It’s not the world’s biggest car show but the influence of the Chicago Auto Show is growing, and this year Kia used the event to unveil its new Cross GT concept, a larger crossover that the firm is using to gauge opinion on a new vehicle that would sit above the Sorento.

Designed in the US, the Cross GT is 4897mm long, 2000m wide and 1658mm tall making it longer, wider and lower than a Sorento.

Powered by a hybrid drivetrain consisting of a 3.8-litre V6 and an electric motor sited under the rear floor, the Cross GT produces 400bhp and 500lb ft, with an electric-only range of 20 miles. It’s four-wheel drive, with an eight-speed automatic ’box. Kia also wheeled out a Superman-themed Optima styled in collaboration with DC Entertainments.

Volkswagen revealed a limited-edition Beetle, resurrecting a 1973 special called the GSR. The 2012 GSR uses a 210hp turbocharged 2.0-litre with a six-speed manual or a DSG gearbox, and will reach 60mph in 6.6sec, making it more than just a styling exercise. VW also had a limited-edition run-out Golf GTi, called Driver’s Edition, with extra kit and unique wheels.

Nissan gave the Juke Nismo its US launch and updated the US-only 370Z Nismo with some light cosmetic upgrades. The Nismo-tuned 370Z has more power (350bhp) than the standard car, with stiffer suspension and comes with a set of bespoke 19in alloys.

The firm also showed the GT-R Track Edition, a stripped-out (no back seats) track-focused GT-R with new suspension and carbonfibre aero kit.

The US domestic manufacturers restricted their efforts to a new diesel Cruze from Chevrolet, with a 2.0-litre 148hp four-pot, and a Ford Fiesta race car that will be driven by Ken Block in the Global RallyCross. Dodge launched a new option package for the Challenger and a range of Ram-badged vans based on the Fiat Ducato, along with lower-priced SRT Challenger and Charger models.