Coming to you (almost) live from the 108th annual Chicago Auto Show, Motor-Minded will be live blogging and live streaming key product interviews and debuts from the show floor during media days.
Keep checking back on this blog for the latest news and images from #CAS16. I will be doing my best to keep you updated on product announcements and media events throughout the next few days.
In case you missed it, a big “first” for Motor-Minded was interviews streamed live from the show floor, courtesy of equipment from Stream Dudes. Live interviews were made possible by cooperation from Ford, Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC. Here was the schedule for the live streamed interviews on Thursday, February, 11th:
- 10:20am CST- George Jones, Marketing Manager for GMC
- 10:45am CST- Rob Peterson, Marketing Manager for Buick
- 11:30am CST- Omar Odeh, Ford Explorer Brand Manager/Focus Product Marketing Manager for Ford
- 11:45am CST- Jim and Megan from BraunAbility, Manufacturers of the MVX Accessibility SUV for Jesse Billauer, World Champion Adaptive Surfer and Founder of Life Rolls On
- 1:00pm CST- Todd Christensen, Marketing Manager for Chevrolet Camaro
- 1:30pm CST- Wade Jackson, Fusion Brand Manager for Ford
Live Blog Coverage for Thursday, February 11th:
8:16am- Greetings from the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. As we prepare for our upcoming interviews, I will be doing my best to bring you the latest news from the show floor all throughout the day via blog and twitter. If you haven’t done so already, follow me @mrjohnnybones.
10:13am- Throngs of reporters are enthusiastically greeting the new RAM Power Wagon. With enhanced off road features and a more aggressive design, the new Power Wagon breathes a new life into a long-respected marque. With two inches of lift, 33″ tires, locking differentials and a 12,000-pound winch, the Power Wagon is a serious off-road brute. Under the hood is a 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 that produces 410 horsepower and boosts towing capacity of 31,210lbs.
10:21am- In case you missed the video, I sat down with George Jones, marketing manager for GMC to discuss the new 2017 Acadia. Based off a new platform, the 2017 Acadia brings mid-sized utility to a sleek and stylish package. Power options now range from a 2.5-litre Turbocharged 4-cyl, to the tried and true 3.6-litre V-6, which can provides up to 4,000lbs of towing capacity. Like the previous model, an upper-class Denali package tops the model range with handsome exterior accents and interior technology that matches its rivals.
10:48am- Rob Peterson, marketing manager and Stuart Fowle, communications manager for Buick took a few moments to sit down, and discuss everything Buick. As noted in the live stream, we discussed the Buick brand as a whole and their vision for the future. From the luxurious, new Envision SUV, to the reinvented flagship LaCrosse, to the first convertible in their lineup in 20+ years (Cascada), we discussed the future of the marque. Reliability and technology seems to be the mantra at Buick and it shows in their current lineup. Although we can not expect a new Grand National or Riviera anytime soon, expect to see elegant European-inspired designs, combined with solid dependability.
11:32am- As was probably evident in the live stream, I was very excited to meet Omar Odeh, marketing manager for the Ford Focus and Explorer. As we stood astride the long-awaited Focus RS, we discussed the intelligent, torque-vectoring, all-wheel-drive system, dynamic drive modes, and how a 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine can put out 350 horsepower and 350lb-ft of torque. Built in Germany, the “new to the States” RS leans heavily on its rally-bred heritage and promises to deliver a driving experience like no other American vehicle.
11:44am- One of the most anticipated vehicles of the 2016 Chicago Auto Show was the Ford Explorer-based, BraunAbility MVX. The MVX is the first wheelchair accessible SUV ever built. Megan and Joe from BraunAbility explained that the decision to use a Ford Explorer made sense as it lent itself well to customization. Equipped with a built-in ramp, modular seating and self-lowering suspension, the MVX is as functional as it is stylish. World Champion Adaptive Surfer Jesse Billauer has made his mark on the MVX as well, using the vehicle to promote his charitable organization, Life Rolls On.
1:00pm- Todd Christensen, marketing manager for Camaro showed off the 2017 version of the 1LE equipment package. Despite the fact that it was engineered for “track days,” the Camaro 1LE is still abound with amenities to make daily driving comfortable. Now available on the V-6 model, the 1LE package adds: a limited-slip differential, upgraded suspension components, larger Brembo brakes, upgraded fuel delivery system, enhanced engine cooling system and much more. Helping keep the Camaro ahead, the V-8 powered 1LEs also adds magnetic ride control, and electronic rear differential, and dual mode exhaust.
1:32pm- Among the many redesigned vehicles at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, the 2017 Ford Fusion is an understated all-star. Marketing manager for Ford Fusion, Wade Jackson explained that the 2017 Ford Fusion was designed for the joy of driving. Drawing heavily from current owner feedback, the new Fusion combines clean, familiar lines, with class-leading technology. Leading the pack in a new V-6 Sport model, is a 325 horsepower 2.7-litre EcoBoost engine that delivers competitive efficiency along with nearly 50 additional horsepower over its competition. Power aside, the newly redesigned Fusion also bring features such as pedestrian detection, collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist, and much more. The addition of the plug-in Fusion Energi model, now give consumers another choice for hybrid technology in the Fusion.
1:35pm- During my exploration of the Ford Fusion, Toyota pulled the cover off of its 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro. Based off of the 2016 Tacoma pick-up, the TRD Pro edition brings serious off-road capabilities to an already solidly constructed truck. Power comes from a familiar 278 horsepower, 3.5-litre V-6 and feeds either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. Fox 2.5 internal bypass shock absorbers and new front springs provide a 1-inch lift, while progressive-rate off-road leaf springs and and an electronic locking differential help maintain traction in the rear. Electronic off-road aids like a “Crawl Control” feature and five distinct driving modes help keep the new Tacoma on track, while the retro-styled front end keeps the TRD Pro looking distinctive.
