15 Cars to look for at Chicago Auto Show

The Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show for consumers, even if most manufacturers don’t use it to unveil their most important new cars and concepts. Still, it’s located in the massive and beautifully designed McCormick Place in downtown Chicago and it has many of the new cars you’ll want to see.

I spent Thursday and Friday walking the show with other members of the media before the show opens to the public today, and a number of cars caught my eye. I’ve listed a number of them below though it’s by no means an exhaustive list of the show’s highlights. Most were not introduced at this show, but you’ll want to look for these cars and see them up close.

2015 Ford Mustang

The 50th Anniversary Mustang was completely redesigned for 2015 and was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show. This was my first opportunity to see it up close, and I have to admit I liked it more after seeing it in person. I’m still not thrilled with the dramatic change with the styling of the front headlights, but they do fit the new design. The more dramatic fastback is easier to appreciate when you see this car in person, and overall it’s an impressive design. Ford only has one at this show so make sure to look for it. You can see more photos of the Mustang from the show here along with official photos here.

2015 Ford Mustang at Chicago Auto Show 1

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2015 Ford Mustang at Chicago Auto Show

I wasn’t really blown away when Ford revealed the 50th anniversary Mustang with a complete redesign. Sure, moving away from the retro design was a huge challenge, but the new look didn’t really grab me at first when I saw the photos. I have to admit, however, that I like it much more having seen it in person at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. The fastback, in particular, jumps out right away. And while I can’t get too excited about the new headlights, they do fit the new, more aerodynmaic design. Still, I would have preferred that the headlamps sloped down at the far edges instead of flaring up. That might have made the new design perfect, but overall, it looks like the Ford team was able to meet some pretty high expectations.

  

Booth Babes at 2014 Chicago Auto Show

As usual, the good folks at Chrysler were the most consciencious about providing lovely eye candy to go along with their cars. We found some beautiful booth babes helping to promote some of their sexier cars, including an orange Dodge Challenger and a candy green SRT Viper. We also got to see the all-new Chrsyler 200 which looks like a great car and was promoted by a pretty brunette.

  

Nissan unveils Frontier Diesel Runner at Chicago Auto Show

We were on hand with Nissan today at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show as the company debuted the Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins at a press conference featuring Fred Diaz, senior vice president of Sales & Marketing. Nissan recently announced a partnership with Cummins Inc. to provide a 5.0-liter turbo diesel V8 in the next-generation Titan full-size pickup, which will arrive in calendar year 2015. The Frontier Diesel Runner is being presented as a “technical study” to guage the reaction of consumers and the market to a Nissan mid-size pickup with a diesel engin. The feedback Nissan receives will help the company plot a potential future direction for the Frontier.

As you can see from the photos and the short video below, Nissan put together a unqie and eye-catching design for this vehicle. The color scheme includes a custom “Arrest Me Red” and Matte Silver paint treatment and a transparent acrylic hood insert that provides as a window to the engine bay, where all powertrain-related elements continue the red theme. It also features an aerodynamic full-bed tonneau cover and tailgate spoiler. The 16-inch wheels, borrowed from a Frontier PRO-4X, were also treated with special two-tone paint, with red and black in the rear wheels and sliver and black in the front. The silver and red exterior design carries over into the interior of the Frontier Diesel Runner with red accents throughout and carbon-trimmed seats and panels. I love the overall design of this truck.

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Car Review: 2014 Toyota Corolla S Premium

toyota_corolla_1

There were big changes in store for the dazzling 2014 Toyota Corolla, and although we knew the new design looked sweet, time behind the wheel would give us a true measure of the car. That was taken care of when we drove the Corolla for a week, and quite honestly, we hated to see the week end.

EXTERIOR

You’ll find yourself doing a double take when you first see the Corolla, because the new design is light years ahead of the past models with the new aggressive styling. The 2014 Toyota Corolla S Premium looks that good and will shake the compact car segment without a doubt. Our test model was a sharp blue crush metallic sporting 17 -nch smoked alloy wheels. The all-new Corolla makes an immediate visual impact with a more expressive, chiseled exterior design that elaborates on the “Iconic Dynamism” theme first seen on the Corolla Furia Concept that debuted at the North American International Auto Show. The new Corolla is distinguished by its tauter, more athletic proportions that ride on a longer wheelbase (+ 3.93 inches/ +100 mm compared to current model). With the wheels pushed out toward the corners, compact overhangs, and more tapered front and rear expression, the new Corolla communicates a more dynamic compact sedan form, even at a standstill. The new sedan is 3.90 inches (99 mm) longer overall and yet presents a more compact appearance than the current model thanks to a basic shape that tapers at the front and rear of the vehicle to help emphasize the wheel arches and wheels-to-the-corner stance.

The new Corolla features an expressive front fascia with sharper, more pronounced details above a large trapezoidal grill that rests beneath a thin intake inlet below the hood. The front view of the new Corolla reveals a continuation of the design themes seen in recent Toyota sedans such as Camry and Avalon, and it creates a sleeker, more assertive impression of a Toyota compact sedan with its more precisely sculpted surfaces. Among the challenges presented by the new Corolla’s original design concept was the need to execute more deeply rounder corners to achieve the desired sleeker image. The thick structure of conventional headlamps would hinder the appearance of deeply rounded corners. Sleek, compact LED lamp assemblies were adopted to reduce the corner mass and help accentuate the Corolla’s tapered, rounded-corner, front- end design theme. In addition, the low heat generated by the LED lamp enabled the use of a lighter weight PES resin lens instead of conventional glass. Corolla is the first compact sedan to offer standard equipped LED headlamps.

INTERIOR

The impressive 2014 Toyota Corolla S Premium continued inside the cabin with a plethora of new options that enhance the overall driving experience. The new Corolla’s interior continues the “Iconic Dynamism” theme to create a stylish, highly functional and inviting interior space with a greater sense of craftsmanship in its design, use of materials and attention to detail. A horizontally oriented dash structure helps enhance the interior’s sense of spaciousness while providing a more wide-open, intuitively functional space for interface with vehicle controls. The interior offers a premium aesthetic with its use of piano-black gloss trim highlighted by metallic ornamentation and trim that conveys an upscale yet sportier image. Depending on interior color theme, blue, black or amber pinstriped accents are used in conjunction with the dash and door panel ornamentation to enhance the premium appeal of the interior. Ornamental stitching along the leading edge of the dash pad adds a sense of craftsmanship to the interior’s upscale nature. An available decorative boot with ornamental stitching surrounding the shift lever adds a sporty, premium look.

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