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Chicago Auto Show offers peek into exciting future

2019 Ram 3500 World Debut
Reid Bigland Head of Ram Brand introduces the new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty lineup at the North American International Auto Show. The 2019 Ram 3500 is the most powerful, most capable pickup ever, with 1000 lb.-ft. of torque and 35,100 pounds of towing capacity.

Interactive tracks, all-new models in bright spotlight

The Chicago Auto Show, running through Feb. 18 at McCormick Place, offers the largest spaces for any auto show in the nation and this year’s event promises full use of every inch, as well as a peek into the future of driving in the U.S.

Must See Vehicles

Some of the Must See vehicles on the Chicago Auto Show floor include the exquisite sportiness of the 2020 Toyota Supra, Lexus RC F Track, Subaru WRX STi and the perennial roadster fav – the all-new Mazda MX-5 Miata. Some of my personal favorites include the all-new Jeep Gladiator pickup, upsize Kia Telluride SUV, Ram heavy duty pickup and the all-new Ford Explorer.

2020 Toyota Supra

Trends

The 2019 Chicago Auto Show is an opportunity to immerse oneself in everything automotive, SUV and truck-like – not to mention everything in between. The biggest trends represented on the McCormick Place showroom floor are the continued popularity and expansion of the crossover segment and the further evolution and integration of electric-powered vehicles (EV).

In addition to the current lineups of the major global manufacturers, the show offers insights into 2020 models that are already appearing on dealership lots, concept developments, and a heavy dose of new technology from crash avoidance and entertainment interaction to material use.

2020 Lexus RC-F Track

Test Tracks

Chicago’s McCormick Place exhibit halls are some of the largest indoor convention spaces in the nation. The Chicago Auto Show utilizes more than 1 million square feet in the North and South Exhibit Halls of the McCormick Place complex. These enormous spaces provide manufacturers to do things they might not be able to do at other auto shows.

Some of the most notable activities to check out at the Chicago Auto Show are the interactive exhibits allowing test drives on-site. Two of those interactive road tests at this year’s show are the popular Jeep off-road course and the Ram test course.

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon

Camp Jeep

More than 45,000 attendees are expected to participate at the Camp Jeep Indoor Track Experience, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary at the Chicago Auto Show. According to Jeep, more than 420,000 test rides have been taken at the Chicago show over the years.

Off-road test drives will be available in the new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, Renegade Trailhawk, Cherokee Trailhawk and Compass Trailhawk. While participants at the Camp Jeep track receive a free Jeep tote bag to commemorate their experience, the real memories are definitely found on the track itself.

In an effort to make the Jeep experience as realistic as possible, the 24,000-square-foot exhibit space is filled with tons of raw materials like rubber mulch, dirt, logs and boulders. Look for a ground clearance stair climber challenge, maneuverability moguls, extreme break-overs, an 18-foot 30-degree Hill Ascent/Descent, low-crawl boulders, and a 30-degree banked wedge.

Ram Truck Territory

Debuting at this year’s Chicago Auto Show is the 28,000-square-foot ultimate in-truck adventure by Ram. Professional drivers navigate attendees through the interactive course in the 2019 Ram 1500, the Motor Trend Truck of the Year. 

The track will feature Ram 1500 Laramie, Limited, Laramie Longhorn and Rebel models. Ram says approximately 25,000 test rides will be given throughout the show. Payload and stability demonstrations will showcase the all-new Ram 1500s capabilities.

Towing capability and suspension options will be tested by a series of culverts and high-banked wedges. Traction and hill-decent technology will be tested, as well as experiencing “Ram Mountain,” a 13-foot high, 30-foot long course element with 30 degree approach and departure angles. Technology will be displayed as the drivers highlight the parallel and perpendicular park assist features and trailer towing technology.

This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication