Chicago is traditionally a truck show, although in the past there have been some notable exceptions – the original Mazda Miata debuted here. This year, though, there are few sports cars but lots of trucks. New versions of market stalwarts, completely new vehicles, and lots of special editions.
We're going to run you through them all, from the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition to the not-for-sale Nissan Rogue Star Wars tribute. Enjoy the show.
Ford's big SUV gets ... lighter this time around. Bet you didn't expect that. Thanks to an extra portion of aluminum in the body, the 2018 Expedition sheds up to 300 lbs.
Power is provided by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6, which we think will make 375 horsepower. The longer EL model is replaced by the Max. There are improvements inside and out, and most of us on staff think the styling is a knock-out.
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The most muscle-bound truck on this list, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT packs 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. That means this seven-seater will scoot to 60 miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds. Since the latest Durango launched for 2014, Dodge has unabashedly called it a three-row Charger. This beefy SUV makes that aggressive claim even more legit.
The 6.4-liter (392 cubic inches) Hemi V8 is considerably stronger than the already-potent 5.7-liter Hemi V8. It's backed up with an 8-speed auto.Dodge also stiffened the suspension; the springs are 3 percent tighter up front and 16 percent stiffer in back, which is said to improve cornering. It has Brembo brakes and two Pirelli tire choices, and the exhaust is tuned to sound like (you guessed it) the Charger SRT.
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The Volkswagen Atlas Weekend Edition – which is importantly a concept, not a production model, is an homage to the Weekender variants of the VW Vanagon and Eurovans of yore. This is basically an Atlas crossover with a range of interesting accessories bolted on to support the sort of active lifestyle Volkswagen assumes Atlas owners will engage in.
The highlight is up top – a cargo carrier VW refers to as an Urban Loader. It's a hard-shell box with soft sides that expands to swallow 17.7 cubic feet of cargo. There's also a really nifty LED light bar, and a bunch of little touches inside and out. You'll be able to get a lot of this stuff as dealer-installed accessories, by the way.
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Ram showed off its 1500 Copper Sport special edition, limited to just 3,000 units. All models will be Crew Cab V8s. Aside from the copper-colored paint on the body, grille, and bumpers, the Copper Sport adds contrasting black-decaled Sport performance hood, black Ram's head grille badge, black tailgate badge and black body-side badges. The Copper Sport also comes with unique wheels in either 20- or 22-inch diameters (depending on whether you get a 4x2 or 4x4).
Inside, the truck gets copper-colored accents on the seat, headrests, and minor trim pieces. The headliner and A-pillars are all black to match the copper and black mesh seats. The Copper Sport also comes with a nine-speaker Alpine audio system that includes a subwoofer.
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The Ram Heavy Duty Night edition package is available on both 2500 and 3500 models, expanding on from the half-ton Ram 1500 Night edition. Essentially, this is a special appearance package that doesn't change anything underneath.
You can think of the Night edition as a factory blackout kit. On the exterior, the chrome on the wheels, grille, headlight bezels, and badges are replaced with either a gloss or matte-black finish. Inside, the Night edition comes with black vinyl and cloth seats.
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In addition to the droid-equipped Rogue-Wing, the Nissan stand featured a massive inflatable Death Star hanging from the rafters; scale-replica models of the Y-Wing Starfighter, TIE Striker, AT-ACT and X-Wing Starfighter; and Stormtroopers. Yes, actual Stormtroopers, or at least actors dressed up like them. Nissan promises photo ops for showgoers in Chicago during the weekends of Feb. 11-12 and Feb. 18-19. No word on if they're all clones.