Top 5 From the Chicago Auto Show

Your friendly neighborhood gay car geeks at suffered through the bitter cold to bring you the latest from the Chicago Auto Show.

Pontiac G8

2008 Pontiac G8

Pontiac designers and engineers have gone to therapy, figured out who they want to be and have started introducing sexy cars that people want to drive. The G8 is the latest introduction to their product line and while not exactly gorgeous, it certainly speaks to your emotions. Love or hate the styling, who could pass up an available 362 HP V8 with a 6-speed manual transmission in a big American rear-wheel drive sedan. Even the base V6 pumps out a respectable 261 HP in a package that looks like nothing else on the road. We say “LOVE IT”.

Scion xB

2008 Scion xB

The rolling refrigerator a.k.a. the Scion xB has gotten a makeover and the difference is as distinct as comparing a GE side-by-side to the latest from Sub Zero. Both do the exact same thing but one incorporates a heavy dose of style. The new xB still looks like a Scion, just bigger, more curvaceous and more stylish. It also comes with an adrenaline injection if the form of a larger 2.4L 158 horsepower engine that you can mate with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. While still different looking, the new xB is slightly more mainstream than the vehicle it replaces. With that said, the focus on customization, upgraded audio systems and youth marketing will most likely hit their target market spot on.

Scion xD

2008 Scion xD

Remember the Scion xA? Of course you don’t. It was the Scion that management thought would be a hit but it was too mainstream for the young buyers to even notice – especially when parked next to the box that was the xB. So they went back to the drawing board and created the xD – Scion’s take on the five-door urban subcompact. It is miles ahead of the car it replaces an offers a European-looking hatch for those hip gaysters that want something affordable, economical and fun-to-drive. Like all Scions it comes very well equipped and can be customized to reflect each owners’ personal taste. Available with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic matched with a 1.8L, 128 HP 4-cylinder.

Saturn Astra

2008 Saturn Astra

For the globetrotters among you, you may recognize Saturn’s new entry into the hot hatchback market as from GM’s European brand Opel. They took one of the best selling cars in Europe, changed the design slightly to appeal to American tastes and imported it as a Saturn. It will arrive in late 2007 and will be available as a 3-door or 5-door hatch both with a spunky 1.8L 4-cylinder engine and a choice of manual or automatic transmissions.. Expect European driving dynamics, a wonderful Saturn dealership experience and memories of your European trysts every time you turn the key.

Ford Taurus

2008 Ford Taurus

Ok, the label addicts among you are probably aghast that we’d even talk about a Ford Taurus in our Top 5 list. This isn’t the fashion report bubbles, it is the Top 5 most significant new car introductions at the Chicago Auto Show and the new Ford Taurus makes the list for a few reasons. It is a solid vehicle with a new engine, new transmission, excellent safety scores, and depending on who you are speaking to, not all that bad looking. It also gives Ford a fighting chance in the ultra-competitive mid-size sedan market with a brand name that carries a lot of baggage (the good kind). Bottom line – if you are more concerned about your 401K than the image your vehicle portrays, the new Ford Taurus is worth a look.

Honorable Mention – 2008 Dodge Dakota

2008 Dodge Dakota

Yes, we know, this is supposed to be a Top 5 not a Top 6 list. However, we couldn’t go without mentioning the new Dodge Dakota due out in August of this year. For those of you who love pickups, the Dakota has always been an interesting option. It is not quite a full-size yet it is bigger than a compact truck. Let’s just call it “just right’. With an available V8 engine and 7,000+ lbs towing capacity, the Dakota can handle just about anything you can think of without taking up too much room in your driveway. The new design has strong Dodge styling cues and is huge improvement over the oddly styled last generation.

2 thoughts on “Top 5 From the Chicago Auto Show

  1. You forgot the biggest reason why the Taurus is so significant. Like Rock Hudson (originally Roy Scherer), Ford decided the facelifted Five Hundred launched at Detroit only a month ago would sell better with a more familiar name–a strategy hotly debated on both sides. Time will tell…

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