It’s finally here: Once again, the auto show season is upon us. And with the Detroit Auto Show having moved to June, Chicago’s own event has become the new kick-starter for the round of new, early-season reveals. This year’s CAS made a massive splash with new and updated vehicles from a wide variety of manufacturers. Even better, and crucially for us, a good amount of attention was paid to enthusiast-minded cars, trucks and SUVs this time around. So here we are, with another auto show season underway and a well-rounded CAS to discuss.

So, what are we at Hooniverse obligated to do? The same thing we do every auto show: no, not try to take over the world, but voice our opinions on everything that was shown. (It’s much less destructive and, frankly, a lot less effort). Hit the jump to read the Hooniverse’s editors’ opinions on what was launched in Chicago, and, as always, sound off in the comments to voice your own.

Jeep Gladiator Mojave

Ford’s Raptor has long been standing strong as the king of high-speed desert running four-wheel-drive production vehicles (and Chevy’s ZR2 not too far behind). And while Jeep’s Rubicon trim is the rock-crawling master of technical trails, the brand was eager to get in on the high-speed action. Enter the Mojave package, the brand’s first Desert Rated vehicle. It takes the Gladiator to a new level of washout and sand-running capability, packaging Fox 2.5” internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs and “hydraulic  jounce bumpers.” The Mojave package also adds a reinforced frame, one inch of extra suspension lift up front, a silver skid plate, a package-specific hood, beefed up axles, cast-iron steering knuckles, more bolstered front seats, Falken AT3W tires, and the unique ability to lock the rear differential at high speeds while running in 4WD.

 

Color me impressed. This is a seriously comprehensive package that should give the Raptor a run for its money in high-speed competence. I appreciate that they’ve taken the time to make the vehicle stronger and slightly unique instead of it just being a Rubicon with different graphics. That said, I’m scared to hear what the price will be. 

– Ross Ballot

 

Love it. Smart move here to preemptively fight some potential dollars set to flow to the Ford Bronco. A desert-running Gladiator sounds like a fun time. And it could be better on-road too, since it sounds like it’s stiffened up a bit. 

– Jeff 

 

This package surprised me the most. The upgraded shocks required the wheelbase to lengthen. I did not see that coming. Props to Jeep for getting it done. Let’s see what the ceiling is for how much someone will spend on a Gladiator. Call me if you need someone to bomb around the desert in this thing. I’m in. 

– Chris Tracy

 

I think that the Gladiator was a step in the right direction in terms of contesting a market that was pretty heavily dominated by the Raptor and the Mojave is Jeep’s way of chugging along that line. I don’t doubt that the Mojave will cost a pretty penny, but I also believe that the quality of the upgrades will be worth the extra cash if you plan on utilizing all its potential. 

– Colby Buchanan

 

Okay, they put a lift kit on it, some trimmings, and called it something else. The specific Fox shocks might make it ride more like the Raptor on the street. I don’t know if I’m impressed. Save yourself some money and get the Sport S, then modify accordingly to your needs. Get the Rubicon if you must have locking diffs. 

-Kamil Kaluski

 

I live nowhere near a desert but I’m glad Jeep is finally cashing in on the “yeah I can run Baja if I wanted to” crowd with the Gladiator.

-Greg Kachadurian

 

I’m not as keen on off-roading, ‘wheelin, or “muddin” as many locals around me in upstate New York are. Indeed my fenders are not yet completely rusted out, and my convertible BMW has no offroading credentials besides a limited-slip diff. All that being said, it’s refreshing for somebody like Chrysler to have people on-board who “get it”. The addition of some extra underbody armor, Fox shocks (with fancy external reservoirs) and some modification to the vehicle’s drivetrain certainly set this Jeep apart. I hope they have a new 300 month lease ready to move them out of showrooms.

-Peter Holderith

 

Wrangler/Gladiator High Altitude

While the Mojave is all about performance, the High Altitude package returns and is all about style. Available on the Wrangler and Gladiator, the H.A. package adds full LED lighting: DRLs, fog lamps, reflector headlamps, and taillights. It also includes body-colored fenders and roof, which is usually an additional cost option. The interior is where the most difference is apparent, with Nappa leather seats and leather wrapping on the dash, center console and door cards. The Alpine stereo and GPS as well as additional safety features are also included as standard. Last but most controversially, the High Altitude vehicles get 20” wheels, a first for the Wrangler from the factory.

