It’s Electric! The 2023 Chicago Auto Show Highlights Hybrids and EV options in Every Shape, Size and Color
February is for lovers, and that means car lovers, too. Every year (save the freak mid-summer COVID show) we’ve headed out to McCormick Place to get our fix on all the finest in automotive innovation. Every year features something new, though old favorites like Camp Jeep continue to thrill, and this year was no different.
Not surprisingly, given the rising costs of just about everything, and the advances in technology, nearly everywhere you looked there were electric vehicles, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. Nearly every major automaker has at least one, and they’ve all got different things to offer, from the Jeep Wrangler 4xe we took on the Camp Jeep course that not only has more immediate torque than its gas-only 392 cohort but can easily tackle the 42 degree inclines and 40 degree downhills you throw at it just like every one of its brethren to the electric RAM that features tons of pulling power, or the 2023 Prius, a standby that’s somehow managed to eke out 100 mpg highway while improving performance. Whether you’re in the market for a sporty sedan, a crossover, an SUV, pickup, minivan or anything in between, you can probably find it in either all-electric or some sort of hybrid.
Of course, ogling the shiny new vehicles is the entire point of the day, but there’s plenty to do besides if you’re looking for any kind of automotive related fun. You can take test drives, like the ones we were driven on in Camp Jeep and in the Toyota corral, and there’s even opportunities for select folks to drive vehicles themselves.
There were also Olympians on site, showing off skateboarding skills, as well as a very special edition of its new Toyota Grand Highlander that was the result of a partnership between the automaker and Nintendo and a world premiere for the vehicle at the auto show. The Nintendo Switch Grand Highlander got quite a bit of attention on the floor, and there was a consistent line to get inside and get some Mario Kart going on the big screens from the comfy red Nintendo Switch branded seats.
If you had any kind of weird desire to get some paperwork done, the DMV made an appearance at the show, and offered a full range of services from license renewal, REAL ID issuing, plate renewal, registration and more. Lines when we were there were significantly smaller than the ones we have to fight when we go to a permanent DMV, so next year we’re going to bring all our forms of ID and paperwork and get sh*t done while we ogle cars and eat big pretzels.
All local teams were of course represented, along with local groups and standbys. Volo Auto Museum, a favorite of mine growing up, even contributed a special edition Bumblebee Camaro to a generational Camaro exhibit, as well as holding a contest for a trip to the storied auto museum and antique mall complete with lodging and dinner.
The Chicago Auto Show is the biggest of its kind in the nation, and never fails to bring showy concept cars, interesting innovations and a whole lot of glamour and gloss, and this year was no different. We look forward to the innovations that’ll be hitting the roadways soon, and look forward to a more electric future where we save on gas while we save the planet.