The annual trek to see the next new models and concepts in the Windy City always provides a few surprises. This year is no exception – with the exception that trucks and SUVs seem to have the most going for them at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.
2017 Chevrolet Trax – In the hot compact crossover market, the 2017 Chevrolet Trax gets a slight makeover. Call it a refresh, not an all-new design. That’s OK, because what Chevy did with the 2017 Trax is give it a little more width and interior roominess, plus a simplified, decluttered interior, a new seven-inch touchscreen, and a few other niceties. The exterior sports the front grille that’s become familiar across the Chevy lineup and it works well on the small, versatile Trax.
2017 Kia Niro Hybrid – An all-new entry in the subcompact crossover field, the 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid offers consumers looking for a smaller and nimbler, yet fully capable, vehicle something else to consider. The Korean automaker says the Niro marks the debut of an “all-new, dedicated eco-car platform and unique hybrid system,” and we’d have to agree it succeeds on these measures. Power comes from the new, state-of-the-art Kappa 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 103 horsepower. Add to that the 43-hp tractive motor and the total output is 146 horsepower. Power gets to the wheels via a newly-developed six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Estimated combined fuel economy is 50 mpg. Advanced technology features and systems include Kia’s Eco-DAS (driver assistance system) with the automaker’s first application of Coasting Guide and Predictive Energy Control. Other safety features include available blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, and advanced smart cruise control.
2017 Nissan Armada – It’s always been a big, hulking full-size SUV and the 2017 Nissan Armada – all-new and better than before – is bigger than ever. That’s just fine for families who need the size, space and capabilities of a big SUV to get the job done. The three-row, eight-passenger second-generation Armada features a third row that folds flat into the floor, an 8.0-inch color display, heated front seats, 13-speaker Bose audio, can tow up to 8,500 pounds, is available in two- and four-wheel drive, in SV, SL and Platinum models, and is powered by a 390-hp 5.6-liter Endurance® V8 matched with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Available safety and security features include predictive forward collision warning, backup collision intervention and AroundView® monitor. The 2017 Nissan Armada goes on sale in summer 2016.
2016 Nissan Titan – Available this summer, the 2016 Nissan Titan half-ton pickup promises to whet the appetite of those looking for the “standard” version of the full-size truck, especially now that the flagship version, the Titan XD, is on dealer lots. The Titan half-ton is built on a separate chassis than the Titan XD and no chassis components are shared. Titan half-ton, at about 228.1 inches in length, is almost 15 inches shorter than Titan XD. The two have the same 79.5-inch width and share the same cabin size. Three cab sizes (Crew Cab, King Cab, and single cab), and three bed lengths (5.5, 6.5 and 8-feet) and 4×2 and 4×4 drive configurations will be available. Power comes from the same 390-hp 5.6-liter Endurance® V8 engine that powers the 2017 Nissan Armada, paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. A V6 gasoline engine will also be available, although details aren’t yet available. The 2016 Titan half-ton pickup goes on sale in summer 2016.
2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Worker – Aiming to attract tradesmen, plumbers, electricians and the like, German automaker Mercedes-Benz debuts the lower-priced 2017 Sprinter Worker. Going on sale in spring 2016 with a starting price of $32,495, the Sprinter Worker, available only in white, boasts a 137.4-inch cargo floor, 66.5-inch interior standing height, standard 161-hp 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine paired with a seven-speed transmission. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds; maximum payload is 3,512 pounds. Total roof load capacity is 660 pounds and ladder racks and roof attachments can be added from a number of upfitters.
2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Off-Road– Japanese automaker Toyota adds some flair and excitement to the 2017 Toyota Tacoma with the addition of the TRD Pro line off-road pickup. Designed for serious, extreme off-roaders, the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro not only looks tough, it can handle anything that comes at it. This midsize Tacoma truck also features an array of new performance equipment and features guaranteed to satisfy any off-road enthusiast’s need for comfort, capability and safety, security and convenience.
2017 Ram Power Wagon, 2017 Ram 2500 HD — Not to be outdone in the area of fully-capable trucks for off-road enthusiasts, Ram comes out with the 2017 Ram Power Wagon and 2017 Ram 2500 HD pickups. The 2017 Power Wagon is an updated version of the popular truck and keeps the rugged 410-hp 6.5-liter Hemi V8 engine and adds some new styling and features. The 2017 Ram 2500 HD pickup shown at the Chicago Auto Show debuts a new 4×4 off-road package designed for consumers who must have essential off-road prowess coupled with ¾-ton push-pull-haul capabilities.
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport – Continuous improvement, a fresh exterior design, LED lighting, more infotainment, convenience and safety technologies, and new Drive Mode selection with Sport, Eco and Normal are just some of the changes in the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport that the automaker is showcasing in Chicago. Pricing on the two-row 2017 Santa Fe Sport begins at $25,350, while the three-row 2017 Santa Fe starts at $30,800.
Nissan “Winter Warrior” Concept Vehicles – What’s the Chicago Auto Show without some pizzazz in the form of concept vehicles? In line with this, Nissan debuted a trio of “Winter Warrior” concepts, based on the company’s popular Pathfinder, Murano and Rogue utility vehicles, but equipped with sets of heavy-duty snow tracks.