Chicago Auto Show 2018: All the new debuts

In case you weren't following along, here's a one-stop shop to catch up on everything from the Second City.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
6 min read
Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Most auto shows take multiple days to run through the entire list of scheduled debuts, but Chicago knocked it out in one single day. We Midwesterners are nothing if not efficient.

Whether you're looking for passenger-friendly vans , beefy trucks with aftermarket parts or a mega-mileage hybrid sedan, there was a debut in Chicago that can scratch your itch. Let's take a look at what came out this week in alphabetical order.

Dodge: Durango SRT Mopar goodies

Accessories tend to make an appearance in Chicago every year, and this year, most of that came from Dodge's Mopar aftermarket parts wing. Dodge unveiled a host of goodies for its new Durango SUV.

If you want some more noise, there's a new stainless steel exhaust system available for both Durango SRT and Durango R/T variants. If you want more low, the SRT can be equipped with a set of new springs that'll lower the ride height by 0.6-inch. You can also slap a set of stripes on 'er, because why the heck not?

2018 Dodge Durango SRT: Now with Mopar performance parts

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Fiat: 2018 500 hatchback debut

While you might not be able to tell with a quick glance, Fiat gave the 2018 500 hatchback a mild refresh. Base models get better wheels, performance brakes and suspension and a standard backup camera, as well as a slick new Turbo badge. The Abarth soldiers on with better stability control, a dual exhaust system and red brake calipers.

But the biggest change to the 500 is under the hood. Gone is the wimpy, 100-ish-horsepower naturally aspirated I4. In its place is a sharper, turbocharged engine of the same size. Output is up to 135 hp and 150 pound-feet of torque. The Abarth bumps that up to 160 hp and 183 lb-ft.

2018 Fiat 500 is now an all-turbocharged affair

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Ford: 2019 Transit Connect Wagon debut

When is a minivan not a minivan? When it's a massaged version of a cargo van, like the Ford Transit Connect Wagon. The latest version of Ford's non-minivan made its debut in Chicago with improvements to both its style and its tech loadout.

The front end is now a bit sharper and closer in appearance to the Focus and other newer Fords already on the road. The base engine is a 2.0-liter I4 gas unit, but there's a 1.5-liter diesel on offer, as well -- Ford hopes it'll achieve more than 30 mpg highway. Automatic braking is standard, while adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are available as options.

Live the van life with the 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon

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Ford: Edge Titanium Elite trim debut

If you care more about appearance than equipment when it comes to trim levels, you'll dig the new Ford Edge Titanium Elite. It's all about making the crossover look as fancy as possible without completely decimating your wallet.

Operating as a sort of middle ground between the hopped-up ST and the top-tier Titanium trims, the Edge Titanium Elite sports a set of 20-inch wheels, body-color side cladding and a fancier rear skid plate. That's about it, really. It launches this summer.

2019 Ford Edge Titanium Elite aims to be Ford's fanciest crossover

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Hyundai: i30 N TCR heads to the races

Chicago doesn't usually dabble in motorsports announcements, but Hyundai wanted to break free from the mold. The automaker announced its intention to field its N performance brand in the Pirelli World Challenge's new TCR class, and they're using the i30 N hot hatch from Europe as the basis for its racecar.

Its 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 puts out a delightful 350 horsepower, and that power makes its way to the ground by way of a six-speed sequential race transmission. The suspension is adjustable, the brakes come from Brembo, and there's a full roll cage in there for good measure. The series kicks off next month in Texas.

Hyundai i30 N TCR: Hyundai goes racing in the Pirelli World Challenge

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Hyundai: 2018 Sonata Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid debut

If you prefer your Hyundais in non-racecar form, perhaps you'd be more interested in this new pair of hybrids. Hyundai showed off the refreshed 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-In Hybrid in Chicago, offering up fresher ways to go green.

The standard hybrid is expected to return 39 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, with a single tank of gas lasting for nearly 650 miles. The plug-in variant packs a larger battery that enables an all-electric range of 27 miles. Blind spot monitoring and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system are both standard.

The 2018 Sonata Hybrid hits dealers in the first quarter of 2018, with PHEV models to follow in the second quarter.

Green up your life in the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid

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Nissan: Armada Snow Patrol Concept

If you want to destroy a mountain's worth of snow in comfort, look no further than the Armada Snow Patrol concept.

