2020 Chicago Auto Show Highlights

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Chicago Auto Show Highlights
In the Windy City, early February 2020 was cold and snowy — no big surprise — although inside the massive McCormick Place convention center hot vehicle debuts at the annual Chicago Auto Show kept minds off the frigid weather thanks to a wide range of vehicle premieres. With unveils from Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Chevrolet, Nissan and more, there were plenty of vehicles making news — what follows are the 2020 Chicago Auto Show highlights.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Chevrolet Equinox
At the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, Chevrolet debuted the updated 2021 Equinox with new front and rear fascias, new LED headlights, a more aggressive grille design and a new RS trim level. The Equinox RS features a gloss black grille, 19-inch Dark Android wheels, black bowties, black badging, black roof rails, RS shift knob and a black interior with red stitching. Upgrades for the 2021 Equinox Premier include a gloss black grille with chrome inserts, LED headlights, LED taillights, new 19-inch machine-faced wheels, a logo-projection liftgate, French stitching on the interior and a high-gloss black finish for the console. The 2021 Equinox will be offered in five trim levels: L, LS, LT, RS and Premier.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Chevrolet Equinox
Power for this new Equinox comes from either a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine or a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine combined with either a 6- or 9-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety equipment includes lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning, a rear vision camera, a following-distance indicator, automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, IntelliBeam headlights and forward collision alert. Available safety and driver-assistance features include an HD surround vision camera system, camera-based adaptive cruise control, automatic parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, front park assist, rear park assist, and lane change alert with side blind zone alert. The 2021 Equinox is scheduled to go on sale in fall 2020.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Chrysler Pacifica
More than 35 years ago, Chrysler invented what we know today as the minivan, and at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show the company premiered the latest version of its minivan offering, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica. Pacifica gets a new face designed to give the minivan more of a sport-utility feel with a larger primary grille as well as standard LED headlights. New LED taillights stretch across the rear cargo door. Chrysler also gives the updated Pacifica a feature requested for years: all-wheel drive. The seamless system requires no driver interaction, and it can transfer up to 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels. When the all-wheel-drive system isn’t needed, the rear drive completely disengages for improved fuel efficiency. We’re happy to report that the signature Stow n’ Go seats were not compromised for the added all-wheel drive.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Chrysler Pacifica
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica also gets an infusion of luxury with an all-new trim, aptly named Pinnacle. Standing out from the rest of the lineup, the Pacifica Pinnacle features a Satin Carbon grille with Platinum Chrome trim all around. The interior has a Caramel and Piano Black color theme on Nappa leather seats with quilted side bolsters. The second-row captain’s chairs also get a unique feature: matching lumbar pillows embossed with the Chrysler logo. Standard on all Pacifica trims is the new Uconnect 5 infotainment system. Featuring an all-new 10.1-inch touchscreen intelligently integrated into the dashboard, Uconnect 5 offers a great deal of customization and personalization, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford GT
Ford’s flagship sports car gets a slew of updates for the 2020 model year that include improved performance as well as new special editions. Ford engineers have been able to draw a bit more power from the GT’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. A bump of 13 horses gives the GT a total output of 660 horsepower as well as a broader torque band for even better response and performance. The 2020 Ford GT also gets increased airflow with new buttress air ducts and larger intercoolers, which help preserve peak horsepower when pushing the car on hot days. Other updates include increased suspension damping in Track mode for better handling and body control during high-speed track maneuvers. An Akrapovic titanium exhaust system is also new for 2020, providing a nine-pound weight savings while still providing a wonderfully deep exhaust note.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford GT
