Top 5 Debuts of the Chicago Auto Show

Jodi Lai
by Jodi Lai

The Chicago Auto Show is typically a quiet event, as most automakers get their big debuts over with in Detroit.

But because it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of debuts, some automakers save their reveals for the Windy City show. Still, the Chicago Show isn’t a flashy one, focusing on family cars and trucks rather than expensive luxury cars or exotics.

Here are the Top 5 most significant debuts at this year’s show:

5. Chevrolet Camaro 1LE

Chevrolet celebrated the return of the track-capable 1LE package to the Camaro in Chicago, but the biggest news is that it will be available on both V6 and V8 models. Setting the benchmark for attainable track performance, the Camaros get all sorts of upgrades that will help drivers set impressive lap times.

MORE DETAILS: Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Returns for 2017 with V6 and V8 Options

4. Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport

The Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport are hugely significant models for Hyundai and both crossovers debuted refreshed looks here in Chicago. Besides exterior nips and tucks, the Santa Fes get huge safety upgrades like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and adaptive lights with high-beam assist.

READ MORE: Hyundai Rolls Out Facelifted 2017 Santa Fe

3. Ram Power Wagon

Ram’s three-quarter ton pickups just got more capable off-road. The the 2500 Power Wagon and the 2500 Off-Road 4×4 models debuted here at the show, and although they look loud and ready to conquer, they also have the proper upgrades to make it possible.

MORE DETAILS: 2017 Ram 2500 is Ready for Adventure with Power Wagon, 4×4 Off-Road Models

2. Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

The popular off-roading TRD Pro line for the new Tacoma has returned for the 2017 model year. Other than making it look more badass, the TRD Pro gives the Tacoma big performance upgrades that will make it more capable when the pavement ends. The Tacoma has always been a popular truck with off-roaders, and the TRD Pro is something they have been waiting for since the redesigned truck debuted last year.

MORE DETAILS: Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Returns for 2017

1. Kia Niro

Pretty much the only debut of a completely new model here at the Chicago show, the 2017 Kia Niro is the automaker’s first dedicated hybrid. Right now, the Niro has a huge advantage because it’s the only subcompact crossover hybrid on the market, and will likely start a trend in its segment.

Kia’s goal is for the Niro to get a combined 50 mpg, which is very optimistic, but every car the Korean automaker unveiled here was a green model, so it’s clear they are taking efficiency very seriously.

Power comes from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 103 horsepower and a 43-hp electric motor for a combined output of 146 hp and a strong 195 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a 1.56-kWh lithium-ion battery that will help reduce the load on the gas engine and increase efficiency. There’s also a plug-in model on the way.

READ MORE: All-New 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid Crossover Has 50 MPG Goals

Jodi Lai
Jodi Lai

Jodi has been obsessed with cars since she was little and has been an automotive journalist for the past 12 years. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto, is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and a jury member for the prestigious North American Car/Truck/Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY). Besides hosting videos, and writing news, reviews and features, Jodi is the Editor-in-Chief of and takes care of the site's day-to-day operations.

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 1 comment
  • Thomas Thomas on Feb 14, 2016

    Dodge would sell more Power Wagons if they dropped the Hemi with no cylinder deactivation and went with a Cummins since it's 3/4 Ton.