Put a Kia Soul on steroids, give it even more attitude and you pretty much have the concept that the South Korean automaker brought to the Chicago Auto Show.
The Track'ster definitely turned heads and was the star of the show. Give Kia credit for amping up the fun factor at an auto show that's usually long on practically and short on flights of fancy.
Track'ster is 5 inches wider and an inch longer than the Soul crossover. With those big LED fog lights, a front end that looks like Darth Vader's mask and "inferno orange" paint accents, it's a mean machine.
"The idea was to make the Track'ster tough looking, like a bulldog," said Tom Kearns, Kia's chief U.S. designer. "But the car had to be approachable as well. We wanted to base the car in reality so people instantly knew it was a Soul, but with a lot of attitude."
Ford updates Taurus police car for 2013
The Taurus-based police car has barely shown up in your rearview mirror, but that hasn't stopped Ford from giving it the new, refreshed look of the 2013 Taurus.
Showing the redone Police Interceptor here first is only appropriate since it, like other models of Taurus, is made at Ford's Chicago plant.
Among cop-friendly features: The shifter moves from the console to the steering wheel. It's hardly three-on-a-tree, but it still looks decidedly retro. Ford's marketing manager for police vehicles, Lisa Teed, says buyers need the console clear to make space for computers.
The car has only rubber mats, not carpeting. The speedometer is basic, but is certified for catching speeders. The car has heavy-duty steel wheels, nothing fancy. The Interceptor front end has the new 2013 Taurus look, but with its own black grille with wide openings for extra air intake.
Our favorite feature is the "contraband box," a lockable cubby in the trunk. If it's not holding cocaine, officers can lock their guns or small valuables in there when they visit jails.
Acura shows new entry-level sedan
With little fanfare, Acura unveiled the production version of its new entry-level sedan here.
Unlike the concept shown in Detroit last month, this one includes the full production interior, which adds a lot to the car's overall appeal.
The 2013 Acura ILX, as it will be known, is aimed at successful twenty- and thirtysomethings who happen to have more money than most of their peers and may be looking for their first luxury vehicle. To lure them, Acura is putting a premium on technology and fuel economy, including a version that is Acura's first hybrid.
The base engine is a 2-liter inline four-cylinder engine rated 150 horsepower and mated to a five-speed automatic. Next is a 2.4-liter, 201 horsepower engine with a six-speed manual. And then there is the hybrid with a 1.5-liter engine with electric motors that will get an estimated 35 miles per gallon in the city, 38 on the highway.
Other technology includes standard keyless entry and ignition, Pandora Internet radio and the ability to send text messages from the car. The ILX will be made at Honda's plant in Greenville, Ind.
Hyundai unleashes first Elantra coupe
Hyundai seems intent on turning its Elantra into a "family" of vehicles, showing a new coupe in addition to a new hatchback.
The coupe is sleek, as you might expect, and CEO John Krafcik thinks it will be popular with more women than men. That's OK: The new hatch shown Wednesday may skew more male.
It's a small coupe that feels big. It has two fewer doors but loses little of the sedan's interior, though backseat headroom could be an issue. The coupe's trunk is just as functional as the sedan's: flat with a large opening and the same 14.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
Contributing: Joe Bruzek, Cars.com's Kicking Tires
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