Chicago Auto Show
- From: "Ray O" <rokigawa@tristarassociatesDOTcomn>
- Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 00:24:48 -0600
Went to the Chicago Auto Show on Saturday with a former co-worker and his
sons, saw lots of new products.
I noticed that more and more vehicles are coming with low profile tires as
factory equipment, and many new vehicles have the C-pillar moved back behind
the rear strut perch, to about the middle of the deck lid. The result is a
more aerodynamic appearance but lower head clearance when getting into and
out of the back seat. Hard-top convertibles are becoming more common -
Volvo had a new one at the show, besides the Lexus, Mercedes, etc. ones
The 2007 Camry was on display, it has a more muscular appearance and the
rearward C-pillar. Otherwise roomy and nicely styled. Estimated mileage
for the hybrid Camry is 47 City/37 highway/40 combined.
The Yaris will come in a 2-door hatchback and 4 door sedan and is nicer
looking in person than in pictures. It is less quirky-looking than the Echo
or Scion xA and should be a decent seller.
The 2007 Tundra is completely re-styled and will have a 5.7 liter V-8
engine, assembled in Princeton, IN and at the new plant in Texas. The hood
dips down a little over the headlights, similar to past Dodge pickups. The
10,000 lb. towing capacity is a big improvement over the current Tundra.
While it is a nice truck, I do not think it will convert many buyers from
Ford, GM, and Dodge trucks. It may convert some Nissan Titan buyers.
The FJ Cruiser on display had an estimated MSRP <$23,000 and looks very
utilitarian, with rubber mats in the passenger and cargo compartments. The
dashboard has a retro appearance like the original Land Cruisers. The back
door is a suicide door and the C-pillar looks like it will cause a huge
blind spot. It will have the same 3.5 liter engine as the Tacoma, will have
available center and rear differential locks, and will be available with a
manual transmission. I think it will be a good seller.
The re-styled Rav4 has been available for a while.
The Camry NASCAR racer was on display but there was not a huge crowd around
it. I don't think many people recognized its significance.
The new Lexus LS will have the 4.6 liter engine and will be available in
regular and long wheelbase versions. The long wheelbase LS 460L has
reclining rear seats, footrests, and pop-up tables like the Maybach.
The New Lexus IS 350's engine is different from the 3.5 engine in the
Avalon, Camry, Highlander because it has direct injection. The AWD IS has a
hump protruding into the driver's footwell under the driver's calf. It
would annoy me. The old Camry All-Trac also has a hump protruding but was
not as annoying.
The New Lexus ES 350 is nicely done, it also has a more muscular appearance
and the difficulty dodging the lowered edge of the roofline when getting
into and out of the back seat.
The Dodge Challenger will be recognizable due to its resemblance to the
The Jeep Commander's style looks out of proportion.
The Aston Martin Vantage and Vanquish; the Bentley Continental GT, and Ford
GT were probably the nicest styled vehicles at the show.
The Cadillac SRS coupe looks very well done although at $100,000, it will
probably have a tough time competing in the market with AMG Mercedes, BMW
M5, Porsche, etc.
The Buick Lucerne has come a long ways technically although IMO, those
technical advances will probably not factor into a typical Buick buyer's
The International truck would be a cool ride on my next campout with the
The appearance of the Subaru Tribeca has not grown on me and still looks
like someone tried to graft an Alfa grille on a Japanese SUV. My friend who
rented one in Denver thought that it was pretty gutless in the mountains.
The Infiniti, Acura, Honda, and Nissan displays were much less crowded than
they were last year. Toyota, VW, Chevy, and Ford displays were as crowded
as last year, Toyota ran out of bags to hand out (the last day of the show
is Sunday). Most of the crowds at the Honda displays were around the new
(correct punctuation to reply)
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