Jian Ping's column
Chicago Auto Show 2017
Jian Ping is author of “Mulberry Child: A Memoir of
China. “ For more information, visit
com  or www.mulberrychild.com. Jian Ping’s blog,
which she keeps with a couple of other authors, is at

Jian Ping
By Jian Ping

Chicago, like most of the other cities in the US, has witnessed a lot since the beginning of this
year. From protest against the newly elected President, the tremendous turn out of reportedly
250,000 people on the Women's March, to the strong reaction toward the President's "t
weet" about
sending "Feds" into the city if Chicago doesn't get its violence under control, to name a few. And on
top of that, the chaos and protest against the President's travel ban that was issued last week.

Under the new administration, shocking and disturbing policies seem to roll out as if the
government had turned to be authoritative one vs. that of democracy, and concerns and anger
seem to be boiling in the blood of many citizens.  

As I write this, an invitation comes via Facebook for a "Not My President's Day" protest at the Trump
Tower in Chicago on Feb. 20.
It is among such backdrop that the 2017 Chicago Auto Show opened to media preview on Feb. 9.

I went to the preview, as I had done in the last few years. Perhaps it is because of the turbulent beginning of this year, I found the
open space, the variety of vehicles shining under the spot light soothing, and the introduction of new models or improved
features by the exhibitors comforting. They generated a sense of normality and assurance that things are moving forward, at least
in certain segments, vs. backward.
Chicago Auto Show opens to media preview on Feb. 9.
I walked around, paying attention primarily to hybrid vehicles. At
the Toyota press conference, the company, among other
vehicles, revealed a 2018 RAV4 Adventure, with quite a few
improvements from the 2017 model. I took advantage of the test
track that had been set up in the showroom and took a ride in a
RAV4. It felt really good—as the driver explained to me the
maneuvers he was doing to demonstrate the car, I marveled at
the car's power, four-wheel control, and smooth ride. The car has
a cool design too.

The 2017 model starts at about $30,000, with gas mileage at
34/30 miles per gallon. It has been a sales leader in the compact
SUV segment. The 2018 model will be introduced later this year.

I also tried a Jeep Cherokee ride. The steep climb felt like at a 45-
degree angle vs. "35 degrees," as explained by the driver. The
emulation of a bumpy road and a side tilt of 30 degrees felt like
fun during the ride.

Several exhibitors set up indoor test tracks, and they and others
also offer road test drive outside. Even with reporters, there are
lines at each test track. Once the show opens to the public, I can
only imagine how long the line would be and how exciting it
would be for vehicles lovers to have a first experience.

One representative at Jeep said they like the Chicago Auto Show
because of its huge space. He also said each year, exhibitors
could clip many sales on site as well.

I didn't realize I had spent nearly two hours walking around the
show rooms and talking to exhibitors until I ran into a fellow
reporter from China Central TV.

I left the Chicago Auto Show with a lifted spirit.
Reporters looking at new reveal of RAV4 Adventure at
Toyota Press Conference.
Volvo XC90T8 Plug In Hybrid on display at the Show.
Test drive at Mercedes-Benz track.
The Chicago Auto Show will run from Feb. 11 to 20 at the McCormick

I do hope it will be as successful and productive as it had been before
despite the change of political atmosphere.