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2003 Chicago Auto Show Preview

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2004 Mercury Monterey

2004 Mercury Monterey

TCC's Auto Show Index (2/9/2003)


Chicago’s annual auto show begins next week — and before you rush in out of the subfreezing temperatures into roomy McCormick Place, members of the media will show up to sample the wares before they go public.

This year’s Chicago show will have a tough time equaling the sheer horsepower firepower unveiled in Detroit. But with major manufacturers represented from all corners of the carmaking globe, the ’03 event won’t have any problem grabbing our attention. Stay tuned next week starting Tuesday as TCC brings you the best in new production and concept cars from the show floor — and look forward to seeing some of these along the way:

Chevrolet Malibu Maxx

2004 Chevrolet Malibu

2004 Chevrolet Malibu

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In Detroit we showed you the four-door Malibu due in 2004. Chicago’s turn comes with the 2004 Chevy Malibu Maxx. Like the Malibu four-door, it’s built off GM’s Epsilon architecture, which also is the basis of the Saab 9-3 and Opel Vectra. But the Maxx has something different from the sedan — namely, a fifth door. The Malibu Maxx is a hatchback in the tradition of the old Mazda 626 hatchback, though Chevy will call it an extended sedan. It is six inches longer than the standard sedan, with six inches of travel in the back seat of both models, allowing the driver to reconfigure the back seat and luggage area to accommodate passengers or gear. The front passenger seat folds flat. Chevy boasts that an eight-foot kayak or eight-foot stepladder fits inside the car with the trunk closed. The trunk of the Maxx has a flexible half that works to hide gear, and it stands up on a post when the trunk is open for a tailgating table. It also will come with a standard remote starter, literally a hot-button feature that Chevy feels will have as much allure to buyers in cold-weather states as a disappearing third seat on a minivan.
’04 Malibu Gets Maxx-ed Out by Jim Burt (11/18/2002)

Mercury Monterey/Ford Windstar

2004 Mercury Monterey

2004 Mercury Monterey

Enlarge Photo
Platforms twins underneath different skins, the new Mercury Monterey and Ford Windstar minivans are due for a Chicago outing. The Monterey minivan takes the slot formerly occupied by the much smaller Villager and is said to compete in the $30,000 luxury minivan niche behind the power of a 4.2-liter V-6 and class-leading safety equipment such as a three-row side airbag curtain. The Monterey, due in late 2003 as a 2004 model, will sport a third-row seat that flips and folds to create a flat load floor in back, like the seats in the Honda Odyssey, Mazda MPV and Ford Expedition. Power adjustable pedals, forward and reverse object-sensing systems, and a tire-pressure monitoring system will also be standard on the luxury minivan. As Mercury preps for the Monterey, Ford will release its own version of the improved minivan, again under the Windstar name. Ford says the 2004 Windstar, due at the end of next year, will get revised styling and a new interior complete with a folding-flat third-row seat. It will carry over many features introduced as standard this year, like Ford’s AdvanceTrac electronic stability enhancement system and better NVH.
Mercury Fighting for Customers by TCC Team (2/3/2003)

Toyota Tundra Double Cab

2005 Toyota Tundra spy shot

2005 Toyota Tundra spy shot

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By popular demand, Toyota is developing a Crew Cab version of their full-size truck, the Tundra. The 2005 Tundra Crew Cab should be in dealerships sometime in early- to mid-2004, morphing the styling changes that took place for the 2003 model year together with updates for the new 2006 models. The four-door will precede the next generation of Tundra, which will also make a new home in San Antonio, Texas. Toyota will build Tundra pickup trucks in a new plant — its sixth in North America — starting in 2006. The plant, which will start with annual production of 150,000 units, will likely expand before the end of the decade to include SUV derivatives.
DAILY EDITION: Feb. 6, 2003 by TCC Team (2/4/2003): Toyota plans sixth plant in North America.

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