3:00pm- Keeping with the trend of in-car infotainment, Rand McNally unveiled its newest contribution to this technology. Promising to bring the latest technology to “every car,” OverDryve is a standalone device that can easily interface with any vehicle- including those with a simple AM/FM radio. With the addition of an add-on camera, OverDryve can even provide drivers with a clear backup camera, making parking an easier task. The secret to OverDryve it’s all-in-one design, simplified navigation and easy connectivity with mobile phones. This design, should appeal to motorists seeking the latest technology in an older or more base-model vehicle.
4:00pm- Chevrolet hosted a media event that proved it can deliver on bringing forward-thinking, new vehicles to market. Toting it’s popularity in the midwest, the newly redesigned Malibu has been steadily outselling its nearest competitor, while gaining new customers. Aside from the Camaro 1LE mentioned earlier, Chevrolet was proud to show off the new electric-powered Bolt (unveiled earlier at CES) as well as the newly redesigned Trax. In addition to a more refined look, the new Trax also offers remote start, blind zone detection, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and a lane departure avoidance system.
5:00pm- Well, that concludes my coverage for today, I will be back tomorrow to cover additional news and events from the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.
Live Blog Coverage for Friday, February 12th:
8:49am- Good morning and welcome back to the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. Being that today is the shorter day of the two media preview days, we will be condensing a lot into a short amount of time, so check back often so you don’t miss a thing. Also, please don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @mrjohnnybones.
9:22am- Kicking off the morning, Ford’s Futurist, Sheryl Connelly discusses the trends developing in the industry and in our lives as consumers. As we become more connected, we become more aware, and this awareness leads us to desiring a better quality of life. This quest for a better life, led into a great interview with Jesse Billauer, World Champion Adaptive Surfer and Founder of Life Rolls On. Together, they discussed how a innovation can make lives better and how the BraunAbility MVX fits into this concept.
10:01am- Diving deeper into the finer details of the Denali trim level, marketing manager, George Jones (who I interviewed yesterday), proudly showcased the features and styling cues of the 2017 Acadia. With a power activated lift gate, easier third-row entry, collision avoidance systems and more mainstream styling, GMC hopes the Acadia can be a big hit. Over on another display, the Sierra 1500 All Terrain X showed that capability shouldn’t sacrifice style. With a 10 horsepower bump (365 horsepower), Z71 off-road suspension, 18″ black rims (unique to the All Terrain X), and a black sport bar for mounting lights, the All Terrain X stands out, without looking out of place.
10:20am- With the successful styling of the production model NSX, Acura was proud to display the future of the brand’s styling. The Precision Concept brought styling cues and graceful lines that are currently not prominently featured in their lineup. The Precision Concept is proof that Acura wants to make cars that are distinctive, without being brash in execution.
11:04am- Proving that Mazda puts more into their vehicles than just “Zoom, Zoom,” the 2017 CX-9 brings more refinement and luxury than it’s predecessor. Although the new CX-9 appears to be hulking in its stature, it is actually slightly smaller in overall length. Keeping with their commitments to driver experience and economy, the new CX-9 is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre engine, putting out over 300lb-ft torque- a noteworthy number that Mazda wants to be shared, as horsepower is rated between 227 and 250, depending on fuel. I know that I promised not to get too opinionated, but I will go on the record to say that the 2017 CX-9 is “shut up and take my money” good looking.
11:40am- Displayed prominently next to the “Super Car Gallery,” Hyundai proudly displayed their Genesis line of luxury vehicles. Front and center is the Vision G concept vehicle. Featuring a muscular stance, combined with a long, flowing roofline, the Vision G didn’t look out of place next to the (much) pricier marques. Meanwhile, the refreshed 2017 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport were also worth noting. Power for the Sport is sourced from either a 185 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, or an optional 240 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four. The Santa Fe utilizes a 290 horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6 along with standard All-Wheel-Drive.
12:00pm- Lunch at the Volkswagen display proved that if you want to attract a lot of reporters, then give us free food. Long lines for a warm meal aside, the VW Golf SportWagen Alltrack is a welcomed edition to the All-Wheel-Drive wagon segment. Powered by a familiar 1.8-liter four-cylinder, the SportWagen Alltrack brings utility without sacrificing performance or economy. The newly refreshed Passat also drew some attention, as it now features better mobile device connectivity, blind-spot monitoring, as well as an available rear cross-traffic alert.
1:58pm- Thank you for following along during the 2016 Chicago Auto Show media preview days. I strongly encourage you to come out and see some of these vehicles for yourself. I will be posting additional photos soon, so if you can’t make it this week, you can at least enjoy some of the vehicles on display from the comfort of your own home.
Filed under: Motor-Minded
Tags: 1LE. Chevrolet, Acadia, All Terrain X, Alltrack, BraunAbility, Buick, Camaro, car, CAS16, Cascada, Chicago Auto Show, CX-9. Hyundai. Vision G, EcoBoost, Envision, Explorer SAP, Focus RS, Ford, Fusion, Genesis, GMC, Interviews, LaCrosse, Life Rolls On, Live Blog, Malibu, Mazda, MVX, NSX, OverDryve, Passat, Power Wagon, Precision Concept, Rand McNally, Santa Fe, Stream Dudes, Tacoma, Trax, TRD Pro, Vehicle, VW