 

I’m all for it. No, not every Wrangler/Gladiator goes off road, even if the owners want you to think that. Why can’t the vehicles be enjoyed by all? A four-door, four-wheel drive SUV and pickup with a removable roof can absolutely be comfortable, styling (did I really just use that word? I must be getting old) method of transportation without the pretense that it has to look like it can cross the Rubicon Trail unscathed. 

– Ross

 

People are gonna always spend money modifying their vehicles, whether it’s to move it upscale or increase its capability. If FCA thinks it can cash in on some of that by offering more lux from the factory, more power to them. Our vehicles tend to be reflections of our personality. Whether you wanna bedazzle your jeans or buy your jeans pre-dazzled, I’m not here to judge. You do you.

-Alan

 

Alan, I will judge you if you have bedazzled jeans. I will also silently judge anyone who has 20 inch or larger rims on your Jeep. I won’t say anything, just judge. I am firmly in the more sidewall club. That being said, FCA is doing it right. If they can grasp more market share before the Bronco gets here, then they should. Ross and I routinely joke about all of the different trim levels on the Wranglers, but it is cheaper to come out with a new trim level versus creating a new generation of a Wrangler. 

– Chris

 

People will buy it because people want the most primitive vehicle on the market to also be a luxury car.  I don’t like the idea of 20-inch wheels but whatever, I’m not buying one. 

-Kamil Kaluski

 

There’s always gonna be people who just want to buy their car with the upgrades. Bought not built if you will. The high altitude package is exactly what those people are looking for. This is essentially a poor man’s G-Wagon in my eyes.

– Colby Buchanan

 

Probably the single best thing one can add to a Jeep Wrangler is not bigger tires, a lift kit, or an anger-adding cover to the front fascia–It’s a hard top. I specifically remember, even before my days of feverish automotive enthusiasm, driving from northern New Jersey to Ludlow, Vermont on a skiing adventure. The vehicle I was taken in, my friend’s dad’s Jeep Wrangler, was equipped with a soft-top, and I was sitting in the back. Never before have I been able to imagine what a Conestoga wagon would be like if oxen could pull it along at seventy miles-per-hour down the Oregon trail. This hard-top–combined with the sprinkling of other luxury features–should make this the ideal platform for transformation into a mall-crawler, which at this point we all must accept. 

-Peter Holderith 

Toyota 4Runner/Tacoma/Tundra Trail

This isn’t the first time a 4Runner Trail was available, but it is so for the Tacoma and Tundra. The 4R Trail evolved into the TRD Off Road, but this time is an entirely different package. Based on the SR5 trim level, the 4Runner Trail adds the TRDOR’s wheels but painted gray, a Yakima roof basket, and a 40-quart cooler affixed to the model-standard sliding rear cargo tray. The Tacoma Trail gets dark gray 18” TRDOR wheels, Kevlar A/T tires, the Limited trim’s grille, and both a 115-volt power outlet and locking storage in the bed. Finally, the Tundra Trail gets the 1974 Edition’s grille, model-specific wheels, and lockable bed storage. All can be had in 2WD or 4WD and are offered in once-”exclusive” paint options of Cement and Army Green, plus Super White and Midnight Black.

 

I don’t know what to say. I guess this is excellent marketing to diversify the breadth of models available across the brand’s three well-recognized 4x4s, but for me it just falls a bit flat. Some paint and swapping of parts doesn’t make for a special edition vehicle but it at least makes for a somewhat appealing package. Not everyone needs the full slew of off-road hardware that comes on the true TRD Off-Road models, so this is a good middle ground for adding some neat features without the physical differences (and price jump) that comes with stepping up to a TRDOR/TRDPRO. 

