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Saturday, 16 February, 2008 8:39 PM

Highlights of the Hot New Product Reveals at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show


The Chevy Traverse crossover will arrive in showrooms later this summer.

by Vincent Dery


CHICAGO -- On February 6-7, 2008, the media was given the opportunity to view the new models and attend the press conferences of many of the major automakers debuting new vehicles and new concept vehicles for the first time at the Chicago International Auto Show at McCormick Place.

Despite Chrysler’s hype on the world debut of its 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 for which orders have supposedly exceeded 2008 production estimates on this model, the other U.S. automakers as well as foreign debuted 2009 production models and concepts at this event.

The following key debuts included:

2009 Chevrolet Traverse: This attractively styled, well-equipped crossover vehicle with larger SUV people-hauling and cargo carrying capabilities, comes in front drive or all wheel drive, 7 or 8 passenger capacity, 3.6L V-6 engine and hydra-matic 6 speed transmission. This should provide good competition to Ford’s popular Edge crossover.

2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid: This full-size 4-door pickup will come in 2wd or 4wd, and is projected to give a 25-percent improved fuel economy.

GMC Denali XT Hybrid Concept: This concept is the most attractive and dramatic design statement from GMC, with a rear drive leather appointed 4-seat pickup with a low roof profile and an aggressive appearance. Powered by a 4.9L SIDI, E85 capable GM small block V8 with a 50-percent fuel economy projection, this is the first combination of GM’s two-mode hybrid system with the E85 ethanol-capable engine. It also is equipped with height-adjustable suspension and a cargo space-enhancing midgate. This vehicle was produced as a new test design for GMC’s future design direction.

2009 Hummer H3T: This new Hummer model features a crew cab body style with seating for five and a five-foot bed capable of carrying two dirt bikes, a snowmobile or atv and full sheets of plywood. This vehicle has standard full-time four-wheel drive with 32-inch tires and skid plates. The H3T Alpha Model comes with a 5.3L V8 and a 5900-lb towing capacity.

2009 Ford Edge Sport: Ford has done an excellent job with a mild upgrading of this popular crossover with exterior appearance effects and 22-inch wheels.

Ford Transit Connect Concept: Although this vehicle may be a U.S. pre-production concept vehicle, this European designed versatile compact van was launched as a production vehicle in Europe in 2003. It offers a fuel-effective alternative to full-size commercial vans, but is also built on a commercial vehicle platform to meet the rigorous business use demands. This most practical vehicle is long coming to the U.S., despite being named International Van of the Year by an independent panel of leading commercial journalists representing 19 European countries when this vehicle was first launched in 2003.

2009 International Harvester Lone Star: Although billed as an auto show, one of the most impressive displays came from International Harvester, a Navistar Company which featured a new category of Class 8 trucks called “advanced Classic” in which technology and innovative styling converge with next generation aerodynamic design to deliver superior fuel efficiency. This new Lone Star also sets a higher standard for comfort through improved ergonomics, an industry-leading suspension, advanced electronics and a quiet cab.

2009 Volkwagen Routan: This new European inspired design and driving dynamics highlight this new minivan which will be built in Windsor, Ontario with prices starting below $25,000. One of the most popular entries at the Chicago, photographers were swarming this vehicle once debuted, with significant attention on the second day of media events. This model, with three row seating, will come with a standard 3.8L V6 offering 197 hp and 230 lb. ft torque when combined with the standard six-speed automatic transmission. A 4.0L V6 will be available rated at 253 hp and 263 lb. ft. of torque. The Routan features European tuned suspension and steering optimized for handling and improved driving dynamics. Standard all-season traction and ESP, brings safety and security to Routan. Some of its unique features include: conversation mirror, rear seat entertainment system with two 9 inch screens for second and third row, wireless headsets, and remote control, dual power sliding doors with power windows, touch screen navigation with twenty meg hard drive, power lift gate with flood lamp and thirteen cup holders.

2009 Suzuki Equator: American Suzuki Motor Corp. debuted this all-new Equator midsize pickup truck in three separate variations calling them concepts, though the 2009 Equator will be available to the public Fall 2008. These three representative concepts were named the RMZ-4 for off-road enthusiasts, Quad for outdoor adventures and Quay for boating and watersport aficionados with a 6500-pound towing capacity. Suzuki also promised a couple new exciting concept autos for the March 2008 New York International Auto Show.

2008 YES! Roadster 3.2: This exciting new sports car from Germany, with some resemblance to the Lotus Elise, but equipped with gull-wing doors, with a starting price of $77,995 includes a V6 four valve engine, and with the Turbo S upgrade boasts 415 hp. It comes with a 6-speed-manual transmission with a 5-speed-automatic optional only on the base Roadster 3.2 and not with either turbo version. It is equipped with a mid engine power train with the power drive taken to the rear wheels.

In addition to the above new debuts, the Asian auto makers debuted the 2009 Mitsubishi Galant, Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder, 2009 Acura RL and 2009 Hyundai Sonata at Chicago. Presently both the Mc Cormick Place North Hall (primarily General Motors) and South Hall are being used for a very expansive auto show, with a new West Hall a potential for the most massive auto show, despite as being advertised already as larger than the Detroit and Los Angeles auto shows combined.



The 2009 Ford Edge Sport was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show.



The 2009 Volkswagen Routan was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. It can come with a 3.8-liter V6 engine producing 197 hp or a 4.0-liter V6 engine producing 251 hp.

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Copyright © 2008 All Rights Reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.