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.

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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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2012 Chicago Auto Show: 10 Best Debuts

Following on the heels of the North American Auto Show, the Chicago Auto Show is the showcase for many brands’ revised products and a few concept car surprises as well. From work vans to sports cars, the Chicago Auto Show showcases every corner of the automotive world.

Nissan 370Z

With meaningful updates added to Nissan’s GTR on almost a yearly basis, Nissan decided to give some attention to its other sports car, the 370Z. While no power has been added, the 370Z has been given improvements with an updated look and performance. In the looks department, Nissan has fitted a new, smoother-looking bumper, LED running lights, a revised wheel design, and two new paint colors. As for the performance side, the 370Z receives the same shocks that are fitted to the European version in order to offer better ride and handling. These small improvements freshen up the 370Z just in time to face a round of fresh-faced contenders.

Ford GT500 Convertible

To celebrate 20 years of SVT performance, Ford unveiled a new version of the car that started the line: the Cobra. Following the debut of the monstrous coupe, Ford unveiled the convertible version here at the Chicago Auto Show. Retaining the same 650hp supercharged V8 and track upgrades, this version is sure to more than mess up your hair with the top down — it might just scalp you. This model will be plenty exciting even though this model has been limited to 155mph from the coupes’ top speed of 202.

Kia Track’ster Concept

As a Motley Crue cover band screeched in the background, Kia unveiled their Track’ster concept. Based off the Kia Soul, the Track’ster deletes two doors, adds all-wheel drive, more power, and a healthy dose of alcantara to the interior. The Track’ster is supposed to represent the “dream” of the ultimate Soul. Excessive wheel size, marketing buzzwords, and styling details aside, the Track’ster may see production in order to provide a sportier version of the Soul.

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