By on July 15, 2021

VW Golf R. Tim Healey/TTAC

The 2020 Chicago Auto Show was the last one before the world shut down due to COVID-19. The 2021 Chicago Auto Show was the first one to be held as the world reopens.

And boy, was it surreal. Not that I’m complaining — in-person auto shows beat the hell out of Zoom.

(Read More…)

By on July 14, 2021

Jeep

Quick, when’s the last time you gave a thought to the Jeep Compass?

Probably several years ago when the last generation was introduced, right?

Otherwise, if you’re thinking about Jeep, you’re probably thinking about the Gladiator, Wrangler, Cherokee, or Grand Cherokee.

(Read More…)

By on July 13, 2021

Ram

Last week, we wrote up the G/T trim level that will be added to certain Ram models. That trim is focused on minor improvements to on-road performance.

So, naturally, Ram also has a new trim for specific models that is meant to make mild improvements to off-road driving.

(Read More…)

By on May 4, 2021

Chicago Auto Show

The 2020 Chicago Auto Show was, as far this author knows, the last major auto show to take place before COVID shut the world down.

Now, it might be the first auto show to return.

(Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

Wandering the 2020 Chicago Auto Show floor on the second media day, I entertained myself by playing with trucks.

More specifically, I tinkered with the trick tailgates found on GMC and Ram models, plus the in-bed cooler offered by Honda’s Ridgeline. Also springing to mind is the available roll-up tonneau cover offered by Jeep’s Gladiator, as well as that old stalwart, the RamBox.

(Read More…)

By on February 7, 2020

With the next-generation 2020 Toyota Highlander now riding atop a new platform, the manufacturer has decided to grow its sport-adjacent XSE trim level by throwing it into mix for the 2021 model year. The model took a bow at the Chicago Auto Show on Wednesday.

Settling between the XLE and Limited trims, XSE uses the same 3.5-liter V6 (295 horsepower, 263 lb-ft of torque) that’s now found in all non-hybrid Highlanders. The performance boost come by way of suspension upgrades and a few tweaks to the electrically assisted power steering unit. Everything else is cosmetic, but Toyota believes it will all come together to create a sportier driving experience.

The automaker says it’s giving the model the “XSE treatment,” adding it’s aimed at “people who need SUV practicality but really miss driving sport sedans.” While we’re not sure how much overlap exists between Highlander shoppers and sports-sedan enthusiasts, semi-sporting packages and trim lines are standard practice these days. They must hold some level of appeal, or manufacturers wouldn’t insist on dangling them in front of us.  (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2020

Van culture is making a comeback. We know this because the media has glommed onto the topic as young adults continue to share stories about how not having a mailing address (because they live in vans) is the best thing that ever happened to them.

While you’re unlikely to encounter these people all that regularly offline, the internet is full of them. And yet there’s no real consensus as to the appeal of custom vans. Plenty of people embrace the van life because they see it as an affordable way to tour the countryside; others view it as part of the minimalist movement, or simply as the best way to avoid becoming totally homeless.

Want more than a tent over your head while camping? Need a place to wait out the impending civil war? Simply feel the need to capitalize on a trend that’s growing in popularity on YouTube? Van living has you covered — and Mercedes-Benz is ready to help.  (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2020

vw

It’s no secret the Atlas is a massive sales and revenue driver for Volkswagen of America, yet time marches on. The model entered production in Chattanooga in 2017 after a debut at the 2016 LA Auto Show, meaning the midsize crossover is ripe for a mild makeover. With the model’s two-row Cross Sport sibling arriving this spring, Volkswagen desired a freshened Atlas line for 2021.

It’s a game of “spot the changes.” (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2020

A Blue Oval vehicle you’re sick of seeing everywhere, the GT, arrives for 2020 with extra oomph in tow, as well as appearance schemes aimed at setting it apart from the other GTs prowling the Lowes lot. A lack of paint is what’s notable with one of these entries.

A Canadian-built, limited-edition supercar, the GT still makes use of a finely tuned 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6, only now there’s more ponies on tap. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2020

hyundai

Hyundai usually waits a bit before revealing the hybrid variant of the Sonata, and the Korean brand continued the tradition with the latest iteration of its midsize sedan. Sporting the same polarizing styling as its gas-only sibling, the 2020 Sonata Hybrid delivers significant improvements in fuel economy while debuting a gimmicky feature that Hyundai says amounts to “free miles.”

Good thing it’s always sunny in Chicago. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2020

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

Snow Belt parents, rejoice. There’s one more minivan on the market with all-wheel drive.

The refreshed 2021 Chrysler Pacifica now offers an AWD system that can redirect power away from any wheel that’s lost traction. The system also disconnects when not needed, reducing driveline drag and improving efficiency.

(Read More…)

By on February 6, 2020

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

Chevrolet has the Colorado Bison, Toyota has the Tacoma TRD Pro, and now Ford has the Ranger Raptor (at least in other markets). Now, Jeep has the Gladiator Mojave.

Built for desert running, the Mojave offers up the exact kind of kit you’d expect.

(Read More…)

By on February 12, 2019

Chicago has proven a sleepy show for news for quite some time now.

This year, however, there was a hint of something stirring. While there still wasn’t a wealth of product news, there was more than normal — and most of it didn’t involve minor trim changes (okay, some of it did).

I wandered the halls at massive McCormick Place last week to take in what was a busier show than normal. Starting with Subaru, here’s my “hot takes” about what I saw on the show floor. Just for the hell of it, let’s embrace a grading gimmick.

(Read More…)

By on February 8, 2019

Image: JLR

No longer sharing bits sourced from former owner Ford, Land Rover’s smallest Range Rover-badged vehicle undergoes a comprehensive revamp for 2020. There’s a new, stiffer platform underneath and, while its overall footprint remains pretty much the same, a wheelbase stretch affords occupants a smidgen of extra room to stretch out.

First appearing on our shores in late 2011 as a 2012 model, the compact Evoque offered buyers a cheaper way to enter the tweedy brand. U.S. sales peaked in 2015; not a good thing in a market fueled by crossover lust. (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2019

The 2020 Subaru Legacy made its debut at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday. While most casual observers will probably assume the model has undergone a mild visual refresh, what’s actually on display is an entirely new vehicle.

Whereas previous incarnations of the Legacy provided more of an upscale WRX experience, the outgoing sixth generation saw the car fitted with a livable continuously variable transmission and engine options that moved it away from anything that could be described as truly sporting. Fortunately, Subaru is attempting to remedy that for the 2020 model year. (Read More…)

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