10 of the Coolest Cars, Trucks and SUVs from The Chicago Auto Show
The Chicago Auto Show isn’t the biggest show of the year, but it’s traditionally still an important one. It’s usually the home of launches for new trucks, vans and SUVs.
This year the Chicago Auto Show is a little low on new vehicles, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t some cool cars, trucks and SUVs being shown for the first time. So here are the 10 coolest releases from the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.
Nissan loves the snow. Last year, the automaker added tracks to the Murano and Rogue SUVs. This year, it was time for a sports car.
Nissan added tracks to the rear and skis to the front of a Nissan 370Z to make the 370Zki. Say it. 370-Ski. You get the idea. It’s a sports car turned 332-horsepower snowmobile. And it’s a roadster, because convertibles are always better. Even in the snow. Before the Chicago Auto Show appearance, Nissan tested the car on Wyoming ski slopes.
Lexus GS F 10th Anniversary
Ten years of the Lexus F brand means limited-edition anniversary models. The RC and GS both get special editions with flat grey exterior paint and blue interiors. Very bright blue interiors.
The sports seats have huge blue leather bolsters, and in the GS the rear seats get blue too. It includes blue carbon trim. The GS F has a 467-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 with a torque vectoring rear differential. It’s limited to just 100 units.
Ford Transit Connect Wagon
The Ford Transit Connect Wagon isn’t glamorous or cool, but give it a chance. The redesigned model has more cargo space than a Chevrolet Tahoe in a tiny platform. Plus it has an optional diesel engine that sips fuel while you’re hauling stuff.
Want to transport your bike, your amps, or your dogs? The Transit Connect Wagon has you covered. It will hold seven passengers, too, if that’s what you need instead.
Toyota TRD Pro Lineup
The Toyota TRD Pro models are ready for going faster through the desert than anything short of a Ford Raptor.
The TRD Pro versions of the 4Runner, Tacoma and Tundra get massive Fox internal bypass shocks that are as at home climbing boulders as they are running through the desert.
The TRD Pro models also have a lifted front suspension, wider tracks and skid plates to augment their off-road capability. The Tacoma TRD Pro gets a high-mounted air intake to keep the intake air clean when you’re hammering down dusty and dirty trails.
Ram 1500 Accessories
Ram is already accessorizing the 2019 Ram 1500 pickup and it hasn’t even hit dealer floors yet. At the Chicago Auto Show, Ram showed off a bright red Big Horn Sport with a catalog’s worth of bits tossed on it.
There’s a 2.0-inch lift and 18-inch beadlock wheels. Black fender flares cover the bigger 35-inch off-road tires. The bed gets a cool new cargo rack that will hold ladders, surfboards or kayaks. To help you load that gear, there is a bumper-mounted folding step.
The Volkswagen Arteon is the replacement for their old four-door coupe, the CC. The Arteon made its US debut in Chicago with sharp styling, a turbocharged engine and available all-wheel drive.
The new Arteon is five inches longer in the wheelbase than the CC, which means there is much more room inside under the sleek roofline. The 2.0-liter turbo four makes 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft, which means that this car goes as good as it looks.
Lego 1968 Ford Mustang
It’s the smallest car on the list, for sure. And it’s the only one you have to build yourself, but it might be the coolest. Ford and Lego introduced the Lego 1968 Ford Mustang race car in Chicago.
It comes with a vintage racing suit-wearing minifig, stickers to customize the appearance of the car, and a track-side timing board. It’s the only car from the show that you can park in your desk drawer.
Unlike some of the other Lego licensed cars, this is a small kit and so it gets a small price tag. Under $20.
Dodge Durango SRT
Dodge calls the Durango SRT the most powerful and fastest three-row SUV. It has a 6.4-liter V8 that makes 475 horsepower and lets it run the quarter mile in under 13 seconds.
Now Fiat Chrysler’s Mopar division is helping make the SRT and R/T more special. They showed a Durango SRT with a new high-performance exhaust system and carbon fiber interior trim with a premium wrapped dash. Lowering springs improve the look and handling.
To really show off, there is a new Mopar stripe kit that wraps around the extractor hood vents.
Hyundai i30 N TCR
Hyundai brought a race car to Chicago. The Hyundai i30 N TCR is a 350-horsepower compact racer that competes in touring car racing worldwide.
You might recognize the car as the Elantra GT hatchback, that’s the name the i30 wears in North America. The car will be campaigned in the US by Bryan Herta Autosport, competing in the Pirelli World Challenge series. The series starts next month at the Circuit of the Americas.
Polaris Slingshot Grand Touring LE
Four wheels are best, but three wheels are all right too. The three-wheel Polaris Slingshot gets a more luxurious trim level, the Grand Touring LE.
Propelling the Slingshot is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder from General Motors that makes 174 horsepower. That’s more than enough for a trike that tips the scales well under a ton.
The Grand Touring LE gets a roof as standard, along with gull-wing doors. Under that roof is a pair of quilted comfort seats and an infotainment system with navigation. It further blurs the line between motorcycle and car.