Chicago Auto Show News Round-Up: Cars, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Lexus, Ford, RAM, Jeep & EV Track.

Today was media day a the Chicago Auto Show announcements included, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Lexus, Ford, RAM and EV Track.

Based in Chicago, returns as the official map sponsor to help show-goers find their perfect match when car shopping. will also have a branding presence with banners throughout the show and highlight an online sweepstakes surrounding its Best of Vehicles for 2022.

People who visit the show can experience and learn about a variety of’s Best of Vehicle finalists. Now in their 13th year, the awards announce experts’ top vehicle picks in six different categories: luxury, value, electric, family, pickup and best overall vehicle

Additionally,’s CEO Alex Vetter opened the Chicago Auto Show’s Media Preview with a keynote address during the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 10.

Hyundai Safety Test and Investigation Lab In Michigan

Today, Hyundai announced the establishment of a Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory (STIL) at its Michigan-based research and development center, Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI). The new facility will further augment existing safety testing and analysis. A field crash investigation lab, high voltage battery lab, forensics lab, 500m track and a Vehicle Dynamics Area (VDA) pad is scheduled to be operational fall of 2023. The investment is focused on enhancing Hyundai’s safety commitment in identifying vehicle field issues, preventing crashes and keeping passengers safe. The new facility investment totals over $50 million.

“We are proud to expand upon our ‘safety first’ commitment by developing a new Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory (STIL),” said Brian Latouf, chief safety officer, Hyundai Motor North America. “With the added testing and investigation capabilities of the STIL, we will better understand customer vehicle issues, identify and address defects and analyze vehicle systems more efficiently with our own, on-site laboratory. The access to real-world data will help accelerate our pursuit of a best-in-class safety office and enable effective safety technologies to help protect our customers and their families.”

Hyundai recognizes the value and importance of enhancing its hands-on safety evaluation processes. The STIL will enable Hyundai to analyze field data, understand the root cause of issues and quickly take action to ensure vehicle safety. The STIL was developed in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) based on a 2020 Consent Order. Hyundai increased its required investment by $26 million. Approximately 150 jobs are planned to support the facility.

“Hyundai America Technical Center (HATCI) is excited to collaborate with Hyundai Motor North America (HMNA) on a state-of-the art safety test laboratory at our Michigan R&D campus,” said John Robb, president, HATCI. “Having on-site access to perform real-world evaluations further enhances our safety commitment to our customers and emphasizes our commitment to the region.”

Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc.
As one of Hyundai Motor Group’s (HMG) six centers focused on research and development (R&D), Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI) was established in 1986 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. HATCI is HMG’s design, technology and engineering division for North America. As HMG solidified its position as one of the top five global OEMs, HATCI has grown to include a strong network of engineering disciplines and increased business-focused activities to support North America’s Voice of the Customer. For more information, visit

Hyundai earned five Consumer Guide ® 2022 Best Buy Awards in product categories making it one of the most awarded brands in the competition. Consumer Guide’s Best Buy award methodology includes evaluating new vehicles to identify those with the best combination of value and available features. Vehicles selected for the automotive awards offer a combination of consumer-centric features and options in addition to the dynamic driving qualities that make for safe, enjoyable and reliable transportation choices

The five Hyundai models won in the following categories:
1. 2022 Hyundai Palisade Best Buy for midsize crossover
2. 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Best Buy for midsize crossover
3. 2022 Hyundai Kona Best Buy for subcompact crossover
4. 2022 Hyundai Venue Best Buy for subcompact crossover
5. 2022 Hyundai Accent Best Buy for subcompact car

Nissan Debuts and Frontier Redux

Nissan is bringing a truckload of Southern California vibes to the 2022 Chicago Auto Show with a trio of custom Frontier trucks created by its San Diego-based design team.

The three Nissan Design America (NDA) project trucks are based on the 2022 Frontier, which is available now at Nissan dealers nationwide. They are joined by the Rebelle Rally Frontier, driven by “Team Wild Grace” in the eight-day, 1,500-mile competition in the deserts of Nevada, Arizona and California.

Also making their Chicago-area debuts at the show are the all-new 2023 Nissan Z and the 2023 Nissan Ariya electric crossover. The Z will be available this spring, followed by Ariya in the fall. All of the showcased vehicles are part of the company’s ambitious “Nissan NEXT” transformation, which has resulted in one of the freshest new model lineups in the industry, from A to Z.