– Ross

 

I like that Cement color a lot. This reveal is right up there with the Jeep High Altitude package. It’s the appearance package to tide us over until a new generation is ready to be revealed. It needs to be soon. The 5th generation has been around for 11 years now, with the facelift refresh happening in 2013. That’s seven years ago. Maybe the next generation will have a hybrid and a full EV, everything else is going that way. 

-Chris

 

In regard to the 4Runner, they took the TRD Off-Road models, plasti-dipped a few things and added a Yakima roof basket. Bam, a new model of the same old truck with the minimum amount of work. Respect. 

-Kamil Kaluski

 

They all seem like trims just for the sake of having new ones. I can almost guarantee you that it would be cheaper to add the cooler or lockable storage to one of them on your own and get the cement paint as a wrap if you really want to.

– Colby Buchanan

 

This seems like the sort of special edition that GM circa 2008 would do–in order to blow air through the corpse of an elderly model. I find this special package tremendously boring. 

-Peter Holderith

 


Toyota Tacoma/Tundra Nightshade

Once available on the 4Runner as well as other vehicles (Corolla, Camry and Sienna), Toyota has brought the Nightshade trim to its pickups. In short, it’s the Limited trims with black painted accents/wheels.

 

I called it! On Episode of the 4 of the Off the Road Again Podcast I speculated that Toyota would bring the Nightshade trim to the Tacoma. Turns out it’s now available on the Tundra, too. 

– Ross

 

Ross totally called this. 

– Chris

 

They took the existing model plasti-dipped a few things. The new model is only $5000 (not sure, guessing). Brilliant. 

– Kamil Kaluski

 

Ah yes, a trim level that’s like every other trim level but very black. Another Chicago Auto Show special.

-Greg Kachadurian

 

Is it really that necessary?

– Colby Buchanan

 

This package is a can of plastidip. I didn’t bother reading how much it cost–nearly died of boredom attempting to do so. I’ll do this to your Toyota pickup in exchange for a can of nearly cold PBR and a firm handshake.

-Peter Holderith

2021 Cadillac Escalade

GM’s flagship SUV is all-new for the 2021 model year. It brings a new body and fully independent suspension with available air lift and a diesel option. The interior gets a curved OLED screen and the latest-and-greatest version of Super Cruise is available as well. Of course, it’s bigger, more efficient, and better in every way.

 

The technological merits are absolutely there but I think the styling missed the mark. There’s too much visual mass on the bottom of the vehicle for my liking, and it becomes especially present on the Sport trim. Frankly, I think the outgoing Escalade looks better from a purely visual and present-minded standpoint. But…the Escalade sells on name, cache, and branding more than it does looks and statistics. It’ll sell like crazy. And the window on the rear hatch pops open, like they used to! That’s my favorite part.

– Ross

 

I don’t like the Sport trim. The floating Cadillac badge on the black background is weird. The trim levels that have the silver grilles are much better. Purely subjective. The 38 inches of curved OLED screens is impressive and will be interesting to see how usable they are. It is getting the diesel engine too. Many of these will be priced in the six figures.  

-Chris

 

The upgrades are always nice and the new infotainment system was well overdue, though the styling couldn’t be more off. Breaking up the lines with the headlights is visually jarring to me. The back looks fine since I’ve been a fan of the extra tall tail lights since they first introduced. I have no doubt that it’ll still drive great, but will it be worth the extensive price tag? Probably not.  

– Colby Buchanan

 

I have to say, I love the look on the inside. I am sure the powertrain will be great too. That front end is a bit odd to my eyes, but otherwise I’m a fan. I’ve always had this odd soft-spot for the Escalade. I consider it a guilty-pleasure vehicle, in that I should hate it… but I always love spending time with one. Big. Way quicker than you expect. And every generation is significantly improved and nicer than what came before. 

-Jeff

 

This looks hella good all around. And the availability of a diesel engine! I really want to drive it. I agree with Jeff that full-size luxury SUVs are a great guilty pleasure. 