On the outside, there's a new set of 20-inch wheels and 35-inch off-road tires, along with a new bumper, a 12,000-pound winch and more rugged running boards. Inside, there are Katzkin leather-wrapped front seats with contrast stitching and Armada Snow Patrol emblems. It's a little mild, but the concept beneath this one more than makes up for that.

Nissan Armada Snow Patrol has nothing to do with the indie band

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Nissan: 370Zki Concept

The 370Zki is weird, and we respect that. Nissan ripped off its rollers and replaced them with a set of skis up front and tracks out back. The body required modifications to make the skis turn correctly and to ensure the tracks actually fit in the wheel wells. There's a 3-inch lift kit on there, in addition to custom suspension mounts.

The interior is totally stock, but who cares? It's a 370Z convertible that's fully functional and capable of driving up a darn mountain. For those of you currently mired in a blizzard, it'd be tough to want anything other than this in your driveway.

Nissan 370Zki concept carves its way into Chicago

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Ram: 1500 Mopar parts

Just because the 2019 Ram 1500 debuted in Detroit last month didn't mean that Ram was done with it. It saved a whole bevy of aftermarket Mopar parts for the Chicago Auto Show , debuting on a single truck that looks pretty darn close to a SEMA concept.

The outdoor-themed Ram 1500 showed off a 2-inch lift kit and 18-inch beadlock-capable wheels wrapped in 35-inch all-terrain tires. It breathes a bit better, thanks to a cold-air intake and a stainless steel performance exhaust system. It also looks more aggressive, by way of black wheel flares, aluminum running boards and special hood graphics.

Mopar intends to release 217 parts and accessories for the new 1500 pickup, so this is just a small sample of what's out there.

Mopar shows off jazzed up 2019 Ram 1500 at the Chicago Auto Show

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Subaru: 50th Anniversary trim debut

To celebrate its 50th anniversary in the US, Subaru debuted not one, not three, but nine separate special edition vehicles. That's right -- every single car that Subaru makes, save for the Ascent that isn't out yet, will get this limited-edition trim.

Based on the Premium trim level, the anniversary cars get a special Heritage Blue paint job, unique wheels, satin chrome trim and 50th-anniversary badges galore. Inside, there are black seating surfaces with silver contrast stitching, silver seatbelts and anniversary logos on the front seats. Best of all, the cars are already heading to dealerships.

Subaru celebrates 50 years in the US with a gaggle of special editions

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Toyota: TRD Pro lineup tweaks

In order to make its most capable vehicles even more so, Toyota introduced adjustments to all three vehicles in its TRD Pro lineup -- Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner.

Each car now comes with 2.5-inch Fox bypass shocks with multiple zones for on-road comfort without sacrificing off-road capability. Of all three vehicles to receive updates, though, the winner has to be the Tacoma. It gets a freakin' snorkel, which should help the engine breath fresh air when the dirt starts kicking up. All three updated models will be available in the fall.

2019 Toyota TRD Pro vehicles updated for more dirt-slaying fun

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Volkswagen: 2019 Arteon US debut

The CC's replacement has finally landed in the US. The 2019 VW Arteon arrived at the Chicago Auto Show after its European debut last year. Stateside, the Arteon will pack a 268-horsepower, 2.0-liter I4 gas engine with an eight-speed automatic and a choice of FWD or AWD.

Positioned at VW's US flagship, the Arteon offers a bevy of standard equipment, like adaptive suspension, keyless entry and start, automatic climate control and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Automatic emergency braking and LED headlights are both standard, as well. It'll hit dealers in the third quarter of this year.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon: Standard adaptive dampers and lots of tech

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Volvo: Dogs and safety -- what's not to like?

Volvo's love of safety doesn't stay with its road cars. Volvo announced at the Chicago Auto Show that it's partnering with The Petfinder Foundation to raise money and awareness for our furry friends, including a line of updated accessories to help keep your pupperino safe at speed.

Whether you prefer a rear-seat harness or a cage in the cargo area, there's an accessory out there for you. Every accessory sold will see Volvo donating $10 to The Petfinder Foundation. Petfinder will also host pet adoptions during the auto show, because sometimes you want to leave the auto show with a new dog.

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