Ford also announced an update to the Gulf Racing Heritage livery for the GT. With a new design that features a black pinstripe dividing the blue and orange fields, the updated look better recalls the iconic design of the 1968–69 LeMans-winning GT40. In addition, the company created a new Liquid Carbon edition to better showcase the fact that the GT is formed from lightweight carbon fiber. Rather than cover the carbon fiber with paint, the Liquid Carbon version utilizes a special clearcoat paint to properly showcase the carbon fiber’s weave. Carbon fiber wheels are standard on the Liquid Carbon edition. Titanium lug nuts and five different caliper color options are available. An extremely limited number of Liquid Carbon editions will be produced.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Genesis GV80
With three luxury sedans in its lineup, Genesis was missing a key ingredient to ensure success in the U.S. — an SUV. To remedy the situation, Genesis introduces the all-new GV80. The GV80 has styling that complements the Genesis lineup. Joining the G70, G80 and G90 sedans, the new SUV features the familiar Crest Grille while introducing a new headlight style for the brand. The quad narrow lamps create a unique look, similar to the lights shown on the concept vehicle. The tasteful interior also exudes elegance, introducing a new style for Genesis. Narrow air vents span the dashboard to give occupants the impression of a wide cabin, further enhanced by a 14-inch-wide split-screen infotainment display in the center. Seats are covered in attractive diamond-pleated leather, and the ride is sure to be quiet with active noise cancelling.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Genesis GV80
Two turbocharged engines will be available for the GV80 in the U.S. — a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder unit and a 3.5-liter V6. Each will be teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Horsepower figures haven’t been released, but the new 3.5-liter V6 will likely be a twin-turbo powerplant producing at least 380 horses. The GV80 features electronically-controlled suspension that reacts to road conditions. A front-facing camera provides the system with a preview to better react to bumps and rough pavement, creating a comfortable, smooth ride. Available as a 5- or 7-occupant crossover, the GV80 is expected to join the Genesis lineup this summer. Pricing will be released closer to the on-sale date.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Honda Civic Type R
The refreshed 2020 Honda Civic Type R made its official U.S. debut at the Chicago Auto Show finished in the new Boost Blue exterior color. Updates for 2020 include revised suspension, upgraded brakes, an exterior refresh, an updated interior and standard Honda Sensing safety and driver-assistance technologies. Suspension changes include revised dampers for better ride comfort, stiffer rear bushings and revisions to the front suspension and steering for better steering feel. The 2020 Civic Type R adds 2-piece brake rotors and new brake pads to reduce brake fade and improve high-speed braking efficiency.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Honda Civic Type R
The 2020 Honda Civic Type R derives power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injection engine with VTEC producing 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Power gets delivered to the front wheels by a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. Inside, the Civic Type R receives a new Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and a new shifter with a restyled knob and shorter shift throws. The driver can choose between three drive modes: Comfort, Sport and +R, which vary suspension firmness as well as steering and throttle response. New for 2020 is active sound control, which modifies interior sound in concert with the chosen drive mode. Additional information about the 2020 Civic Type R, including pricing, will be available when it goes on sale later in 2020.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
About a year ago Hyundai introduced an all-new Sonata. Built on a platform that both increases strength and reduces weight, the Sonata has an all-new look with unique lighting and an upgraded interior. In Chicago Hyundai took Sonata to the next level with the Sonata Hybrid. This new fuel-efficient model stands out from the standard Sonata with a unique cross-hole grille featuring active air flaps, a rear spoiler and aerodynamic alloy wheels. Also unique to the Sonata Hybrid is the Solar Roof System that brings additional charge to the hybrid battery. According to Hyundai, the solar roof adds a couple miles of driving per day in addition to the unique look.