– Kamil Kaluski

 

I’m not sold on the looks yet but I am very impressed with the tech they’ve crammed in here. I personally am most interested in the OLED screen because I think that’s what all automotive screens should be. You know how a black section on a screen isn’t completely black? There’s still a bit of glow to it from the backlighting, which would drive you nuts if that was your gauge cluster at night. OLED gets rid of that, so the portions of the screen that aren’t displaying color are effectively turned off. I think it’s a great addition and I hope it catches on, if it can be reliable.

-Greg Kachadurian

 

The nose of this car looks like it’s about fifty feet in the air. Does it have a front facing camera? I get the purpose of this car is to be completely oblivious to the bottom-feeding peons puttering around in their Corollas, but does that still work if you can’t see them? The interior tech looks interesting, but It doesn’t make up for this car’s oafish, neandertal face. Would Tony Soprano drive this? I think he’d rather have the Navigator. 

-Peter Holderith

 

2021 Nissan Frontier

Nissan is promising us an all-new Frontier for 2021, so to hold us over we’re getting the new model’s engine in the old, outgoing body. That engine is a 3.8-liter V6 boasting 310 HP and 281 lb-ft. It also gets a new 9-speed transmission, but sadly the truck is otherwise almost entirely unchanged. “Modern features” like push-button start, power windows/locks, and a tilt-adjustable steering wheel.

 

I don’t mind that they’re doing this (GM has done something similar in introducing a new engine in the old body to work out quirks before dropping the all-new vehicle) but it would almost feel even less like a “wait, we’re trying here!” excuse if they hadn’t included the few bits of “modern” (biiiig air quotes here) tech. Still, the old Frontier had a strong engine and this should be even more so. Very much looking forward to what the next gen brings. 

– Ross

 

You know, some engineers have been talking for ages about how improvements to the internal combustion engine is marginal, and we’re never going to get above a certain percent efficiency. And yet, GM’s venerable 3.8-liter V6 made just 205 horsepower back in 2000. Twenty years later, Nissan is making 50 percent more power from the same displacement. I’d say that’s progress, but that GM engine architecture dates back to the ‘60s. So it’s really a better indicator of how far behind GM was 20 years ago than how far we’ve come since.

-Alan

 

That things needs a lot more than a new engine. It just isn’t competitive with any other truck. 

– Kamil Kaluski

 

I keep forgetting that Nissan still makes this. Fun fact: according to Automotive News, 40% of Nissan dealerships are either losing money or just breaking even and many are prioritizing used car sales instead. Looking at their old as shit lineup, with the Frontier being the biggest offender, it’s easy to see why.

-Greg Kachadurian

 

This is like when my baseball coach would tell me to rub some dirt in my cut when I was little. I’m still bleeding here and this doesn’t even seem like it’s helping. What Nissan really needs to get people to actually pay attention is a new Z successor and a fresh GT-R design. Anything that isn’t that, is irrelevant. 

– Colby Buchanan

 

It’s impressive that the Frontier’s suspension–tuned on the supercontinent Pangea–still works on modern roads. I’m so utterly bewildered by Nissan’s glacially slow pace to unveil new products. Adding a new drivetrain to this ancient truck is pointless. It doesn’t need nine speeds in its gearbox, it needs to be put out to pasture.

-Peter Holderith

 

2021 AWD Chrysler Pacifica

Up until now the Chrysler Pacifica had only been available in front-wheel-drive, but for 2021 the minivan will be able to send power to all four wheels. It utilizes an AWD system that disengages the rear when not being used, improving MPG and decreasing wear. Supposedly it can send all of its power to the rear, as well. The Pacifica also gets a makeover on its front end, a new slew of safety features, and a Pinnacle high-end luxury trim.

 

Minivans make amazing use of their functional space and the Pacifica is a very good example of such. This only makes it even more versatile and comfortable, so it’s all-good in my books.

– Ross

 

There will be some nutcase in about 10 years who modifies one of these into a drift beast, and it’ll be the best thing to happen to motorsport since dad’s turbo minivan. Thanks, Chrysler, for helping us keep racing weird.

-Alan

 

Yes, please. A rear-wheel-drive Pacifca? When am I getting the Hellificat? *jack-nicholson-nodding.gif* 

-Chris

 

Chrysler is working hard to win the minivan game. And this Pacifica is going to help them do it. 

