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2008 Chicago Auto Show
Just over two years after debuting as a concept at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, the Dodge Challenger is now ready to hit the streets for real. The Challenger is reviving a name last used in the late 1974 and then again in the early '80s on a compact, four-cylinder Mitsubishi-built coupe.
This time, though, Chrysler is going back to the roots of the brand with a big muscular rear-wheel-drive coupe, initially available exclusively with a 6.1L HEMI V8 that will power the new Challenger 60 mph in the low 5-second range, according to a very conservative Chrysler.
Fumbling out of the "why bother" category here at the Chicago Auto Show is the 2009 Volkswagen Routan, which is their new minivan based on the Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan platform.
Oddly, Volkswagen opened up its presentation by showing pics and videos of its classic vehicles, such as the old Beetle and the old-style rear-engined vans. What's odd is that those classics share absolutely no heritage with the new Chrysler minivan-based Routan. Why conjure up favorable memories of the old VW van before letting us down with this new one?
You've got to feel a little bad for the HUMMER H3T. While the rest of the crowd at GM's press conference had their focus set on the unveiling of the 2009 Chevy Traverse, the 2009 HUMMER H3T sat in the corner, all but ignored by camera-toting journos.
We, however, know a good thing when we see it (though many of you might disagree). And considering how the H3T is sporting an elongated wheelbase and a five-foot long bed, it remains one of a few significant unveilings here in Chi-town.
The 2009 Chevrolet Traverse debut in Chicago and it was pretty much exactly as we expected: another Lambda crossover, platform mate to the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave. Looks-wise, the Chevy Traverse is not the least attractive Lambda (looking at you, Outlook), but the Acadia and Enclave have it beat.
Though Chevy claims that it used styling cues from the Malibu midsize sedan in the Traverse's design, we don't think they work as well on a CUV of this size. Especially note the grille, which apes the current Chevy design language to a tee.
Mitsubishi rolled out its updated 2009 Eclipse in Chicago, with revised fascias that complement and simultaneously update the swoopy flanks. The nose in particular brings the Eclipse in line with the design theme spreading across the rest of Mitsubishi's model line.
If you happen to have a slight sense of deja vu while looking at it, more than one of us has also noticed that the new schnoz bears more than a passing resemblance to the Nissan GT-R, as well. And lest you think the changes are all skin deep, there are several non-cosmetic updates to augment the rhinoplasty.
While the official unveiling of the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring took place in Montreal a few weeks back, the Chicago Auto Show is the first place that we at Autoblog got a chance to eyeball it in person, and we like what we see.
While we'd certainly not classify the Elantra Touring as a "hot hatch," fuel efficiency is becoming an increasingly larger concern for many buyers. As a result, sporty little cars like the Elantra Touring will likely become increasingly relevant. The fact that the car is also a wagon adds plenty of usefulness for everyday driving needs.
GM designer Brian Nesbitt publicly unveiled the GMC Denali XT concept today at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show. The Denali is the first U.S. example of the "Ute" car-based pickup that's built on the rear-wheel-drive Zeta platform. In this case, the Denali is a four-door pickup using the same rear-wheel-drive architecture as the Holden Commodore/Pontiac G8.
It was even designed down under at GM's Australian design studios. Unlike the RWD sedans with which it shares a platform, the Denali has the first example of a flex-fuel engine combined with GM's two-mode hybrid system. The flex-fuel V8 is 4.9L in displacement and has direct fuel injection to maximize both power and fuel economy.
What is in a name? Would it be too linear a thought process to expect that a vehicle with a "sport" designation would be, you know, sporty? Ford officially rolled out the Edge Sport at the Chicago Auto Show, and while the moniker might be dubious, it is at least a nicely done factory tuner.
The idea behind the Edge Sport is to create a tuner package with factory-backed quality levels. Check out the live shots and you'll see that the already well-trimmed interior gets an extra level of attention, and the bodykit applied to the outside is tasteful. New paint colors are Sport-exclusive, as are smoked lenses on the lights.
Acura unveiled the redesigned 2009 edition of its flagship RL sport sedan in Chicago. One of the main criticisms of the current RL has been the anonymous face and rather bland overall styling.
For '09, Acura has re-skinned the RL in an attempt to give it a more aggressive look with crisper contour lines and a much more prominent grille. According to Honda Sales EVP Dick Colliver, the face being shown on this car will spread to the rest of the lineup as the TL and TSX sedans are redesigned later this year.
We give International full credit this daring design that we spied uncovered earlier this year. Still, it appears as though it's taken a giant leap back three decades with the new Class 8 International LoneStar.
International said its mission was to create a big rig that married aerodynamic efficiency with a unique look and a wide range of customization. Having asked truckers what they wanted, apparently customization means 'more lights and chrome.' As upright and retro Lite Brite as the design might be, it still gets gas mileage as good as the best aerodynamic semis on the market, according to International.
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