Chicago Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz Metris van now comes as a pop-up camper


While Americans traditionally pack up a pickup truck, SUV or RV when it’s time for a camping holiday, in other parts there is an assortment of cool camper vans on offer. These are essentially panel vans with interiors fitted out for spending a night on the road, and they offer practicality combined with car-like dynamics.

Mercedes-Benz is about to test the waters in the U.S. with its Weekender based on the Metris light commercial van. The pop-up camper debuted on Wednesday at the Chicago Auto Show and will be available to order this spring.

2020 Mercedes-Benz Weekender

The Weekender’s modifications are handled for Mercedes by Driverge Vehicle Innovations and include an elevating roof with nets and enough sleeping space for two. Inside the vehicle, there’s a rear bench seat that opens up into a bed for an additional two, bringing the total sleeping space to four, while the front seats rotate 180 degrees to turn the van into a lounge.

Each Weekender also comes with foam mattresses to fit the sleeping areas, plus a second battery to power devices and additional lighting. There’s also a long list of options that include an 8-foot awning, roof racks, a pullout kitchen, and off-grid power solutions with solar panels for charging.

2020 Mercedes-Benz Weekender

2020 Mercedes-Benz Weekender

As a bonus, Mercedes will provide the first 100 Weekender buyers with a free National Parks Pass.

All Metris vans, including the Weekender, come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 good for 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and 5,000 pounds of towing.

2020 Mercedes-Benz Weekender

2020 Mercedes-Benz Weekender

“Pop-up campers are iconic and highly functional vehicles,” said Robert Veit, managing director of Mercedes-Benz USA Vans. “We have known for a long time that this market need was unmet as evidenced by the high demand for aging existing camper vans still on the road.”

For more Chicago Auto Show coverage, head to our dedicated hub.



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Chicago Auto Show

New-look 2021 VW Atlas borrows from Cross Sport crossover playbook


Hand-me-downs are a way of life for nearly all families. They rarely go up, though.

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas that debuted at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday gets duds from its smaller sibling, even as the Atlas grows. The Atlas’ new-look grille now matches the Atlas Cross Sport’s face, even though the three-row Atlas has grown in size.

According to VW, the Atlas is now three inches longer from head to tail thanks to bigger bumpers, and more comfortable inside. The Atlas also now sports an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment on most models (all but the base trim) and a new steering wheel.

VW didn’t say how much the 2021 Atlas would cost when it goes on sale in the spring, but it’s not likely to stray from the current model, which costs about $32,000 to start.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

Like the 2020 version, the 2021 VW Atlas offers a turbo-4 or V-6 engine underhood, mated to an 8-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 235 horsepower and returned up to 22 mpg combined last year, according to the EPA. Like the two-row Atlas Cross Sport, the 2021 Atlas will be offered with a turbo-4 and all-wheel drive, which is new for this year.

The 276-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 likely will be more common and can drive the front or all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic. When properly equipped, the V-6 is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is enough for a small trailer.

VW didn’t outline trim levels for the 2021 Atlas although it’s not likely to stray far from last year’s mix of S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium versions with an R-Line appearance package added. According to VW, the R-Line trims can add unique exterior accents and 20- to 21-inch wheels outside.

Inside, most models will get an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, in-car wi-fi, and active safety features such as automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors. Adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and a surround-view camera system are available in the Atlas, and VW says it will offer a driver-assistance feature that can help steer the car for short distances in traffic in the Atlas for the first time.

For more from the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, head over to our dedicated hub.



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Chicago Auto Show, Photos Of The Week

This Week’s Top Photos: The 2020 Chicago Auto Show edition


The Chicago Auto Show doesn’t draw as many big names as some of the other major auto shows held in North America, but this year’s running was surprisingly jam-packed with new attractions. The star has got to be the 2020 Ford GT, which packs a higher horsepower rating of 660 hp, plus an available Liquid Carbon edition that comes with exposed carbon fiber.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

Another highlight was the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mohave. It’s Jeep’s first desert-rated 4×4 and we don’t for a minute think it will be the brand’s last.

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

Jeep also used this week’s Chicago Auto Show to roll out the Mopar-enhanced Wrangler JPP 20. Whether it’s surviving the apocalypse or simply going camping, Mopar has you covered with the rugged off-roader.

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

Toyota surprised with its sporty 2021 Highlander XSE. There’s no extra power but the engineers added higher spring rates, retuned shocks, and a stiffer rear stabilizer bar will help the XSE handle better than other Highlanders.

