Chicago Motor Show 2014: Highlights

We take a look at the important cars on display at the Chicago Motor Show

Sandwiched between the Detroit Motor Show in January and the Geneva Motor Show in March is this month’s event in Chicago. Before the doors to the 106th annual Chicago Motor Show open to everyone from the 8-17 February, the press are allowed a sneak preview to see what’s what.

Manufacturers are giving certain models their public debuts in the Windy City, and we have a round-up of the most significant ones below.

Kia

Kia gave the Kia Soul EV its debut in Chicago, the manufacturer’s first mass-production electric vehicle. The small hatchback, which will be a cheaper alternative to the BMW i3, should be capable of 80-100 miles on a full charge and is expected to go on sale in the UK next winter.

Mazda

Japanese firm, Mazda, put the Mazda Club Sport 3 concept car on their stand in Chicago. The five-door hatchback features a dramatic motorsport-inspired paintjob and new bodywork to improve the car’s grip. The car is equipped with a high-performance 2.2-litre diesel engine and could hint at a faster production version of the standard Mazda3 in the next year or two.

Nissan

The Nissan Versa Note SR was revealed in Chicago. It’s a sportier version of the standard spec Nissan Note and gets a new front grille, tinted headlights, a roof spoiler, body-colour side spoilers and 16-inch alloy wheels. The changes are purely related to the trim level of the car, so the Note SR uses the same 1.6-litre petrol engine from the US-spec version.

Inside, the Note SR has a leather steering wheel, upgraded upholstery and a redesigned dashboard with new buttons and switches.

The brand also showed off the Nissan GT-R Nismo, an even more extreme version of the high-performance GT-R. The car uses a modified version of the 3.8-litre petrol engine fitted in the standard car, which produces 592bhp – an increase of around 40bhp. The car also benefits from an even sportier suspension to give the car the sharpest handling. A look inside the GT-R Nismo reveals sport seats, new upholstery and race car-style dials.

Porsche

The Chicago Motor Show was another chance to see the new Porsche Macan in the metal before first UK deliveries of the baby SUV are made in April. The entry-level model will be powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and is priced from £43,300.

Subaru

Subaru officially unveiled the new Subaru Legacy saloon at the Chicago show, and the car has a slightly more aggressive look compared to the previous model. The interior is sportier than before, getting a new instrument cluster on the dashboard and a redesigned steering wheel, and the centre console now houses a 6.2-inch infotainment screen. The car goes on sale in the US in summer but, as with the previous model, the UK will only get the more practical Subaru Legacy estate version.

Volvo

Volvo brought its high-performance Volvo S60 saloon and Volvo V60 estate Polestar cars to the US for the first time. Both cars are fitted with a 345bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, giving them enough power to rival the saloon and estate versions of the Audi S4. Volvo will initially only sell the V60 Polestar in the UK, with deliveries of the limited edition model beginning in June this year.

The next big exhibition on the industry calendar is the Geneva Motor Show in March. To read a preview of everything we expect to see in Switzerland, visit our Geneva preview page.

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