Early highlights from the Chicago Auto Show

By Mary Lowry

After a two-hour delay at Sea-Tac airport on Wednesday, I was finally en route to the media preview for the Chicago Auto Show, the biggest auto show in the U.S. The delay was due to snow and ice on the runway at O’Hare.

If it hadn’t been an early-morning flight, the delay would have been en route from home to Sea-Tac, attributed to 700,000 ecstatic members of the 12th Man making their way to the Super Bowl parade honoring our victorious heroes.

Here are a few highlights from the Chicago Auto Show media preview, with more to follow:

  • Nissan presented a new SR sport version of the 2015 Versa Note hatchback. Set to go on sale this spring, it brings the number of Versa trim levels up to five. The SR model adds a unique rear spoiler, sport wheels (16-inch aluminum alloys) and other special sport effects to the exterior and interior.
  • Nissan also unveiled a Cummins diesel-powered concept of its Frontier pickup, with a 2.8-liter engine generating 200 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. It’s matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission and delivers about 35 percent better fuel economy than Frontier’s current V6. Whether or not the truck will ever see the light of production is the question, and Nissan says they’ll be seeking consumer input on the matter.
  • Chevrolet debuted the 2015 City Express, a small cargo van designed for urban practicality and especially suited to business owners. It has a turning radius of approximately 37 feet, and provides 122.7 cubic feet of cargo space with a maximum length of 82.8 inches. It is fully customizable to meet an owner’s specific needs. Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 131 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. A CVT automatic transmission is standard.
  • Another reveal by Chevy was a CNG-capable 2015 Silverado HD pickup with a 6.0-liter V8 engine. A CNG-capable Malibu will be available this summer.