Brand new models keep coming as the auto show season continues. Early February is that time of the year when manufacturers invade Chicago to host a few North American premieres and introduce some special editions. The 2020 edition even had a “surprise” for busy families that travel a lot during winter.
2021 Chrysler Pacifica AWD
We knew FCA was preparing to add an AWD option to its minivan; we just didn’t know when it would launch. As it turned out, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica AWD made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show.
If wheels lose traction on ice, snow or any other slippery surface, the system automatically activates the transfer of all available engine torque to the wheels with more traction. Unfortunately, AWD is reserved for gas-only models and can’t be had with the Pacifica Hybrid.
The evolution of Chrysler’s minivan doesn’t stop with AWD, mind you. There’s also a brand new Pinnacle trim that stands out with many luxury features and content, including quilted Caramel Nappa leather seats in all three rows and unique matching lumbar pillows in the second-row captain’s chairs. And let’s not forget the first application of FCA’s all-new Uconnect 5 infotainment system, which features a 10.1-inch touchscreen and Amazon Alexa personal assistant.
2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Following its world premiere in Korea last summer, the all-new 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid made its North American debut in Chicago. The powertrain remains essentially unchanged, but improved aerodynamics, the world’s first Active Shift Control technology and a new solar roof system make the car more efficient. The last one charges the hybrid battery and 12V battery on the go while preventing unnecessary discharges when the car is off.
We’re still awaiting the numbers for Canada, but given that the current Sonata Hybrid achieves 5.6 L/100 km, it’s reasonable to assume the new model will average close to 5.0 L/100 km.
2021 Volkswagen Atlas
Volkswagen unveiled the refreshed 2021 Atlas, which naturally follows in the footsteps of the five-passenger Atlas Cross Sport introduced last year with redesigned bumpers, headlights and taillights, plus a new three-bar grille. It’s also a bit longer—though not necessarily roomier—than the outgoing Atlas.
The interior features a new steering wheel, available contrast stitching on leather surfaces and more importantly the next generation of the Car-Net telematics system, which includes an updated mobile app. There’s a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot allowing passengers to access the internet with up to four connected devices simultaneously.
Five Toyota Special Editions
To celebrate and support fresh-air fun, Toyota introduced the 2021 Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner Trail special editions. Available in Army Green and Cement Grey (among other colours), they feature black exterior badging and black seating with tan stitching. The 4Runner Trail is a real adventurer with dark grey TRD Off-Road wheels, a Yakima LoadWarrior rooftop cargo basket, a custom 40-quart cooler and a sliding cargo tray.
Next, Toyota is expanding its lineup of Nightshade special editions with the 2021 Tacoma Nightshade, which comes with all black leather seating and black exterior trim, including a darkened chrome grille, black mirror caps and black wheels. Meanwhile, the sporty, V6-powered 2021 Highlander XSE boasts a more aggressive look, firmer suspension and an available red and black leather interior with red-stitched instrument panel, among other things.
2021 Jaguar F-Type
Once again offered in coupe and convertible variants, the sexy Brit sports an evolution of the iconic design introduced in 2014. Highlights include a slightly larger grille, slimmer headlights, redesigned front bumper and hood, plus newly styled taillights inspired by those on the I-PACE electric crossover.
Inside, material selection is even more refined than before. The 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster is fully configurable, while the Touch Pro infotainment system is compatible with over-the-air software updates.
The same three engines will return and Jaguar engineers wisely preserved their exceptional sound. However, a new Quiet Start function can be activated by those who want to keep a lower profile at certain times.
2020 Honda Civic Type R
Another North American premiere at the Chicago Auto Show was the 2020 Honda Civic Type R. This Japanese hot hatch benefits from revised styling including a new Boost Blue colour, improved handling and braking, better engine cooling and the addition of standard Honda Sensing safety and driver assistance technologies.
The cockpit is more refined thanks to a new Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and a new shifter with a restyled knob and shorter shift throws. The 306-horsepower turbo engine doesn’t change, but there’s a new Active Sound Control system that modifies interior sound in concert with the selected drive mode.
We now turn our attention to the 2020 Canadian International Auto Show taking place in Toronto from February 14-23. The all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade will be making its global auto show debut!