Monthly Archives: February 2014
2014 Chicago Auto Show product debuts include:
- 2014 BMW 740Ld xDrive
- 2015 Chevrolet City Express
- 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD CNG Bi-Fuel
- 2014 Dodge Journey Crossroad
- Honda Civic Si Forza Motorsport
- 2014 Hyundai Veloster RE:FLEX
- 2015 Kia Soul EV
- 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid
- 2015 Lincoln Navigator
- 2014 Lingenfelter Reaper
- 2014 Nissan Versa Note SR
- Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner
- 2015 Subaru Legacy
- Toyota TRD Pro Series including the Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner
- 2014 Volkswagen Global RallyCross Beetle
- 2015 Volvo S60 Polestar
- 2015 Volvo V60 Polestar
Thursday February 6, 2014
The 106th Chicago Auto Show kicked off at 8 a.m. on Thursday, February 6 with Toyota Senior Vice President of
Automotive Operations Bob Carter delivering the keynote address at the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) breakfast. Celebrating 23 years at Toyota, Carter regularly attends the Chicago Auto Show
Hosting its first news conference Thursday in South Hall, Toyota debuted the new TRD Pro Series for the Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner in their off-road display area that resembled a desert landscape. The course spanned 30,000 square feet, and included obstacles such as the 14-foot-tall hill, a water crossing, a giant see-saw and various frame twisters, side tilts and suspension-focused challenges. This writer took a trek with a Toyota driver at the wheel in the new Tacoma truck.
Open for the press to sample, Toyota’s course will be a popular exhibit during public days. Bleachers are available for the public to sit and watch as the trucks take to the mud and logs. Toyota has partnered with three charities in their “Drive for A Cause” campaign. For those who participate in the ride and drive, they can choose the American Red Cross, AMVETS or FFA, and Toyota will make a contribution.
All a part of its 45,000-square-foot exhibit, featuring more than 50 vehicles, including the FT-1 sports car concept. Show attendees can sample what it might be like to ride/drive the FT-1 through Toyota’s simulators.
Also present at this year’s Chicago show is Toyota’s FV2, a future mobility car operated by the driver shifting his or her body to intuitively move the vehicle in any. The FV2 helps enable safe driving by providing a wide variety of safety information, including advance warning about vehicles in blind spots at intersections.
Don’t miss the futuristic iROAD concept car, a three-wheeler with motorcycle-like maneuverability, perfect for short-distance in the city. Shown at the display are the revised Corolla, RAV4, Tundra, 4Runner and Highlander models. For techies, the exhibit offers three iPad games.
The Prius “family” is on display, as well as hybrid versions of the Avalon, Camry and Highlander. And motorsports fans won’t want to miss the “Toyota Racing Zone,” with NASCAR in mind. A Matt Kenseth #20 Sprint Cup Camry is on display, along with a Toyota/NHRA Funny Car.
Featured at the Lexus display is the RC-F coupe, designed to support the most powerful V-8 performance car ever built by Lexus. Recently debuted at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, the RC-F is equipped with a 450 hp. Engine. Also on display is the Lexus RC 350, featuring a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine with 8-speed sequential transmission. The F Sport, along with the Lexus IS is also on display.
As expected, the Scion display is filled with social media goodies, appealing to youthful buyers. A Ride-and-drive program is available for show goers to try out, as well as Scion’s “Master Dashboard” video wall. Scion introduced at Chicago’s show its “Scion Swag Machine,” the world’s first Instagram-powered near field communication-enabled vending machine. By tagging or posting an Instagram image with an event-specific hashtag, users will trigger the web-connected machine releasing giveaways inside. As always, the Scion display features fun stuff.
During the public days of the show (Feb 8-17), Scion will offer a full lineup ride and drive at McCormick Place’s North Building. Those who are interested are encouraged to register at the Scion Live Drive registration area.
Featured at the Scion display are 10 vehicles, including the 2014 limited edition Monogram Scion Series FR-S and tC models, and a yellow highly-modified FR-S, named the “Hottest Sport Compact” at the SEMA show.