“Two big events are happening in February, the Chicago Auto Show and the Super Bowl, and Nissan is excited to be a part of both,” said Michael Colleran, senior vice president, Nissan U.S. and Marketing and Sales, referring to Nissan’s action-packed Super Bowl commercial, “Thrill Driver,” starring the new Z and Ariya. “We are demonstrating the emotional connection and real benefits that Nissan tech delivers – the Thrill Effect – and can’t wait for attendees at the show to experience these vehicles firsthand.”

Three Frontier projects – plus one
The Project 72X, Project Hardbody and Project Adventure, while all sharing the same 2022 Frontier Crew Cab platform, address three different mid-size truck audiences and start with three different Frontier grade levels – S, SV and PRO-4X respectively. All three of the Frontier concept trucks combine readily available Nissan and aftermarket parts and accessories with custom-designed pieces and custom graphics.

“We’re offering three looks at three styles to show how owners could modify their new Frontiers,” said Hiren Patel, project lead designer, Nissan Design America, Inc. “The common ground is that they all use their trucks as canvases for personalization.”

The Project 72X is a modern take on one of Nissan’s most popular trucks, the Datsun 720. First introduced in fall 1979, the 720 eventually became the first vehicle assembled by Nissan in the United States when it rolled off the line of the then-new Smyrna (Tennessee) Vehicle Assembly Plant in 1983. Known as the “Lil Hustler,” it was a bare-bones, affordable truck designed for fun and was advertised as ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. For the 2022 interpretation, the design team used gray exterior tones and graphics for a sense of modern, cool attitude – a look reinforced by the white-painted steel wheels, a 2.5-inch lift kit and a sport bar behind the cab.

Project Hardbody, as the name suggests, pays homage to one of the most iconic Nissan trucks ever, the D21 “Hardbody.” It was the first truck design completed at NDA. Project Hardbody is built on a 2022 Frontier Crew Cab SV 4×4. It features a 3-inch lift kit, classic Hardbody block-style wheels designed and milled at NDA, bed-mounted spare tire carrier and door graphics with ‘80s-style shadow outlining.

Project Adventure is the design group’s take on the current popular overlanding trend and features a 5-inch lift kit, 34-inch mud terrain tires and a special carbon fiber snorkel designed and crafted by NDA. A key feature of the Project Adventure is the custom body wrap depicting an atlas of the U.S., which makes the statement, This is a big country, why don’t you take your Frontier somewhere?

The Rebelle Rally Frontier competed in last October’s all-women Rebelle Rally, piloted by Team Wild Grace co-captains Sedona Blinson and Lyn Woodward. The longest off-road rally in the United States, the racers don’t use cell phones, navigation or any electronic tools throughout the rally – just maps, compass and roadbook. The Rebelle Rally Frontier carries the retro red, white and blue paint job of Nissan’s champion off-road racers of the 1980s.

The Frontier PRO-4X Rebelle Rally racer has been modified for competition with a range of NISMO Off Road parts, including NISMO Off Road performance exhaust, NISMO Off Road performance suspension kit, 4-inch off-road lights and NISMO Off Road AXIS wheels.

Toyota 2023 Sequoia Tundra Capstone and bZ4X

Toyota will display an array of new vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show including the all-new 2023 Sequoia, 2022 Tundra Capstone and the all-electric 2023 bZ4X. This year, guests will get a closer look at 59 vehicles in a 44,980 square-foot display, featuring new and upgraded vehicle features.

For the first time in Chicago, guests can get behind the wheel of the 2022 Tundra on the Toyota Track adjacent to the Toyota display in the South Exhibit Hall. Drives will be available daily between 10 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. (closing at 8 p.m. Feb. 21) during the show. Guests will ride with a professional driver and will experience multiple surfaces to showcase the off-road upgrades and capabilities found on the new Tundra. Toyota Drive Center requires a valid driver’s license and guests must wear a mask.

Available in summer 2022, the all-new 2023 Sequoia is ready to make its mark and elevate the full-size segment with luxurious comfort, impressive technology and breath-taking performance from an efficient new hybrid powertrain. Toyota’s largest SUV will feature a powerful twin-turbo V6 hybrid i-FORCE MAX powertrain. First unveiled on Tundra, this exceptional hybrid produces 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft. of torque.

