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The Best Cars, Trucks, and SUVs of the 2020 Chicago Auto Show

The Chicago Auto Show might not rise to the same dazzling prominence on the annual auto-show calendar as, say, the events held in Geneva or Los Angeles, but it’s a critical display of fresh sheetmetal nonetheless. That’s because during the show’s two-week run this February, a huge number of people—millions—will visit McCormick Place on the south end of downtown Chicago to take in the new cars, trucks, and SUVs on offer. So, while the number of big new-car debuts, premieres, and reveals in Chicago might be small compared to flashier shows, automakers don’t ignore the show entirely. This year saw a number of new or updated pragmatic vehicles perfect for the Midwest, including Chrysler’s 2021 Pacifica minivan and a new sporty version of the Toyota Highlander three-row crossover. Below, though, find the MotorTrend staff’s curated pics for the best vehicles at the show:


2020 Mercedes-Benz Weekender Camper Van


















Mercedes-Benz unveiled a freaking camper van in Chicago. It’s not just some show vehicle, either, as the company is actually planning to sell the Metris Weekender in the coming months. Admittedly, the Weekender lacks some of the panache of the luxurious Marco Polo camper van that Mercedes sells in Europe. That said, this is still a factory-backed camper van (replete with pop-up roof panel) that sleeps four and is available with such extras as an eight-foot awning and a pullout kitchen. To paraphrase Futurama’s Philip J. Fry, “Shut up and take my money, Mercedes.”—Greg Fink


1-Million-Mile 2007 Nissan Frontier












Why are we covering a 2007-model-year Nissan pickup truck in a roundup of favorites from an auto show in 2020? Well, for starters, this is no ordinary Nissan Frontier. It has been driven more than one million miles in only 13 years of service as a delivery vehicle local to the Chicagoland area. Its owner, Brian Murphy, has doled out minimal repairs over the truck’s life and has, for the most part, only changed the oil every 10,000 miles and dumped fuel in its tank. Nissan, of course, is highlighting Brian’s pickup as a way of marketing its vehicles’ longevity and toughness, and as someone who grew up in Chicago, it’s remarkable how presentable the well-used Frontier is. There is only some minor paint bubbling around the rear wheel wells—a miracle for a vehicle that’s prowled Chicago’s salty, busted-ass streets for so long.—Alexander Stoklosa


2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid










Chicago may be a truck-dominated show, but the fact that the EPA estimates the 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid can deliver up to 54 mpg is hugely impressive. Sure, that matches the Toyota Camry Hybrid, but the Sonata looks and feels more modern. And speaking of technology, what about that solar roof panel that can add 3 miles of electric-assisted driving range every day? Also, Hyundai claims that it will beat both the Honda Accord and Camry in acceleration and road noise; we’ll have to wait a few months to test the car and prove it ourselves.—Miguel Cortina


2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Convertible

2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 convertible

I’m sitting in the car I picked as I write this on my phone. Why? Because the Corvette convertible is as nice to be in as it is to drive. That is to say, it’s brilliant. And while I’ve only driven the coupe, I doubt chopping the roof off will change it much. Our car of the year is thunderously loud and easy on the eyes, and the convertible only amplifies those elements. Even in this Chicago snow, I’d drive it with the top down every single day and simply suffer the consequences. It’s not technically a Chicago debut—but what a car. I just had to include it.—Nick Yekikian


2021 Chrysler Pacifica












Yeah, yeah, yeah. Minivans aren’t sexy. But they offer best value for the buck if you’re looking to haul families and hamperfuls of stuff. Chrysler has always been the minivan king, in part because of its clever Stow ’N Go second-row seats that fold into the floor. But one of the reasons people gravitate to SUVs is for all-wheel drive and Chrysler’s vans historically offered either AWD or Stow ’N Go—not both. That changes now. It has taken a couple years to sort it out but the refreshed 2021 Pacifica brings back AWD while keeping the seat system intact with no compromises. The on-demand system has clutches front and back and the system chooses when to engage on its own. The floorpan remained intact and the overall ride height increased 0.8 inch to make room for the extra mechanical bits. In addition, the new top-shelf Pinnacle model has a suede headliner, caramel perforated leather seats with diamond patterns, nice stitching and piping, Berber carpet floor mats, a couple of lumbar throw pillows for the back seat, and fold-up infotainment screens. Set for fall delivery, families will ride in style.—Alisa Priddle

The post The Best Cars, Trucks, and SUVs of the 2020 Chicago Auto Show appeared first on MotorTrend.

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