2020 Kia Cadenza

2020 Kia Cadenza

Kia revealed an updated version of its Cadenza. The car boasts a revised look inside and out, an expanded set of driver-assistance features, and a smaller lineup.

2021 Chevrolet Equinox RS

2021 Chevrolet Equinox RS

Chevrolet showed a refreshed 2021 Equinox at the Chicago Auto Show that takes some design cues from its stylish Blazer brother.

2020 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

2020 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

The F-150 Harley-Davidson made a return, only this time it’s from Indiana’s Tuscany Motor rather than Ford. It’s also packing over 700 horsepower thanks to a supercharged V-8 under the hood.

First production SSC Tuatara

First production SSC Tuatara

The first production SSC Tuatara wasn’t on display at the Chicago Auto Show, but it was present at another U.S. auto show, one taking place in Philadelphia. Just 100 examples of the all-American hypercar will be built.



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Chicago Auto Show

Dune-bashing 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave pickup arrives


Ford’s F-150 Raptor has shown there’s serious interest in trucks capable of desert racing, and now Jeep has thrown its hat into the ring with a desert-rated Gladiator unveiled on Thursday at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.

Called the Gladiator Mojave, the high-speed off-roader is Jeep’s first desert-rated model and there’s even a new badge to go with it. But this isn’t just a bit of marketing. The “Desert Rated” badge on the back of the Gladiator Mojave marks serious upgrades made to the truck to ensure it handles desert and sand environments with ease.

It starts with the suspension, and here Jeep has wisely turned to one of the best in the business: Fox. The Gladiator Mojave features Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks renowned for their ability to deliver comfort in normal driving and firmness when on rougher terrain. But Jeep goes further by also installing Fox front hydraulic jounce bumpers which add additional damping.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

To fit the upgraded suspension parts, Jeep needed to increase the Gladiator’s track by 0.5 inches. The engineers also raised the ride height by an inch and reinforced both the frame and axle to handle the rough conditions that desert racing brings. Where necessary, underbody protection was also fitted. The final touch is a set of 17-inch wheels with 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-terrain tires (these can be swapped for mud-terrain tires if needed).

In the cabin, the driver has at his or her aid an Off-Road Plus button that tweaks the throttle, transmission shift points, and the traction control. This button will also allow drivers to lock the vehicle’s rear axle at high speeds while in 4H (4×4 high range) mode, which is a first for Jeep. It means maximum torque will be going to each of the rear wheels all the time.

Right now the Gladiator comes standard with V-6 performance, in this case a 3.6-liter V-6 mated to either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic and rated 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. More powertrains are planned, including a diesel and possibly even a plug-in hybrid option.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

The Gladiator Mohave will reach dealers in the second quarter of 2020 as a 2020 model. No word yet if we’ll also see one lining up at Baja.

Jeep also used the Chicago Auto Show to introduce the premium High Altitude grade on the Gladiator and Wrangler. It too will be available in the second quarter.

For more from the Chicago Auto Show, head to our dedicated hub.



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Chicago Auto Show

2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon may be gone as quickly as it arrived


Ford’s ultra-expensive hypercar may be already gone.

On Thursday, an executive at Ford said that the 2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon edition, which is limited to about a dozen cars per year, was largely spoken for only hours after its debut.

2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

The GT Liquid Carbon cars were offered to Ford GT reservation holders already approved by the automaker to purchase a car, and reportedly all build slots were snapped up. The exec, who has knowledge of the car’s availability, asked not to be identified because they were not allowed to speak publicly about the car.

Ford spokesman Jiyan Cadiz didn’t confirm that the Ford GT Liquid Carbon was sold out, but said that prospective GT owners were highly interested in the exclusive model and he expects that they wouldn’t last long.

2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

The bare carbon-fiber edition of the supercar debuted Wednesday night at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show and like the rest of the 2020 Ford GT range comes with an updated twin-turbo V-6 that makes 660 horsepower.

The company also used the Chicago show to announce that it would offer an updated version of the Gulf livery GT that would command a reported $115,000 premium above the $500,000 asking price of a normal GT. Officials at Ford didn’t confirm the asking price for the Gulf livery, but said that buyers were also highly interested in the hertiage-inspired car that now featured a hand-painted racing stripe to commemorate the LeMans winning cars from the 1960s.

2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon, 2020 Chicago Auto Show

According to a Ford spokesman, roughly half of the allotted 1,350 builds of the Ford GT were complete, meaning there are roughly 650 cars left to make in the exclusive run. The Ford GT Mark II track-only edition, which made its debut last year, is the most expensive Ford production car ever offered to the public with the $750,000 Liquid Carbon edition following behind.