Buick’s display features the 2014 Buick LaCrosse and 2014 Buick Regal, now available in showrooms. Standard with the next-generation IntelliLink connectivity, the LaCrosse gets an 8-inch reconfigurable color instrument cluster display, and new active safety technologies. The 2014 Regal gets advanced all-wheel-drive and standard 2.0-liter Turbo engine.
Chicago plays host to the 2015 GMC Canyon, the latest addition to GMC’s three-truck strategy, giving Chevrolet and GMC the distinction of being the only brands to offer a full range of pickups with a mid-size, full-size and heavy-duty option. The Canyon, Sierra 2500 and Sierra 3500 HD are all on display and feature new capabilities, new bolder styling, upgraded interiors with smart features, available Duramax/Allison powertrain. Also on display are the full-size SUV’s 2015 Yukon Denali and Yukon XL.
Do not miss the all-new Corvette Z06 on display this year. With a 6.2-liter, 625-hp. Supercharged V-8 engine and seven-speed manual or new 8-speed automatic transmission, this is one powerful Vette. More powerful than the all-new Stingray at 450-horsepower.
Wider tires and wider stance offer the best in performance. Add to that Corvette’s new competition bucket seat with large side bolsters for more lateral support, and you’ve got one serious performance vehicle.
Don’t miss the Cadillac exhibit for a look at the recently introduced 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe, to go on sale in summer 2014. Photographers couldn’t take their cameras off the Elmiraj concept, or the 2014 ELR electrified luxury coupe.
Also displayed is the redesigned 2015 Escalade, and the other award-winning Cadillac vehicles – the ATS, CTS, XTS and SRX.
Not to be missed by truck enthusiasts is the all-new F-150, to go on sale this Fall. First making the scene at last month’s Detroit Auto Show, this new truck is a stunner.
Featuring all aluminum body panels, the redesigned and reengineered F-150 gets rid of 700 pounds, boosts fuel economy and new engines, all with six-speed automatic transmissions: a 2.7-liter twin turbo Eco-Boost V-6 with automatic stop/start, a 3.5-liter normally aspirated, and 3.5-liter twin turbo Eco-Boost V-6 and 5-liter V-8. Gone is the 6.2-liter V-8. Other new features include remote tailgate lock/unlock/release using the key fob, power outlets to charge tools, 360-degree exterior cameras for navigating narrow roads, trails, integrated cargo bed loading ramps, and cargo box brackets/cleats to secure storage bins.
Of course, the 2015 all-new Mustang is on display, along with the first-ever purchased 1964 convertible. On Friday owner of the ’64 Gail Wise was at the show and available for interviews.
A fun time was spent trying to win at the new Mustang-themed pinball games made by Chicago pinball machine maker Stern Pinball. A demonstration was given by one of the world’s top-ranked pinball players Zach Sharpe.
Ford’s C-MAX Solar Energi Concept car is on display, the first of its kind solar-powered vehicle, as well the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. Featured is the vehicle’s PlantBottle Technology: the car’s fabric is made of 30 percent plant-based materials used in the rear seat cushions, seat backs, head restraint, door panel inserts and headliners.
For 2014, Ford has updated and stretched its Ford Transit Connect vehicle. The all-new Connect Wagon is now available in the U.S. market, and is one of the most fuel-efficient seven-passenger vehicles available. Officially endorsed by Tall Clubs International, the Transit Connect is roomy enough to seat the “vertically gifted.”
On Wednesday night, Lincoln hosted the media at the reveal of the 2015 Lincoln Navigator
Featured at the Kia display is the Kia Soul EV, a battery powered no-gas offering. Available after the Chicago Auto Show, the Soul EV claims up to 120 miles driving range before needing a five-hour battery recharge (240 volt), or 25 minutes using a fast charger.
Following behind Kia’s recently introduced Cadenza is the all-new near-luxury Kia K900, a high-luxury $35,000 rear-wheel-drive sedan. To be introduced this Spring, the K900 (a stablemate to the Hyundai Equus-shared platform), is equipped with either a 3.8-liter, 311 horsepower V-6, or 5-liter, 420-horsepower V-8 with eight-speed automatic.
