It’s about that time. The media preview is over and the doors to the 2007 Chicago Auto Show have opened to the public. Cars.com’s Mike Hanley, David Thomas and Joe Wiesenfelder spent the past two days walking the 1.3 million square feet of the show to bring you the best and worst of what’s new, so you won’t have to waste your time with the riffraff. This rundown focuses only on the new vehicles that debuted in Chicago, but most of the production and concept cars we rated at the Detroit show will also be there.
2008 Pontiac G8
Unquestionably my “Best of Show” pick. Even with the outdated hood scoops — they do look better in person — the G8 is Pontiac’s best offering in a long time and, unlike the Solstice, will sell to a lot of people. This is exactly what Pontiac needs, and it aims right at the heart of the brand’s identity.
I’m a big fan of sport sedans in general, and the G8 gives Pontiac a credible entry in the segment. I, too, wish Pontiac hadn’t poked any holes in the hood, but otherwise the look is sporty without going overboard. The V-8 edition will undoubtedly be a riot, but I wish Pontiac offered a manual with the base V-6, too.
JW: Big Winner
My first cars were giant rear-wheel-drive sedans powered by big-block V-8s — GM cars, incidentally. (Technically, this 6.0-liter is a small block, but as today’s blocks go, at least the displacement is big.) The six-speed manual is a big, big draw to the target buyer. Ditto on the hood nostrils, and on the car’s presence when you see it in person. Pontiac included body cues that make the car look muscular — without making it cartoony. They’re learning.