So no, you won't see a Ford GT or an Acura NSX in our usual roundup of Editors' Choice best-in-show picks. But you will see some very noteworthy production cars and concepts that made quite a splash in Chicago last week.
5th Place –
2016 FORD POLICE INTERCEPTOR UTILITY
NOAH JOSEPH: Because it's a big bad police car, that's why. Sir, please step out of the vehicle.
JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: The Explorer is a nice car, and great for a family or a couple who likes to spend serious time hauling people and stuff, and I'm sure it will make a fine mount for those earning their paychecks serving and protecting... but my points really go out to the super cute German Shepherd the automaker had on hand for the car's debut.
SEYTH MIERSMA: Cop cars, cop trucks – hell you could give me a cop-spec station wagon and I'd be all for it. With more PDs moving to AWD vehicles, especially in Snow Belt cities, this seems like a win for the brand.
4th Place –
2016 HONDA PILOT
GREG MIGLIORE: The Pilot is, in my opinion, the most significant car at the show. It's a new generation of a critical vehicle with major enhancements. It's not exciting, but in all the ways that matter, the Pilot is the biggest deal in Chicago.
SEBASTIAN BLANCO: Not the boldest possible way to introduce start-stop to a non-hybrid, but improving the fuel economy of our biggest, dirtiest vehicles is so much more important than making an even more efficient Prius.
STEVEN EWING: It appears Honda has finally embraced the fact that its Pilot rides on a car (well, "light truck") platform. It's certainly more crossovery than ever, but that's in no way a bad thing. It looks modern, has seating for eight, and comes packed with all the things Honda is good at: great interior packaging, incredible safety, and lots of onboard technology.
3rd Place –
NISSAN GT-R LM NISMO
BRANDON TURKUS: Nissan thinks a 1,250-horsepower, front-wheel-drive, front-engine hybrid can win Le Mans. It's either going to be a monumental success or a colossal failure. Either way, I'm giving them points for being so bold.
CHRIS BRUCE: Sure, it's not a production car, but Nissan is trying something practically unheard of in the elite level of endurance racing. When the company announced that the GT-R LM would do something different no one ever expected an engine mounted ahead of the driver powering the front wheels combined with electric power. Sure, the racer isn't really beautiful, but if it turns out to be fast that doesn't matter.
SEYTH MIERSMA: For my money the GT-R LM was far and away the most interesting and innovative vehicle shown in Chicago this year. A front-engined racecar with the potential to compete at a high level at Le Mans is unheard of, but from the story Nissan is telling the Nismo has a shot. Bold.
2nd Place –
NISSAN 370Z NISMO ROADSTER CONCEPT
SEYTH MIERSMA: I love the 370Z Nismo as a coupe, and I've always been a sucker for convertibles. I don't want to call this one a home run... let's just say I wouldn't turn down the keys.
GREG MIGLIORE: A more powerful, harder-edge variant of the 370Z Roadster? Sold. Build it. This "concept" is ready for the road, I'd say.
STEVEN EWING: I've always had a soft spot for the Nismo Z, and the refreshed coupe is a pretty compelling package. It's raw, loud, and a ton of fun to drive. I can't imagine the convertible being anything less than awesome. And c'mon, Nissan – this is one "concept" I have to believe you guys will build.
NOAH JOSEPH: 350 horsepower with the top down sounds like a winning combination to me. Build it, Nissan. And with the manual, for crying out loud.
1st Place –
KIA TRAIL'STER CONCEPT
SEYTH MIERSMA: The showy wheels, lights and body kit don't do much for me – I think the standard Soul is more attractive unmolested – but the possibility of a dual-mode powertrain for production is fascinating in this segment.
BRANDON TURKUS: Kia needs an all-wheel-drive Soul. Like, now. Everyone else in the segment is offering some form of AWD in their compact crossovers, and the fact that Kia – the brand that kind of kickstarted the whole compact crossover movement – hasn't had one is kind of inexcusable. Of course, the company still needs to agree to build it.
GREG MIGLIORE: The hybrid all-wheel-drive element of this Soul-based concept is really intriguing. I like the off-road features, too. All of this would make for a compelling future version of the Soul.
SEBASTIAN BLANCO: As the only car with a plug that debuted here in Chicago, it is my sworn duty as AutoblogGreen editor to give it the maximum points. Combined with news that the Soul EV will get broader distribution and the fact that the Soul is just a cool little hatchbox, this is not a hard thing to do.
JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: I really hope Kia is seriously considering putting the Trail'ster into production. As a competitor to the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X, both of which I'm pretty keen on, I think Kia could have a surprise hit on its hands while simultaneously transforming the Soul from a cute urban runabout to a cute urban runabout with street cred.
As we've done with our past Editors' Choice lists, each staffer had 25 points to distribute amongst five cars, with no one car receiving more than 10 points. After everything was tallied, here's how the Top Five fell.
- Kia Trail'ster – 56 points
- Nissan 370Z Nismo Roadster – 46 points
- Nissan GT-R LM Nismo – 44 points
- Honda Pilot – 15 points
- Ford Police Interceptor – 13 points
The top five pretty much covers the huge debuts from the Chicago show. But there were plenty of other things to talk about during the press days. Here are the other vehicles that caught our attention in the Windy City.
- Ford GT Concept – 12 points
- 2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited – 11 points
- 2016 Acura RDX – 8 points
- 2015 Dodge Viper 1 Of 1 – 6 points
- 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata w/ Accessories – 6 points
- 2016 Hyundai Veloster – 4 points
- 2016 Toyota Avalon – 2 points
- 2015 Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition – 2 points