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Chicago Auto Show: More than just looks
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2012-02-15

This article shared 10707 times since Wed Feb 15, 2012
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The 104th edition of the Chicago Auto Show is currently running through Feb. 19 at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.

The show utilizes 1.2 million square feet of the McCormick Place complex. ( McCormick Place offers a total of 2.7 million square feet of exhibit halls, with an additional 700,000 square feet of meeting-room availability. )

Exhibitions include multiple world and North American introductions; a complete range of domestic and imported passenger cars and trucks; sport utility vehicles; and experimental cars. In total, nearly 1,000 different vehicles are on display.

Viewers can see vehicles that encompass the past, present and future. Classic Cars of America has a tantalizing array of cars on display, and there's even an area called "60 Years of Corvette," complete with a model from the '50s. The concept cars—some with more unusual designs than others—are there as well.

Speaking of looks, one of the most intriguing displays involved the work of Pontiac, Ill., airbrush artist Tang Dongbai, whose works on a vehicle were inspired by the history of the city.

Also, the luxury cars once again have a place at the table, as makes such as Maserati, Porsche and Aston Martin are there, tempting attendees.

However, looks are only part of the story at this year's event, as manufacturers stressed advancements in safety, eco-conscience and/or technology.

This year's vehicle display scads of safety features, ranging from advanced airbag system to lane-drift technology to LATCH ( Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children ) .

Chrysler was front and center with its BraunAbility feature, which allows wheelchair-bound individuals in its larger vehicles to comfortably enter, exit and drive. Among its sundry features is Uconnect, a voice-activated, hands-free system. It's pretty much a hub for the user's Internet, satellite radio and personal devices like MP3 players.

Another example is the remarkably roomy smart car, which features ( among other things ) electronic stability program and hill start assist. In addition, the car—which is 85-percent recyclable—has eight airbags and a design that allows you to use body panels of various colors and designs.

Acura unveiled its completely redesigned 2013 Acura RDX crossover sport utility vehicle and the all-new 2013 Acura ILX luxury compact sedan. The ILX will feature three advanced, sporty and efficient powertrain choices, including Acura's first-ever gas-electric hybrid.

On another show-related note, the Feb. 9 black-tie event known as First Look for Charity raised more than $2 million for 18 organizations. Events scheduled to take place Feb. 15-19 include test drives as well as non-auto-related items such as a meet-and-greet Chicago Bears football player Earl Bennett, Kia Karaoke and even manicures.

See www.ChicagoAutoShow.com for more info. Photos by Andrew Davis


This article shared 10707 times since Wed Feb 15, 2012
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