Buyers of Nissan’s Versa will now have two new trim levels to choose from, along with the Versa Note and its five trim levels, including the SL and SR. Expanded equipment and feature choices are new for 2015, in addition to 40 mpg highway fuel economy with the standard 1.6-liter engine and Xtronic transmission. On sale this spring, the sub-compact offers a Versa Note SR with sporty front and rear fascia and grille, unique rear spoiler, 16-inch sport aluminum alloy wheels and interior enhancements. The Versa Note SL includes standard NissanConnect smartphone integration for iOS and Android including Google, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Facebook, NissanConnect Apps, Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant and Divide-N-Hide Adjustable Floor.
Nissan shared with the media an early preview of the 2015 Versa Note hatchback and the debut of the sporty new Versa Note SR. Joining the Note are the S MT, S Plus CVT and SV CVT. Also for 2015, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System with steering wheel-mounted controls becomes standard across all trims of Versa Note. One new option package is also available for 2015, the SR Convenience Package, and new content is added to the SV Convenience Package and SL Tech Package.
This second generation Versa Note SR adopts a modern, sculpted look, with an added range of exclusive features a unique front fascia and grille combined with a dark headlight treatment and standard fog lights with black and chrome accents. Body-color side spoilers and redesigned side mirrors with integrated turn signals complement the Versa Note’s distinctive look. A unique rear spoiler, SR badging and high-contrast machine-finished 16-inch sport aluminum-alloy wheels with dark paint mounted with 195/55R16 all-season tires complement the sporty look.
Interior enhancements abound on the Note SR and include an exclusive 370Z-inspired leather-wrapped steering wheel, suede-like fabric seats with sporty orange accents and double stitching, a redesigned piano black center instrument panel with silver accents and chrome knobs, and Euro-inspired Fine Vision triple-dial gauge cluster with The Note SR is equipped with an advanced 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine with dual fuel injection and Twin CVTC mated to Nissan’s next generation Xtronic tranny. EPA fuel economy is expected to be estimated at 40/31 mpg., 35 mpg combined.
For more about the Nissan Versa Note SL and SR go to www.nissan.com
Subaru introduced its all-new 2015 Legacy. A departure from Legacy’s past, the 2015 gets new safety technology, higher fuel efficiency, interior refinement and the largest passenger volume in the midsize sedan segment. The only car in its class with standard all-wheel-drive, the Legacy adds a new and improved EyeSight driver-assist system and available rear radar system.
Buyers have a choice of two Boxer engines: 4-cyolinder and 6-cylinder. Standard equipment includes Lineartronic CVT transmission, Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive, an estimated 26/36 mpg and is available in Standard, Premium and Limited trim levels. The 2015 Legacy 2.5i expects to exceed fuel economy of some of the other midsize models. Arriving in dealerships in summer 2014, the new Legacy design resembles Subaru’s Legacy Concept introduced at the 2013 Los Angeles Show. Offering more equipment than ever, the 2015 Legacy raises the bar for reach trim level, including a higher level of luxury. New standard HID low-beam headlights adorn the Legacy 3.6R Limited and safety is enhanced with a rear-view camera.A new type of airbag restraint has been added, along with front-seat cushion airbags. Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Steering-Responsive Foglights, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert systems all make the new Legacy a safety leader. The 2015 Subaru Legacy introduces a new type of airbag restraint and a new available rear radar system. The new front seat-cushion airbags help to keep occupants in place in a frontal collision. In addition, the new Legacy offers a smoother, quieter ride due to an acoustic windshield, liquid-filled engine mounts, and thicker panels all around. More room and greater refinement provide the key to a much-improved Legacy model. Too many improvements to list here, the 2015 Legacy is an industry leader.
MotorWeek announced the winners of their annual list of Drivers’ Choice Awards during media days and Chrysler took top honors in two categories: Best Pickup Truck went to the Dodge Ram, and Best Small Utility went to the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. John Davis, host and creator of MotorWeek told the crowd he was “really impressed with the Ram 1500 when it won in 2013, and felt justified in make the 1500 a back-to-back winner.”
Do not miss the all-new redesigned Chrysler 200; what a looker, and the redesigned 300. These cars will be flying out of the dealership.
