The Chicago Auto Show. Get in Gear and Get There!!

CHICAGO (Feb. 15, 2018) - Media Preview days at The Chicago Auto Show, the nation's largest, ramped up on February 8, yet noticeably slim regarding journalists, bloggers, etc who attend each year. Due to Chicago's continuing snow storms, many made the decision to return home early due to flight cancellations and fears of being 'stuck' in the Windy City.

Arriving on the showroom floor about 10:00 am on Thursday, 9th, my colleague George and I remarked right away how odd it seemed that not many automotive representatives or media folks were present. Never thinking that because of early flight cancellations they would elect to hit the road before they couldn't. Our trip down to the city was effortless, although during the last half of rush hour, we still arrived at McCormick Place without incident.

Nevertheless, George and I enjoyed our day long walk through the show, and were allowed extra time for photos and climbing in/out of vehicles. Manufacturer representation was limited, however, but we managed to make the best of it.

And now, the show is ramping up for its closing weekend, February 16-Monday, February 19. After waiting all year, it's soon to come to a close for 2018. Those who haven't made it out to McCormick Place yet, the show is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day, except for the final day when it closes at 8 p.m.

No doubt, avid auto enthusiasts have followed the press in Chicago to get a glimpse of what was on hand, displayed in more than 1 million square feet of space. Trucks, SUVs, concept cars, as well as other forms of transporation were there to admire. A little more than one dozen vehicles made their global or North American debuts at Chicago's show this year during the Medida Preview. Notably, the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon, the 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon, Fiat 500, and the Slingshot Grand Touring Limited Edition.

If you missed the reviews and introductions, all can be seen on the Internet, with video available on the Chicago Auto Show web site, at www.chicagoautoshow.com.

Also on display in Chicago were several concept vehicles, including the Acura RDX Prototype, Cadillac Escala, Infiniti Q Inspiration, Honda Insight Prototype, Lexus LF-1 Limitless and the Toyota FT-4x.

Several 2019 models are also on hand for viewing, along with the new 2018 models. With many events still to come, expect to engage in rides on three indoor test tracks, along with Camp Jeep, which features a 18-ft. hill and tunnel, set up to experience the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. The Toyota test track offers a ride in the redesigned Toyota Camry XSE V6, and Kia product specialists will be on hand to demonstrate their products performance and safety features of all-wheel-drive Sportage and Sorento models.

There are also seven outdoor ride-and-drive experience, featuring Cadillac, Ford, Kia, Mazda, Subaru and VW vehicles.

Of course, for social media fans, the Chicago Auto Show offers a mobile app, a virtual tour guide for a look behind the scenes, #CAS18 BUZZHUB, a social engagement space featuring real-time news feeds and photo backdrops (Cars.com), and social media contests. Of course, check out the show on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Although mostly a consumer-driven show, the Chicago Auto Show features all kinds of other opportunities, such as renewing a driver's license while at the show. For the Media, there is one day dedicated to Social Media. For 2018, the second year in a row, the "What Drives Her" panel took place on Feb. 9, featuring a discussion about the future of automtotive and the importance of female leadership roles within a largely male-dominated industry. The lineup of speakers featured several well-known women in the industry, including Michelle Krebs, Kim Stonehouse, Jennifer Newman, etc.

So, if you're looking for something historical, cultural and fun, head over for the closing weekend of the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place.

Hours: February 10-18: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
February 19: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Parking: McCormick Place Lots
Milleniuml Park Lot, Millenium Lakeside Garage: Free Shuttle Buses
Tickets: Adults, $13; Seniors (62+), $7; Children 7-12, $7; Children 0-6, Free]

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