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I was at the Chicago autoshow on Friday and spent some time at all the full-sized truck displays.

I had expected the interior of the F-150 to be fantastic. What I saw was chrome all over the place. And I mean all over. Even the speedometer and tachometer had half-inch chrome rings around them. In addition, the wood accents around the center console had a straight grain pattern which looked terrible. Overall, there was just too much chrome, and too many details. It was just gaudy. I also had a look at the lower models. These had the same layout, but were very plain--just large sheets of plastic of one color.

One of the magazines mentioned that Ford had added a torsion spring to counterbalance their tailgate while Nissan did not. I checked this out, expecting the tailgate on the F-150 to be perfectly counterbalanced and able to be operated by one finger. Instead I noticed about a 5 pound difference in the force required to operate the Nissan and Ford tailgates. Negligible.

Nissan had a display composed of just the wheels, frame, powertrain and engine from a Titan/Armada. It was at ground level for everyone to examine and there was crowd around it. I noticed the very small oil filter near the front. I also noticed the fully boxed rails. And I was very surprised at how thin the steel was. (I realize that all the automakers use high strength, low alloy steel instead of mild steel to save weight, but I was still surprised.) Too bad the other automakers (except for Hummer) didn't have similar displays so I could compare.

Chrysler had a display showing their Hemi with some cylinders cut away at various stages. I could clearly see the two large valves and the spark plug in the middle and how they were arranged in a hemispherical layout. I guess "hemispherical combustion chamber" is more conceptual than literal because I couldn't point to any one part in the engine that was obviously hemispherical in shape. It was very interesting.

Toyota's extended cab Tundra didn't change much from last year. There was still too little legroom in the rear. The interior looked dated. The Double Cab was beautiful though. The interior was very tasteful and looked similar to a car. The wood accents in the center console had a very rich color and the grain had some interesting swirls. Unlike the F-150, this actually looked good. The bed was long and the power rear window was a nice touch. If only it had a larger engine.

The Honda SUT concept was impressive but the bed appeared tiny.

The FTX concept was impressive too. Unlike in the pictures I saw, the body proportions were good. There appeared to be plenty of space in the interior and in the bed. The tires looked gigantic, like those found on a tractor trailer or bus. The word "Hybrid" appeared on at least three places on the vehicle. I'm not sure if Toyota has decided to develop a hybrid version though.

Kia had a concept of a car-like pickup similar to an El Camino. It looked promising. Not hideous, and with dimensions that would make it useful for hauling cargo while still being able to maneuver in tight areas.

That's about all I remember. I was going to write on Friday but hadn't received my password yet.
 

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Thanks for the first-person lowdown on the Auto Show, Albert...enjoyed it...yeah, the Honda SUT is pleasingly rad! :)
 

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Thanks for the review and for being a part of the site. I enjoyed your report.
 
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