For more from the Chicago Auto Show head over to our dedicated hub.



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Chicago Auto Show

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20 is a Mopar-made off-roader for after the apocalypse


For those who think the Jeep Wrangler isn’t quite ready for the post-apocalyptic hellscape, Mopar has the answer. It’s called the 2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20, and it’s a limited-edition model meant to show off several of the 200-plus Mopar-made Jeep Performance Parts available for the Wrangler.

Mopar unveiled the Wrangler JPP 20 on Friday at the Chicago Auto Show. Replete with off-road aftermarket parts, the Wrangler JPP 20 is the perfect vehicle for Mad Max to drive on a fuel raid.

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

The Wrangler JPP starts as a four-door model. The body comes with a mesh sun bonnet that balances shade for passengers with an open-air experience, and both the standard aluminum full doors and steel tube doors. The tube doors have to be installed by the customer. The body also gets rock rails coated like a truck bedliner, new mirrors, and narrower powder-coated bumpers fit with D-rings. The rear swing-gate is reinforced to accept a larger wheel and tire, and the center high-mounted stoplight is relocated to the spare tire thanks to a JPP relocation kit.

The body will be offered in just two colors, Ocean Blue or White. An American flag graphic decorates the hood, the fender vents and fuel door are blacked out, and Mopar adds a JPP decal on the passenger-side front fender and aluminum JPP badges on the driver’s side front fender and rear swing gate.

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

A Rubicon Warn winch is standard, and the Wrangler JPP 20 comes with the Wrangler’s Trailer Tow and Heavy Duty Electrical packages that add such features as four auxiliary switches, a high-capacity alternator, and a Class II trailer hitch receiver.

Customers can to choose the 270-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 with or without the eTorque mild-hybrid system or the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 that makes 260 hp and 442 pound-feet of torque.

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

Inside, the limited-edition JPP 20 boasts Katzkin Tuscany leather seats with embroidered JPP logos, Mopar all-weather floor mats, and a Mopar Cargo Tray Kit for the second row to protect the cargo compartment and seat backs. Jeep’s Technology package is also standard. It adds a 7.0-inch digital instrument panel screen and Uconnect 4 infotainment system with its 7.0-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Rear park assist and blind-spot monitors are also standard.

All Wrangler JPP 20 buyers will get an owner’s kit with a personalized booklet, memorabilia, and a customer credit that can be used to purchase a 2-inch lift kit, 5- and 7-inch LED off-road lights, a choice of five off-road wheels, and a set of tires, all of which will be installed at the dealer.

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20

Mopar says production of the 2020 Jeep Wrangler JPP 20 will be limited but didn’t say how limited it will be. The order books will open in the second quarter of the year, and deliveries will follow this summer. The price will be announced closer to launch.

For more from Chicago, visit our dedicated hub.



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Chicago Auto Show

2020 Ford GT ups horsepower to 660, offers $750,000 Liquid Carbon special edition


The Ford GT thrills with its wild looks, race car design, and twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6. For 2020, it’s even more thrilling thanks to more power, a new Liquid Carbon limited-edition variant, and tweaks to its already track-ready handling. The 2020 Ford GT supercar made its official debut Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show.

Engine upgrades boost its horsepower from 647 to 660 this year and give the V-6 a broader torque curve. The engine calibration is changed, and the engine now uses gallery-cooled pistons and higher-energy ignition coils. Ford says these tweaks came from knowledge gleaned form the limited-edition, track-only GT Mk II.

In addition to extra power, the engine is better cooled in 2020 with new buttress air ducts that bring in 50 percent more air and larger intercoolers that reduce charge air temperatures. And increased damping in Track mode should improve handling with better body control, especially in quick changes of direction.

2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon Edition

One of the GT’s biggest issues could also be improved this year thanks to a new, standard Akrapovič titanium exhaust system. The V-6 isn’t as sonorous as the V-8s, V-10s, and V-12s of rivals. The Akrapovič exhaust shaves 9 pounds off the car and is sure to create a meaner sound.

For 2020, Ford is also adding a new limited-edition appearance option and tweaking the look of another.

The new Liquid Carbon edition shows off the carbon-fiber body by foregoing paint and using only a clearcoat. All of the carbon-fiber is taken from the same batch so its weave matches panel to panel. This increases the time required to hand-build the car.

2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon Edition

2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon Edition

The Liquid Carbon GT comes with the available carbon-fiber wheels, and owners can opt for titanium lug nuts, six-point racing harness anchors, five interior color options, and one of five caliper colors.