The three-row SUV is rooted in a modern body-on-frame chassis with a fully boxed frame, providing excellent handling, supreme comfort and impressive capability. Sequoia features an independent front suspension and adopts a new rack-mounted electronic power steering system for improved steering feel. A modern multi-link rear suspension is employed out back to offer a smooth ride and create opportunity to add the available Load-Leveling Rear Height Control Air Suspension and Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) for those looking to tow regularly. Sequoia offers up to an impressive 9,000-pound maximum towing capacity, a nearly 22% increase over the prior generation.

It will be available in five grades that include SR5, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro and the new-to-Sequoia Capstone grade. Sequoia’s new multimedia system will include a large 8-inch or available 14-inch touchscreen that controls the all-new Toyota Audio Multimedia system with sight, touch and voice activation.

The all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra is rooted in quality, durability and reliability. Designed, engineered and assembled in the U.S., there’s no question this is the toughest, most capable, most advanced Tundra to date. Now in its third generation, Tundra has improved upon its predecessors thanks to key improvements, including two new powertrains that are more powerful and more efficient than the outgoing engine, improved towing and payload capability, an all-new designed multimedia system and a cabin with creature comforts the entire family will love.

The recently announced Tundra Capstone grade provides a premium collection of features and upgrades for those looking to elevate their truck experience. The luxurious grade includes the largest wheels ever offered on a Tundra with standard 22-inch chrome rims and includes unique styling features, such as a distinctive grille, chrome mirror caps, chrome “TUNDRA” tailgate inserts and chrome trim accents. The premium interior experience includes standard semi-aniline leather-trimmed seats in a Capstone only black-and-white color combination. Other features include a panoramic moonroof, a leather trimmed heated steering wheel and a standard 14-inch multimedia touchscreen display with new sight, touch and voice activation.

Capstone is powered by the impressive new i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain that produces 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft. of torque. i-FORCE MAX relies on a twin-turbo V6 engine but features a unique motor generator within the bell housing between the engine and 10-speed automatic transmission designed to provide maximum performance and maximum efficiency. Resting on a new fully boxed, high-strength-steel frame, Capstone has a maximum towing capacity of 10,340 pounds. The newest addition to the Tundra lineup will be arriving at dealerships this spring.

Toyota also brings its new all-electric SUV to the Windy City, which represents the first of a global series of battery-electric vehicles under Toyota’s “beyond Zero” brand umbrella. The bZ4X is built on the new e-TNGA BEV-dedicated platform and offers a new AWD system that provides impressive driving performance both on- and off-road with a manufacturer-estimated range of up to 250 miles per charge for XLE front-wheel drive models. The sleek SUV offers hi-tech and emotional design inside and out and is loaded with intuitive tech features. The bZ4X is projected to go on sale in Spring 2022.

Guests can also see the Tacozilla Tacoma Camper, a backwoods overlanding-ready “micro-house” rig that pays tribute to Toyota campers from the ’70s and ’80s. Other vehicles on display will include the GR86, TRD Desert Chase Tundra, NASCAR Tundra, Supra Sport Top and the Busch NASCAR Cup.

Lexus is bringing style, technology and efficiency to the 2022 Chicago Auto Show, including the all-new 2022 Lexus LX 600, NX and IS 500 SEMA Build. The Chicago Auto Show takes place Feb. 12-21, at McCormick Place, located at 2301 S King Dr., Chicago.

New 2022 Lexus LX 600

Guests of the auto show will have the opportunity to experience the fully reimagined 2022 Lexus LX 600, the brand’s ultimate sport-utility flagship vehicle that brings unparalleled capability, luxury and human-centered technology to the diversified model portfolio. With an all-new 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo gasoline engine, the LX 600 offers seamless power and efficiency. The full-size luxury SUV, with its newly reengineered body-on-frame platform, avant-garde style and luxurious cabin, embodies Lexus’ commitment to meeting the diversifying needs and lifestyles of customers.

The 2022 Lexus NX will also be on display, showcasing an entirely new platform, making the mid-size SUV longer, wider and taller for more passenger and cargo space. Taking performance further, the new NX features powerful turbo and sporty hybrid powertrains. Proving there’s an NX for every driver, its four new powertrains include a new 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine and the first-ever Lexus plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the NX 450h+, with an EPA-estimated 36-mile range on electric power.

The 2022 NX delivers a long list of Lexus firsts, including next-generation Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 technology and Digital Latch with Safe Exit Assist to alert the driver and passengers to avoid the risk of accidental door contact with vehicles or cyclists.

