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2014 Chicago Auto Show: Green-Car Preview

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Chicago isn't as big as some annual auto shows, and at this year's show green vehicles are a little thin on the ground--March's Geneva Motor Show will provide more to that effect.

Nevertheless there are a few significant vehicles set to appear in Chicago, so we've pieced together a green car preview to bring you the latest details.

This year's Chicago Auto Show runs from February 8-17 at McCormick Place on Lake Shore Drive.

2014 BMW 740Ld xDrive

The diesel BMW 7-Series is unlikely to be a cheap machine. By the standards of smaller vehicles, it won't even be that efficient outright. But with a 25-30 percent economy improvement over the equivalent gasoline model, it's easy to see the 740Ld xDrive's purpose.

This long-wheelbase luxury sedan with its 255-horsepower diesel engine could return as much as 36 mpg on the highway, mid-twenties in the city and combined mileage around the 27-28 mpg mark.

Ford C-Max Solar Energi

Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept at CES 2014

Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept at CES 2014

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The Ford C-Max Solar Energi isn't a brand new vehicle for North America, but after its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas it will at least be making an auto show appearance in Chicago. As you can probably guess from the name, solar panels are involved in the plug-in hybrid setup.

The setup seems oddly impractical--it relies on parking below a solar concentrator to focus light on the roof panels--but it's an interesting idea all the same.

 

Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul EV camouflaged prototype

Kia Soul EV camouflaged prototype

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We've been expecting Kia's electric Soul to appear at a few auto shows now, and Kia has now confirmed the model will debut in Chicago. It's based on the recently-introduced second-generation Soul, said to offer a range of "more than 120 miles", and it should hit the streets some time this year.

The interior is awash with bio-based materials--many elements of which are biodegradable. It isn't Kia's first electric car, but the Soul EV could be one of its most appealing models.

 

2015 Subaru Legacy

Teaser for 2015 Subaru Legacy

Teaser for 2015 Subaru Legacy

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There's only one teaser image of the 2015 Subaru Legacy so far--not a lot to go on, admittedly--but if it's anything like the Legacy concept that appeared at last year's Los Angeles Auto Show then Subaru fans are in for a treat. It's sleeker and sportier than before, Subaru suggesting it's more "coupe-like".

Powertrains are unconfirmed, but Subaru has made efficiency strides recently with hybrid road cars and diesel-hybrid concepts--so we're holding out hope.

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