2019 Chicago Auto Show Archive

  • 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road unveiled in Chicago

    Most SUV owners will not take their vehicles off-road, but Toyota is looking to change that with the new RAV4 TRD Off-Road at this year’s Chicago Auto Show. The new model is based on the Adventure grade available in the United States, but with a good helping of TRD parts inspired by its RAV4 rally car.

    First up, there’s a dedicated suspension setup that is engineered to enhance body control and small-bump isolation to provide a smoother ride on rough trails/streets. The package includes red coil springs that are better focused for off-road duties, while the twin-tube shocks are revalved and carry new springs to improve rebound control.

    Other add-ons include new bump stops to maximize compression direction wheel travel, as well as help improve body control over large bumps and dips. A set of flow-formed 18-inch TRD alloy wheels in matte black is also new here, and comes paired with a set of Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail all-terrain tyres.

    The company says these tyres feature a unique tread pattern and compound developed specifically to TRD technical requirements, which includes a square shoulder design to protect against punctures,. They are also severe snow rated with open shoulder grooving to shed debris, mud and snow.

    The RAV4 TRD Off-Road is available in a two-tone paintjob consisting of a Magnetic Grey Metallic body with Ice Edge roof, accented by dark grey front and rear lower fascias. Alternatives include Midnight Black or Lunar Rock, both available with the white roof, or Ruby Flare Pearl and Super White.

    Inside, red accents are present throughout the cabin, which uses SofTex on the seat surfaces. The material is lighter than leather but highly durable, which is fitting for the rugged nature of the vehicle, including TRD all-weather floor mats. A good amount of TRD branding is also present, like the stitching on the front seat headrests.

    No changes under the bonnet, with the Dynamic Force 2.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine delivering 203 hp and 249 Nm of torque. The mill is linked to an eight-speed Direct Shift eight-speed automatic transmission and Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive (TV-AWD) with Rear Driveline Disconnect.

  • 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI debuts in Chicago – 228 hp from the Golf GTI, six-speed manual, LSD standard

    Volkswagen has presented the new Jetta GLI at this year’s Chicago Auto Show, just a few weeks after the standard model made its debut in Detroit. The Jetta GLI is perfect for those who want a sedan body style, but with bits from the more renowned Golf GTI and Golf R.

    Focusing on performance first, the Jetta GLI gets the Golf GTI’s 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 228 hp and 350 Nm of torque, which makes 18 hp and 55 Nm more than the previous Jetta GLI.

    Enthusiasts will be happy to know the EA888 mill is mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard, with the option of a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. The sports sedan also gets Golf GTI’s VAQ electronically controlled, torque sensing limited-slip differential.

    Other driving-related features include a sports suspension that lowers the ride height by some 15 mm, along with brakes shared with the Golf R – 340 mm vented front discs with red-painted calipers. The car also gets all-around independent sport suspension, with a strut-type setup at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear.

    To ensure the Jetta GLI stands out, a number of sporty styling cues have been applied. These include a black honeycomb grille between the LED projector headlamps, with a red accent line reminiscent of the GTI nameplate.

    Around back, there’s a unique rear bumper with a finned diffuser as well as dual chrome, circular exhaust tips. A set of 18-inch aluminium-alloy wheels and GLI badging completes the look.

    Moving inside, red accents on a mostly black interior reinforces the car’s sporty nature, and is joined by diamond flag décor trim, leather-wrapped sports multifunction steering wheel and sport multi-info display from the GTI.

    Volkswagen of America is also offering a special 35th anniversary model to celebrate the first arrival of the Jetta GLI in the United States in 1984. The model gains a number of additional items on top of the standard trim, including the DCC adaptive damping system, for starters.

    The addition of the DCC system expands the list of available drive modes from four – Normal, Sport, Eco and Custom – to five, with Comfort being the fifth option.

    The 35th anniversary model also comes with black wheels with a red stripe, a black roof, black mirror caps, black tail spoiler, 35th anniversary badging inside and out, unique seat tags, floormats, and sill kickplates.

  • Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition officially debuts

    It’s been thirty years since the original Mazda MX-5 made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show. To celebrate the milestone, Mazda makes a fitting return to the same venue at the Windy City with a commemorative model, aptly named the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition.