The Lexus IS 500 SEMA build will be an eye-catching high-performance sedan for attendees to see up-close. Lexus partnered with Hiraku Co. and Lexus ambassador, Townsend Bell, to develop a uniquely appealing street performance themed IS 500 build. The customized body kit was 3D printed specifically for the build, and includes a front lip spoiler, side steps, rear diffuser, front fenders, bumper canards, rear roof spoiler and a Seibon carbon fiber hood and trunk. On the inside of the Lexus IS 500, Sparco SPX carbon fiber reclining seats and a custom Alcantara steering wheel complete the build.

The Lexus booth will also feature a Lexus Interface simulator, allowing guests to engage in the features of the all-new elegant, intuitive connected multimedia system. Auto show attendees can also take part in the Mark Levinson in-car listening experience, the sound system that produces impeccable sound that immerses the driver in every ride.

Ford Bronco Raptor Plus Ford F-150 Lightning & Mustang Mach-E

Ford is rolling into Chicago with a special vehicle series debut, a first look at the Bronco Raptor and two new indoor test tracks to highlight the Bronco family of vehicles and its EV lineup, the Ford F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E.

Ford’s vehicle reveal is set to take place during the show’s Media Preview on Feb. 10, when viewers can tune in live at noon CST via the Chicago Auto Show’s Facebook page. In addition, the desert-racing, rock-crawling 2022 Bronco Raptor will make its auto show debut in Chicago as the most powerful street-legal Bronco ever. Designed and engineered by Ford Performance to be the world’s first Ultra4 Racing-inspired SUV, packs extreme Built Wild capability and durability with an exclusive twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine targeted to deliver more than 400 horsepower, a Raptor HOSS 4.0 race-ready suspension system, a fully boxed, high-strength steel frame and standard 37-inch all-terrain tires.

Ford also will have two indoor experiences, including rides in Bronco, the 2022 North American Utility of the Year, on the Built Wild track or take the first rides in the all-electric 1978 Ford F-100 Eluminator concept vehicle, all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E GT and F-150 Lightning as part of the Built to Electrify experience.

The highlight of the Bronco experience is a Bronco off-road course, where professional drivers will take visitors on a 38-degree high Bronco Mountain. Participants will feel the thrill of the climb while learning more about Bronco tech like G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Terrain) Mode capabilities and technology that makes off-roading even more exciting and intelligent.

For one of the first times, auto show goers will be able to get a ride-along with Ford’s first ever, all-electric F-150 Lightning, the Mustang Mach-E GT and all-electric F-100 Eluminator Concept pickup with an EV crate motor. This indoor display will thrill passengers as they make the loop with professional drivers.

“Visitors of our summer special edition show surely recall tackling the outdoor Bronco Mountain and experiencing the Mustang Mach-E in the acceleration lane,” said Chicago Auto Show Chairman Bill Haggerty. “As the show returns to February, we’re thrilled to offer this same level of excitement and entertainment to fans indoors. Ford’s indoor tracks build on the momentum from our summer show, where nearly 40 percent of attendees took a test drive or ride – a number we’re hoping to top this year!”

Ford’s indoor Built Wild Bronco track and Built to Electrify experience are two of six total indoor test tracks at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show – the most test tracks ever offered inside the show.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Three-Row Limited Black Package

The Windy City is getting a black out in the form of the new 2022 Jeep® Grand Cherokee L Limited Black Package, which will debut at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show Feb. 12-21 at McCormick Place. The Limited Black appearance package, now available for order, delivers legendary Jeep 4×4 capability with unique Gloss Black exterior accents and features.

“The first ever three-row Grand Cherokee answered the growing needs of our Jeep SUV customers who asked for more space, functionality and legendary 4×4 capability,” said Jim Morrison, Senior Vice President and Head of Jeep Brand North America. “It’s important for us to listen to our customer base and that includes unique options they want, and the new Limited Black Package gives the 2022 Grand Cherokee L a sleek, customized look that further distinguishes it from anything else on the road.”

The Limited Black Package, with a U.S. manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $1,695, adds 20-inch Gloss Black aluminum wheels, Gloss Black accents and badging, roof rails and a unique seven-slot grille to the already well-equipped Limited model

The Ram Truck Revolution Insider Program

Ram Truck today announced the Ram Revolution, an exclusive insider program with Ram brand fans that invites them to join the brand on its journey to revolutionize the pickup truck market again, this time with the new Ram 1500 Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) in 2024.

