they say everything's bigger in texas, and that adage holds true at the 2019 houston auto show. with nearly 40 manufacturers and upwards of 800 vehicles purportedly on display, the houston show delivers the perfect opportunity to compare the newest cars, trucks and suvs. and with this being deep in the heart of texas — insert the sound of hands clapping here — you can bet that brand-new trucks from ford, chevrolet, gmc and ram will draw tons of attention.
while detroit, los angeles, chicago and new york city all have headline-grabbing car shows, houston represents an enormous market and the chance for automakers to showcase their newest vehicles in city of more than 2 million people.
notable vehicles appearing at this year's show will include the 2020 jeep gladiator pickup, one of the stars of the 2018 los angeles auto show, along with the 2019 chevrolet silverado 1500 pickup and 2019 blazer suv, not to mention electric-powered models like the audi e-tron gt and bmw i8 roadster. there's also the opportunity to jump behind the wheel yourself to take a test drive in dozens of cars.
the show is open to the public from jan. 23 until jan. 27. held at the nrg center — located at 1 nrg park — you can find directions and map your visit directly at the show's website. show hours wednesday through friday are from noon to 9:30 p.m.; saturday show hours are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and on sunday, the show's final day, exhibit hours are 10 a.m. till 7 p.m. admission is $12 for adults and $5 for kids age 6-12 years old (children younger than 6 get in for free).
here are five things to see and do at the 2019 houston auto show:
1. 2020 jeep gladiator
there's no doubt about it: the 2020 jeep gladiator was the main attraction at the 2018 los angeles auto show. we love the design of this rough-and-tumble wrangler with a pickup bed attached to its tail. there is a choice of two used engine : a 285-horsepower, 3.6-liter v-6 or 260-hp, turbo-diesel 3.0-liter v-6. the latter of the two used engine should make this four-wheel-drive truck an absolute beast when it comes to towing or powering over rough terrain. jeep fans will love that the roof is removable, the doors come off and the windshield can be folded down against the hood. gladiator sales begin this spring.
2. trucks, truck, trucks
the lone star state is a hotbed for trucks of all shapes and sizes. that's why every major automaker with a truck to sell is guaranteed to have plenty of them on display in houston. the latest ford f-150, chevrolet silverado 1500, gmc sierra 1500, ram 1500, ford ranger and toyota tundra will be vying for the hearts — and wallets — of attendees. we've already singled out the hotly anticipated jeep gladiator, which is set to face off against big mid-size competition that includes the toyota tacoma, chevrolet colorado, gmc canyon and nissan frontier.
3. shockingly cool electric cars
not every cool new car in houston will be a truck or suv, however. two of the wildest models set to appear at the nrg center will be a seductive german sports sedan, along with a curvaceous convertible. the audi e-tron gt concept and bmw i8 roadster feature electric powertrains that place a priority on driving excitement. the audi is entirely electric-powered and has the equivalent of 590 hp on tap. this is sent to all four wheels courtesy of audi's quattro all-wheel-drive hardware.
meanwhile, the i8 roadster proves you can make a good thing even better — by chopping off the roof. this hybrid-powered convertible has the same outlandish looks of the i8 sports coupe, yet it features a removable roof panel that provides limitless headroom. when operating in electric-drive mode, the i8 roadster has approximately 33 miles of ev range. beyond that point, the 374-hp gas-electric powertrain kicks in to provide extra range and high-performance fun.
4. test drives
almost every auto show provides showgoers the chance to take new cars for test drives. however, at the 2019 houston auto show, the scale of available vehicles helps set it apart. with more than 80 cars and trucks available for the show's ride-and-drive offering, you could spend all day hopping from one model to the next.
test-drive schedules vary from day to day, so check online to make certain your visit corresponds with the ride-and-drive times listed for each manufacturer. some of the cars and trucks available for test drives include the following:
- bmw x5 and x3
- jeep wrangler
- chevrolet corvette, silverado 1500 and silverado 2500
- ram 1500
- dodge challenger and charger
- ford f-150 and mustang
- honda civic (sedan and hatchback) and pilot
- toyota tundra and rav4
5. tune your ride
there is plenty to see and do at the houston auto show even for someone who's happy with the vehicle residing exclusively in their garage. but perhaps your beloved car is overdue a little tender loving care — or maybe a set of enormous alloy wheels and sport-tuned suspension? the show's aftermarket expo features some of the latest performance parts for everything from supercars and exotics to rugged off-road gear for those who prefer driving adventures on unpaved surfaces.
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