The Most Buzzworthy New Cars, Trucks, and SUVs at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show
Automakers showed off new powertrains, production and concept off-roaders, and some historic eye candy at the February show.
Though pared down compared with years past, the 2022 Chicago Auto Show still had a lot going on, with six indoor test tracks where participants could experience new off-roaders and EVs firsthand, and automakers showcasing a bevy of upcoming vehicles at their booths. While the auto show was light on major debuts, there were a few newsmakers and new models making their first public appearances.
Ford Bronco Raptor & Bronco Everglades
Ford continues to build excitement with the Bronco lineup, bringing two new variants to the 2022 Chicago Auto Show. The high-performance Bronco Raptor features a model-exclusive, twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 engine that should deliver more than 400 horsepower. Designed to tackle the toughest terrain, this desert racer comes with 37-inch tires, seven G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) modes, and an off-road suspension with plenty of travel. The four-door-only Raptor goes on sale this summer with a base price just over $70,000.
The adventure-ready Bronco Everglades takes the steel bash plates of the Black Diamond and Badlands trims and adds a protective safari bar, rock rails, a factory-installed snorkel, and an integrated Warn winch rated for 10,000 pounds. The Sasquatch package (35-inch, mud-terrain tires, beadlock-capable wheels, heavy-duty dampers, etc.) comes standard, as does a 300-horsepower, turbo, 2.3-liter four-cylinder mated to a 10-speed automatic. Pricing for this swamp-tackling ute starts around $54,000.
Unfortunately for the enthusiasts out there, Ford isn’t offering a manual transmission on either model.
Ford GT Alan Mann Heritage Edition
Amid the pickup trucks and SUVs in the Ford display, two bright-red beauties stood out like shining beacons: the new GT Alan Mann Heritage Edition and the car that inspired it, a 1966 Alan Mann GT-1 prototype. The latter never won a major race, but the factory works team behind it helped Ford innovate with the GT40, leading to the Blue Oval’s podium sweep at Le Mans in 1966.
The limited-edition tribute car’s livery mimics the original’s, with two gold, over-the-roof racing stripes. The car also features gloss-coated carbon fiber accents, seats, and 20-inch wheels. Ford hasn’t revealed pricing, but considering the regular Ford GT—now in its final year of production—starts at around $500,000, the Alan Mann Heritage Edition likely falls into the, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it,” category. And it’s available only to approved Ford GT customers.
Kia Sportage PHEV
Kia’s attractive compact crossover will offer two new hybrid powertrains for 2023, with the automaker releasing details of the plug-in variant at the Chicago show. It blends a 177-horsepower, turbocharged, 1.6-liter engine with a 90-horsepower electric motor, and its 13.8-kilowatt-hour battery allows for an estimated 32 miles of electric range. Equipped with a 7.2-kilowatt onboard charger, this Sportage should take just two hours to charge a depleted battery when plugged into a Level 2 station. LED headlights and taillamps, glossy wheels, advanced driver-assist technology, and a futuristic interior with dual 12.3-inch digital displays round out the redesign. The all-wheel-drive Sportage PHEV will be available in two trims: the X-Line and X-Line Prestige. Kia has yet to announce pricing, but look for this small SUV in showrooms in the third quarter of 2022.
Nissan Frontier Concepts
Nissan displayed three 4x4 concept vehicles built off the newly redesigned Frontier pickup. The Project 72X is a nod to the popular 1980s-era Datsun 720 truck—in particular, the bare-bones Li’l Hustler model. This concept takes the lowly Frontier S and adds some body graphics, nostalgic white-painted steel wheels, and a 2.5-inch lift.
The Project Hardbody hearkens back to another classic Nissan truck: the D21 Hardbody, so named for its double-walled bed and off-road prowess. To make this concept, Nissan lifted the mid-level SV trim by three inches, blacked out the front end, and installed block-style wheels, 33-inch tires, a bed-mounted spare, and a sport bar with 10-inch rectangular lamps.
The last of the trio, the Pro-4X-based Project Adventure, comes with everything you’d need for spending serious time with nature, including a 5-inch lift, 34-inch mud-terrain tires, a bed rack system, a roof basket, a tent, and a Bluetooth audio system in the bed.
The third-generation Sequoia made its first public appearance in the Windy City after debuting at the end of January. Based on the full-size, body-on-frame Tundra pickup truck, this three-row SUV has the same squared-off fenders and wishbone-shaped headlights as its counterpart, but with a unique (and arguably more attractive) grille. Like the Tundra, the Sequoia is also motivated by a 437-horsepower, hybridized, twin-turbo V-6. The new SUV comes standard with Toyota’s suite of safety features, including adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, and automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, among other things, and it can tow up to 9,000 pounds. We await pricing details, but expect a small increase over the current Sequoia’s base of roughly $52,000. The 2023 Sequoia will be available in the summer of 2022.