The Ram Revolution – including the new hub – provides consumers with a closer connection with the brand and its EV philosophy, meaningful updates with unique visuals and content, and an ongoing dialogue that will include the opportunity to provide input as Ram EV trucks are developed.

“Launched as a stand-alone truck brand in 2009, Ram revolutionized the pickup truck segment once, and is laser-focused on doing so again with the best electric trucks on the market,” said Mike Koval Jr., Ram Brand CEO – Stellantis.  “Our new Ram Revolution campaign will allow us to engage with consumers in a close and personal way, so we can a gather meaningful feedback, understand their wants and needs and address their concerns – ultimately allowing us to deliver the best electric pickup truck on the market with the Ram 1500 BEV.”

As part of today’s Ram Revolution announcement, the brand showcased images of a concept vehicle that is being developed with customer input to inspire the design of the upcoming Ram 1500 BEV.

With the Ram EV Revolution, the brand is debuting its Ram Real Talk Tour – a series of year-long conversations with consumers at various events to better understand what the next generation of Ram Trucks and Vans must do to meet their needs.

“The Ram brand’s promise is grounded in our unique ‘Built to Serve’ philosophy, and our new Ram Revolution campaign takes this pledge even further,” Koval added.  “At Ram we are built to serve our customers, understanding and delivering exactly what they need and want in a Ram.  Our next-gen Ram solutions will be powerful and capable trucks that tow, haul, complete the job and always go the distance.”

Ram will deliver fully electrified solutions in the majority of its segments by 2025, and a full portfolio of electrified solutions for all of its segments no later than 2030.  The brand’s promise is to serve the next generation of Ram customers with a portfolio of products that delivers on their real-world demands.  Ram will push past what competitors have announced and what customers expect, to deliver a fuller portfolio of technology with more range, power, productivity and convenience.

Ram Truck Brand
In 2009, the Ram Truck brand launched as a stand-alone division, focused on meeting the demands of truck buyers and delivering benchmark-quality vehicles. With a full lineup of trucks, the Ram 1500, 2500/3500 Heavy Duty, 3500/4500/5500 Chassis Cab, ProMaster and ProMaster City, the Ram brand builds trucks that get the hard work done and families where they need to go.

Ram is the number one brand in new vehicle quality and is the only truck-exclusive brand to ever finish first in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study (2021), which tracks new vehicle performance over the first three months of ownership. In the same study, Ram Heavy Duty models also scored best, making Ram the number-one truck brand in new vehicle quality among large heavy-duty pickups.

In addition, the latest J.D. Power APEAL study – which rates the emotional bond between customers and their vehicles – named the 2021 Ram 1500 as the best vehicle in the large light-duty pickup category. This marks the second straight year Ram 1500 has received top honors.

The 2022 Ram 1500 lineup includes the Know & Go mobile app featuring an immersive experience for customers who want to learn more about their vehicles.

Ram continues to outperform the competition and sets the benchmarks for:
• 1,075 lb.-ft. of torque with Cummins Turbo Diesel
• Towing capacity of 37,090 lbs. with Ram 3500
• Segment first 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque with Cummins Turbo Diesel
• Payload of 7,680 lbs. with Ram 3500
• Most luxurious: Ram Limited with real wood, real leather and 12-inch Uconnect touchscreen
• Best ride and handling with exclusive link coil rear and auto-level air suspensions
• Most interior space with Ram Mega Cab
• Most capable full-size off-road pickup – Ram Power Wagon
• Ram 1500, America’s most powerful half-ton diesel pickup with 480 lb.-ft. of torque, achieves an unsurpassed 33 mpg highway and delivers up to 1,000 miles of range on a single tank of fuel
• Ram 1500 TRX is the quickest, fastest and most powerful mass-produced pickup truck in the world
• Most awarded light-duty truck in America
• Highest owner loyalty of any half-ton pickup

The Chicago Auto Show will debut an all-new indoor electric vehicle track electrifying the consumer experience at the 2022 show. Fueled in part by Powering Chicago, the labor-management partnership between International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134, the indoor track will feature a variety of electric vehicles ranging from the BMW i4 M50 to the Kia EV6, among others, where attendees can learn about and compare EVs side-by-side.