– Jeff

 

The Pacifica is a much better minivan than it gets credit for. It’s having difficulty getting not only buyers but buyers from Toyota and Honda. The AWD system, which should have been on it originally might get few more snow belt buyers. 

-Kamil Kaluski

 

I recently rented a Pacifica for a roadtrip to Daytona for the 24 Hour race. I named it Karen. Karen was fantastic. I’m not sure I like Karen’s face lift here but I love that she’s got AWD as an option now. Karen is a great minivan. More people should be buying Karens.

-Greg Kachadurian

 

Styling wise I’ve always liked the Pacifica way more than the Odyssey or the Sienna. Will it be more durable than those options long term? Probably not. But an AWD system is a nice perk and might come in handy when the fam takes a trip to the slopes. – Colby Buchanan

 

I’m curious about who this high-end minivan is for. You certainly shouldn’t buy it for your children–Those nice leather pillows would be thrown around at mach speed until a loose tooth was inevitably dislodged. Also, quilted leather must be remarkably cheap now if Chrysler is putting it into minivans. Somebody should hacksaw the front axles of one of these and see how it handles when it’s strictly rear-wheel-drive. As far as the looks go, I really, desperately, do not care.

-Peter Holderith 

 


Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The Sonata has become a seriously nice sedan and the hybrid model promises to make it even more efficient as well. A solar roof and hybrid system make the Blue trim the most efficient vehicle in its class at 52 MPG highway, allowing for a massive 686-mile range.

 

It might be a bit sacrilegious to say so on a site surrounded by fellow hardcore automotive enthusiasts, but I genuinely think that more hybrids are always a good thing. This is an attractive vehicle that’s extremely efficient. I’m on board. 

– Ross

 

The aero pieces on top of the taillight and trunk lid weird me out. 

– Chris

 

I really like the face lift that the Sonata got, it makes it quirky and different in a good way. A hybrid option with a solar roof also gives them a new image. It isn’t struggling to catch up to the pack, but rather it’s learned to march to the beat of its own drum. This might be exactly what Hyundai needs to steal some of the Camry and Civic buyers. – Colby Buchanan

 

Between this and the Smaht Pakh, Hyundai has a lot riding on the Sonata. The problem is that no one buys sedans anymore and those who buy, buy Accords and Camrys and will never change. Still, most impressive. 

– Kamil Kaluski 

 

I really like the looks of this new car. The Sonata has such a good character arc–as do Korean cars in general. It seems very well rounded; a nice interior, original looks on the outside, and with nearly 700 miles of range, why purchase any other trim? 

-Peter Holderith

 

2021 Kia Cadenza

Kia has refreshed its Cadenza sedan for the 2021 model year. As always, it packages a ton of car into a competitively-priced package. In addition to new body work, this refresh adds LED headlights/taillights, a new dashboard and instrument cluster, a 12.3” touchscreen, a wide berth of safety equipment, and so on.

 

Still not the most attractive vehicle in its class, but it’ll likely be a ton of car for the money. – Ross

 

Why is this still a thing?

-Chris

 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Cadenza on the road before. Maybe I have and I just forgot what one looked like, so I will remember how this looks for the next 17 hours or so and be on the lookout.

-Greg Kachadurian

 

This looks like the car version of the last kid to be picked for your kickball team in elementary school. – Colby Buchanan

 

I like the looks of this facelift. A lot of people seem to be wondering why this car exists, which I understand. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that’ it’s a big sedan, and those are just better than any flavor of crossover. It seems like they sell a large number of these in Korea, so there’s really no harm shipping them over here. 

-Peter Holderith

 

 

2021 Chevrolet Equinox / RS

For all of the crossover fanatics looking for a mock-sporty package, Chevy has launched the refreshed 2021 Equinox with an available RS trim. The standard vehicle gets a new front and rear end, LED headlights, 1.5L and 2.0L engines, and a few other relatively unimportant things that keep it from looking and feeling antiquated alongside the range of much newer competitors.

 

Ready for this “RS” thing to go away, once and for all. Paint and black badges an RS does not make. Otherwise, the Equinox is…fine? I’ve never heard about anybody being particularly in love with them and they’ve never stood out to me. The BS that is RS doesn’t help its case.

