It's the 2013 Chicago Auto Show or Mattress Shopping - Your Choice

President's Day is almost here. There will be mattress sales and the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.

"Drive...He Said" attended a media preview of the latter earlier this week. The nation's largest indoor display of cars and light trucks, at Chicago's McCormick Place convention hall,  is open to the public from February 9th-18th, 2013.

Don't Miss Newbies:

- The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - After 32 years, the "Stingray" name returns to the iconic 7th generation of red-blooded American sports car. A 450 hp direct injected 6.2L OHV V8 is standard. A 7-speed manual transmission will be a Vette first (with a 6-speed slushbox option). Magnetorheological dampers are standard across the line for improved ride compliance. The interior has moved upmarket. The shape is so easy-on-the-eyes that you'll quickly forgive the Camaro tail-lamps. Didn't Baltimore Ravens QB and Superbowl XLVII MVP, Joe Flacco, win one of these babies?

- The 2014 Mazda6 - as swoopy as they dare make a mid-size family sedan, this revamp delivers an estimated 30 combined miles-per-gallon out of its 2.5L high compression 4-cylinder gas engine, with a fair amount of "Zoom, Zoom." Expect the diesel powered version, to debut later this year, to better that figure by 20%. Bah, humbug to gas-electric hybrids.

- Lincoln's 2013 MKZ is no longer but a fancy Fusion. A gas-electric hybrid powerplant is a no-cost option. There are some pretty futuristic center stacks and consoles in concept cars. But the MKZ actually is the real deal. Nary a button to depress.  Just soft-touch swipe chiclets. Looking for a mid-size luxury four-dour convertible sedan? The MKZ's fully retractable glass roof overlaps the backlight.

- What is believed to be Mercedes-Benz's upcoming CLA, a sleek compact sedan based on the European A-class compact. A Benz first in the U.S. it will be front-drive with an AWD option. Acura's ILX needs to be worried.

- According to Kia its Cross GT gas-electric hybrid concept is the future of a new generation of sporty mid-size crossovers.

- Land Rover proves it can make about the most luxurious SUV interior out there with the new-for-2014 Range Rover. Use of light-weight metals has shaved some 700-pounds (or 1/3 a Chevy Spark) from the previous model. For sure $127,000 for the Autobiography Model (of whose we remain unsure) isn't cheap. But sliding against Alcantra suede on the door openings feels oh-so-good.

Honorable Upcoming Mentions:

2014 Infiniti Q50 luxury sport sedan (replaces the G37); 2014 Toyota Avalon, Kia Cadenza and Chevy Impala full-size sedans; 2015 Cadillac EL-R extended range hybrid luxury coupe; 2014 Ford Fiesta ST performance subcompact; 2014 Toyota RAV4 and Fiat 500L compact crossovers

By the Seat of Your Pants:

- Climb aboard a Jeep Wrangler or Grand Cherokee for the nearest thing to a roller-coaster ride on a dirt track with a 30 degree incline.

- Feel a Hemi-V8 engined Chrysler 300C or Dodge Charger haul ass to 40 mph...and hit the brakes hard.

- Ride in America's most popular mid-size sedan, the Toyota Camry, and other products, on Toyota's loop.

- Kia is again offering test drives of their sporty Optima sedan just outside McCormick Place.

- Slip into a simulator at the Corvette, Cadillac and Ford displays

Trinkets:

- GM, high on social media, is letting you create you own personalized buttons at the Chevrolet display. We'll take one that says "The wearer of this pin gets to take home the red 2014 Corvette Stingray on the turntable."

-Scion is handing out toys of its popular models to kids...and grown-ups who are kids at heart.

 

The 2013 Chicago Auto Show runs at McCormick Place (at 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois, 60616)  from February 9, 2013 through February 18, with hours of 10 am to 10 pm (8 pm on the final day).

Admission fees:

- Adults:  $12, Seniors and Kids aged 7-12: $6

- 50% coupons are available at local Fifth Third Bank branches and $6 coupons off adult admission at Chicagoland car dealers.

- Tickets may also be purchased online at:  tickets.drivechicago.com

Parking at McCormick Place runs $14-$21, reduced to $10 after 6 pm.

Public Transportation: the CTA, Metra Electric Line and shuttle buses available to the Millennium Park Parking Garage.

Further details: the 2013 Chicago Auto Show website: www.chicagoautoshow.com

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