Chicago Auto Show 2021 at McCormick Place offers test driving, food, music

Chicago Auto Show dates: McCormick Place event July 15-19
CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's day three of the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place Saturday.

If you're in the market for a new car, test-driving vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show is a great way to compare with no pressure to buy.

"They can come start here on Indiana Avenue, go out to Michigan Ave and around, but get a feel for the vehicles," said Chicago Auto Show PR Manager Jennifer Morand. "There's a product specialist that will be sitting next to you and they can help explain the technologies, safety features and all of the benefits of the brand new vehicles."

Dozens of vehicles are available to drive, including the Ford Bronco Sport. And it's super simple to sign up!

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"They can register inside at McCormick Place at the west building with the manufacturer, so if they want to jump in an all-new Chevy, for example, the visit the Chevrolet display indoors, they can. make a reservation and then when they're ready head outside and take that test drive," Morand said.

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David Sloan, general manager of the Chicago Auto Show, broke down how summer allowed the event to be both indoors and outdoors.



Keep in mind the test drive is not the same as the test track, where professional drivers were in charge of the Bronco Wild Experience!

Built specifically for the show, it takes you through water and side angle demonstrations to Bronco Mountain, nearly 20 feet high with a 38-degree angle on the way down. Definitely one of the more popular attractions at the show!

You can feel first-hand the torque and acceleration of the brand new all electric Mustang Mach-E.

"We have taken our most important name plate ever and converted it into an electric vehicle. So people can get behind the wheel, feel the instant torque zero to 60 in three and a half seconds, and you get to do that right here in Chicago," said Kristin Tassi with the Ford Motor Company.

Same goes for nearly every car on the floor. It's your chance to see and feel first-hand the next vehicle you want amid an unprecedented shortage of computer chips for cars and low dealer inventory.

"If you drive past a dealership right now you'll see that there lots aren't quite so filled. And so as a buyer, not only are you not maybe able to find the exact car you want but you might have to pay a little bit more or closer to retail for the vehicle because of the shortage," said Mark Bilek, director of communications for the Chicago Auto Show.

That's why manufacturers said this show is an opportunity if you're looking for a new ride.

"Honestly, car shopping is such a tactile experience. You want to get in the car, you want to feel the seats, you want to see the technology. You want to see if the seat adjusts, if your family fits. That kind of thing," said Becky Skiver, a Nissan product specialist.

That's why Gaby Guillen came to the show for Friday.

"Now, it's time to look for a car. What kind of car do I want to look at? Let me sit in it, let me get a feel for it," she said.

One highlight is a Ford truck that leaped out of a popular video game and into real life, the F150 Rocket League truck.

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"We have been partnering with Rocket League for awhile and we first brought the truck, the F150, the F150 designers worked with the designers at Psyonix, which is the publisher of Rocket League, and we brought that into the game back in February and we have brought it from the game back into real life," said Sarah Brewer, Grand and Content Alliances.

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There are also plenty of family-friendly vehicles on display, including the 2022 Kia Carnival.

"What's really great about the inside of this minivan is that you have large captain's chairs," Jennifer Newman of Cars.com. "Lots of comfort, really cushy head restraints."

Automakers are experiencing a nationwide shortage in computer chips and dealers may be a little sparse on inventory so seeing your next new car *here* may be your only option.

"We know that there's a shortage in the industry but we're working really hard in all of our assembly plants to continue to produce the trucks and SUVs that people love. We're seeing things start to pick up again," said Kelley Enright, a RAM public relations manager.

If you're planning a trip down to McCormick Place, remember it's now in the west building, and you cannot buy tickets in person. You must buy online.
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