– Ross

 

Nope.

-Chris

 

I can’t tell the difference. Try harder, GM. 

– Kamil Kaluski

 

I thought the Blazer looked pretty sick when it got the RS treatment, but the Equinox? It doesn’t make sense to turn a crossover into a wannabe performance car.

– Colby Buchanan

 

Can GM just pony up and put an LS in one of these crossovers already? That’s what we all want. Cut the fenders out of this thing, throw a V8 at it, and put big tires on it. Have some GM engineers nail them together in a shed behind the factory. It’s what Bob Lutz would do.

-Peter Holderith

 

2020 Honda Civic Type R

The current generation of CTR landed with a splash and has received rave reviews almost unanimously. For the 2020 model year Honda is looking to expand on its greatness even further. Updated brakes will help resist against fade, while the revised suspension will be more comfortable and allow for more grip. A redesigned grille allows for better cooling and thus prevention against overheating, and the shifter gets shorter throws made through a new knob. It also gets an alcantara steering wheel plus a suite of safety features.

 

It’s no secret that the Type R is widely praised as an amazing daily-driveable enthusiast hot-hatch, but sadly I have yet to drive one. The changes made for 2020 are only going to make a great car even greater. Someday I’ll experience one, but for now the Civic Type R remains very high on my “want to drive” list…and the 2020 update only makes that position even stronger.

– Ross

 

It’s a good car with questionable styling. That hasn’t changed for 2020. That new blue color is nice though. 

-Jeff

 

I’m too old to be a “boy racer.” These make me giggle when I see them around town. Which I do, way more than I ever thought I would. 

-Chris

 

The Type R has always been about fine tuned technical improvements so it’s nice to see Honda keeping to that tradition. I haven’t driven a new Type R yet, but a shorter throw and better suspension seems like it’ll have a much bigger impact on performance than it would appear on paper. 

– Colby Buchanan

 

Where the hell is the Championship White paint!? 

– Kamil Kaluski

 

Wait, there was a new Type-R at the Chicago Auto Show?

-Greg Kachadurian, the news guy that’s supposed to be on top of this shit

 

The Civic Type R gets a little better. I’m waiting impatiently for the day when these get very cheap used.

-Peter Holderith

 

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE

Ever wondered what a slightly sportier Highlander would look like if Toyota built it themselves? Well, this is it: the Highlander XSE. It uses a 295-HP V6 sent through all-wheel-drive that can push 50% of its torque to the rear end. Toyota changes the rates on the springs and anti-roll bars, and tuned the shocks and power steering for a bit of added sportiness as well. In addition to the body changes, the XSE also gets an available red-and-black interior.

 

Why not? The Camry XSE is a car I’m not ashamed to say I truly do like, and applying the same package to the Highlander only makes an otherwise unnoteworthy crossover slightly less uninteresting. 

– Ross

 

This feels like the response that all Toyota makes is reliable, blah cars. It is not much of an investment for them to make a trim level that challenges that mindset. This XSE is for those that still want Toyota reliability with a side of fun. It’s like ordering a salad, but also getting the chili cheese fries. 

-Chris

 

My initial impression of this is, “who asked for this?” If you want something that has more power and performs well off-road, why not just go for a 4Runner/Taco TRD Pro? If you want something that gives you a little more pep while you pick up the kids from Soccer, the Grand Cherokee SRT is more than amazing. If the price tag is manageable maybe, but even then, it’s still a highlander. 

– Colby Buchanan

 

My first thought is yawn. Then I’m gonna drive and like it a lot. Whatever the trim, this is a very important vehicle for Toyota and I am confident that they did their homework. 

– Kamil Kaluski

 

I really must break a tremendous sweat to write anything interesting about trim packages for Toyota SUVs.

-Peter Holderith

 

2020 Ford GT

Not that it needed it, but Ford has updated the GT supercar with more power (660 HP, up from 647) an Akrapovic exhaust and better engine cooling. Also available are a Liquid Carbon model, which is effectively an exposed-carbon body covered in clear coat for protection, and an updated Gulf Livery.

