where the st. john's river meets the atlantic ocean lies jacksonville, fla. and where a multitude of new cars, trucks, crossovers, suvs and alternative-fuel vehicles from 28 brands meet the prime f. osborn iii convention center lies the 2019 jacksonville international auto show.
while much of the u.s. continues to suffer in the unrelenting throes of the seemingly endless winter of 2019, floridians — even those northerners in the panhandle — have plenty of sun and warm temperatures to soak up each day. but the arrival of the jacksonville auto show this weekend presents a good reason to spend some time indoors catching up on their car shopping.
the three-day show kicks off friday at the convention center, 1000 water st., and runs through sunday. friday hours are noon to 9 p.m.; the show is open saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and doors are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on sunday. admission is $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens, and $5 for active and retired military members with appropriate i.d., as well as for children ages 6 to 12; kids age 6 or younger are free. kids under 12 will receive a free hot wheels toy car while supplies last. friday is active military & active first responders day, honoring all active-duty military members, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians with free admission all day. discounted adult tickets are available for $8 at participating gate gas stations. group discounts for parties of 15 or more are also available. for more info, visit the show's website.
here are five things you can't miss at the 2019 jacksonville international auto show:
1. 2020 jeep gladiator
after drawing lots of attention at the 2018 los angeles auto show in november, the 2020 jeep gladiator will be a main attraction at jacksonville's show. the gladiator is designed with the rough-and-tumble style of the iconic wrangler and a pickup bed on the tail end. choose from two different used engine : a 285-horsepower, 3.6-liter v-6 or a 260-hp, turbo-diesel 3.0-liter v-6. the gladiator won't make an appearance at dealerships until the spring, so the jacksonville auto show is the perfect opportunity to get a sneak preview.
other can't-miss models making their way to the jax show after making high-profile debuts at previous auto shows include the 2019 chevrolet blazer, 2019 ford ranger and 2019 honda passport. you've likely read about them, but now is your chance to see them up close without having to leave town.
much to the dismay of everyone who remembers shouting "slug bug" and punching someone in the shoulder at the sighting of a volkswagen beetle in his or her childhood, vw announced in september that it will end production of the iconic beetle this year. the german automaker brought the beetle to the u.s. in 1949 and for the next seven decades endeared it to american car buyers with its adorableness. (who could resist those adorable flower holders affixed to the dashboards back in the early 2000s?) as america bids farewell to the beloved beetle in 2019, the jacksonville show will pay tribute to beetles throughout history at forever beetle freeway, a collection vintage of vw beetles from the 1960s up to the present. local vw clubs sponsoring the event include beach buggy bros., vw club of florida, southeast vw club — florida chapter, jax dubs, the 12ups and the 'swagen 904s. the forever beetle freeway display will be open sunday only, so plan accordingly if you love bugs.
3. historic military vehicles
restored vintage military vehicles will be on display at the jacksonville auto show's military trail, a collection of vintage military vehicles presented by the first florida chapter of the military vehicle preservation association. a 1945 ford gpw will star in this display alongside the willys mb. both world war ii-era vehicles were used by the u.s. army in the early- to mid-1940s. although production stopped nearly 75 years ago, the gpw's original design is still visible in the modern-day suv, particularly the jeep wrangler. because the gpw and the mb are so similar, check the used engine block for its serial number to tell the difference.
4. 2019 bmw x7
bmw's much-anticipated flagship three-row suv, the 2019 bmw x7, makes up for the automaker's lack of a seriously spacious suv in its luxury fleet. the x7 hit dealerships early this year, and has made a round of appearances at several u.s. auto shows since then. whether you're shopping for a luxury suv or just want to imagine yourself behind the wheel of one at school carpool, the x7 is something you might want to see at this year's show.
5. test drives
take the 2019 chevy blazer suv or 2019 fiat 124 spider roadster for a spin at the jax auto show's ride and drive event. hit the streets of jacksonville in a variety of brand-new models from seven automakers. participating automakers and cars available for testing are listed below:
- chevrolet: blazer, camaro, colorado, equinox, malibu, traverse, silverado 1500 trail boss, silverado 1500 high country
- chrysler: 300, pacifica
- dodge: challenger, charger, durango
- fiat: 124 spider, 500 abarth, 500x
- jeep: cherokee, compass, grand cherokee, wrangler
- ram: 1500 rebel
- toyota: camry, corolla, highlander, rav4
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