The first major auto show of the year presented some pleasant surprises among the nearly 1,000 vehicles on the floor of the colossal McCormick Place in downtown Chicago.
I was on the tail end of my three-hour morning drive into Chicago on February 6 when I felt an icy drip on my left arm. Snow and slush had clogged up all the highways and now, apparently, my car’s windshield drains. Whenever I would accelerate, a steady stream of freshly melted snow dribbled out of my A-pillar trim piece. Have you ever tried driving a manual car only using a third of your seat? It’s not fun, and it was the only way I could avoid becoming a cold, wet, human ShamWow.
I stepped foot into massive McCormick Place and was quickly impressed by the different shades of freshly waxed paint scattered around the convention center. I took a moment to appreciate the warm temperatures and watertight roof. Let’s get to the cars.
Overall, there were plenty of new releases, along with countless model refreshes and a wide array of custom vehicles. As you might know, I’m a huge fan of the Ford GT, and the Blue Oval presented a gorgeous new variant, aptly named ‘Liquid Carbon’. Comprised of one continuous sheet of carbon fiber used for the whole car, the polished clear resin made every carbon particle pop. It’s the most stunning piece of carbon fiber mastery I have ever seen. The 3.5L V6 also received improvements, including a horsepower increase up to 660 hp, larger intercoolers, and premium titanium exhaust. Ford said roughly 12 will be hand-built per model year, and each car starts at $750,000.
With my personal favorite out of the way, lets break it down by manufacturer:
Acura: Large line-up, including a hot yellow NSX and the stunning Type S Concept.
Audi: In my opinion, the best-looking Audi of them all: the TT RS.
Chevrolet: Chevy brought out a few new Corvettes, and the new mid-engine evolution garnered enough praise to win MotorWeek’s 2020 “Best of the Year” award. The new Suburban was also displayed, along with the Hollywood star the SUV was awarded in 2019. This dedication marks the first ever vehicle to be ever honored along the walk of fame.
Fiat Chrysler Ram Jeep: Dodge’s classic lineup of muscle car insanity continued strongly, especially this gorgeous 2020 Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye. FCA’s real story was the debut of the Jeep Gladiator Mojave. This special edition is uniquely ‘Desert Rated’ and was designed to outperform competition, particularly in sand. The Mojave can reach 50mph in 4WD Low as opposed to the 32mph achieved in the Rubicon. The Mojave also boasts 21” of suspension articulation, and even light grey seats to keep occupants cooler in the desert sun.
Ford: Aside from the ‘Liquid Carbon’ Ford GT mentioned in the introduction, Ford had a massive display of the new Explorer and Edge along with the rest of the lineup. The Mustang Mach-E had its own display and attracted a large amount of attention the entire show.
Genesis: The GV80 was unveiled sporting a beautiful aqua paint color, and fully embraced the South Korean design structure of the ‘beauty of whitespace’. Here’s an article that covers the GV80 a little more: https://node3237.myfcloud.com/~lacar/first-official-photos-of-the-genesis-gv80-released/
GMC: This is the insane 2020 GMC Sierra 2500 HD AT4 All Mountain Concept, equipped with four wild Mattracks® powering the truck across any terrain.
Honda: The 2020 Honda Civic Type R was officially unveiled in North America, and the new ‘Boost Blue’ paint looks sharp in person. Check out this article for full specs: https://node3237.myfcloud.com/~lacar/2020-honda-civic-type-r/
Hyundai: Hyundai has some of the best headlight designs of the entire show, and the new Sonata has an especially unique look.
Kia: The 2020 Kia Cadenza made its debut as a mid-range sedan. The interior leather was upgraded and was some of the best I felt throughout the show.
Jaguar Land Rover: The Jaguar F-Type was unveiled along with a partnership with Hot Wheels. Together, they set the record for most unassisted loop-the-loops on a single track with seven. Here’s a full in-depth article on the F-Type: https://node3237.myfcloud.com/~lacar/the-new-jaguar-f-type/
Lexus: Lexus hit the nail on the head with this LC Convertible, and Lexus interiors always impress.
Mazda: I’m a Miata fan, and the 2020 Miata felt excellent. I think purists and newcomers will both enjoy the next edition of the best little sports car money can buy.
Nissan: The redesigned Sentra looks incredibly sharp and Nissan really stepped up on the interior. And of course, they brought a GTR and was a true highlight.
Porsche: An impressive array of Porsche models were on display including the new 911 Carrera. The Porsche Taycan was also on the floor, and I must say I’m a fan of those rims. For more info on the new 911 Carreras, check out this article: https://node3237.myfcloud.com/~lacar/2020-porsche-911-carrera-4/
Subaru: The Subaru display was by far the most unique, sporting a serene forest theme complete with bird calls, a puppy pen, and Outbacks in their natural off-road habitat. Subaru also announced a partnership with the National Forest Foundation and plans to replant 500,000 trees lost by the California wildfires.
Toyota: The 2021 Highlander XSE was unveiled, and the SUV looks very smooth overall, sporting wavy body lines and fluid contours set to be released in fall of 2020. A nice collection of Supras were also on the floor, including this hot red GR Supra Heritage Edition.
Volkswagen: VW unveiled the 2021 Atlas with a refreshed look and updated technology. The Atlas has been a large success for Volkswagen, and the SUV comes into 2020 with hope to continue that trend.
And of course, the supercar gallery. Bentley, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Lotus, Aston Martin and more were in attendance, and these cars never disappoint.
While there weren’t any huge releases during the 2020 Chicago Auto Show this year, the number of overall cars and industry announcements more than make up for it. I’d say 2020 is off to a speedy start in the automotive world.