2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
A 2.0-liter engine producing 150 horsepower motivates the Sonata Hybrid, teamed with a 51-horsepower electric motor for a combined 192 horsepower. Unlike many hybrids on the market, the Sonata Hybrid gets a 6-speed automatic transmission that features Active Shift Control. This system monitors gearshifts and adjusts transmission rotation for quicker, smoother shifts. Fuel economy numbers for the Sonata Hybrid Blue are rated at 50 mpg city / 54 mpg hwy / 52 mpg combined. Sonata Hybrid is slated to go on sale this spring.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Jaguar F-TYPE
Jaguar’s F-TYPE sports car was one of the sexiest vehicles on the road when it premiered, and now the British car company has given the F-TYPE new styling inside and out. The most noticeable change is the F-TYPE’s face — slim LED headlights get inset within the newly sculpted clamshell hood. With the signature J daytime running lights as well as the larger grille, the F-TYPE has a wide, more aggressive appearance. The rear LED lights have also been revised with slimmer styling to match the lights up front. “F-TYPE has always had great proportions and stance, and our latest design is all about enhancing those key Jaguar values,” said Jaguar’s Exterior Design Director Adam Hatton. “Our aim was to make the car more contemporary, more purposeful, and even more dramatic,” Hatton concluded.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Jaguar F-TYPE
Buyers of the 2021 F-TYPE can choose from three engines that range from a 296-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder unit to a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 producing a plentiful 575 horsepower in the F-TYPE R. With an increase of 25 horses over the previous version, the F-TYPE R also gets an upgraded chassis featuring new springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and rear knuckles. Engage this Jaguar’s all-wheel-drive system and the F-TYPE R will sprint to 60 mph in a mere 3.5 seconds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave
The brand-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator proudly wears a badge on the front fender proclaiming this off-road pickup to be “Trail Rated.” At the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, Jeep introduced a new Desert Rated qualification and the first Gladiator to be badged as such, the Gladiator Mojave. To earn the right to wear the Desert Rated badge, a Jeep has to meet certain qualifications that make it the ultimate in high-speed, off-road capability and performance in tough desert and sand environments.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave
The Gladiator Mojave uses Jeep’s proven Command-Trac 4-wheel drive system with a 2-speed transfer case, a low-range gear ratio, heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles, and an electronic locking rear differential. The Mojave has been designed to achieve higher speeds while in low range to keep momentum while attacking sand dunes and other desert challenges. With 11.6-inchs of ground clearance, the Mojave should be able to tackle nearly any obstacle. The Mojave also gets tuned high-performance FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks that improve handling and comfort while minimizing the chance of bottoming out when taking to the dunes at high speeds. A front skidplate and 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-terrain tires add to the overall capabilities.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Jeep Wrangler / Gladiator High Altitude
Although Jeep built a reputation on off-road prowess, luxury is not something typically associates with this iconic brand. Hoping to change that perception, Jeep introduces the High Altitude editions of the Wrangler and Gladiator. These top-level Jeeps stand out with matching body color treatments throughout, as well as LED headlights, running lights, fog lights, accent lights and taillights. Special colors highlight these new models, including Ocean Blue, Gobi and Snazzberry. Completing the look are 20-inch gloss black aluminum wheels and a matte black Trail Rated badge.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Jeep Wrangler / Gladiator High Altitude
Inside, the High Altitude Wrangler and Gladiator get full leather trim on the dashboard, center console and door panels as well as quilted Nappa leather seats. These top-level trims come well equipped with features that include an 8.4-inch touchscreen display, an Alpine premium audio system, a Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation and remote keyless entry. The Wrangler and Gladiator High Altitude editions are expected to arrive in showrooms by this summer.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Kia Cadenza
Kia debuted the refreshed 2020 Cadenza at the Chicago Auto Show with exterior design updates, a revised interior and additions to Kia Drive Wise driver-assistance technologies. Exterior updates include a redesigned grille with deeper vertical waterfall elements, a new hood, standard multi-lens LED headlights, redesigned LED daytime running lights, a new lower fascia with integrated turn signals, a new rear bumper, a revised trunk lid, new standard 18-inch wheels and new optional 19-inch wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Kia Cadenza
