2014 Chicago Auto Show Highlights

Chicago Show Lead II

The 2014 Chicago Auto Show press days are over, making way for the largest crowds of any auto show this year. Several million people will visit McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, from Feb. 8 to Feb. 17. We're guessing they'll want to escape the cold and see the latest offerings from every automaker imaginable. This year they'll like what they'll be seeing. Here are some of our favorites from the show, and not just because truckmakers decided to make a little news by releasing a new vehicle, concept or option package.


Toyota's TRD Pro Series

A Taco Supreme II

We got a chance to see three Toyota vehicles benefit from the new TRD Pro Series off-road package: Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner. The Tacoma TRD Pro is essentially last year's Baja Package. TRD engineers tell us the taller and softer front coil springs on the Tacoma and Tundra don't affect payload or towing capabilities. The new off-road package will be offered later this fall on 2015 models. No word on pricing, but you can bet it won't be inexpensive.


Frontier Diesel Runner, Powered by Cummins

B Nissan Cummins II

Everyone connected to this project was very clear: "This is a concept and we haven't made any decisions." Be that as it may, the size and power — especially when mated to a ZF eight-speed transmission — is just about perfect for the midsize Nissan Frontier. It's nice to see Cummins continuing to work with a manufacturer other than Ram. As we hear it, Cummins will work with any automaker with a power-plant offering that will work. That's probably why the Cummins/Toyota rumors persist. 


Ford F-150 Tonka

E TONKA Central Park II

Tuscany Motor Co. of Indiana has partnered with Hasbro to get the exclusive rights to produce what is being called the Tonka F-150. Available to any Ford dealership in North America, the vehicle is designed to grab attention on the roads and still be able to work and play like a half-ton pickup. There are many options to the package, not the least of which is a Pro Comp suspension lift, 20-inch wheels and tires, and all sorts of custom body effects to give the truck a unique style and design. For more information, visit www.drivetuscany.com.


Chevrolet Silverado HD CNG

F Chevy CNG II

With the bi-fuel expansion of the upgraded 2015 Silverado Heavy Duty pickups, GM has taken the opportunity to make a few changes to the new compressed natural gas equipment and electronics integration. The system still uses a protected single tank at the back of the bed and provides for another 17 gallons (gas equivalent) of fuel distance, which translates to just more than 200 extra miles per tank. The system starts with gasoline but switches over as soon as the bi-fuel systems are warmed up. We like that GM now allows the fuel gauge to show drivers exactly how much is left in the tank depending on what fuel they are using. Drivers also can access a unique electronic gauge that shows them how much CNG is in the tank at any time. The CNG bi-fuel option remains an $11,000 upcharge.


Chevy City Express

D City Express II

We get why small cargo vans like Chevy's new-for-2014 City Express are becoming more popular — solid payload, great cargo space, fuel efficient, nimble around town — but with such small engines, the ones we've tested so far are a little boring to drive. We like that GM fleet and commercial buyers will have a more reasonably sized option now, and we're hoping this means Chevy is going to get more serious about filling out the heavy-duty-plus side (4500, 5500 and 6500) of the equation. However, we're guessing buyers will be less tolerant of a badge-sharing partnership. Our favorite Facebook post from the auto show was when Nissan's public relations folks stopped by the Chevy booth, took a picture of the City Express and posted: "Looks pretty good; our second favorite vehicle in the category."

To see photos of what we saw at this year's CAS, go to our Facebook page and check out our photo gallery. 



I am willing to bet the Chevy City Express sells a lot more vans with it's style, than the Nissan van does. I would buy it on looks alone, never mind the much better dealer network.

Glad they didn't include the reaper... Anyways, I think they should keep a close eye on the Cummins'.

This Chicago Show is showing that the US is set to get larger vehicles with diesels.

Diesels have aways performed better in the larger vehicles.

The Frontier teaser is great. I don't really think you'll be getting a D40 diesel.

I do think the next Nissan will be a far better truck than the Chev Colorado. I wonder when the next gen Navara/Frontier will come out and when we can get some information and picturers on what Nissan is doing with them and the Titan.

I hope we get the little Cummins here in Australia in the Navara's.

@Big Al from Oz
The small 2.8 engine would not make much of a mark, but the 5litre V8 on the other hand would be something else.

@RR, Nissan would do well to replace the Patrol ute with a Titan 5.0 Cummins in Australia. They would need to offer a single cab w/ cab chassis option, but they would absolutely dominate the market if they did that. Cab chassis models would need a standard snorkel, and all Australian models would need a standard LSD with electronic locker. Nissan Australia would go from 118kw/380Nm, with 3200Kg towing and 11.4L/100km and seating for up to 2 passengers max - changing it up to 220Kw/750Nm, with about 4500Kg towing, and under 10L/100km, with 5-6 passengers max. It would also allow them to offer an automatic. As much sense as it would make, I can see them totally missing a really good opportunity and not doing it!

@Robert Ryan
After reading the future of HDs I do think there will be a blur between a 1/2 ton and an HD.

The 5 litre Nissan Titan should fit the bill nicely. I do really think it will develop more torque and power than what we've hear so far.

I figure at least 350hp and 600ftlb of torque.

That would make it quite a beast. I would love to see that engine in the new Patrols, but the weight might not make it viable.

Nissan had been running this 2.8 in a Titan as well.


Does Cummins not work with more than just Ram, old Dodge and Nissan trucks? They also supply engines for Ford, GM and International medium duty trucks as well as semi trucks and buses. I would love to see the 2.8 L turbodiesel in the Frontier. That would force Toyota to come up with a little Hino diesel for the Tacoma.

@Alex and Big Al from Oz,
I think there is a a huge line of people who would want the Patrol to have a decent diesel. That is why Nissan still offers the ancient Y61 with the relatively ancient diesel. They offer the Patrol with te 5.6 V8 but that is not selling. Too expensive and petrol engines not a good look for an Off Road SUV.

Another Damn worthless Mini Van......

@RR, yeah the old Nissan 3.0 got a bad reputation, I think it was often referred to as a "grenade." But you're right, people don't necessarily want a 5.6 petrol V8 either. I don't know that people "love" the 2.5 DCI, and the 3.0 V6 Renault is an expensive engine. I honestly believe the 5.0 and 2.8 will be perfect.

I like the yellow "Tonka". Ford grills look much better colour matched to the body.

@Alex and Robert Ryan
If Nissan is moving in the direction of Cummins the 3.8 ISF diesel might be a better engine for the Patrol, both Patrols.


That hood on the Frontier is SWEET. They should sell it like that.

Tonka's aint built like they used to be. Made from plastic in China.

Gm still talking about there outdated under powered 6.0L lol

were is the awd hybride cargo vans.or propain hybride?

"I am willing to bet the Chevy City Express sells a lot more vans with it's style, than the Nissan van does. I would buy it on looks alone, never mind the much better dealer network."

SANDMAN4X4, Google both vans and look at them side by side. With the exception of the grille, they're identical.

"I am willing to bet the Chevy City Express sells a lot more vans with it's style, than the Nissan van does. I would buy it on looks alone, never mind the much better dealer network."

SANDMAN4X4, how can you say you'd buy it on looks alone? The Express and the NV200 are identical with the exception of the front grille.

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