The Windy City: Chicago Auto Show ’15

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Chicago Auto Show. This was my third time, and as expected, nothing compares to seeing a showroom full of cars. Prior to this car show, I was really anxious for the reveal of the third generation 2016 Pilot. My first car was a 2004 Honda Pilot (my sister is currently driving it), and I love it, so as a Pilot owner, I was curious to see whether Honda would continue the blocky styling or go the “mommy SUV” route. And my reaction was…unexpected. Seeing all these wonderful cars in one place, I went into overload with excitement, and all of sudden I could not have the capacity to restrain myself, and as such, I irritated my family because I could not stop talking about cars. Oh well.  Please forgive the quality of my pictures as these were taken from an iPhone.  

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Kia Trail’ster Concept: Very cool looking machine. I love the color scheme, and the wheels look sick. The headlights look gorgeous. The Trail’ster Concept is meant to be an off-roading take on the Kia Soul, and its innovative feature is its electric AWD system. It is powered by a turbocharged four cylinder engine powering the front wheels. An electric motor powers the rear wheels, but is not connected to the four cylinder engine in any way. The electric motor’s main purpose is to act like an AWD system, giving traction to the rear wheels when loss of traction is detected at the front. Very nifty. This engine configuration also allows the Trail’ster to be driven in EV mode.

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Mazda CX-3: This thing is TINY! Not even joking. From the side view, it looks like only backpacks can fit in the cargo area. This is a nicely styled machine. I have a trivial reason for not liking this car. No manual transmission will be offered with this car. What gives Mazda? Why does an SUV as tiny as this not have a manual? How come the larger Mazda CX-5 has a manual option but not this? How come a company that values driving dynamics will not offer a manual transmission option in its tiniest SUV when all Mazda vehicles excluding the CX-9 have a said option? Huh Mazda?

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The Original Mazda Miata: Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful car. Love the simple design, and the pop up headlights are to die for. I hope to drive one of these someday.

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2016 Mazda Miata: The very first Miata was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989. Because of this, Mazda needed to produce a special Miata for this show, and the result is this Miata decked out in performance upgrades and cosmetic accessories. When the new Miata was unveiled, I was a bit indifferent of the design as I feel they prioritized futuristic looks over simplicity and timelessness which is what the Miata stands for. However, seeing it in person, it is a good looking roadster, and while I may not agree with its design direction, I would be proud to own one.

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Ram 1500 Rebel: I personally like the Ram 1500, and this Rebel version comes with a unique grille treatment. I am still debating whether I like the grille or not. Can’t imagine how fun this truck must be to go off roading in!

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Dodge Viper: Dodge used the auto show to show off the customization program for Vipers. All I can say is… I want this color for my next car.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma: Finally after 10 years, Toyota redesigned the aging Tacoma compact truck. While its looks are a bit polarizing, I thank Toyota for keeping the midsize/compact truck market alive with the Tacoma. And thank goodness the Tacoma remains one of the very few trucks available with a manual transmission.

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Toyota FT-1: Ahhhhhh! (Cue drool). When Toyota unveiled this car in a red color, I thought it was way overdone. However, in this understated gray metallic, the FT-1 is simply to die for. It is rumored to be the replacement for the legendary Supra sports car, and in that case, Toyota, what is taking so long to put this car in production?

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Ford GT: Oh. My. God. I want it. I don’t care that it is an automatic. I don’t care that it is a twin turbo V6 instead of a V10 like the 2005-2008 GT. All I know is that its beautiful, and I must have this car. I love how detailed the design is yet it does not look overdone at all. The funny thing about this car was this was a secret. This article explains in better detail how nobody knew that there was going to be a 2016 Ford GT, and the measures Ford took to keep this car a secret for a year.

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Lexus RC F: I have reviewed an IS F, so I am curious to see how the RC-F drives. The design of the spoiler does not seem befitting of a high performance car like this. Other than that, the extravagant design is growing on me. Love the blue color!

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Lexus GS F: Another addition to Lexus’ high performance F range, the GS-F is a performance oriented take of the sporty luxurious sedan. This car has been criticized for what is a “meager” 467 horsepower output compared to rivals such as the 560 horsepower BMW M5 and the 577 horsepower Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. Regardless, I love the styling of it, and the GS is my current favorite of the Lexus lineup.

