By Matt Schmitz on January 31, 2014
Whether the "Windy City" moniker comes from the bluster of our 19th century windbag politicians or that of our frequently frigid lakeshore breezes, here in Cars.com's home city of Chicago we're known for being boastful about everything from our big buildings to our big pizza. As such, we won't hesitate to brag about having the biggest auto show in the nation, too. How big is it? If "Austin Powers" antagonist Dr. Evil were announcing the expansive exhibit, he would put his pinky to his lips and say it covered "one millllion square feet" of event-floor space.
The 2014 Chicago Auto Show opens to the public on Feb. 8 and runs through Feb. 17, with media and charity preview events Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 8-16 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 17. Regular admission is $12 for adults, and $6 for senior citizens age 62 or older and children age 7 to 12; children age 6 or younger are free and must be accompanied by a paying adult family member.
Exhibitions include multiple world and North American debuts, a complete range of domestic and imported passenger cars, trucks and SUVs, and numerous concept cars. Debuts we're looking forward to include the 2015 Subaru Legacy sedan, the 2015 BMW 740Ld xDrive luxury sedan and the 2015 Lincoln Navigator luxury SUV. That's in addition to a host of new models that bowed in Detroit earlier this month.
"In total, nearly 1,000 different vehicles will be on display," organizers said in a statement. "Additionally, attendees will also have the opportunity to see numerous accessories and auto-related exhibits, competition vehicles and project, antique and collector cars."
A perennial favorite feature of the Chicago show — making the most of the abundant space — is the opportunity to get behind the wheel on three indoor test tracks, as well as six outdoor test drives. Indoor tracks include Chrysler's multibrand test track and its Jeep off-road course, along with Toyota's, which this year will feature trucks within a proving ground complete with a seesaw, water crossing and 15-foot hill climb.
Here's what we're expecting to see in Chicago, including both debuts and Detroit encores. We'll update the list as we learn more:
News Editor Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt