Midsize vehicles rule Chicago show

2014-02-09T00:00:00Z Midsize vehicles rule Chicago showBy Jim Jackson Times Autos Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 09, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Over 30 world automakers bring nearly 1000 vehicles for display at this year’s Chicago Auto Show.

And spread across the 1.3 million square foot exhibit floor at McCormick Place is the fastest growing segment of vehicles in America – the midsize market.

Four midsize 2014 models caught my attention at this year’s Chicago Auto Show.

Exotic styling fronts the 2014 Ford Fusion with design cues that mirror a striking resemblance to the British-built Aston Martin.

Power is generated by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that provides 175-horsepower or a trio of turbocharged 4-cylinder EcoBoost engines with 1.5L, 1.6L displacement for 178 hp. and a 2.0L that pummels 240 hp.

All-wheel drive is available with the 2.0L engine.

The 2014 Ford Fusion EcoBoost Hybrid model comes with the 2.0L and achieves fuel economy of 47 miles per gallon.

Base price: $21,900

Germany’s 2014 Volkswagen Passat stays the course in the midsize segment with vast rear seat legroom and enormous trunk space that rivals the full-size BMW 7-Series.

Passat comes with a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel for 140 hp. and 43 mpg/hwy., or a 1.8L 4-cylinder gasoline engine that builds 170 hp. and 35 mpg/hwy. A 3.6L V6 engine generates 280 hp. and 28 mpg on the open road.

Engines are paired to 5- or 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions.

Base Price: $20,845


I count 39 midsize crossover sport utility vehicles on display at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show that offer all- or four-wheel drive built on a passenger car platform.

Many major-market manufacturers have one or more midsize crossover SUVs in their product line.

Toyota Highlander enters its third generation for the 2014 model year created around a “Sleek is Strong” design philosophy.

A bold front fascia with large trapezoid grill leads to either a 2.7-liter four cylinder engine, 3.5L V6 or a gasoline-electric hybrid based off the V6 engine.

Highlander receives a reinvented interior that delivers three rows of passengers in noticeably improved cabin space.

“Young families looking to get away from the minivan cliché are interested in the midsize 7-passenger Highlander. It gives them a distinctive look and room for a growing family,” says Gary Tacker, Internet manager for Toyota of Merrillville. “The Highlander Hybrid has exceptional fuel economy with 28 miles per gallon.”

Base price: $30,075

The 2014 Kia Sorento receives a mid-cycle makeover that keeps it fresh and athletic and in front of younger buyers at the Chicago Auto Show.

Sorento’s three-row interior is revised with forward–thinking infotainment connectivity features that bring communication with the outside world closer.

A new 3.3-liter V6 engine with 290 horsepower becomes the top powertrain for the 2014 Kia Sorento lineup.

Base Price: $24,100

The midsize segment carries practical use for today’s budget-minded consumer looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle with generous room for the people and gear that comes standard with a growing family.

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