If you're really looking for a commuter bike to pull out of the back of your station wagon - you might consider a Dahon or another folder. Dahon's lineup is here: http://www.dahon.com/us/folding-bicycles-us-models.htm
and there's a dealer locator on the website as well, I'm sure they have some in the Chicago area.
I keep a Dahon folder (Helios, similar to the current Speed P8) in the back of my Subaru wagon and use it for the last 3 miles or so of my commute in NYC when I drive in some days with my wife, she parks north of my midtown office. Then I ride back uptown to return with her or via train back to the burbs, and I don't need a ride home from the station (or a station car). It's a great little tool - decent ride, very easy to fold, and easy to stash by my desk, the back of the car, even to carry on the train.
The one I purchased was an aluminum frame bike with narrow 1" tires that were fun on the test ride b/c it felt most like a real road bike. But after several flats due to potholes and steel plates in city streets I dumped those and put on 1.5 slicks that hold up much better and also give a more comfortable ride. I need to put fenders on for wet weather but many of the models come with fenders and a rack preinstalled. Price range for the decent models is $400 - $600. The aluminum frame shaved a couple pounds off the package which in hindsight I could have lived with - at 170 lbs the alu frame is kind of flexy and I might get a better ride on steel. At 230 lbs you'd want to test both the alu and steel frames and stomp a big gear to see if you feel the difference. Only thing I don't love on the bike is platform pedals with no clipless or toe clip solution but (a) it's not like I'm wearing bike shoes for biking around town in street clothes, and (b) I think I can jury rig a pair of powerstraps (http://powergrips.mrpbike.com/pg_benefits.shtml
) to gain a hold on the upstroke.
Usually I buy bikes (and skis and everything) on the interwebs and do the maintenance myself but this was an exception - local shop support (shop near my office) was key both for the initial test ride and maintenance. There are a couple of adjustments on the folder that are not an issue with a regular bike, which the shop was able to do (and taught me to do myself).
By no means would this be my only bike - but for street and bike path commuting, and ease of stashing in the car, it's a really cool solution.