2015 Chicago Auto Show

Second City Dominated by Refreshes

Feb 11, 2015
The Chicago Auto Show has traditionally been the big “truck” show of the season, but this year, northern neighbor Detroit stole most of the thunder with the introduction of the 2016 Nissan Titan and a preview of the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor. In addition to those two headliners, Toyota also showed off the next-generation Tacoma. So this year’s Chicago show was dominated mostly by mid-cycle refreshes and model-line updates.
Photo 2/138   |   2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4x4 Front Three Quarter
2015 Ram Laramie Limited
Probably the biggest news in the truck world was the debut of the new Ram Laramie Limited. The truck is the second trim, after the Ram 1500 Rebel shown in Detroit, to feature the brand’s new block-letter look prominently adorning the front grille and tailgate. Although no official pronouncement is yet being made, it looks like Ram’s traditional crosshair motif may be disappearing in favor of the bold, blocky letters. The Laramie Limited will initially be offered in 1500 models and rolled out to 2500 and 3500 models for the 2016 model year.

Photo 15/138   |   2016 Honda Pilot Front Three Quarters 03
2016 Honda Pilot
Probably the second most significant debut of the show, although not a traditional truck, is the 2016 Honda Pilot. This is a significant vehicle for Honda, as well as the midsize crossover market, and is a significant departure from the last-generation model with its sleeker, more modern styling reminiscent of the smaller CR-V. Like the recently announced update to the 2016 Acura MDX, top-trim Pilots will get a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

Photo 40/138   |   2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Custom Front Side View
2015 Chevrolet Silverado Custom
Chevrolet showed off a new Silverado Custom model with an emphasis on value, with V-8 models going for just $33,820, including 20-inch wheels, cruise control, power windows and locks, and OnStar 4G LTE connectivity capability included.

Photo 52/138   |   2016 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ
2016 Chevrolet Equinox
The Equinox crossover also got a late-cycle update including an updated grille design, standard projector-beam headlights, LED running lights on the higher-trim models, and a larger center touchscreen on the dashboard.

Photo 56/138   |   2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Front Three Quarter
2016 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Utility
Ford chose Chicago to show off the new Explorer-based 2016 Police Interceptor Utility. The Interceptor, along with standard civilian-issue Explorers, is built in Chicago. Powertrains are carryover from the 2015 models, with a standard 3.7L, 304hp naturally aspirated V-6 and an optional 365hp 3.5L EcoBoost. Among the enhancements on the 2016 model are a Pursuit Mode allowing 180-degree “J-Turns,” an updated electrical system to better support auxiliary accessories, and a Surveillance Mode to notify drivers of people approaching the vehicle from behind when parked. The revised front fascia features more discreetly integrated pursuit and emergency lighting.

Photo 68/138   |   2016 Acura RDX In Motion
2016 Acura RDX
The 2016 Acura RDX features some updates to keep it relevant in the increasingly cutthroat crossover market. Like other recent Acura models, the RDX gets the brand’s signature Jewel Eye LED headlights, a slight power bump from 273 to 279 hp, and variable cylinder management to give fuel economy a one-mpg highway bump. Finally, the 2016 RDX offers the optional AcuraWatch suite of safety features, including lane departure, adaptive cruise control, and collision mitigation braking.

Photo 77/138   |   Kia Trailster Concept With Snow
Kia Trail'ster Concept
The Kia Soul has made the transition from compact box wagon to compact crossover in this Trail'ster concept. A through-the-road hybrid system teams a turbocharged 1.6L I-4 with an electric motor for 220 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque, with low-speed all-wheel drive and a lifted suspension for extra capability in rough conditions. If it goes to production, it will likely do battle with the Jeep Renegade for your compact-crossover dollars.

Photo 99/138   |   Mitsubishi Concept GC PHEV Front Three Quarters 06
Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV
The Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV is a plug-in hybrid SUV with a supercharged V-6 and a massive, luxurious interior. Mitsubishi targets 25 miles of electric-only range and 35 mpg in normal driving, while the company's Super All-Wheel Control should enable it to tackle the dirt. We'd love to see a toned-down version of this concept sold as a new Montero. Think we'll be seeing these winning Dakar in five years?

Bonus: Upfitted Ford Work Trucks
Ford brought a variety of upfitted work trucks to Chicago, including E-350 ambulances, dump trucks, vital-to-Chicago snow plows, and our personal favorite, the Quigley Ford Transit 4x4, which is still in development stages.

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