The most recognizable pickup available, Ram 1500 delivers best-in-class fuel economy (18/25 mpg.), with its powerful 3.6-liter V-6 engine, as well as its sophisticated technologies, such as the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission, stop/start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics. A new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine is available for 2014, with upped fuel ecnomy and 9,200 pounds of towing capacity.The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is a departure from Jeeps past. This mid-size sport-ute offers a segment first: a 9-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy improvements of more than 45 percent, upgraded on-road ride and handling, new design, exclusive technology and 70 advanced safety and security features. Powered by two new engines, the 2014 Cherokee offers three innovative new 4×4 systems that feature the first use of a fully-automated disconnecting rear axle. Available technology includes an 8.4-inch touch screen media center, the seven-inch full color instrument cluster display, inventive storage solutions and cargo flexibility second to none. The all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee is available in four different models in the United States: Cherokee Sport, Cherokee Latitude, Cherokee.
On display the Chicago Auto Show are offerings from Forza Motorsport, including the Honda Legends Car Pack, and one-of-a-kind Civic Si Coupe. Attendees can be among the first to play the new Honda Legends Car Pack for Forza Motorsport 5 on Xbox One. The new car pack features the redesigned 2014 Civic Si Coupe, the 1984 Mugen CRX and the 1994 Prelude, all available for download on Xbox One. This is the second straight year that Honda and Forza Motorsport have teamed up to bring gamers exclusive Honda-branded content.
For more information on the entire 2014 Civic lineup, customers can visit www.automobiles.honda.com/civic
The Acura display debuts a futuristic and emotional new television commercial set against a backdrop of an otherworldly racetrack. Opening with four robotic horses, the brand is represented by the traditional approaches to luxury performance. Emerging from the starting gate, the horses jockey for position as spectators watch from the grandstand, focusing on one participant who seems to know that something special is about to happen. All of a sudden an elegant and powerful dark horse emerges from the pack and transforms into a 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, then joined by the 2015 TLX Prototype and the NSX Concept car….”Let the race begin…..” (See the commercial at http://youtube/3MuKgGaW7o0)
Quite an intro to the Acura cars for 2014 and 2015, and viewers are challenged to keep an eye on the brand. Acura’s aim: “To sharpen our focus on Acura’s two incredible new sedans and on the NSX supercar as the ultimate expression of Acura performance.” Positioning the Acura vehicles in the context of ‘incredible athleticism,’ Acura focuses on its competitive spirit.
The handsome TLX Prototype and the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD models featured in the new commercial reflect the future of Acura’s performance sedan line-up, with 377-horsepower, the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive), is equipped with the world’s first hybrid electric torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. Look for it in dealerships this spring.
The all-new TLX, showcased in prototype at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month, will launch mid- with much improved performance, enhanced by next-generation Acura powertrain and dynamic handling technologies.
The mid-engine NSX supercar, launching in 2015, will be powered by a mid-mounted, direct-injected and twin-turbocharged V-6 engine mated to Acura’s Sport Hybrid SH-AWD™ system. For more go to www.acura.com.
Reviewed by Susan Frissell, editor, WWW
Coming into 2014 with expanded technological features, the Hyundai Equus is a beautiful full-size luxury vehicle, complete with just about every amenity one could ask for, and more. Competing with the likes of the benchmark Lexus LS, Equus come in at around $15,000 less. And although, I suppose, $61,000 sounds like a lot of cash, the Equus is a lot of car.
Hyundai’s flagship Equus is available in two models-Signature ($61,000) and Ultimate ($68,000), comes equipped with standard navigation, rear-cross alert, lane departure warning ( a life-saver for this writer recently), blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control.
Our test car-the Signature version-with destination was priced at $61,920, void of any ‘extra’ options. A refresh of the 2009 Equus, this beauty is in its second generation. The writer can’t comment on how sales have been, but suffice it to say, we don’t sky that many on Chicago’s North Shore.
In addition to the Lexus LS, competition is stiff-by that we mean a high bar is set-for the Equus. Depending on which part of the country you call home, Audi A9, BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-class and even the new Lincolns and Cadillac XTS are favorites. Would someone shopping for a car in the luxury full-size category think to stop in at the local Hyundai dealer? Not sure. We would guess now, although they should.
There is a lot to like about the Hyundai Equus; just don’t compare it apples for apples to an Audi or BMW. Closer to the Lexus LS in ride, handling and feel; Equus is not a performance vehicle-nor is it engineered to be, so BMW drivers would not resonate with the Equus’ cushy ride, floaty feel or less-than precise handling. This is not a criticism; rather two different types of vehicles.
