With Detroit’s influential North American International Auto Show this year moving to June for the first time instead of January, Chicago officially owns dead-of-winter Midwest car conventions. That only sounds like a backhanded compliment: Of the Big Four auto shows, Chicago is now the only major stop between Los Angeles in the fall and New York in the spring. And while to the casual observer that may seem like a dubious honor, at best, visitors to the Windy City auto exhibit will reap the benefits of automakers having fewer choices of places to prominently hawk their latest wares, in the form of more and sexier new-model debuts.
Related: More 2020 Chicago Auto Show Coverage
Just two years ago, the only full-fledged new-model debut at the Chicago Auto Show was the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon, and while we in Cars.com’s hometown were happy to have it, the family sedan isn’t exactly the stuff that gets car shoppers revved up to hit the dealer lots. This year, however, we’ll see the North American debut of the much-anticipated first SUV from Hyundai’s luxury brand, the 2021 Genesis GV80, hot off its Super Bowl commercial starring John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.
That’s in addition to the redesigned-for-2021 GMC Yukon (closely following cross-brand siblings the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and sliding in ahead of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV), a purported appearance by the 2020 Honda Civic’s late-coming performance variant the Type R, the refreshed 2021 Jaguar F-Type sports car, and a refreshed 2021 version of Volkswagen’s well-received Atlas SUV (which won Cars.com’s Best of 2018 award in its debut year).
Other models of note set to make early appearances in Chicago include the refreshed 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio, the 2020 Audi Q7, the 2020 Cadillac CT4, the recently revealed and redesigned 2021 Tahoe and Suburban, and the ultra-exclusive 2020 Ford GT.
And a bettin’ man or woman would expect a few stragglin’ surprises to come down the pike come showtime, so keep your eyes open for news on last-minute reveals — not that the Chicago show relies on big-ticket bows to draw a crowd. Instead, the City of the Big Shoulders has traditionally emphasized the “big,” using its 1 million feet of floor space to maximum advantage. Automakers have been known to trot out their entire new-model lineups here — in turn enabling current and would-be car shoppers to compare and contrast entire competitive segments of vehicles without the low-grade stress of having to interact prematurely with a salesman.
Exciting models making their way to the Windy City for the first time after recent unveilings elsewhere include the 2020 Buick Encore GX, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray, the reignited-for-2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, the all-new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV, the 2020 Ford Mustang GT500, the 2020 Hyundai Venue pipsqueak SUV wannabe, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 (introducing an all-new exterior paint color), the 2020 Lincoln Aviator and Corsair hybrid Grand Touring models, the all-new 2021 Kia Seltos subcompact SUV, the 2020 Land Rover Defender in its return to the U.S. after nearly a quarter century, the 2020 Mazda CX-30 subcompact SUV, the redesigned 2020 Nissan Sentra compact sedan, Porsche’s all-new electric sports car the 2020 Taycan, the redesigned-for-2020 Toyota Highlander, the plug-in hybrid 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime and coupe-ified two-row Atlas alternative the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport.
But not everything has to be so serious. No visit to an auto show is complete without gawking at some exotic, aspirational cars that you’re — Stop torturing yourself, man! Live in the now! — never gonna be able to afford. Chicago will have plenty of those on hand, too, to remind you just how futile your efforts are to get ahead in life, including the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, 2020 Bentley Continental GT, McLaren GT and 2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. On the far-less-expensive-yet-similarly-impractical front will be the 2020 Acura MDX PMC Edition, 2020 Dodge Durango SRT Redline Stripe and Black track-themed packages, 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid, Jeep Performance Parts Limited Edition Wrangler from the minds at Mopar, and a quartet of “outdoorsy” special Toyota variants, among them a Tacoma option.
Following media- and industry-preview days Thursday and Friday, the Chicago Auto Show will open to the public Saturday and run through President’s Day at McCormick Place, 2301 S. King Drive, in downtown Chicago. Tickets are $13 for adults, $8 for senior citizens age 62 or older as well as for children age 7-12; kids age 6 or younger accompanied by a family member get in free, and discounted $8 tickets are also available for groups of 20 or more. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday through Feb. 16 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 17.
We’ll have our full team of automotive experts on the ground to bring you all the new-model info straight from the exhibit floor starting Thursday, so be sure to check back in with us often for updates. In the meantime, here’s everything we expect to see at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show:
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