Chicago Auto Show Blog

Test Tracks Are A Gear Shifter

Posted by: Alison Zupkus


Of everything to see and do at the Chicago Auto Show, some of the most popular attractions are the test tracks, where attendees can get an interactive experience with how some of the more adventurous vehicles are made for more thrills than highway driving.


The Jeep test track wastes no time in grabbing the attention of the passengers by going up and down a flight of concrete stairs. The driver also demonstrates the stability of the car on an uneven hill, a 30 degree side incline and a large hill with a 35 degree incline going both up - which is the same as a roller coaster’s initial climb - and down. The track also includes a series of potholes, with which many Chicago drivers are very well-acquainted, and though there is no aquatic segment, the driver is happy to explain that the Jeep is almost completely waterproof except for the radio. Every test is designed to show the passengers the durability and stability of the Jeep they’re riding in.


The Toyota track features a few of the same tests as the Jeep track, including a side incline of identical degree, an uneven hill and a series of potholes. Though there is no large hill, the Toyota track features a rotating ramp for an effect similar to the Jeep track. However, the Toyota track also showcases a few features that are unique to the Toyota vehicles they drive around the course. The beginning section features a slick surface meant to simulate driving on ice, which causes the four-wheel drive to automatically kick in. At the end of the track, the driver shows off the clarity of the rearview camera with the cutout of a person behind the vehicle. Don’t worry, no cardboard cutouts were harmed in the making of this test track.


The Dodge, Chrysler and Fiat test track has three main components. In the first part, the driver maneuvers a car into a tunnel where loud music is played to demonstrate the soundproof capabilities of the dual pane windows. The second part features a winding track to test the agility of the vehicle. The last part, and what many people, both drivers and passengers alike, believe is the most fun, is the test of the quick acceleration and brake speed down a straight stretch of track. This track lets participants leave with an unforgettable adrenaline rush.


The final experience isn’t a test track, but a simulator. Drivers sit in an elevated metal pod and get to experience what it would be like to drive a Ford GT on a French racetrack. There are three connected wide screens to fill the driver’s vision and the pod moves to demonstrate how it would feel if someone was actually driving the Ford GT at a race. It’s an ultra-sensory experience that may leave the driver weak in the knees.


The test tracks featured at the show are meant to give attendees a safe hands-on experience behind the wheels of some popular vehicles. While the lines may be long, the wait is well worth it.

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