At this time last week, I was preparing for the Chicago Auto Show. I was headed to the media preview as a guest of Nissan along with a multitude of other journalists and digital professionals. The schedule included time in the concept garage, a welcome reception, various private after-hours events sponsored by Nissan, Mazda and Toyota and a breakfast hosted by Midwest Automotive Media Association and Chicago Automobile Trade Association. In addition to all the extras, media was encouraged to hit the show floor on Thursday and Friday to attend the many press conferences that started every half hour.
At each of the events, the presenters talked about both the practical features as well as technical aspects of the vehicles and those discussions continued as media moved from one conference to the next. I was part of one conversation where other individuals in the group started talking about the nuts and bolts of an engine – comments that went completely over my head. I realized that those details aren’t what I like to share when talking about The Chicago Auto Show. I prefer to focus on the real-life details like the car seat cameras in the Chrysler Pacifica. That kind of information resonates because it’s real and relatable. I have a vivid recollection of purchasing special mirrors to place in the cars when I first became a mom. Technical aspects of the vehicle are important to performance, longevity, quality of the ride and more, but technology and innovation have really changed how we get from one place to another.
Starting at the concept garage and filtering through the auto show floor, I continued to absorb all the things that made me go, “Huh. I want that in my next car.” One example was the wireless charging feature in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. I noticed it in other vehicles throughout the four days I was at the auto show and know this simple advancement would help cut down on sibling arguments during road trips.
During a welcome reception, Nissan proudly displayed an owner’s Nissan Frontier truck that had hit one million miles. Despite daily use and raving about the vehicle, the owner said he wished it had a better engine. Nissan recognizes the importance of listening to their customers as they explained an upgraded V6 engine will be available in their 2020 Frontier.
Speaking of daily drivers and things being practical… attendees of the Chicago Auto Show can check out an electric Mustang. Yes, you read that right: An electric Ford Mustang. A car that many people associate with classic muscle will now be taking a page from the environmental handbook when we see the Ford Mustang Mach-E hit the sales floor.
Electric and hybrid options are actually something that I saw quite a bit throughout the show. It’s one of the things I expect to play a factor in our next vehicle. Scott and I spent a lot of time on Saturday looking at all the options across the price spectrum. Nissan, Chrysler, Kia, Hyundai, Audi and Jaguar were just a few of the many that we looked at.
The Chicago Auto Show is far more than just a place to showcase new cars. Throughout the show, you can find plenty of automotive-adjacent things to look at and enjoy in-between checking out the cars. Some examples include multiple simulators, test tracks, an elevated cargo net tunnel, games and even puppies. With a focus on family, they are always looking for ways to engage the community. While you might think it’s all about the cars, The Chicago Auto Show also coordinates a massive fundraiser the night before the show opens to the public. Proceeds of the black tie extravaganza go to local charities and there’s a drawing for one guest to win a new vehicle. This year, the organizers presented a check to Chicagoland Charities for $2,812,016!!!
From now through President’s Day, you can attend the show to see just how entertaining it is. Research new cars, see new technology, enjoy the atmosphere and have fun. There are many reasons to attend The Chicago Auto Show! If you’re interested in making the trip, visit their website for times, tickets, special events and additional details. See the latest updates and excitement on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). It’s worth the trip whether you’re looking to buy a new car or not.
What extras help entice you to attend events like The Chicago Auto Show?