The Chicago Auto Show has long been a haven for truck introductions, and this year’s edition was no exception. Chevrolet, Nissan, and Toyota all showed off new trucks, while competitors rolled out concept cars and production vehicles.
We were there and are now bringing it to you! From pickups and concepts to hybrids and electrics, we offer some of the eye-catching new designs from the nation’s largest auto show.
Click on Nissan's Frontier Diesel Runner pickup below to start the slideshow.
At the Chicago show, Nissan rolled out the Frontier Diesel Runner pickup, a “project truck” that will help the company’s executives gauge market reaction to a Nissan mid-size pickup with a diesel engine. Its 2.8-liter, four-cylinder Cummins diesel produces about 200 HP and 350 lb-ft of torque, while boosting fuel economy by 35 percent over a V-6-powered, two-wheel drive version of the Frontier. (Source: Jeff Granbery for Nissan)
Chuck, I am interested in the off-road emphasis. Do you see a lot more of this going on? I get out into the country and most people there going off-road use older vehicles. The idea of banging around off-road in a new vehicle seems a little crazy to me. Of course, these are mostly farmers, and they are generally very practical.
The Maserati is really nice. Actually, we just got a new Maserati dealer here in Naperville. I guess that means we are moving up in the world.
I don't think there's a growing emphasis on off-road, naperlou. The Chicago Auto Show has always been the show where new trucks are introduced, presumably because the Midwest (outside Chicago) is less urban. Years ago, I even talked to auto companies that went out of their way to hire Midwestern graduates -- kids from Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, etc -- to design and engineer their pickup trucks.
What I find interesting on the off-road angle is that they are all huge trucks, which if you really did alot of off-roading you would find them problematic as far as the long wheelbase and wide body is concerned. I'm sure they have limited approach and departure angles, and not as well suited as short-wheelbase vehicles in tight turning situations, such as tight wooded trails. As far as the farm angle is concerned, don't really see how that fits in to the whole off-road category, any wide bed truck is suitable for farming, and certainly not necessary to be all 'rigged-out' like these trucks. Think this is more of playing into 'macho' psyche.
You're right, naperlou. The Maserati is cool. This year, there were a number of new cars at the Chicago show and the Detroit show that really emphasized horsepower. Power is definitely rising, even as fuel efficiency climbs.
Many pickups seem to be driven for purposes where a compact car would serve just as well. If the drivers' goal is simply to waste gas, why not drive a little car and punch a leak in the fuel tank to accomplish the same waste? Or skip the leak and just burn the saved money.
You make a good cultural point. Trucks aren't purpose-driven vehicles anymore. I think this trend started in the early 1970's when "powder puff" trucks began to appear. Before that, trucks were the cheapest vehicles on the dealers' lots and you could clean out the cab with a garden hose.
You're right, turbineman. Over the years, trucks somehow became a "feel-good buy," rather than a matter of utility, for some consumers. Some buyers wanted to sit up high and feel big. I know many contractors and trades people who own and need trucks, so I'm not talking about them. But there's a growing contingent of people who drive shiny, tricked out trucks that just don't look like they serve a real practical purpose. Obviously, it's their perogative, but I just don't understand it.
I guess it is a state of mind that people like to sit on high wheels and looking down on every one passing by. Only people who like to drive a heavy feel vehicles like to use trucks or people going of road.
I agree for the most part, however you do have to give kudos to truck Mfg's for trying to be more fuel efficient. Sure why own a truck when a more efficient car would suffice, however I feel this line of thinking gives Mfg's an 'out' for actually trying to develop an efficient truck. On the other hand I also despise those touting supposedly "efficient" cars that get less than 40MPG.
But if there was a small truck that got 40+ mpg why not opt for something like that which might me more versatile to some, so I do think one has to give credit where credit is due, but then again most people only interested in trucks is because they look "manly". But I especially liked the small Nissan diesel; the Kia Niro hybrid had some impressive ground clearance if your into the outdoors. However its unlikely that either will see the light of day. Think 2 years ago Toyota had a prius "truck", and Jeep had a diesel electric hybrid wrangler – both with impressive MPG for the time but sadly neither went anywhere.
The Toyota TRD Pro vehicle exhibit looks awesome! If my eyes are not deceiving me, the Chicago Auto Show actually showed the pickup driving out of a water-pit? Their exhibit looks like a mini monster truck show! Great slides Charles!
Yes, Mr Don, when I was at the Chicago Show (at the preview), reporters were driving the Toyota through an off-road course that included the water pit. I believe they did the same throughout the remainder of the show. Hats off to Toyota for a great exhibit.
Yes, the Toyota off-road course was probably the most spectacular exhibit for attendees. But there were others...Ford had the Mustang pinball game, Toyota had the teen driving simulator and Ford had an off-road simulator. Toyota also had its FT-1 on the Gran Turismo game, which could be "driven" by attendees.
@mrdon: Yes its always better to have hands on experience. Then only you will gain experience in a real life scenario. That is more important and valuable than the professional qualification these days.
@Pubudu: Learning from practical sessions is where you dig deep into some issue and do it on a routine basis. That I feel is the best way to learn things. That will make the user confident too. Remember that the mind plays a major role in anything.
I tell my students, everytime they touch a piece of test equipment, wire a circuit, or write code, they have obtained skills and the experience immediately. The best way to obtain this experience is through hands-on engagement with the device or object of interest.
Thanks! I'm a big advocate when it comes to students of all ages being engaged in learning through creative hands-on activities. The Maker movement is a good example of folks building cool devices to solve tough problems. Here's my contribution to the Maker Movement.
@ asicdesignengineer, you covered some really good points here. Credit should be given where we think is appropriate. It may be "manly" or dashing for some people, but most of the people opt for trucks because of their versatility. If such versatile vehicles could be made fuel efficient as well, that will be fantastic.
@ far911, apparently your argument is quite valid. It looks odd roaming around off-road in an expensive new vehicle. But then it looks odd because we are used to seeing old vehicles at such places. So it is more of a cultural thing. New advanced vehicle may be costly to buy but new vehicles burn less fuel than old ones. Besides, new vehicles with technological advancements offer some other obvious benefits.
Anand I also agree with you as per new technology and fuel efficiency is concerned. But still spending a hell on a truck and then burning it off road doesn't seems wise. But yet I would say all those people who can afford a truck can enjoy it the way they would like.
The so-called “maker movement” may not be big on degrees and formal training, but it can teach the engineering community valuable lessons in product design, an expert at UBM’s Embedded Systems Conference said this week.
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