AUTO

2012 Chicago Auto Show

The latest cars and trucks blow into the windy city.

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Hyundai Elantra Coupe and GT

The 2012 North American Car of the Year is now available in triplicate.

The Elantra Coupe and GT are the latest two and five-door takes on the overachieving compact sedan. In fact, the coupe is so large inside that it technically qualifies as a mid-size car.

Based on the same platform, and using the same 148 hp direct-injected four-cylinder engine as the sedan, the Coupe and GT are both expected to deliver an EPA rating close to 40 mpg highway when they go on sale later this year.

2013 Nissan 370Z

2013 Nissan 370Z

It’s all in the details for the updated Nissan 370Z, with subtle changes to the front and rear fascias, new 18-inch wheels and what’s described as Euro-tuned shocks on Sport package equipped cars, which also have red-painted brake calipers.

The 332 hp 3.7-liter V6 carries over, as does the 350 hp version in the top spec NISMO 370Z, which does without the above modifications, but gets its own gunmetal-color 19-inch wheels and high-performance brake lines and fluid from the Nissan GT-R supercar.

Nissan

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2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

The drop-top version of Ford’s new 200 mph ‘Stang gets all of the goodies that the hardtop has, including a 650 hp supercharged V8 and electronically adjustable suspension, but has its top speed artificially limited to 155 mph.

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2012 Nissan NV3500 Passenger Van

Nissan became the first Japanese automaker to enter the tough-to-crack full-size van segment this year with cargo versions of its designed-for-the-U.S.A. NV, and now it adds a 12-passenger version aimed primarily at shuttle services, but just right for your typical reality show mega-size family.

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2013 Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota’s most expensive vehicle, the $77,995 Land Cruiser SUV, gets a mild refresh for 2013 and is now available just one way: fully loaded.

The exterior gets a mild refresh, with a new grille, lights and trim, while the rugged and luxurious body-on-frame SUV gets extra sound deadening material for added refinement.

Along with a retuned suspension for improved comfort, the Land Cruiser now features a Multi-Terrain system that optimizes the all-wheel-drive system for a variety of surfaces and Toyota’s CRAWL control with Off-Road Turn Assist, which works like a very slow cruise control for tough terrain and uses the brakes to help the vehicle make sharper turns. Radar cruise control is also standard.

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The interior of the Land Cruiser features Toyota’s new app-enabled Entune infotainment system and quad-zone climate controls with 28 air vents located throughout the cabin.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Diesel

 

The Beetle is back in an all-new form for 2012 and, along with the five-cylinder and turbo models already in showrooms, will be available with a diesel engine later this year.

 

Using the same 140 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine as seen in the Jetta and Passat, the oil-burning bug should be good for 39 mpg on the highway, up from the 29-31 mpg rating other Beetle models.

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The Beetle TDI comes with unique 17-inch wheels, chrome trim and an auxiliary gauge package on the top of its retro dashboard that includes oil temperature and turbo boost gauges and a stopwatch.

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2013 Acura ILX

Acura is opening a gateway to the luxury brand. The new ILX compact sedan is aimed at attracting entry-level buyers with style offered at an affordable price.

Three models of the Honda Civic-based four-door will be available, including a hybrid that Acura expects to get 35 mpg city, 38 mpg highway. Other engine choices include a base 150 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and higher performance 201 hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder, as found in the Acura TSX.

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2013 Acura RDX

The latest Acura RDX gives up the old crossover’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine in favor of a more powerful 273 hp 3.5-liter V6 that’s more in keeping with its sport/luxury aspirations. Acura predicts class leading fuel economy of 28 mpg highway.

The compact CUV also gets a longer wheelbase and wider track which improve both interior space and handling, the latter further enhanced by Amplitude Reactive Dampers in the suspension system.

The interior of the RDX is upgraded with higher quality plastics, additional leather and the availability of the latest Acura infotainment system, which features a 60 gb hard drive.

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2013 GMC Acadia

GMC’s big crossover gets an exterior refresh with a more prominent grille, wraparound rear window and LED lighting accents. Inside, the upgraded interior is now available with the first ever front center-mounted airbag which is designed to keep passengers from colliding with each other in the event of a side-impact accident.

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2013 Nissan NV200

It has already been chosen to be New York City’s taxi of the future, now Nissan has revealed a cargo version of its not-so-heavy little hauler, the NV200. The fuel-efficient, front-wheel-drive, two-passenger compact van is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and set to go up against the popular Ford Transit Connect when it goes on sale later this year.

2012 Chicago Auto Show

The latest cars and trucks blow into the windy city.

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