    As previously teased, the special MX-5 gets a bright Racing Orange finish, and gets shod with bespoke forged aluminium Rays wheels. A 30th anniversary badge with the model’s serial number is positioned on the lower rear fenders, and it’s complemented by orange brake calipers and Brembo front brakes (a first for the UK market).

    Inside, the exclusivity continues with orange accents on the seats, door trim, dashboard, steering wheel, air vents and gear lever. A pair of leather/Alcantara Recaro sport seats have been fitted as well, and the use of Alcantara extends to the door trim and instrument panel. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard here.

    Engine-wise, the 30th Anniversary model gets the updated version of the 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G engine, producing 184 PS at 7,000 rpm and 205 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The naturally aspirated mill’s rev limit has been raised from 6,800 rpm to 7,500 rpm. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, as are Bilstein dampers, strut-brace and limited slip differential.

    Just 3,000 cars will be produced globally, and production includes both the convertible and RF models. Prices start from £28,095 (RM148k) for the convertible, whereas the RF, marked out by its black two-tone roof, will be priced at £29,895 (RM158k).

    To date, over one million units of the Mazda MX-5 have been sold, making it the world’s best-selling two-seater roadster by far. Mazda Motors UK managing director, Jeremy Thomson said: “this is a sports car that has resonated with enthusiastic British drivers ever since its debut and four generations on it’s as popular as ever. Along the way, it has remained true to the original principle of being an affordable, lightweight and above all fun-to-drive roadster.”

    “Today it is the very essence of the Jinba Ittai driver-and-car-as-one philosophy that goes into every Mazda. With its unique detailing, generous equipment levels, exclusivity and bold Racing Orange paint, the 30th Anniversary Edition is the perfect way to celebrate three decades of this iconic sports car.”

  • 2020 Subaru Legacy unveiled at Chicago Auto Show – 2.4L turbo boxer engine, EyeSight standard in the US

    The 2020 Subaru Legacy has made its debut at this year’s Chicago Auto Show, a few days after teaser images of the D-segment sedan were posted online. Now built on the Subaru Global Platform (SGP), the seventh-generation Legacy has been completely redesigned inside and out.

    In terms of design, the new Legacy remains largely similar to its predecessor, with a few defining cues to set it apart. For starters, the front face gets a new frameless, hexagonal grille that is flanked by more shapely headlamps with C-shaped LED daytime running lights. Subaru also notes that the windscreen has been enlarged.

    The lower apron has also been tweaked to incorporate a wide, black trim piece that connects both fog lamp enclosures that are subtler in appearance. Progressing down the sides, new side mirrors are now positioned closer to the A-pillars, while the fenders have been widened.

    You’ll also notice the character line, which starts from the front fenders, run closer in parallel to the door handles towards the taillights. As for the rear, it looks relatively unchanged from before, aside from the slightly smaller taillight clusters and a raised trunk surface for a smoother connection to the C-pillars.

    While the exterior may be a little too familiar, the new Legacy’s cabin undergoes a more significant overhaul. The new three-tier dashboard now seamlessly flows from end to end, with highlights being a more angular instrument binnacle, slim top dash display and more upholstered areas. Nappa leather is available on higher-end trim levels, which Subaru says is a first for its models.

    Of course, the most prominent item on the dashboard is the 11.6-inch, tablet-style touchscreen, which is linked to the car’s infotainment system (Subaru Starlink in the United States). Aside from the usual media, telephony and connectivity functions, the system is also responsible for HVAC controls and the car’s around-view monitor.

    Base models come with a different multimedia system, which features dual 7.0-inch displays that split multimedia and HVAC controls.

    The large screen clears up a lot of switchgear found in the previous Legacy, and it forces the air vents to be repositioned to either side of it. Meanwhile, noise intrusion is down by almost three decibels at highway speeds thanks to new door weather strips and thicker sound-insulated glass.

    The adoption of the SGP also allows for increases in front shoulder room, front/rear hip room and rear legroom. Subaru claims a cargo capacity of 427 litres, and the Legacy “can comfortably hold four full-size roller bags.”

