CHICAGO -- Automakers used the media days of the Chicago Auto Show to hold press events and unveil vehicles, including many special editions.
Some of the models featured include the 2020 Nissan Frontier, with an all-new 3.8-liter direct injection V6 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission, both of which will be key elements in the next-generation, all-new Frontier coming next year.
Volkswagen unveiled the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas, which arrives in dealerships in the spring. The refreshed seven-seater offers a new design as well as interior upgrades, advanced technology and new driver-assistance features while still maintaining the spacious interior and user-friendly infotainment and ergonomics that made the outgoing model so popular. It features the new Volkswagen badge, both inside and out, that all VWs will sport from this point forward.
“The Atlas has been a huge success story for Volkswagen of America, helping us to position the brand with a greater emphasis on the family-friendly SUVs that consumers are buying,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
Not everyone is looking for a truck, and Kia and Hyundai unveiled the refreshed 2020 Kia Cadenza premium sedan and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid with those folks in mind.
“The Cadenza continues to introduce new and luxury-minded customers to the Kia brand,” said Michael Cole, president, Kia Motors America. “We recognize there are many customers who don’t want or need an SUV, but still desire a vehicle with plentiful interior room and a large trunk.”
New Hyundai CMO Angela Zepeda helped introduce the 2020 Sonata Hybrid, which boasts 686 miles of driving range and an EPA estimated 52 mpg combined fuel economy rating. This is the first time the Sonata Hybrid has been shown in North America.
With the truck and SUV market becoming so crowded, the special editions will help refine and target the vehicles to niche markets.
Toyota unveiled the 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE; Trail Special Edition Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner; and Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia Go Dark with Nightshade Special Editions.
From the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles family, Dodge pulled the wraps off the 2020 Durango SRT Black and Redline Stripe, while Jeep showed off the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave, the 2020 Jeep Special Edition Wrangler and Gladiator Premium High Altitude and the 2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20 Limited Edition.
Other vehicles introduced at the show include the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox, 2021 Chrysler Pacifica, 2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon, 2021 Genesis GV80, 2020 Honda Civic Type R and 2021 Jaguar F-Type.
In addition to the latest debuts, newest production, concept and exotic vehicles, the show is packed with opportunities for attendees to get behind the wheel. Attendees can ride along in four indoor test track experiences including Jeep, Ram, Toyota and Volkswagen. Visitors can also take test drives in the latest vehicles from Ford, Honda and Subaru on the streets of Chicago.
The show opened to the public Feb. 8 and runs through Feb. 17.