• Feb 10, 2011

The Chicago Auto Show may be the smallest of the major North American auto shows, but this year proved to be surprisingly bountiful in terms of the number of new cars that were revealed. Sure, many of these new products were merely trim level upgrades, but we saw quite a few big introductions that sparked lengthy discussions amongst the Autoblog staff.

Thus, we've looked through the lot of Autoblog's show coverage and the staffers on-hand in Chicago have picked their favorite vehicles that debuted in the Windy City. Much like our Detroit Auto Show picks, our editors had no problem picking our first and second place winners, but when it came to numbers three, four and five, that's when the arguing began.

Still, we've come to a final consensus, and you can read our Top Five Editors' Choice debuts after the jump.

#5: 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec

2012 Hyundai Genesis
2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 5.0-liter Hyundai Genesis is much more significant than you may initially think. By offering 429-horsepower in a more attractive package, Hyundai is threatening to move its rear-wheel-drive Genesis into proper sport sedan territory. And with an efficient eight-speed automatic transmission on tap and a sharpened suspension, this Hyundai could serve up some serious competition for the Germans and Japanese at a cut-rate price.

Photos copyright ©2011 Michael Harley / AOL

#4: 2011 Ram 1500 Tradesman

2011 Ram 1500 Tradesman
2011 Ram 1500 Tradesman – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ram Trucks has served up a full-size truck for a mid-sized price, which means that buyers can snag a 5.7-liter V8 workhorse with 390 horsepower and a 10,450 for the same stack of cash as a four-cylinder Toyota Tacoma. Fleet managers and small business owners alike should have their eyebrows firmly lodged in their respective hairlines at the news. Throw in the fact that the pickup is good for 20 mpg highway, and you can see why our resident 1975 International pickup owner, Zach Bowman, worked himself into a froth and made threats of self-mutilation if this pickup failed to make the list.

Photos copyright ©2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

#3: 2012 Acura TL

2012 Acura TL
2012 Acura TL – Click above for high-res image gallery

It may only be a mid-cycle refresh, but Acura has tweaked its capable TL sedan's styling just enough to take it out of the "beaten with an ugly stick" category. The smoother front fascia and touched-up rear end are substantially more attractive than the outgoing car, and trust us when we say that photos do not do this car justice. Some new wheels and tires, a six-speed automatic transmission and minimally improved fuel economy round off the changes for 2012.

Photos copyright ©2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

#2: 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8
2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 – Click above for high-res image gallery

While walking the Chicago show floor, our entire team stopped and stared at the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 for a solid few minutes. We all agree that the beefed-up sedan is simply gorgeous, looking polished and immensely aggressive all at the same time. Oh, and did we mention that there's a fire-breathing, 465-horsepower, 6.4-liter Hemi V8 under the hood? We're stoked to get some seat time in this new performance sedan, and we're already opening our checkbooks in preparation for the speeding tickets that will undoubtedly be written.

Photos copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

#1: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – Click above for high-res image gallery

General Motors finally got around to pulling the sheets back on a supercharged version of the Camaro, and while the new car doesn't carry the franchise's legendary Z28 badge, it looks to proudly reign as king of Bowtie muscle car crowd by exhuming a powerful but little-known moniker from the past, ZL1. While this bruiser packs all of the necessary suspension and brake hardware to take on the greatest of the world's tracks, it's the 550 horsepower, supercharged LSA V8 that flips our collective switches. Look for the ZL1 to land in dealers next year.

Photos copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

Naturally, our entire coverage team had personal favorites for Best In Show here at the Chicago Auto Show. Here's a bonus look at what each Autoblog team member in attendance thought was most deserving of praise:

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow I cannot believe no manual for the Charger!
      • 3 Years Ago
      This should be called "The Gas Guzzler Awards"..car manufacturers need to check out the news and whats going on in Egypt...WTF
        • 3 Years Ago
        Why look at Egypt, is some Egyptian company coming out with a fuel efficient car?
      • 3 Years Ago
      The wheel ratings .

      5th Ram - bland and undersized .
      Most overstyled wheels - Hyundai .
      Acura - sparse and boney .
      Charger - wheels belong on another car .

      And the boys hands down fav ,the Camaro
      the hot wheels looker , brings back those fond childhood memories .
      • 3 Years Ago
      1 - Charger
      2 - Camaro
      3 - Genesis
      4 - RAM
      5 - vacant
      • 3 Years Ago
      What? Audi TT-RS not in the top five. Autoblog doesn't like high performance AWD coupe what we waited so long for?
      • 3 Years Ago
      That TL makes me yawn, absolutely horrible pick
      • 3 Years Ago
      Steven J. Ewing (Autoblog) writes, "The Chicago Auto Show may be the smallest of the major North American auto shows...",

      However, all Mr. Ewing had to do was look up the Chicago Auto Show on a site like, say Wikipedia, and this is what he would have found in the first sentence in the article:

      "The Chicago Auto Show is held annually in February at Chicago's McCormick Place convention complex. At 1,300,000 sq ft (121,000 m2), with nearly 1,000 vehicles on display, it is the largest auto show in North America[1] and the third largest in the world (Frankfurt's Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung is #1 and Paris' Mondial de l'Automobile is #2, although those shows are biennial)."

      Someone who would contend that Chicago is the smallest auto show, 1.) clearly doesn't know what they are talking about, and 2.) makes it obvious that they have never been to the largest auto show in North America and the 3rd largest auto show in the world.

      Let's do some due diligence next time.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Damn guys, too predictable top 5. There was so much deserving metal in Chicago this year that you didnt have to pick the obvious 5.

      As for the Charger, it looks like an American Lancer Evo, but i'd still hit it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The fact that the TL is on here is ridiculous. They replace an ugly grilled with a bland, but less ugly design and people are acting like they introduced an all new car. Its the same car with a less offensive grille. It's still not that attractive and it's still not a class leader. Whenever someone says "pictures dont do this car justice" they are making excuses because they know the site readers aren't impressed with the car. From 100ft away the 2012 TL looks like the 2011 TL, changing a grille cannot take a car from hideous to gorgeous. Give us a break.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The TL's technically-different fascia job puts the Chrysler 200 in perspective. Chrysler did their absolute best to fix its unloved styling exercise; Acura obviously remains unrepentant.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't wait for the NY Auto Show in April ...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Excellent list especially the top two
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