    With the new architecture, the new Legacy is 70% stiffer in both torsional and front-suspension rigidity, and 100% stiffer in both front lateral flexural and rear subframe rigidity compared to the previous Legacy’s platform.

    The front suspension setup employs MacPherson struts with new internal rebound springs, aluminum lower L-arms and a 23 mm hollow stabilizer bar. For the rear, a double-wishbone layout with subframe is used together with coil springs and a new 19 mm hollow stabilizer bar. Depending on trim level, the Legacy comes with either 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels, with four-wheel ventilated disc brakes being standard.

    Under the bonnet, the Legacy will get a turbocharged engine for the first time since the fifth-generation model. In this case, it is the FA24F 2.4 litre turbo four-cylinder that is also used in the Ascent.

    Developing 260 hp at 5,600 rpm and 376 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 4,800 rpm, the motor is linked to a Lineartronic CVT and the company’s proprietary Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system – good for a 0-96 km/h run of 6.1 seconds.

    There’s a non-turbo option too in the form of the FB25DI, a 2.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder with direct injection. This engine debuted in the latest Forester, and delivers 182 hp at 5,800 rpm and 239 Nm at 4,400 rpm – 0-96 km/h in 8.4 seconds.

    In the US, all Legacy trims will come as standard with the EyeSight suite of driver assistance systems, with Lane Centering Function being a new add-on. With it, steering assist is provided when the vehicle veers outside its lane, helping the driver maintain a direct path.

    There’s also a Front View Monitor that captures images within the driver’s blind spots in front of the vehicle and displays a 180-degree view on the primary display. Other available systems include LED Steering Responsive Headlamps, Reverse Automatic Braking and Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

  • Lexus NX F Sport Black Line Special Edition unveiled

    Lexus has released the NX F Sport Black Line Special Edition, featuring additional styling and accessories built on the popular F Sport model. Production is limited to 1,000 units, and can be had in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive forms. Prices start from US$48,575 (RM198k) for the former and US$49,975 (RM203k) for the latter.

    For equipment, the Black Line model gets a unique set of 19-inch F Sport split-six-spoke wheels and carbon-fibre graphics on the sides. Lexus says the wheels give the NX a more aggressive appearance thanks to the F Sport’s lowered stance and larger exhaust opening (standard on NX F Sport models). Exterior colours include Ultra White, Obsidian and Atomic Silver.

    Inside, owners will experience two all-new firsts for the NX, the first being the exclusive Mark Levinson 14-speaker, 835-watt Premium Surround Sound Audio System, and the other is the F Sport Arctic White and Black seats. The body-hugging, quilted NuLuxe sport seats are unique to the F Sport family, and the Black Line model gets matching black headliner, unique floor mats, cargo mat, and key gloves.

    There’s also a 10.3-inch Navigation System infotainment system – accessible via the Remote Touchpad (standard for the Black Line) – that predicts traffic information, including detour preview, ETA calculation and low-fuel coordination with nearby fuel stations. The subscription-free Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0 is standard across all models.

    Lastly, the NX F Sport Black Line includes Comfort Package with Blind Spot Monitor, heated and ventilated seats, Intuitive Parking Assist, powered tailgate with “kick sensor,” moonroof and electrochromic rear view mirror. Also fitted is Active Sound Control, which channels some of the engine note through the speakers and enhances it, although the volume is adjustable by the driver. The SUV will make its debut at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show alongside the LC Inspiration Concept.

  • Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition gets teased

    It’s been a full 30 years since the world saw the unveiling of a small Japanese roadster that would change the world, the Mazda MX-5, at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show. That’s a huge achievement for the little topless sports car, which is why Mazda is headed back to the Windy City next month to celebrate the milestone with the reveal of the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition.

    Just one teaser photo of the model has been released so far, but while it doesn’t show much, we can see that the special edition will be based on the MX-5 RF – the prominent profile of the targa’s folding hardtop is clearly visible here. It also appears that it will wear a different red paint compared to the Soul Red hue that was offered on the fourth-generation ND model since its launch.

    Perhaps the 30th Anniversary model will return to MX-5’s traditional Classic Red, which was previously shown on an ND roadster at the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon – and which subsequently was offered in Mazda’s home market of Japan for a limited time. Some new wheels could be in store, too.


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Last Updated 29 Jul 2021