Why spending the weekend—with below zero temps on Valentine’s Day— at the car show isn’t a bad choice
If you make the trek to the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place this weekend, expect to see more than a lot of cars you’d love to drive away in. There are a lot of interesting things to learn that will help you to be a smarter, savvier car buyer when it’s your turn. No harm in picking out your new car this weekend, right?
1. Family cars are the new black
And they are way cool. They accommodate your crew, spoil back seat passengers and clean up after themselves. The only regret you’ll have is that your kids can’t drive YOU around —at least not until they’re 16, that is.
2. Amazing luxury cars (And why you should care)
Even if you’re not in that income bracket yet, here’s why you should see them: luxury cars are always the first to receive cutting edge technology. All those cool features like adaptive cruise, rear view cameras and crash avoidance systems? They were in luxury cars first. See what the future holds.
3. The incredible shrinking appetite for gasoline
Pretty much every car gets better MPG than ever. We believe that despite the dropping price of gas—which is bound to go up when the gasoline gods decide it should—fewer trips to the gas station and having a say in how you fuel your engine are important, too. The hybrid Kia Niro, a crossover-looking hatchback that made its worldwide debut at the Chicago show, the newly redesigned Chevy Volt, the brand new Chevrolet Bolt (all electric), the redesigned 2016 Toyota Prius and the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, which will offer a plug in hybrid in the fall (see?? Family cars ARE the new black) are worth a good, long look.
4. Performance cars–and trucks!–and why you should care
OK, I know: You never intend to take your car out onto a track, and even if you had the extra $100K to splurge on a super car, it isn’t really practical for trips to the store and you wouldn’t trust it with the valet at the mall. But consider what these cars contribute to the collective knowledge of automotive engineering: fuel efficiency (yes! They have to get the max out of every last drop out of fuel), efficiency in braking, tires, noise, vibration and more. The more efficient a car is on the track, the more it contributes to the industry overall. So go check them out (and ask smart questions beyond horsepower and how fast they are).
5. Cars to drive inside the convention center
Yes, INSIDE. From the Camp Jeep to Toyota’s ride and drive to deep throttle of muscle cars throughout, you’ll have lots of fun riding along with professional drivers, and your kids will think it’s fun, too.
6. Simulators that are more like an amusement park ride than a car show.
We’ve always believed this is how a car show should be: fun, thrilling and inspiring you to get more performance out of your car. Ford’s simulator takes you for a great ride, while Subaru’s shows you both how safety features work and how the car’s WRX sport brand thrills.
7. Those pretty, chic-looking people standing next to the cars? They’re actually highly trained product specialists
This is probably the biggest benefit of the car show: Product specialists hold a wealth of knowledge about the cars on the floor (although not necessarily pricing information). Be prepared to take notes, comparison shop and test out a car’s features, especially if you are thinking of buying a car in the next year or so. You’ll go home primed, prepped and ready to make a very smart, informed car buying decision.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Nissan and the Chicago Auto Show, which provided my travel and accommodations; any opinions expressed are all my own.