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Spiffy, updated models shine at Chicago Auto Show

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 13-02-2017 Brent Snavely and Mark Phelan
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CHICAGO -- Lately, the Chicago Auto Show hasn't been known for the unveiling of all-new models as much as it has become a showcase for new model trim levels and accessorized vehicles.

But that's okay. There's still plenty to see at what traditionally has been one of the best-attended auto shows in the country. Plus, it attracts all the major players among automakers -- from Fiat Chrysler to Volkswagen.

Here are some of this year's highlights.

Hyundai GT

Hyundai isn't giving up on hatchbacks and believes Americans might be willing to buy more than in the past.

That's why the Korean automaker revealed an all-new version of its Elantra hatchback at the Chicago Auto Show that is lower, wider, and longer than the outgoing version. Hyundai says its new Elantra GT has a more aggressive stance and has added interior volume to its European style.

Hyundai says the new GT has more interior space than any other compact hatchback in the market. The Hyundai GT competes against hatchback versions of the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf.

In Europe, where hatchbacks are referred to as "the boot," five-door vehicles like the Elantra GT are more popular than sedans. But Hyundai says it expects sales of its new Elantra hatchback will exceed 15% of overall Elantra sales.

Nissan Titan King Cab

Nissan unveiled King Cab versions of its Titan light-duty and Titan XD heavy-duty pickups. The additions give Nissan the broadest line of pickups and commercial vehicles of any foreign-based brand.

Nissan has big plans for its growing line of trucks, and the first step is outselling the Toyota Tundra with Nissan’s new line of big pickups.

Nissan’s line of full-size and heavy-duty pickups is complete, after a painstakingly slow production launch. The automaker is now in growth mode, Fred Diaz, head of Nissan’s North American truck and commercial vehicle business said.

Nissan was the first non-U.S. brand to sell a full-size pickup, challenging the Detroit Three’s dominance of the large and profitable segment. The original Titan never took off with buyers, and Nissan nearly abandoned full-size trucks during the Great Recession.

Nissan also added Midnight Edition packages to five of its most popular vehicles and showed them off at the show. The new versions of the Rogue, Murano and Pathfinder SUVs and Altima and Sentra sedans mimic a special edition of the Maxima midsize sedan that has boosted sales since it went on sale last fall.

Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport

Toyota is creating a more performance-oriented version of its big Sequoia SUV.

It says the Sequoia TRD Sport will be available on both four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive models that are equipped with a 5.7-liter V-8 engine. 

On the sport package, the Sequoia's handling is enhanced with specially tuned Bilstein shocks and anti-sway bars on the front and rear.

Sequoia TRD Sport also will include touches like new a front grille and bumper, gloss black mirror caps, 20-inch alloy black sport wheels and smoked rear tail light lens. Pricing was not released.

Mopar Dodge Challenger

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Vintage performance car lovers will be excited about the special edition Mopar '17 Dodge Challenger. 

Mopar, Fiat Chrysler's aftermarket parts brand, is celebrating its 80th anniversary with just 160 limited edition Dodge Challenger with custom paint jobs. 

It will make 80 in a combination of Pitch Black and Contusion Blue and another 80 in Pitch Black and Billet Silver.

Dodge Durango 

Dodge is adding more power and attitude to its Durango seven-passenger SUV.

Dodge unveiled the 2018 Durango SRT edition SUV that's equipped with a Hemi V-8 engine that generates 475 horsepower and a towing capacity of 8,600 pounds.

The automaker calls it the "most powerful and most capable" three-row SUV.

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