2021 Chicago Auto Show Roundup: Here’s Everything TFL Covered This Week!

If you're curious what debuted at Chicago, or if you're thinking of hitting up the auto show this weekend, here's what we saw

2022 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R - 2021 Chicago Auto Show
We’re back where the auto show trail ended last year — Chicago. Check out everything we covered! (Images and videos: TFLcar)

Here are the highlights from the 2021 Chicago Auto Show!

It’s been well over a year since we’ve last been able to hit a major auto show (incidentally, last year’s Chicago show is where the calendar ended). And this one was, well, different. Apart from several automakers foregoing this week’s event, just getting back into the normal groove of the season is something both journalists and organizers alike are getting used to. Nonetheless, Roman and Andre managed to crank out some of the headlining cars from this year’s show — almost all of which are on our TFLnow YouTube channel.

Here’s a roundup of everything to check out if you’re curious what made an auto show debut at Chicago, or if you’re looking to hit the show yourself this weekend!

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon Package

You know we’re going to cover Jeep debuts if the brand has something in the works at an event. The 2021 Chicago Auto Show brought the $3,995 Xtreme Recon Package for the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. If you’re looking to make your Wrangler a bit more of a hardcore off-roader, the package adds a 4.56:1 axle ratio, 17-inch beadlock capable wheels and 35-inch BFGoodrich KO2 tires, a reinforced swing gate and a 1.5-inch factory suspension lift with new shocks. Later on this year, the Wrangler Rubicon will also get a 4.88:1 axle ratio when paired with the manual 3.6-liter Pentastar, increasing the crawl ratio to a staggering 100:1.

As it happens here, the Rubicon Xtreme Recon package ups the ground clearance to 12.9 inches. You get a 47.4 degree approach angle, 26.7 degree breakover angle, and 40.4 degree departure angle. Water fording increases to 33.6 inches. If you want to spec this package, you can get it on either the 3.6-liter automatic with eTorque or the beefy Wrangler Rubicon 392, which is what Jeep showed off in Chicago. Production on Xtreme Recon Package-equipped Wranglers kicks off next month.

2022 Kia EV6

Kia’s jumping into the next-generation EV game with both feet, right alongside sister company Hyundai and it’s impending Ioniq 5. Here, the 2022 Kia EV6 sits on an all-new platform, and will be available in both rear- and all-wheel drive dual motor configurations. The top-end GT model makes 576 horsepower, and Kia’s targeting a range of up to 300 miles, which is a substantial improvement on, say, the Niro EV we know today. Not to mention this is a much sportier looking proposition.

The first EV6 models will hit dealers nationwide early next year, with the performance GT models set to launch later on in 2022. The sold out First Edition carried a $58,500 price tag, so we expect the rest of the range to fall somewhere in the $45,000 to $55,000 range, when Kia releases a full price walk closer to launch.

2022 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R

It’s been a long wait to see the Mk8 Golf finally hit our shores. In the U.S., we’re only getting the GTI and Golf R by the end of this year. It’s good news we are getting these two, since they’re the best of the bunch, but prepare yourself: Neither is going to come cheap. The GTI starts at $30,540, while the Golf R comes in at $44,640 as a fully-loaded package.

Still, we are talking about hot hatch royalty here, and the Mk8 has been long overdue to finally hit the U.S. market. Hopefully enthusiasts will keep these two going for a long time to come, and there’s plenty to like with both these cars. We should have full driving reviews before long, so stay tuned for those.

Nissan Z Proto

Are you hyped for the new Nissan Z to finally launch yet? We’re inching closer to the actual production model’s reveal — that’s coming up on August 17. In the meantime, the automaker did bring the “prototype” to the 2021 Chicago Auto Show. Roman and Andre took the chance to get a closer look at what’s coming.

As far as we know, the next Z car — possibly either just Z or the “400Z” — will pack a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 pushing out around 400 horsepower to the rear wheels. Pricing is still up in the air, but we’d expect it to come in competitive to the Toyota Supra, if it doesn’t undercut Toyota’s sports car by a far amount.

Trucks: Ford F-150 Lightning, Maverick First Edition, Ram 1500 G/T

Of course, there weren’t just cars we covered at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show, either. There’s the Ford F-150 Lightning, the Ford Maverick first edition and the sportier Ram 1500 G/T. Check those out above and below, and find more info over on TFLtruck.com!