As the horseless carriage, the automobile has been a part of American culture for well over 10 years. Peer into the future of this triumph of American know-how with today's Groupon. For $6, you get a ticket (an $11 value) to the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place. The Auto Show is running a lot of promotions, but this Groupon is a dollar cheaper than the best of them, and it is the only one that can be used on a weekend. You can use it for any day of the show (February 12–21).
A mainstay Chicago event since 1901, the Auto Show will give you 1.3 million square feet of vehicles on display and an entire day to sprinkle your drool on the most cutting-edge of cars. Be one of the first to check out the next generation of alternative-fuel vehicles, hybrids, and concept cars such as the future-friendly, 100-miles-to-the-gallon, solar-paneled, plug-in Hyundai Blue-Will. Or skip ahead to the more va-va-vroom vehicles you've only lovingly caressed in Hot Wheel form: sports cars such as the sleek 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 and the 405-horsepower Maserati GranTurismo 2010. For the family men, the Auto Show also features a wide range of family sedans, pick-ups, SUVs, and mini-vans.
The Chicago Auto Show gives you a chance to see big cars, little cars, fast cars, rugged cars, stylish cars—even cars that park themselves, keep you awake when you're drowsy, and shout their own obscenities when they get cut off. And if you're tired of your family's blank stares every time you wax rhapsodic about V-8 engines and fascias and 6-speed automatic gearboxes, the Auto Show also gives you a rare opportunity to geek out with thousands of your fellow gearheads. You can't see it all in one day, but you can buy multiple Groupons so that you don't miss out on anything.
There are few attendee reviews of the show, but the Chicago Auto Show still holds its place as the largest auto show in North America and is frequently mentioned in industry media such as Car and Driver, The Car Connection, and CNET's Car Tech blog for the many brands that specifically choose to unveil their newest creations at the Chicago show:
- The price of gasoline may have gone down for now, taking sales of hybrid vehicles with it...At the Chicago Auto Show, GM is displaying 15 of its 20 vehicles available with E85-capable (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) powertrains. – Liane Yvkoff, CNET Car Tech
- Look for the 2011 Ford Edge to appear in showrooms late this summer. Of course, if you’re willing to brave some brutal cold and head to the 2010 Chicago auto show next month, you can see it long before then. – Steve Siler, Car and Driver
- With a stable full of fresh new production cars, Kia is planning a new design concept for the 2010 Chicago Auto Show…Nothing else about the car has been revealed yet, but with just 7 days to go until the February 10th unveiling, there's not long to wait now. – Viknesh Vijayenthiran, The Car Connection
Chicago Auto Show
As they step through the doors at McCormick Place, what do Chicago Auto Show visitors notice before anything else? Perhaps it’s the sheer size of the event, a sprawling one million square feet that makes it the nation’s largest auto show. Or, perhaps, it’s the show’s stars: hundreds of vehicles sparkling beneath the more than five miles of truss lighting that snakes along the ceiling.
In 1901, a similar scene unfolded during the first iteration of the Chicago Auto Show, albeit on a far smaller scale. There, a wooden indoor track looped around the exhibition hall, demonstrating for onlookers just how safe the new machines were to operate and pet adoringly. Today, though, at the show’s 109th installment, attendees can do a whole lot more than stand on the sidelines. They climb into simulators, cruise around indoor and outdoor tracks, and even bump along an indoor off-roading course, infusing the show’s once static displays with constant movement and an endless buzz.
Amid all the pedal pressing, button pushing, and, of course, shopping, this year’s show takes attendees into the future with special exhibits. Guests can also explore how today’s rides connect with technology and personal devices, such as tablets and phones. Throughout the show, appearances from celebrities and star athletes keep cameras flashing at a steady pace, and prizes and giveaways provide show-goers and smart phone users with chances to go home with more than just autographs from their favorite cars.