This week the Chicago Auto Show will be all about crossovers and SUVs with several new debuts from Honda, Acura, Ford and Infiniti just to name a few.
Ford Edge Performance
The 2015 Ford Edge will be at the Chicago Auto Show this week having just been certified the most powerful one ever.
All-new from the ground-up, the 2015 Ford Edge will have the Blue Oval’s new twin-turbocharged 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6 as an option, offering up 315 horsepower and stump yanking 350 lb.-ft. of torque.
This is a 10 horsepower bump over the 2014 Edge Sport which has a naturally aspirated 3.7 liter V6. So it gets more power and loses nearly a third of its engine size in the process. Even better is that its peak torque now lives at 2,750 rpm, much lower in the rev range than before.
The front-wheel-drive Edge Sport gains 1 mpg with an EPA 27 mpg highway rating and the all-wheel-drive version also gaining one to 24 mpg highway. So even with the additional power mpg is slightly improved or equal to the 2014 model.
While evolutionary in styling, the 2015 Ford Edge is all-new from the ground up with entirely fresh sheet-metal all around and a redesigned cabin packed with the latest technologies.
The latest generation of Ford’s SYNC infotainment will host several improvements over the now well disgraced MyFord Touch system of the current Edge, and a new wave of driver-assistance systems will be available for those who want the help to drive and park themselves.
Coming to dealerships this spring, the 2015 Ford Edge starts at $28,100 with the Edge Sport we’ve been talking of starting at $38,100.
Infiniti QX 80 Limited
The star of the Chicago Auto Show for Infiniti will be their full sized 2015 QX80 Limited luxury SUV which adds even more top-end sizzle.
While the QX80 formerly known as the QX56 has been around for a while, it received several running enhancements for 2015 including a new front fascia and grille, as well as LED headlights and fog lights.
Driver assistance features were added to including forward collision warning with braking avoidance capability, which should help its IIHS safety ratings when it is tested.
The exciting part for 2015 is the new QX80 Limited Package which has dark chrome interior and exterior trims starting with unique 22-inch alloy wheels, smoked headlight and tail light lenses, and dark chrome accents all around.
Its cabin gets richer than ever before, with dark chrome accents to go with a quilted semi-aniline Truffle Brown leather on seats and the center console. It’s all warmed up with a bold selection of open pore matte finish ash wood.
Above and around you will find Ultrasuede lining for the pillars and headliner, soft leather-covering on grab handles and even the speaker grilles. It’s all finished out with special floor and trunk mats and unique silver switchgear.
Under hood is the venerable 5.6-liter V8 now with direct-injection which gives it 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque which goes to all four-wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission.
The 2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited starts out at about $89,000 which is $26,000 more than a base QX80, and is available at dealerships now.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2/4
Mitsubishi shows they are working hard to stay relevant in the market by unveiling a more powerful version of their Outlander Sport compact crossover SUV.
This week Mitsubishi announced they will offer a more powerful 2.4 liter four-cylinder MiVec engine in their top selling Outlander Sport.
With 168 horsepower, the engine offers some 20 more horsepower than the standard 2.0 liter four with a corresponding torque increase to 167 lb-ft.
Its new 2.4 liter engine will be available on the top ES and GT trim levels in both front and all-wheel drive but only paired with the constantly variable transmission.
The Outlander Sport 2.4 GT offers up premium goods inside like a power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped parking brake handle, and aluminum pedals.
Exterior visuals include a unique black center bumper treatment, black roof rails and side mirrors mirrors with LED turn indicators.
While a positive improvement for the sales race, competitors Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Nissan Rogue offer equal or more horsepower in their standard engines.
The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 ES starts at $21,295 and the more sporty 2.4 GT at $23,595.
Chicago Auto Show Teasers:
Now for the hot debuts at the Chicago Auto Show, here are just a few teasers of what we will see this week.
Sure to be a hot one is the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot three-row crossover SUV. Honda teased us with this sexy rendering shot that shows they might just be looking to get some hipness back into their look.
Ford will be showing off the new Police Interceptor Utility based on their freshened 2016 Explorer which made its debut at Los Angeles last fall. The profile looks intimidating already. It’s fitting they show it at Chicago as it’s built there.
Toyota will show their updated 2016 Avalon which clearly gains Camry’s new more rounded mouth design, and at the very least new tail light treatments. What else? We’ll have to wait until they show us later this week.
Based on the Kia Soul electric, a new concept from Kia called the Trailster will get all-wheel electric-drive and lift kit along with a butch off-road styling treatment. Exploring the untapped realm of electric soft-roading, the Trailster is likely to be a show stopper.
We’ll be covering the Chicago Auto Show all this week in a special Video Playlist. Click here to get the latest news.
Since we’re talking Kia Soul electric, that’s what we’re test driving this week.
Currently available only to buyers in California, we have been given one to live with this week here in Arizona as Kia intends to gradually expand its offering to other states in the future.
The 2015 Kia Soul electric so far is showing us 100 plus miles of range which is well in excess of its 93 mile EPA rating which has been a pleasant surprise.
It charges overnight for us using a 120V outlet but can be charged in as little as 5 hours with a 240V charger, and even 30 minutes with a DC Fast Charger.
We’ll have our full review on the 2015 Kia Soul EV later this week, so come back and see us for that.
We did also test the 2015 Kia Sedona SXL minivan this week which surprised with its crossover SUV-like personality both from how it looks to how it drives.
That sporting personality expands to the interior which sits and reads like a crossover SUV from behind the wheel with its wide dash design and high center console with shift lever. It was a fresh perspective on the minivan which scored well in our test.
Last week during the Super Bowl, the automakers made a game themselves by vying to offer up the punchiest commercials. This is the one that got my attention the most.
It should be no shock that Fiat used cheeky humor to introduce their all-new 500X compact crossover to the world, in a commercial spot called “The FIAT 500X Blue Pill”.
A full 60-second spot, the commercial set in Italy starts with a spry elder losing his last blue pill, which spends most of the spot’s time taking a circuitous path down drain pipes and bouncing off its surroundings.
It ultimately lands into the fuel filler neck of a Fiat 500 a much younger man is with, where it causes it to bulge with muscles and grow firmer almost immediately.
The camera then pans back to reveal the more buff, sporting and virile 2016 Fiat 500X to the audience with women passing by and swooning as they should.
I love it. Whomever Fiat uses for their marketing and creative ad projects deserves to keep their job for another year.
Now its time for our Money Shot where we pick the hottest photo from this week’s news and we show it to ya
Ford unveiled their hot new 2016 Focus RS this week which adds 315 horsepower to an already excellent 5-door hatch, along with big wheels, aero goodies and lots of bits underneath. Until we get to drive it, it gives us visual drama.
That wraps it up for Motoring Monday. Click to subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we will keep you updated all week-long on the Chicago Auto Show, our test drives, and automotive news.
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