The 5 Hottest Cars of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show

Special editions. Special editions everywhere.

Being set in a city that isn’t as quite grabby as New York or Los Angeles and coming just a couple weeks after Detroit, the Chicago Auto Show may not be on your radar as an event that delivers big automotive debuts. Perhaps it should, though, because McCormick Place in 2019 played host to a couple of brand new sedans as well as special editions of two already-well-liked sportier machines. In no particular order, here are the five hottest cars from this year’s show in the Windy City.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI


Volkswagen has blessed its Jetta compact sedan with 228 horsepower, independent sport suspension, a limited-slip diff, and some snazzy red trim to make the GLI. Often seen as a neglected, frumpier middle child in VW’s performance lineup, the GLI’s biggest hurdle will likely continue to be overcoming the envy-inducing amounts of attention its iconic, Golf-based GTI brethren gets among sport compact enthusiasts.

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition


“It’s time to move out of our basement and settle down like a big boy,” is what the MX-5 Miata‘s parents would say if the MX-5 Miata, er, had parents. Yes, Mazda’s acclaimed roadster is celebrating the big 3-0 this year but thankfully, it isn’t trading in any of the fun it had in its younger years for an office job, a mortgage, or a stable partner. Instead, it threw on an orange suit, Rays shoes, and had a party for 3,000 of its most hardcore fans.

2020 Toyota Tacoma


While it may not look much different than the 2019 model year, the newest Toyota Tacoma is quite fresh when it comes to tech. Inside, the truck’s multimedia infotainment has received a major upgrade that now offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. Previously you had to spring nearly $50K to get that kind of equipment in a Tacoma by opting for the TRD Pro. If you do go in that direction, however, the top-o’-the-line model features Multi Terrain Mode which incorporates exterior camera views to show what’s in front of, behind, and beside your pickup when offroading.

Oh, and you can still get it with a manual, too.

2020 Subaru Legacy


Subaru’s midsize sedan is all-new for 2020 and brings with it an 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen as well as the model’s first turbo in years. Par for the Subaru course, the new Legacy comes with all-wheel drive and a Boxer engine. Aesthetically, it sort of looks like a 2020 Camry from an alternate reality in which Toyota never found its pulse. Let’s move on to the mid-engined Italian two-seater, shall we?

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

At just 15 units, the special edition 4C Spider Italia is, technically speaking, the most exclusive car on this list. The privilege of owning one—with its Italia-only blue paint and green-white-and-red badges in and out—will set you back $5,000 more than a regular 4C Spider. Whether or not it’s worth the premium is up to you, honestly, considering the Italia gets zero performance or equipment upgrades. Thankfully for Alfa Romeo, it only has to sell 15 of ’em to call it “mission accomplished.”