By on February 6, 2012

Our coverage of the 2012 Chicago Auto Show will kick off Wednesday, but preparations begin tomorrow, as our team, headed up by hizzoner Jack Baruth, makes its way to the Windy City. We’ve got a brief rundown of what you can expect to see from the TTAC team of writers and photographers on site at McCormick Place.

Acura: With Acura having debuted “concepts” (read: barely disguised versions of the production car) of the RDX crossover and ILX sedan at Detroit, the two cars will bow officially at Chicago. The RDX gets a V6 to replace the thirsty but punchy turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which should deliver more power and much better fuel economy. The ILX (which may be re-named the IL, following Acura naming conventions) will also get its debut, and will be crucial to Acura’s plans for picking itself up off the floor and getting the attention of new customers.

Chrysler/Dodge/Ram/Fiat: The Marchionne-ruled conglomerate will show off a few products with minor revisions. Mopar versions of the Jeep Compass, Dodge Dart and Fiat 500 will debut alongside a Ram Laramie Limited Edition pickup. Chrysler will also introduce the Mopar ’12 300, a tuned 300S with some cosmetic changes and slightly quicker acceleration times.

Ford: The droptop version of the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 will debut. No word on whether this car will get the coupe version’s insane 200 MPH top speed rating. The 650 horsepower should be enough to blow the hair transplant right out of most owner’s scalps.

GMC: The 2013 GMC Acadia will show off its all-new design, as the first of GM’s Lambda crossovers to get any changes since their 2006 debut. New sheetmetal, powertrains and interior changes are expected. The Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave will follow later this year.

Hyundai: The Korean automaker continues its imperial deathmarch towards industry dominance with the debut of two variants of the Elantra. A two-door coupe, looking very similar to the sedan, will debut, as well as a 5-door hatchback based on the European i30. This is the car featured in the infamous video featuring VW boss Martin Winterkorn freaking out over the vehicle’s build quality – it’s promising, to say the least.

Kia: Kia will show off the Trackstar concept, supposedly a performance oriented version of the Soul. Early sketches look goofy.

Nissan: A refreshed 2013 model 370Z will bow alongside the NV200 passenger van. Unlike the commercial versions of the NV already on sale, the NV200 will be the next New York City taxi, and can seat up to 12 passengers.

Toyota: Because civillians, as well as UN peacekeepers and medicins sans frontiers workers buy the Land Cruiser, Toyota will show off the refreshed 2013 version in Chicago, with sales starting immediately.

Volkswagen: A TDI powered 2013 Beetle will debut, featuring the familiar 2.0L TDI engine making 140 horsepower, with a choice of 6-speed manual or DSG transmissions.

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19 Comments on “2012 Chicago Auto Show Preview...”

  • avatar

    I’ll be going during pelb-week (since the first week is reserved for journalists and assordid (sic) VIPs), probably on a Tuesday after work to avoid the crowds. Give me some good previews!

    In particular can you let us know how close the public will be allowed to get to featured cars?

  • avatar

    Let’s hope that Acadia looks like something more distinctive than a big Terrain.

  • avatar

    If stories about Chicago must be accompanied by images of mayor Richard J Daley, perhaps stories about Ford should always be accompanied by pictures of flaming Pintos or rolled Explorers, and stories about Porsche should be accompanied by Boxsters getting new engines out of warranty, etc….And of course any story relating to Detroit should be illustrated with the ever-popular post-industrial porn of abandoned warehouses, etc.

    Reflexive Chicago-bashing always bugs me.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      When you guys stop deserving it, maybe they’ll stop doing it.

      I was just in Chicago, and it was hmmmmmm…..noticeable/apparent
      /damned nigh obvious that the fix has been in in Ch-town for you all for your local politician’s help getting Obama nominated and elected: Every. Single. Damned. Mile. Of Highway has been rebuilt, seems like. And with (my) Federal (taxpayer) dollars since the state is how shall we say it? ummmmm….Ok, I’ll just say it: Bankrupt! (I mean financially, not just morally.)

      Chicago-style politics as usual.

      Chicago-“bashing” perhaps is not so reflexive at all….seems like it is pretty well-thought-out and damned-well-deserved.

      Perhaps if you weren’t recognizing that yourself, you wouldn’t be so thin-skinned.

      Anyway, the Chicago show looks like it will be GRAND…IT is the de-facto NAIAS, AFAIC…McCormack Place makes Cobo look like a hovel…(or, conversely, perhaps Cobo makes McCormack look like a palace…but I digress…)

      Can’t wait to see more of V. McB.’s photos….

      But you have a nice day!

      • 0 avatar

        While many miles of highway have been rebuilt, ALL of those projects began well before Obama’s 2008 election, and most of the work was completed before he took office. I always get a chuckle out you people who accuse Obama of Chicago-style politics. Obama is a WIMP by the standards of Chicago machine workings. Dick Cheney is much more emblematic of Chicago-style than anything Obama has done.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        “Obama is a WIMP by the standards of Chicago machine workings”

        Obama got his start in politics by using the Chicago Machine tricks against the Chicago Machine.

        He’s no wimp; behind that smile and personality lies a very calculated person. His opponents in Washington are just now waking up to the fact that he has been playing chess when they thought it was a game of checkers.

    • 0 avatar

      Not everyone considers linking Chicago with Da Mare to be bashing. It certainly beats the other common association, Al Capone.

    • 0 avatar

      Lighten up! I didn’t want to put another picture of a car, or Obama, so I picked the next best thing. You’re like a Cultural Studies grad student looking for subtexts of patriarchy in an episode of Teletubbies.

    • 0 avatar

      Considering that both Daley Sr. and his son have a combined tenure as mayor of Chicago that probably exceeds the age of many posters, and the mayor rules over the city with an iron hand, I’d say that the image is quite appropriate.

    • 0 avatar

      “No sir, Mayor Daley no longer dines here. He’s dead, sir.”

      I lived in Chicago for 12 years. That city deserves all the bashing it gets and more.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    When will the 2013 Kia Forte debut for North America? I’m eager to see it. Right now, the Optima is a little too big, and the Rio is a little too small for me.


  • avatar

    I would like to insert some wishful thinking by saying I hope the Elantra coupe will have a performance trim with at least the Veloster’s turbo engine. Better yet that the hatch will have the Genesis’ turbo engine to compete against the Mazdaspeed3.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    As with Detroit, we are hoping to provide coverage of all major Wednesday reveals within an hour or so of the press conference.

    We are welcoming Speed:Sport:Life’s Matt Fink to the crew: he and I will be doing the text while V McB does photos.

  • avatar

    It is amazing how quickly comments go off-topic in here (though, I suppose TTAC is not the worst in that regard).

    What do Chicago-bashing, Obama-bashing, etc. have to do with anything?

    Putting a picture of hizzoner Richard J. on the cover of the article seems like an invitation to go off-topic.

  • avatar
    Carl Kolchak

    I have one bit of advice if you want to go there. Do not go on the weekend, unless your goal is to see how the Tylenol is working.On the weekdays, especially until people get off work, It can be fun and almost relaxing. On the weekend, think football stadium concourse.I miss when it was at the old McCormick place, with the Imports on one floor and the Domestics on another.

  • avatar

    I read in one of the print mags, the Shelby convertible will be limited to 155.

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