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The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Fuel-efficient and rugged cars rule the Chicago Auto Show


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Because they are so common — and in most cases taken for granted — automobiles are a basic necessity. College students especially know all too well how valuable a functional car is.

But gear heads and common car fans alike were reminded how incredible cars are when the leading manufacturers in the industry put their best on display at the Chicago Auto Show. With over 30 global car brands showcasing their most advanced and prized productions to spectators, there’s always a tremendous buzz surrounding the show.

“This is something people have marked in their calendars for months,” JC Stickney, a marketing employee who attended the First Look For Charity event at the show, said.

“I’m a total car junkie. My dad had an old Corvette Stingray that I loved to death. So it’s been in my blood. I’m interested to see some muscle, as well as the new wave of electric cars that will be there.”

One of the biggest trends were electric cars, which have steadily become more common over the last four years. According to, there have been 250,000 electric cars sold in the US since 2010, with over 40 percent of those being purchased in Southern California.

Of course, Chicago’s climate is not that of San Diego’s. Snow, salt and much denser roads call for a vehicle that is both environmentally friendly and sturdy.

The developers at Chevy have been working on a cost-effective, electric and yet durable car for environments such as Chicago’s and at the Auto Show, they showcased their serious progress.

“Once upon a time, Chevy and small cars wasn’t an option,” James Bell, head of consumer affairs at Chevy, said. “There’s a new-wave SUV that’s been smoking, and getting great feedback called the Chevy Trax. It’s a crossover type vehicle with deeper suspension that can handle roads and weather like Chicago’s.”

In addition to the added support, the Trax gets about 45 miles per gallon, and only cost about $15,000.

Chevy took this step further and introduced an additional set of fully electric vehicles, including the Volt and the Bolt. The Bolt will offer a full charge that lasts 200 miles.

Bell said electric cars are the future, and asserts that Chevy is becoming one of the leaders of the industry in terms of making more efficient, cost-effective cars.

While electric cars and efficiency is surely the buzz of the show, robotics and virtual reality were on full display as well.

Ian, a Chrysler rep who preferred to not use his last name, worked the Chrysler Virtual Reality booth, offering a unique way for consumers to learn about the automobile. A fully integrated virtual reality system was set up inside their new Chrysler 200 sedan, and went through basic building processes as if you were in the Chrysler building warehouse.

“This booth has been incredible,” he said. “We’ve been teaching through a whole new trend of interaction. People seem to be really into it. I credit our developers for working so hard and getting this thing up and running.”

A 360-degree range of motion allowed participants to see areas of a car that they wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to.

As technology grows, the Auto Show is right there with it. Integrating tech into these world class machines is nothing short of incredible.

Electric cars and virtually reality aside, brands like Porsche, Maserati, and Mercedes Benz were flexing their foreign muscles throughout the weekend and will continue to do so throughout the week. You won’t find many electric cars from them. They run on mostly gas, though Porsche now offering a Hybrid option with their popular Cayenne SUV.

They’ve maintained their firm positions as the world top luxury car manufactures and have indeed reminded the public that these aren’t merely cars they’re dealing with — they’re high-speed machines.

The Chicago Auto Show runs from Feb. 14-22 at McCormick Place.

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    Ross CameronMay 11, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    I’m excited about the electric cars! I’m a big fan of the Tesla and the Prius. The Golf Electric I’m not as into. I think there will be some exciting advances in electric cars in the next few years!