If the pocketbook allowed, this writer would enjoy the Equus on a daily basis, and more so when going across the country. This well-equipped luxury sedan offers so many comfort features 18-hour drives would hardly matter. Hats off to Hyundai too for not feeling the need to offer more than two versions: well-equipped and really well-equipped. And if choosing a color is difficult for you, Hyundai offers only five, with 3 leather colors: black, tan, ivory. Besides, very few people, including the average automotive journalist would be hard-pressed to name every BMW model; what’s the point?
To be sure, what Equus offers in luxury and spoil can be had on all upscale rides: reading lamps for rear passengers, plenty of rear seat leg and head room, all seats heated and ventilated, sunshades on the windows, to name just a few goodies. Gone from the US market for 2014 are the business class rear seats with massaging feature, replaced by a more practical bench-although the middle passenger fits best if small. Some features lacking on the Equus are available all-wheel-drive, and a V-6 option. Nor does the Equus offer a pedestrian detection device or self-park feature.
A new feature on the Equus is the Heads-up Display (HUD). Although not new to automobiles in general, Hyundai’s version incorporates blind spot detection in the HUD. A great idea considering the sloppy way many drivers check their mirrors-or not-before changing lanes. How many times have you started to change lanes before engaging the turn signal, or look over your shoulder. And most of us glance around as a reactionary measure, not really for the purpose of deciding to move or not.
On the Equus, the blind spot information shows up in the HUD, and in the mirror. Drivers will see the display sooner than anywhere else, which makes this feature a must on all vehicles. New for 2014 are a redesigned grille and bumper fascia, standard LED front fog lamps, new turbine-blade wheels, new side mirrors and rear graphics.
On the inside, the Equus sports a new shift-lever design and new premium real wood trim, re-designed rear-seat controls, as well as redesigned center stack and IP. As with other high-end vehicles (think Lexus), the drivers assist alerts come in the form of a light, sound or vibration. The first time this writer experienced the Lexus alert, it was unfamiliar and a little unnerving. Having a slight vibration to your thigh is a little scary. The power-folding side view mirrors are a little alien-ish too…folding out as the driver approaches the vehicle.
Standard equipment on our Equus Signature test car included push-button start, HomeLink, smart cruise control, proximity entry, HID headlamps and LED front fog lights and exterior lamps (new), and water-repellant, heated front windshield glass. On the interior, leather upholstery is standard, with heated and cooled front seats, 12-way memory driver’s seat, full steering wheel controls, sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control and real wood leather accents.
High-end infotainment includes Lexicon stereo with surround sound and 17 speakers, USB jack, CD changer, XM satellite radio, HD radio, navigation with XM traffic and weather data, Bluetooth streaming and Gracenote music lookup. The system is easy to use and didn’t take much time to figure out. Also standard are four 12-volt accessory sockets and 30GB storage.
If you opt for the top-of-the-line Equus Ultimate, you’ll enjoy more high-end infotainment features, such as the HUD-a 12-inch all-LCD instrument panel, side window sunshades (to complement the rear sunshade), and lumbar support on the rear seats. Hyundai Equus is the first to offer an app on your phone with the car’s owner’s manual.
And if you prefer, rather than browsing at the Hyundai dealership, a sales person can be sent to your home or office.
“You’re time, you’re place.”
MSRP: $61,000; total vehicle price $61,920; destination $920
Engine: 5.0-liter V-8 GDI, DOHC D-VVVT Tau, 429 hp., 421 lb. ft. torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC, Drive Mode Select System
Category: Luxury full-size, 5-seat
Wheelbase: 119.9 in.
Length: 203.1 in.
Width: 74.4 in.
Weight: 4,486 lbs.
Height: 58.7 in.
Tires: P245/45R19, P275/40R19
Wheels: 19-inch premium alloy
EPA fuel economy: 15/23 mpg., 18 est. avg.
Warranty: 3-yrs./35,000-mile no-cost maintenance w/valet delivery service; 10-yr./100,000-mile powertrain; 7-yrs./unlimited Anti-perforation; 5-yrs./unltd-mile roadside assistance.