if you love cars...
...and live or can get to the midwest, get yourself to the Chicago Auto Show. It's a great way to see what's happening by a number of brands that will help you decide where to spend your transportation in the coming months. We had the chance to take an early tour of the show during Social Media Day with our hosts General Motors. We'll just give you a brief rundown of the things we found exciting.
Green, lean, mean machines
The idea of hybrid and electric vehicles is now firmly in reality. Most of the major auto manufacturers presented their versions touting gas-saving mileage, comfortable interiors and not-too-hideous styling. The Chevy Volt posts some impressive gas conservation numbers, where drivers who want to go "all electric" can do about 35 miles or so without needing the gas to kick in - perfect for those run around errand days. And, even when using gas, we heard one Volt owner say that he drove over 9000 miles in his Volt using a grand total of about 5 gallons of gas.
Toyota has now taken the Prius and expanded it from a vehicle to a brand. There are Priuses (or is it Priusi?) in various shapes, sizes and configurations to fit just about everyone who might be interested. VW, Acura and a host of others are showcasing some form of alternative vehicles. Clearly, we'll be seeing even more choices in the future.
Luxury in the details
For you BMW-philes, and you know who you are, you'll be pleased by the new 3-Series that got a lot of folks talking. With a stiffer body and some cool refinements, you now have a choice of 3 different trim options - the modern, sport and luxury editions. Each has its own package of matching details suited to each purchaser profile. Power, refinement, style and quality remain the hallmark of the "ultimate driving machine."
Porsche also has an intriguing presentation at the CAS with its funky new 4-door Panamera. Yes, that's right 4-door Porsche (that's not a Cayenne). While still offering the cars that sportscar loving speedsters drool over like the Carrera and Cayman, Porsche is reaching out to a new class of driver with this unique premium-class 4-door sedan that actually is designed to seat four whole people. We were told that the owner of the company, who is apparently quite tall, insisted that the car be designed in such a way that he could sit comfortably in the back seat while someone else is driving. This is truly a new design concept, and oddly exciting. If you really want to wow your friends and neighbors, there's even a hybrid and a turbo line. While certainly no bargain, we can say that this vehicle would certainly ensure you stand out in a crowd.
Audi has led the way with intriguing LED lights that you're now seeing integrated in many other vehicles in the luxury class and not. But they really worked hard to re-create daylight while maintaining a great style. LED tail lights are quick to light up for brakes and the very cool looking runners on the front can be seen working their way from the Autobahn to your local thoroughfare. It seems as though engineering and styling have found a home together in Audi.
America the beautiful
We were also impressed with the luxury class vehicles coming out of the American automakers. For more details on our surprisingly delightful picks in this category, READ MORE HERE.
Along with this embarrassment of riches, there were numerous Concept Cars, upgraded models from the likes of Hyundai, which now can stand on terra firma as a competitive quality vehicle, a cute little Fiat with Gucci trim and cute no-longer-quite-so-little Mini Coopers. Cadillac's Ciel with recycled solid wood from olive oil trees is spectacular. There's tons to do and see at the show, including lots of test drives and sports and celebrity guest appearances. If you're looking for something fun to do and can get yourself to McCormick Place, the Chicago Auto Show is worth your time. You can check out some discounts on admission and even free admission offers HERE.