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What's on tap at the Chicago Auto Show this week


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Jack Walsworth & Larry Vellequette, Automotive News  /  February 3, 2019

Chicago will come out of its arctic freeze this week to find a redesigned Subaru Legacy, two freshened pickups and a handful of special editions taking auto show center stage.

One of the country's largest auto shows in terms of visitors, the Chicago event this year boasts four indoor test tracks and — polar vortex or not — six outdoor test drive areas at the mammoth McCormick Place.

Here's a look at the vehicles expected to be featured.


Ford Motor Co. plans to unveil a freshened Super Duty pickup, capitalizing on the Chicago show's truck-oriented reputation. The pickup, expected to arrive this year as a 2020 model, likely will feature cosmetic updates to the grille and interior as well as new engines and transmission.

General Motors

Chevrolet and GMC plan to bring heavy-duty pickups to Chicago, the first time either will have been displayed at an auto show. Chevrolet released photos of the Silverado HD in early December and is expected to unveil the truck early this week in Flint, Mich. GMC held a private unveiling of the Sierra HD lineup late last month in San Diego. The pickups have design cues and performance attributes that separate them from their smaller siblings. General Motors noted that the only exterior piece that the Silverado HD shares with the standard Silverado is the roof.


Lexus will feature a Flare Yellow special-edition LC 500 coupe, with plans to produce just 100 units. The 2019 LC 500 Inspiration Series will start at $107,235, including shipping. It rides on 21-inch wheels, has a carbon fiber roof and gets yellow door inserts and matching trim stitching. The coupe is the third limited-run Inspiration Series vehicle Lexus has produced. Lexus also is expected to roll out a special version of its NX crossover, the NX F Sport Black Line Special Edition.


Mazda will show a 30th-anniversary special edition of its MX-5 Miata. In a blurry teaser image released by the company, the car appears to be a red Miata RF variant (RF for "retractable fastback"). The first-generation two-seater debuted at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show.


Nissan plans to bring a slightly tweaked 2020 Rogue Sport to Chicago, as well as a special-edition Pathfinder three-row crossover.


After redesigns of the Ram 1500 last year and the Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500 last month, Ram is turning its attention to the 3500 chassis cab. The pickup is typically sent to upfitters who use the chassis for commercial vehicles.


Chicago will mark the global debut of the redesigned Legacy midsize sedan, the latest nameplate to join the Subaru Global Platform. Spy photos last summer indicated that the 2020 Legacy would retain styling similar to the current version, with some areas updated to match the rest of the lineup. The 2020 is likely to be slightly larger than the outgoing Legacy, if other Subaru nameplates from the platform are any indication, with a bump in power.

Last week, Subaru released a teaser image of the sedan's interior indicating a significantly updated infotainment and console area.


Toyota will lean toward body-on-frame products in Chicago. Last week, the automaker teased the front end of its 2020 Tacoma. The freshened pickup will have a new exterior look and interior updates that will augment the 2016 model redesign.

Toyota also will present a 60th-anniversary edition of the 2020 Land Cruiser. Unlike the standard three-row Land Cruiser, the Heritage Edition will be offered only as a two-row model available in black or white. The limited batch of 1,200 vehicles will get bronze wheels with "Toyota" on the center cap, bronze contrast stitching throughout the interior, vintage-style exterior badges, darkened headlight housings and darkened chrome design touches on the exterior.

The edition drops the SUV's running boards and lower body side moldings to create a more rugged look.


Volkswagen will show a GLI variant of the redesigned Jetta. The sporty GLI likely will add some performance chops and styling cues to the compact sedan, which was redesigned onto the automaker's MQB platform for the 2019 model year.

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