Significant interior updates to the 2020 Kia Cadenza include a redesigned dash with a new instrument cluster, relocated audio controls above the climate control switches, a standard 4.2-inch TFT color screen in the instrument panel, standard 12.3-inch with multi-device Bluetooth capability, available multi-color LED ambient lighting, quilted seat bolsters for the Cadenza Limited and two new Nappa leather-trimmed seat colors: Saddle Brown and Gray. New standard Drive Wise features for Cadenza include Sensor Fusion, which combines forward-collision warning, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection, smart cruise control with stop & go and high-beam assist; lane-following assist; blind-spot collision-avoidance assist —rear with lane-change assist; highway driving assist; navigation-based smart cruise control; and safety exit assist.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceJeep Wrangler JPP 20
As the longtime parts and accessories division of Fiat Chrysler, Mopar has introduced several special-edition vehicles over the years that showcase what’s possible with Mopar parts. At this year’s Chicago Auto Show, Mopar debuted its first custom Wrangler — the JPP (Jeep Performance Parts) 20. “The new limited-edition Jeep Wrangler JPP 20 is a ‘check-all-the boxes’ off-road vehicle for enthusiasts,” said Mark Bosanac, Head of Mopar Service, Parts and Customer Care for FCA North America. “We loaded the Jeep brand’s iconic rock crawler with factory-backed and quality-tested authentic Jeep Performance Parts specifically designed and engineered to tackle the toughest conditions,” Bosanac noted.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceJeep Wrangler JPP 20
With 90 percent of Jeep Wranglers equipped with at least one item from Jeep Performance Parts, the JPP 20 showcases the possibilities if an owner goes to the extremes of customization. Built on a 4-door Wrangler Unlimited, the JPP 20 features steel tube doors, a mesh sun bonnet, multiple LED lights, a 2-inch lift kit, a Rubicon Warn winch and heavy-gauge rock rails. Inside are Katzkin Tuscany leather seats that feature an embroidered JPP logo on each front seatback. Available in Ocean Blue or White, the JPP 20 Wrangler further sets itself apart with an American Flag hood graphic, blacked-out fender vents and fuel door, as well as JPP graphic decals. Jeep dealers will be able to order this special Wrangler in the second quarter of 2020, with deliveries taking place this summer.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Mercedes-Benz Weekender
The Mercedes-Benz Metris van has plenty of commercial applications, but now the company has injected some fun into this utility van with the creation of the Weekender Package. In the spirit of classic VW camper vans, the Weekender will make a great option for camping out or road-tripping across the country. Driverge Vehicle Innovations builds the Weekender in partnership with Peace Vans. Based in Seattle, Peace Vans is one of the largest classic camper van restoration and repair shops in America.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Mercedes-Benz Weekender
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz Weekender features a pop-up top that can provide a roomy interior with space to stand or, when needed, houses a bed that can sleep two. The rear bench seat slides forward or aft via a track system in the floor, and it can be folded into a second large bed. Front seats swivel to the rear and a stowable table create a “flowing” living quarters. A second battery provides additional power for device charging or extra lighting, and available integrated solar panels extend the Weekender’s off-grid range. The van also has plenty of storage in back, and a pullout kitchen is available. The Weekender can be ordered from any authorized Mercedes-Benz dealership starting this spring.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Nissan Frontier
Nissan debuted the 2020 Frontier pickup truck with an all-new 3.8-liter V6 engine and a 9-speed automatic transmission. The new engine and transmission will power the 2020 model of the current generation Frontier before becoming the powertrain for the next-generation Frontier scheduled to debut next year. The new 3.8-liter V6 engine for the 2020 Nissan Frontier was developed specifically for the U.S. market, producing 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque — an increase of 49 horsepower over the outgoing 4.0-liter V6 engine. The previously-offered inline four cylinder will be discontinued, making the new 3.8-liter V6 the sole engine available for the 2020 Frontier.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Nissan Frontier
The new 3.8-liter V6 engine features 93 percent new or redesigned parts with gasoline direct injection, cylinder heads with integrated exhaust manifolds, a variable displacement oil pump, variable timing control and variable tumble control valve. The 2020 Frontier also receives an all-new 9-speed automatic transmission offers a wider gear range and is designed to offer quick, direct shifts. The new engine and transmission combine to improve both acceleration and efficiency. The 2020 Nissan Frontier is offered in both King Cab and Crew Cab versions with rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive with an electronically-controlled part-time transfer case.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Toyota Highlander XSE
