Chicago Auto Show Preview: Chicago News Names Top Cars of the Year

This year’s Chicago Auto Show kicks off this weekend with innovation on display from every manufacturer. While Toyota sure seems to have taken up lots of floor space to showcase its new product, it seems like Jeep has recycled its same display for several years now. Cadillac, Infiniti and Nissan all have concept cars on display, but Kia has a great setup where you can test drive almost its entire lineup. Of course, the best part of the show is that we get to reveal our award winners for the year, presenting our accolades directly to the manufacturers.

Family Vehicle of the Year is always a tough choice with so many different models that qualify. It could be anything from a station wagon to a minivan to a crossover or SUV. This year we went with value, the best bang for your buck. The Kia Niro has much to offer for a low price of admission, not the least of which is a stellar 49MPG combined. Starting at just over $25k there’s lots to love in this small family hauler. The crossover market is booming right now, but the Niro offers the best balance of performance, features and efficiency.

Sports Car of the Year had to be the Mazda Miata, especially now that you can get the slick power-retractable hardtop version. Combining the best of open-air motoring with a super quick power folding hardtop makes for the best of both worlds. It punches above its weight in performance and handling, feeling quicker than the 2.0-liter 155hp poweplant would imply. Not just light on its feet, it actually is light – a distinction none of its drop-top rivals can claim. Which I guess means it has no rivals!



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