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Chicago Auto Show Set To Kick Off

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Toyota Prius V

The Toyota Prius V is among the offerings at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The 2011 Chicago Auto Show gets underway Friday, with an assortment of trendy new vehicles.

The Auto Show runs through Feb. 20 at McCormick Place. As in the past several years, green offerings are a major component.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports users can test-drive the new Chevrolet Volt, plugs in with an extension cord and can drive 36 miles on electricity only. After being plugged in for 8 to 10 hours, the car will run for about 375 miles on a tank of gas.

Meanwhile, the Fiat 500 marks the Italian carmaker’s return to the U.S. market for the first time in 28 years. The smaller car is being called a great deal with city dwellers and young urban professionals.

Gerasole recalled that when he lived in Italy several years ago, the small, two-seat Fiats would sometimes block buses, and the solution was to pick up the car and move it out of the way. But a lot has changed since then.

Also on display is the Chrysler Grand Caravan RT, nicknamed the “man van.” Since Dodge and Chrysler have been losing market share to Toyota and Honda in the minivan department, they have introduced the new van with 17-inch wheels and a sporty interior with red threads.

Toyota is displaying the latest edition of its popular Prius. The Prius V features about 50 percent more leg room in the back seats.

And the BMW 650i convertible goes from 0 to 60 in 6 seconds, and has six speeds and 400 horsepower. It also has room for your family in the back.

The first Chicago Auto Show was held in 1901. It has been staged more times than any other North American auto show.

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