 

Rad. Super, duper rad. Not sure the GT would get my money if I had a theoretical ~$500k to spend on a single vehicle, but I’m glad to see the GT is getting even a little bit of attention and wasn’t a one-shot chance that got left to the wayside. 

– Ross

 

I was a fan of the Ford GT when they brought it back in 2017 in terms of styling. But when it’s over $400,000 more than a new GT500, that’s where you start to lose my interest. The exposed carbon is beautiful but I could never justify the price tag for an EcoBoosted supercar. 

– Colby Buchanan

 

Oooooooooooo. Carbon fiber. Where did I put my Need for Speed – Carbon for my PS2 at? 

-Chris

 

You will never see one outside of a show. And that’s too bad. 

– Kamil Kaluski

 

I’m glad Ford is still showing the GT some love after their four-year run in endurance racing came to a close. Even if the Heritage Edition celebrating the win in 1969 came about a year late (they’ve been coming out on the 50-year anniversary of each win), I still think it’s one of the most beautiful adaptations of the Gulf Racing livery. I love the exposed carbon bodywork that they used to create the racing number too. And the Liquid Carbon, while not the spec I would get in that situation, looks stunning. It totally works on the GT.

-Greg Kachadurian

 

This new Ford GT is overpriced, and from my perspective, boring. The engine sounds like an inexpensive food processor. I’m not sure what Ford could do to make me like it. Perhaps one of those flat-plane Coyotes and a roof scoop. Supercars are supposed to be about total sensory overload. This thing may as well be electric. 

-Peter Holderith

 

2021 VW Atlas

Volkswagen brought an updated Atlas to the 2020 CAS, showing the vehicle’s facelift for the 2021 model year. Items of note are that AWD can now be had with both the four and six-cylinder engines, and it comes with a few new pieces of technology. Oh, and it has the new VW logo.

 

I didn’t love the original Atlas and this seems to only make marginal improvements on the vehicle. I know that I’m not the target audience for the vehicle, but the Atlas I was in felt slightly under-cooked and like it had cheaped out a bit versus other vehicles VW sells, like the GTI. At least the new front end looks a little less frumpy. 

– Ross

 

I had a friend buy at Atlas because of how much he could get off the MSRP ($9,000). The Atlas looks like everything else in this class. It’s basic. 20 cubic feet of storage when the 3rd row seat is in place is looking to be the industry average. I need more than that, but I think that means I’m above average. 

-Chris

 

Volkswagen SUVs have never been a showstopper and the new Atlas is no different. It looks fine and the fact that it has an AWD option for both engines is cool, but I would rather have just about any other SUV on the market even if it means paying a little bit more. 

– Colby Buchanan

 

VW is putting as much effort into their updates as GM is. Good job. Watch out Highlander, this new and improved Atlas might take like one of your sales. 

– Kamil Kaluski

 

I’m currently listening to an audiobook about the Atlantic ocean. The author has just gotten around to talking about the history of various Atlantic cargo vessels. That’s more exciting than the Volkswagen Atlas.

-Peter Holderith

 

2021 Jaguar F-Type Convertible

Jag refreshed its F-Type for 2021 and has now unveiled an updated roofless variant as well.

 

Gorgeous as always, and likely an even better back-road and road-trip companion. Score. 

– Ross

 

I genuinely liked the old front end better. The new one looks like it’s trying too hard which isn’t necessarily bad, just not my style. The interior was in need of an update and the redesign looks great. Overall, I would still get a 2019 model personally.

 – Colby Buchanan

 

I think the new front-end looks great, if a bit Aston Martin-ish. From some angles it looks like a totally different vehicle. 

– Kamil Kaluski

 

Definitely looks a lot more cohesive now. I do hope they stick that new inline-six they made into this thing. That would be tremendous.

-Peter Holderith


And that’s a wrap on 2020’s first major auto show. With debuts like this, it’s easy to see that the Chicago Auto Show is only on the rise in terms of importance and reach. So, what are your favorites? Likes, dislikes? Les us know in the Comments.