Poet Carl Sandburg famously described Chicago as the City of Big Shoulders and this year's auto show perfectly fits that bill as it will host debuts of significant crossover SUVs. Combining the all-wheel drive capability and utility of a truck with the comfort and convenience of their car-based platforms, vehicles in this segment are highly popular with car buyers. With numerous entries spanning a wide range of size and price classes, crossovers have proven to be the broad shoulders on which the current automotive sales recovery.
At the Chicago Auto Show, the focus will be on Honda's much anticipated launch of the 2016 Pilot, a vehicle that has become a stalwart among family haulers. It promises to deliver the same level of utility and comfort in a much sleeker profile. Sister luxury division Acura also wades back into the compact luxury crossover SUV segment with a facelifted RDX. That vehicle will likely benefit from the same sort of mechanical enhancements and design freshening that its corporate sibling, the Honda CR-V, received for the 2015 model year.
GM's bowtie division will also use the show floor to debut its revamp of the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox. This mid-cycle refresh is yet another indication of the highly competitive nature of the crossover category. Meanwhile, Chevy's rival will be putting a uniform on the 2016 Ford Explorer in the guise of its Police Interceptor model while Lincoln gets the chance to show of the 2016 MKX, fresh from its Detroit debut, in the town where the vehicle will be built.
One of the hottest subsets of the crossover SUV market are the compact and smaller models and in a bid to scope out future possibilities, Kia is bringing the Trail'ster, an all-wheel drive SUV variant of its more urban-oriented Soul. Mitsubishi will also freshen its Outlander lineup with Sport SE and GT models featuring a new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine.
On the truck end of the scale, Ram will have its new Laramie Unlimited trim level, while Chevrolet and GMC will showcase, respectively, their previously released 2015 Silverado Midnight Special and 2015 Canyon Nightfall Edition trim levels.
Minor facelifts and special editions are among the major car announcements, with Toyota presenting a reworked Avalon as well as Special Edition Camry and Corolla models. Hyundai will have an Elantra GT refresh as well as a special edition Veloster.
The Chicago Auto Show opens to the public Saturday, Feb. 14 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 22 at McCormick Place.
2016 Acura RDX
2015 Chevrolet Colorado GearOn Special Edition
2016 Chevrolet Equinox
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Custom
2016 Ford Explorer Police Inteceptor
2016 Honda Pilot
Kia Trail'ster Concept
Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV
2015 Ram Laramie Limited
2016 Toyota Avalon
2016 Toyota Camry Special Edition
2016 Toyota Corolla Special Edition
Previous Chicago Auto Shows
According to show organizers, the Chicago Auto Show was the first North American auto show to tally 100 shows. Officials also describe the Chicago Auto Show as the nation's largest, utilizing 1.3 million square feet of Chicago's McCormick Place complex, or enough floor space to accommodate 26 Boeing 747s. The Chicago Auto Show doesn't garner as much worldwide attention as the Hollywood or Motor City shows, but the Second City nevertheless plays host to a number of important new car introductions every year.
Subaru unveiled a new Legacy and Kia unleashed an Optima hybrid and Soul EV.
Where the 2014 Toyota Tundra and that Superman-themed Kia Optima were born.
Hyundai brought a pair of Elantras, while Acura offered up the first-ever ILX and a redesigned RDX.
Acura refreshed the TL and Volkswagen showed off the latest Jetta GLI.
Remember the Kia Ray Concept and those pink Dodge Challengers?
Some people are probably still dreaming about the Chevy Stingray Concept
The six-door Alton F-650 SUV was wonderfully ludicrous