As an automotive journalist, I get to attend auto shows. These venues are where the nation’s automakers introduce a variety of amazing vehicles – from futuristic concepts, to near future prototypes and of course, all-new models. It’s the one place where indeed the “rubber meets the road” in real time. Consumers get a glimpse into the collective mind of a particular automaker and get to view a broad selection of makes and models. I have over the years attended what I call the “Big Four” auto shows in the United States – Detroit, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. My attendance however, has been consistent at one of the big four for the last 20 years – the Chicago Auto Show.
Located in the south loop section of the city, the McCormick convention center consists of over 1,000,000 square feet of show space – which supports what is billed as the largest and oldest continuous automotive show in the United States. Fortunately for me, the automotive media gets access during “media days” several days before the public. This allows the automakers to share information and vehicle introductions with the press prior to the show. As a result of this access, I was able to tour and capture what I consider to be the “stars” of this year’s auto show. Here they are:
Buick Avista coupe concept – For me, it was love at first sight. By far the star of the show in my opinion (and the opinion of a number of the automotive press), its low, sleek and stylish. It reminded me of the class and elegance of the Buicks I remember while I was growing up. The automaker says that this concept is based on an existing GM platform, so it could conceivably be built. In my humble opinion, they SHOULD.
2016 Cadillac CT6 sedan – This is the automaker’s new flagship, designed to go head to head with the best in the luxury segment. The CT6 will actually top the current XTS sedan to become the “top-of-the-heap” for the Cadillac brand. With honest-to-goodness performance hardware like all-wheel drive and a twin-turbo six-cylinder prime mover, Cadillac is taking no prisoners with this car.
2017 Lincoln Continental sedan – Across town, the boys in Dearborn have come to the same conclusion with their introduction of the all-new Lincoln Continental. With a hint of the automaker’s salad days in its design, Lincoln is also vying for that luxury/performance buyer, but with more emphasis on the overall luxury experience. It’s nice to see Lincoln invest money and effort to bring back that level of sophistication that American luxury models were known for in times past.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan – After 27 years, Chrysler is retiring the “Town & Country” nameplate for its minivan offering. While the automaker is resurrecting the “Pacifica” name, it has NO relation to the crossover that it offered during the last decade. The 2017 Pacifica is the name for its reimagined minivan – with the late availability of the industry’s first hybrid minivan. Sleek, stylish and technologically advanced, this isn’t your mom’s minivan.
2017 Genesis G80/90 – Hyundai has become the latest automaker to launch an upscale luxury sub-brand. Based on its Genesis model, the current sedan becomes the Genesis G80 – with the same offerings of V6 or V8 and all-wheel drive (V6 only). The G90 will be the brand’s larger and even more sophisticated offering. Riding on an all-new platform and boasting a twin-turbo V6 prime mover, the G90 is designed to compete in the thick of the high brow luxury car segment. (A 2017 Genesis G80 is pictured).