Liquid Carbon buyers can add either the dual center over-the-top stripes from the standard GT or the single over-the-top stripe from the Carbon Series variant. Buyers can also choose painted mirror caps from the seven standard paint colors or the expanded color palette. This is the first time the stripes and painted mirror caps can be ordered independently.

Ford spokesman Matt Leaver told Motor Authority the Liquid Carbon GT is a limited-edition and about 12 will be built a year.

2020 Ford GT Gulf Racing Heritage Edition

2020 Ford GT Gulf Racing Heritage Edition

Finally, Ford is fixing the look of its Gulf Racing Heritage Livery for the Heritage Edition variant, which adds $115,000 to the price. A black pinstripe is added between the iconic blue and orange colors and its optional carbon-fiber number is now 6 instead of 9. The same car, chassis No. 1075, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 1968 and 1969. It wore the No. 9 the first year and the No. 6 the next year. The Gulf livery car can also now be ordered with the carbon-fiber wheels.

The 2020 Ford GT is currently in production, and the supercar will end its run in 2022. A Ford representative said the 2020 GT starts at more than $500,000 and the Liquid Carbon edition will cost $750,000. Ford didn’t say how much the Gulf livery edition would cost.

For more news from Chicago, check out our dedicated hub.

This story has been updated with pricing information on the Liquid Carbon and Heritage Edition cars.



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Chicago Auto Show

2020 Dodge Durango SRT brings the style with Black and Redline Stripe packs


Despite Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plans to introduce a new three-row SUV based on the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, the automaker has no plans top phase out the Durango which shares its bones with the current Grand Cherokee. In fact, an updated Durango has been spotted testing and will likely arrive in the next year or two.

But if you’re in the market for a big, burly family hauler, then the current Durango is definitely worth a look at, especially in SRT trim.

2020 Dodge Durango SRT with Redline Stripe and Black packages

Dodge is enticing Durango SRT buyers with two new styling packs introduced for the 2020 model year. One is a stripe package known as the Redline package. It adds a pair of satin black stripes edged with a red accent and will set you back $1,295.

The Black package is for buyers with more subtle tastes. It adds a number of gloss black accents around the exterior, such as on the side mirror caps and exhaust tips, and there’s also a dark gray shade for the wheels. This package lists for $1,495.

2020 Dodge Durango SRT

2020 Dodge Durango SRT

The packages will be presented at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show starting February 6 and will be available to order from March. Both can also be ordered on the same vehicle as displayed here.

No mechanical changes were made to the Durango SRT for 2020. This means there’s still a 6.4-liter V-8 under the hood delivering 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. With the pedal floored, owners can expect 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.4 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 12.9 seconds. Towing capacity is 8,700 pounds.



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Chicago Auto Show

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson extends motorcycle brand’s look beyond Ford


For Harley-Davidson fans who aren’t into the Ford F-150, there’s finally another option.

Tuscany Motor Co. of Elkhart, Indiana, will introduce the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson in January at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The truck will be limited to a run of 250 units, each priced at $94,995.

If Tuscany Motor Co. sounds familiar that’s because it’s the same outfit that unofficially (it’s not an official Ford and Harley-Davidson collaboration this time around) brought back the Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson in 2019 ahead of the Chicago Auto Show in February.

Like the Tuscany-built F-150 Harley-Davidson model, the 2020 GMC Sierra Harley-Davidson is off-road oriented, with a BDS suspension lift kit, specifically tuned Fox shocks, upgraded stabilizer bars, and 35-inch all-terrain tires.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

Tuscany worked with Brad Richards, vice president of Styling and Design at Harley-Davidson, to come up with the look. The exterior is pumped up Harley-themed components for the fender flares, front fender vents, door badging, front bumper, grille, induction-style hood, windshield header, rear bumper, tailgate cladding, tonneau cover and dual exhaust with billet tips and orange accents. Tuscany said the Fatboy model inspired the design. The 22-inch aluminum wheels are branded Harley-Davidson.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson by Tuscany Motors

Inside, the truck is upgraded with custom leather seating surfaces with an orange diamond-stitched pattern and Harley-Davidson logos. Piano black accents are added to the door panels, dashboard, and center console, and the center console gets a Harley-Davidson emblem and a numbered badge. Harley-Davidson’s orange shield is also found on the floor mats, door sills, and billet pedals. The finishing touch is the set of stainless steel gauges with orange backlighting. Tuscany also tints the windows.

Each 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Harley-Davidson will come with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty. Satin Steel Metallic, black, or white colors will be offered. The motorcycle-inspired truck will be on display at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, and then at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show in February. It will then go on sale at select dealerships in February.



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