Chicago 2012: My Top Five Picks from the Show Floor

Despite there not being a huge number of product reveals at this year’s Chicago Auto Show, there was still plenty of interesting metal on the floor. Here are my favorites.

2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Special Edition

To help celebrate the sale of 900,000 MX-5 Miatas worldwide, Mazada is letting just 450 examples of its Special Edition roadster loose on U.S. roads. The changes are simple, but the piano-black hardtop and gunmetal wheels add just enough style and panache to the cheeky two-seater without ruining the simple lines that make all Miatas look good.

Kia Track’ster Concept

Kia pulled the wraps off of the Soul-based Track’ster concept here at Chicago, and it’s hot. The Track’ster wears a chopped and wider stance that takes the Soul’s tall-box proportions and makes them ready to cruise low and slow. A red contrasting roof, bright white paint, and oversized LED driving lights make the concept hard to look away from. Despite the concept’s slim chance of production, what’s important is the engine underhood — a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 good for 250 hp would make for a fantastic hot-hatch Soul.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

The Hyundai Elantra is already one of the best cars in the compact segment; now, with the addition of the Elantra Coupe for 2013, it may now also be the most stylish. The Coupe wears the fluidic sculpture design better than the four door. The blacked-out grille and painted, five-spoke alloy wheels help give the Coupe a sportier stance, as well. Nothing is new under the skin — the same interior, six-speed transmissions, and 1.8-liter four-cylinder all carry over from the sedan, and that’s a good thing too.

2013 GMC Acadia

With the 2013 Acadia, GMC finally has a clear, defined, and recognizable family design; and it’s attractive, to boot. This kind of brand identity is important for GMC, since its models have long been Chevy models without the split grille and bowtie. Now, with the square, upright grille and C-shaped LED running lights, GMC’s vehicles are further differentiated from Chevy’s and can easily be identified as GMCs on the road. The only misstep on the Acadia’s refresh? Reuse of the taillight assemblies from the Acadia’s deceased Saturn Outlook platform-mate; however, the red-and-white combination is more attractive here.

Chevrolet Capitva

Saturn rises! Though first shown a number of months ago, this may be the first auto show showing of the Chevrolet Captiva crossover. The Captiva is a Chevy-badged version of the 2008 Saturn VUE, and is sold only to fleets. Powering the Captiva is a 2.4-liter I-4 or a 3.0-liter V-6. While some may question the need for the Captiva’s existence, I can’t help but to smile seeing it on the show floor, as it may just well be one of the least-spotted new cars to come from the bow-tie brand.

For more on the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our Chicago Show homepage.


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Buying Guide
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2012 Hyundai Elantra

2012 Hyundai Elantra

MSRP $17,595 GLS (Auto) Sedan

0-60 MPH:

8.9 SECS


28 City / 38 Hwy

Safety (IIHS):

Best Pick