Are you looking for a way to escape the reality of another cold, dreary February day? The Chicago Auto Show has much to offer just less than two hours away, and the virtual reality exhibits highlight this year's annual event.
The Chicago Auto Show got underway this past weekend and runs 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Monday at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Every automaker — from Audi to Volkswagen — has exhibits in the more than a million square feet of space. It's the nations's largest auto show.
You can also test drive some cars from automakers, including Jeep and Toyota, but the shorter lines were in the virtual reality exhibits. After spending an hour our so checking out all the cars, take a load off and have a seat for a short virtual reality tour. Chevrolet, Ford and Honda were just a few of the automakers offering virtual reality exhibits.
Chevrolet had its Virtual Dynamic Lab 4D Experience that has 12 seats to view the experience at one time. It's a five-and-half minute tour that lets you experience riding in five different vehicles, including the Camaro and Volt.
"The experience is a virtual reality 4D simulator with a moving seat," explained Chevy on the exhibit. You sit in a recliner-sized chair and wear the virtual-reality headsets complete with audio.
I took the Chevy virtual reality tour, and it was well worth the 10-minute wait to take the ride. It's not as real as advertised, and it was similar to the experience of a 3D movie.
Ford also has its Transit Connect, a virtual reality experience.
"You're in a Transit Van where you drive through a virtual reality city," said a Ford spokesman running the exhibit. "It highlights Ford's autonomous emergency brake. It will brake for you in case of an emergency.
"It [autonomous braking] will be in the Transit Van, Ford Fusion and the Ford Explorer in 2019."
Honda was another automaker with a virtual tour — Honda Lens.
Toyota always has a lot of space at the auto show, as it was showcasing its popular models, including RAV4, Corolla and its Prius Hybrid. The Prius Hybrid offers a plug-in hybrid that has an estimated 133 miles per gallon and starts at $27,100. It has a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine powered by a lithium battery.
Toyota also had on display a prototype Land Speed Cruiser with an 8-speed automatic transmission with two large frame turbos.
In addition, Toyota had a test drive area, but the course is so small that you can't go more than a few miles per hour. If you really want to test drive a car, your best bet is to check out your local dealership.
Chrysler has a sleek 2018 Pacifica Hybrid minivan on display. It's billed as the first-ever hybrid minivan.
Jeep once again has its off-road test drive course, but that line was particularly long even during the day hours.
The luxury vehicles — Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Infiniti, Lexus and Porsche — were all located in the same section of the exhibit hall in order to save you time if you want to check out those specific cars.
Tickets for the Chicago Auto Show are $13 for adults, $7 for seniors age 62 and older and for children age 7 to 12. Children 6 and younger are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at chicagoautoshow.com.
If you go, take at least two to three hours to tour all the exhibits to make it worth your while.
There are three main McCormick Place lots: A, B & C. Lot A and C are $23. Lot B is $15. All McCormick Place lots are $10 after 6 p.m. during Chicago Auto Show dates only. Parking fees can be paid by cash or credit card. VISA, MasterCard and American Express are accepted.