ram sold marginally more trucks than the bowtie in 2018. But, it looks like Chevrolet came armed this time. The 2020 lineup of the Silverado has intrigued quite a few folks, including me. This trim - The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD High Country - is the best the automaker has to offer. Does it have it in it to take on the Blue Oval or Ram?

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2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD LT

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD LT

A great package for commercial purposes but not for personal use

The civil war in the truck segment seems to be getting more and more intense every day. Ford, with the F-Series, has been at the zenith for as long as one can remember. It looked like Chevy was the one that could stop the Blue Oval with its offering called the Silverado. But over the years, the Bowtie lost steam and has capitulated to not just Ford, but also the underdog known as Ram. Call it hard luck or complacency on part of Chevrolet, but Ram actually trumped Chevrolet by a small margin to take the second spot on the sales chart for 2018. However, Chevrolet seems to have gotten back on track with the 2020 Silverado, and it expects to sell more than the 585,581 examples it sold in 2018.

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2019 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn

2019 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn

A luxurious truck that can also do the heavyweight stuff

Even though Ram is the newest member in the truck segment (if you don’t count the years "Ram" was a model under the Dodge umbrella), it cannot be taken for granted. Given the kind of products it has in its portfolio, you will be surprised to know that the company is just nine years old. Ram is essentially a by-product of Dodge and is a fully-owned subsidiary of the FCA. Don’t mistake it to be a rookie or a newb by any means. The name might be new, but the company has been building trucks since the 1970s under the name ’Fargo trucks’ which was sold outside the United States. The 2019 Ram model sees a few changes. These trucks became an overnight sensation when Ram announced a 1,000 pound-foot of torque figure for the 3500 series. The Ram 2500 doesn’t boast that, but it still has a lot going in its favor to be deemed as a potent threat to the Blue Oval and the Bowtie.

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2020 Ford F-350 Super Duty King Ranch

2020 Ford F-350 Super Duty King Ranch

Is the King Ranch a forceful fit in the F-350 Super Duty lineup?

The ongoing paradigm shift towards SUVs and trucks has put a lot of pressure on automakers, especially the crown-bearer, Ford. Ford has literally been dominating the truck market for as long as one can remember. Its trucks used to be second to none, but that is changing now. With GMC and Ram stepping up their game and getting fierce with their own offerings, the Blue Oval has had to up the ante to continue sitting on the throne. The Ford Super Duty name is not just another marketing tactic; Ford has built this truck differently right from its core - the chassis. The distinct chassis allows for higher towing and payload capabilities. Although the Super Duty series looks very similar to the lighter trucks, they are built using high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy that shaves off a few hundred pounds while maintaining the structural integrity. Ford also made changes to make the Super Duty series more efficient by using stronger steel frame and chassis components.

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2019 Ram 2500 Limited

2019 Ram 2500 Limited

An underdog that deserves to be at the pinnacle of the segment

The battle of the trucks is never-ending. We have seen multiple players step in the ring, but none of them could get anywhere close to the products with the Blue Oval logo slapped on them. Ram trucks fall under the same category. These trucks have been a victim to Ford’s dominance for as long as one can remember. In all fairness, Ram is still a baby. The company was spun-off from the Dodge brand in 2010 and is owned by FCA. Even though the company is not as mature and experienced as the Chevy and the Ford, Ram sure has learned how to create quality products that can give the rivals a run for their money. For the 2019 model year, Ram decided to drop a bomb and declare war on the competition by launching a truck with four-digit torque figures! Can things get any crazier?

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2020 Ford F-350 Super Duty Lariat

2020 Ford F-350 Super Duty Lariat

An all-rounded truck that neither stands out, nor disappoints

Ford trucks are second to none. Although they have been facing stiff competition from competitors like the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Ram trucks, Ford is still by far the best seller in the market. The automaker sold over 900,000 examples of the F-Series in 2018. The Ford Super Duty lineup doesn’t look much different from the other F-Series trucks, but they are different in terms of the build. The Super Duty trucks are built using high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy that helps shave off a few hundred pounds while maintaining structural integrity. Ford also made changes to make the Super Duty series more efficient by using stronger steel frame and chassis components.

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2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD

Classic off-roader style and capability, now with modern tech

First introduced back in 1995, the Toyota Tacoma is currently in its third generation. With nearly a quarter century of history behind it, the Tacoma nameplate is well-established as one of the most unbreakably rugged and reliable vehicles on the planet, and now this mid-size pickup is headed for a refresh for the 2020 model year. The latest Tacoma is framed as the “best-equipped ever,” and in TRD guise, it looks to mate its traditional off-roading chops in the rough stuff with newfound comfort and tech appointment in the cabin. However, considering the latest third-generation made its debut back in 2015, as well as a major influx of competition throughout the segment, does the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD still manage to keep pace?

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2020 Kia Sportage

2020 Kia Sportage

A Lot More Safety Gear And Cool Makeup For The 2020 Kia Sportage

Proudly sitting as the main attraction at Kia’s 2019 Chicago Auto Show stand, the new 2020 Kia Sportage introduced us to a number of novelties, most important of which is its amazing standard safety pack. The subtle facelift touched the 2020 Kia Sportage’s front and back end and gifted low-end models with even more tech. While this is basically all that’s important on the newest Sportage, it seems that this compact SUV really doesn’t need more improvement. It is a value-centered compact SUV, and it does all it should really well. After all, it does have some legacy to defend. Believe it or not, the Sportage was the first car with a knee airbag back in 1998. Heck, it is even the first vehicle to complete the Paris-Dakar rally and the Baja 1000. It did it in 1993 and 1995, respectively. While Kia is not really big on promoting these facts, I can tell you that the new Sportage really does epitomize the safety proves and the sporty character of its predecessors.

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2020 Nissan Rogue Sport

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport

A crossover that fell just short of becoming the company’s wonder-kid!

When seen from a bird’s eye view, Nissan is actually managing its crossover portfolio quite well. At the entry-level, the Japanese automaker has the Kicks and, at the top, it has the Nissan Rogue. Nissan had the Juke to fill the gap in between, but the model was discontinued a couple of years back. Although it looked like the Kicks will have to manage two duties, Nissan quickly came up with a much better replacement for the Juke in the form of the Nissan Rogue Sport. The Rogue Sport was specially designed for the U.S. market and is not being sold anywhere else.

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2019 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition

2019 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition

The Harley-inspired truck returns after eight years

The 2020 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition is the second pickup truck from the Blue Oval company inspired by the iconic motorcycle brand. The Harley-Davidson Edition returns after eight years as an appearance package, but it also comes with a few chassis updates. The big difference now, except the fact that it’s based on the latest F-250, is that it’s no longer built by Ford. Instead, the truck is assembled and sold by Tuscany Motor Company.

Marketed as an "Official Harley-Davidson truck," this F-250 features an impressive amount of exclusive features, including a monochromatic paint scheme, loads of "Harley-Davidson" badges and logos, unique wheels, and a bespoke interior. Unlike its predecessor, this Harley-Davidson Edition rides on a special suspension designed by BDS for the motorcycle company. Let’s see what it offers.

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