For 2021 Toyota is adding the Highlander XSE as a sportier version of the seventh-generation midsize Highlander crossover that debuted as a 2020 model. The Highlander XSE receives a sport-tuned suspension, unique exterior design elements and interior trim updates. The sporty exterior design includes a new front fascia with a larger lower air intake integrated into the bumper, a restyled grille, a splitter, a unique headlight design with black accents, and light strip daytime running lights. The look gets completed with unique rocker panels, chrome tip dual exhaust, black roof rails, black mirrors, black window trim and unique 20-inch machined face wheels with black accents.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Toyota Highlander XSE
The Highlander XSE has a revised suspension with higher rate springs, stiffer rear stabilizer bar, retuned shocks and recalibrated steering. Highlander XSE is powered by a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission with either front-wheel drive or dynamic torque vectoring all-wheel drive. Inside, Highlander XSE receives black Softex-trimmed seats with fabric inserts, ambient lighting and carbon fiber finish trim. A two-tone red and black leather-trimmed interior with red stitching on the instrument panel is available. The 2021 Highlander XSE is scheduled to go on sale in Fall 2020.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Toyota Nightshade Special Editions
Toyota adds three new Nightshade Editions for the Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia, based on the Limited trim level of each model. All three models are offered in Midnight Black Metallic and Magnetic Gray Metallic with the choice of either 2WD or 4WD. Additional features include black leather-trim seating, black exterior trim, darkened chrome grille, black mirror caps and black door handles. The Tacoma Nightshade features Dark Smoke 18-inch alloy wheels, a black exhaust tip, black fog light bezels and a new grille design. Tacoma Nightshade is offered in Windchill Pearl as an additional exterior color. Toyota is planning to build 5,000 each of Tacoma and Tundra Nightshade and 2,500 of Sequoia Nightshade.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Toyota Tundra Nightshade
The Tundra Nightshade has black wheels and black exhaust tip. Two additional exterior colors are offered — Windchill Pearl and Super White.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Toyota Sequoia Nightshade
The Sequoia Nightshade features darkened chrome Sequoia badging, body moldings, lower grille and fog light surrounds. Sequoia Nightshade is also offered in Blizzard Pearl.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Toyota Trail Special Editions
Toyota debuted three new Trail Special Editions for Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner, with an emphasis on extra storage and convenience, unique styling and exclusive content. All three Toyota Trail Editions are based on the SR5 trim level with the choice of 2WD or 4WD. Trail color choices include Army Green, Cement, Midnight Black and Super White. All Trail Editions will include black exterior badging, black seating with tan stitching and all-weather floor liners. Tacoma Trail is based on the SR5 Double Cab and features Dark Gray 18-inch TRD Off-Road wheels, Kevlar All-Terrain tires and the same grille as Tacoma Limited. The bed includes a 115-volt power outlet and the lockable bed storage includes insulation on the driver’s side so it can be used as a cooler. Toyota plans to build 7,000 Tacoma and Tundra Trail Editions and 4,000 4Runner Trail Editions.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Toyota Tundra Trail Edition
The Tundra Trail is based on the SR5 Crew Max with SR5 Upgrade Package and features the chrome grille from the top-of-the-line Tundra 1794 Edition with color-keyed surround, special-edition wheels and lockable bed storage with insulation.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition
The 4Runner Trail features dark gray TRD Off-Road wheels, a Yakima LoadWarrior rooftop cargo basket, a custom 40-quart cooler and a sliding cargo tray. The cooler is finished in Army Green for the Army Green 4Runner Trail and Cement for the other three exterior colors.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Volkswagen Atlas
Volkswagen debuted the updated 2021 Atlas at the Chicago Auto Show with a bolder exterior design, interior upgrades and new driver-assistance technology. The refreshed Atlas is nearly 3 inches longer than the outgoing model because of new front and rear bumpers. The bold 3-bar grille follows the design of the Atlas Cross Sport with the grille extending into the front lights, and the addition of new headlights and new LED taillights. The R-line adds a unique bumper design, side skirts and available 20-inch or 21-inch alloy wheels depending on trim.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Volkswagen Atlas
Inside, the 2021 Atlas adds a new steering wheel, available contrast stitching, and an 8-inch Composition Media infotainment system on all trims but the base Atlas S. Available features include Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, Fender Premium Audio System, ambient lighting, 3-zone Climatronic climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, wireless charging and remote start. Standard driver-assistance technology includes forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring (front assist), a blind-spot monitor and rear traffic alert.

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