2013 Chicago Auto Show: Studs and Duds

By Trevor Dorchies | February 11, 2013
It's no secret that the Chicago Auto Show is notorious for being light on vehicle debuts, thanks to being squeezed between the Detroit and New York shows. Like many before it, the 2013 Chicago Auto Show was no different, only featuring a couple of legitimate unveils. As for the rest of the so-called "debuts," most were simply different trims or performance packages. Like we usually do after every major U.S. auto show, we've compiled a list of "stud" and "dud" vehicles to bow in Chicago. Yes, there were slim pickings this year, but both Toyota and Chevrolet used the relaxed setting to capitalize (or at least try) on major debuts. However, just because the show lacked major debuts, let alone debuts in general, doesn't mean the aforementioned automaker's offerings were a shoe-in for the studs list. Check out our (abbreviated) list of studs and duds to officially debut at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show below. Studs
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

Without question, the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel was the star of the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. In fact, if this was a bigger show like Detroit or New York, the Cruze Diesel would probably still make the cut, but it wouldn't be the centerpiece. Even still, the Cruze Diesel is a major accomplishment for General Motors. It's been almost 30 years since an American automaker has produced a diesel engine for stateside consumption. Chevy won't comment on how many they expect to sell yet, but if the way that the gasoline variant sells is an indication, this was a good move.

2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core Package

And just like that, the remaining studs to originate from the 2013 Chicago Auto Show are performance packages that are available on existing vehicles. The first performance package "stud" is the 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core Package. Doused in Plum Crazy purple exterior paint, the Challenger SRT8 Core Package found itself as the constant subject of photos, video, and walk-arounds. Chrysler's performance arm, Street andRacing Technology, extended its all-new Core package treatment to the Chrysler 300 SRT8, and both the Dodge Charger SRT8 and Challenger SRT8.  The Core package adds better handling, more features, and the same amount of power that's freshly squeezed from Chrysler Group's 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine, rated at 470 horsepower. Other features on the Challenger SRT8 Core Package include a rear spoiler and 20-inch cast-aluminum wheels with black painted pockets and black Brembo brake calipers.

2013 Nissan Juke NISMO and the 2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO

Like the 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core Package, the 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO and the 2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO bowed in Chicago sporting a performance package. However, unlike the Challenger, both the Juke and 370Z NISMO get a small bump in horsepower. The Juke NISMO sees its power increase from 188 hp when compared to the normal trim to 197 hp. As for the 370Z NISMO, power jumps from 332 hp to 375 hp. While both vehicles probably wouldn't make the cut with a bigger auto show, the reintroduction of NISMO vehicles in North America is good news for fans of Nissan and a big step for the automaker itself. Duds

2014 Toyota Tundra

Like the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, the 2014 Toyota Tundra debut was set to steal the spotlight in Chicago. Then the sheet was pulled off the third-generation Tundra and all the buzz surrounding Toyota's full-size pickup quickly died. Don't take this the wrong way though Tundra fans. Toyota finds itself on the wrong side of our list simply because the envelope wasn't pushed far enough. Yes, the exterior styling features a wider and more sculpted profile, and it does grow on you. However, Toyota is dinged here because it didn't want to sacrifice capability for vanity. While that mantra is respectable, Toyota is in desperate need of some excitement and the Tundra could have been a great first step. Unfortunately, Toyota missed the boat on this one.

Kia Cross GT Concept 

Perhaps the third most anticipated debut at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show behind the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel and 2014 Toyota Tundra belonged to the Kia Cross GT Concept. Unfortunately for Kia, it swung and missed at a show that didn't offer much else for people to forget about it. It's not all doom and gloom for the Korean automaker though. This was only a concept model and the idea behind it should help Kia actively compete in the growing seven-passenger full-size SUV segment. Like countless other concept vehicles to come from almost every automaker on planet earth, the Kia Cross GT Concept needs a little more refinement and a diet before it can be deemed a "stud." What say you? Agree with our list? Disagree? Tell us what you think should've been a stud or dud in the comment section below.