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Porsche 918 Spyder: I love Porsches, but I don’t love this one enough to pay 845 grand for it! Yes, it is a 887 horsepower hybrid sports car, but I can’t afford to even dream about it.

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Mercedes-Benz AMG GT: Despite the confusing Superbowl commercial featuring the AMG GT and animals in a forest, I like this 503 horsepower supercar that rivals the Porsche 911.

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Cadillac ATS-V:  No doubt about it, the ATS-V is my pick over the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. Why? Simple. Cadillac is what BMW used to be (when it comes to the ATS and CTS), a maker of proper driving machines. Also, this is coming with a manual transmission option and a 450+ horsepower twin turbo V6 so there.

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Cadillac CTS-V: The first CTS-V had a 400 horsepower Corvette V8 shoehorned in a CTS sedan, and it set the ball rolling for the CTS-V. The second CTS-V had a 556 horsepower supercharged V8, and it was renowned for being the fastest sedan in the world at the time. Sadly, this CTS-V is the first generation that will not have a manual transmission option, but I am still looking forward to seeing how fast it will be, especially considering that it has a 640 horsepower V8! That alone is enough to embarrass the E63 AMG and M5, and I cannot wait to see comparison tests between the three in car publications let alone drive it one day.

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Buick Cascada: A prime example that rebadge engineering is still alive at General Motors. Essentially a rebadged Opel Cascada, this car is competing in the very limited premium convertible market. Not my type, but sure looks nice!

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Buick Avenir Concept: (Click here for more pictures) In the past 5 years, Buick has been producing some really nice cars. In a few years, I plan to find a 2011-2012 Buick Regal (Non GS version) with a manual transmission because I am enamored with this European model’s (it’s a rebranded Opel Insignia) handling and styling, and plus how cool would it be to say I drive a manual transmission Buick? Back to the Avenir, it is an omen that Buick is headed in the right direction because the Avenir successfully incorporates elegance and American heritage in its design.

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Acura NSX: When I reviewed the original NSX, a 1992 model, I said it was the best car I have driven, and I still stand by that decision. Why? Because it is the perfect package. It is reliable, the transmission and engine are excellent, the handling is sublime, and the styling is absolutely perfect. Compared to the original NSX’s simple approach, the new NSX is way more technological. It is still mid-engined, but it is a hybrid V6 and automatic only powertrain setup. Very different from the manual transmission naturally aspirated V6 NSX that I reviewed. However, it is an Acura NSX, so if it can deliver on replicating the sheer driving pleasure that made the original NSX such a legend, then by all means, I cannot wait to drive one someday.

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2016 Honda Pilot: Here is the moment we have been waiting for. Three days before Honda officially unveiled the Pilot, I was anxiously searching all car publications for any “leaked” or official pictures of the 2016 Pilot. When the pictures came the night before it was actually unveiled. Initially I did not know what to think. Honda had done what I feared. The Honda Pilot had become a “mommy SUV” or a swoopy and curvy SUV. Suffice to say, it looks like a minivan. I may be overreacting, and I probably am. The interior looks nice, and it seems to improve on the excellent practicality and versatility of previous Pilots. Truth is, this Pilot will still sell well. It’s just that, it does not look like a Pilot anymore. In car design, the expected rule is for car manufacturers to maintain a design continuity between generations of a car. So that way, you can still recognize the model even though it was just redesigned. However, this Pilot just does not do that. I sent pictures of the Pilot to my sister, and this was her reaction:

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And my sister does not care about cars. At all. Which makes it even more surprising. But that is how different the Pilot looks. Whether that is good or not, that is to be seen.

To sum up, the Chicago Auto Show did not disappoint. I can’t wait until the fourth time.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “The Windy City: Chicago Auto Show ’15

  1. roosduke says:

    Great read. The Pilot is just following the times like the Pathfinder which looks nothing like previous generation. It’s unfortunate but it’s happening. I look at this way it’s the least worst out of all the “mommy suvs”

    • Thanks! That is true. The Pilot will probably remain the one of the best midsize SUVs. It is just sad how SUVs are starting to look more like minivans. I loved the previous Pathfinders, especially the last generation that was available with a V8.

  2. roosduke says:

    Completely agree! The last one hanging on is the 4Runner, but that might also change soon.

  3. vjoelp4 says:

    The Auto Show looked awesome! I wish the D.C. Auto Show got half of the cars that was there. Great pictures too.

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