Whether or not you agree with reports that the traditional car show is going the way of the Dodo, these big-budget events still serve as a great way for hardcore enthusiasts and interested shoppers to experience the new models and new technology that automakers are investing in. And despite a somewhat worrying turnout in Detroit last month, auto show season soldiers on this February, even with a noticeable lull in consumer excitement. The next two big stops on the tour? The 2019 Chicago Auto Show in the currently, exceptionally “Windy City,” and the Philadelphia Auto Show in the cheesesteak (and sports-related rage) capital of the world.
2019 Philadelphia Auto Show
Since Philly technically comes first, running February 2-10, we’ll start in the City of Brotherly Love with what you can expect to see at the 118th iteration of the Philadelphia Auto Show. Which is to say: nothing we haven’t seen before, sadly. Despite marketing itself as “one of the nation’s largest auto shows,” Philly’s offering is still significantly smaller than its sister events in LA, Detroit, Chicago, and New York. However, just because it hasn’t landed any smashing new vehicle reveals or A-list celebrities, that doesn’t mean it won’t have its own unique attractions.
First up, the rides. While several manufacturers are waiting until the Chicago Auto Show to drop their reveals, Philly will still have an opportunity to showcase plenty of exciting pre-production and freshly arrived models. While they’ve already made their world debut, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, 2019 heavy duty RAMS, and 2019 Ford Ranger will all be in attendance, repping the current new wave of domestic trucks. Also appearing is a veritable hoard of new SUVs, including the redesigned Ford Explorer, resurrected Chevy Blazer, and Lincoln Aviator models, a promising 2019 Subaru Ascent (along with its siblings the 2019 Forester and Crosstrek Hybrid), the 2020 Kia Telluride, 2020 Hyundai Palisade, and… well, you get the point. (Click here for the full lineup.)
As expected, some high-horsepower, high-priced rides will show their face as well, with the just-revealed 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 representing American Muscle. Heading upmarket will be the 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, Lamborghini Urus, and a variety of showings from Maserati, Aston Martin, Bentley, McLaren, and Rolls-Royce, as well as a $20 million display of super- and hyper-cars.
Shows Within the Show
Additionally, the Philadelphia Auto Show will offer some targeted attractions aside from the main event, including a DUB Show Tour, featuring tricked-out rides, bikes, and accessories as well as a “Hollywood Rides” collection, displaying such classics as the Griswold Family Truckster, Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine, and Back to the Future DeLorean.
There will also be a special preview the night before the show opens, called the Black Tie Tailgate. Complete with dinner, dancing, and a top-shelf open bar, all proceeds benefit the Department of Nursing at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
While the auto show alone may not be enough to hold some visitors’ attention, the city of Philadelphia has more than enough supplementary material to stay amused. Whether you’re looking for history, art, education, sports, entertainment, or just a really great cheesesteak, Philly’s got you covered.
The Philadelphia Auto Show runs February 2-10 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Tickets are $14 each, with discounts available for senior citizens and young children.
2019 Chicago Auto Show
While it’s true that many car shows have been experiencing a decline in attendance, by both automakers and consumers, Chicago’s been weathering the storm pretty well. With more than 1 million square feet of space and an average 1,000 vehicles each year, it is arguably one of the largest auto events—both domestically and worldwide. The 2019 Chicago Auto Show will be the 111th iteration, honoring tradition with new vehicles, fun test drives, and a few big-name reveals.
While it’s true that many automakers opt to hold their own PR events for vehicle debuts to better capitalize on media attention, there will still several buzz-worthy unveilings in LA and Detroit. Likewise, Chicago has a few on the docket as well.
2020 Toyota Tacoma
At the time of writing this article, Toyota has just released a teaser photo of the fresh-faced Tacoma, set to debut at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. The Taco last saw a redesign in 2015 when the current third-gen model launched. And while three years isn’t a particularly long time to go without a makeover, the mid-size truck segment is heating up and Toyota’s aiming to stay on top.
The image offers little more than a dramatically shrouded Tacoma that appears to be sporting some tweaked headlights. We don’t know what to expect, but I know one Taco-loving blog writer who’s hoping in earnest that it’s a return of the single-cab body…
New Volkswagen Jetta GLI
Also expected to debut at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show is the new VW Jetta GLI. While the redesigned 2019 Jetta made its splash in Detroit last year, the general consensus was that despite its sharp new looks, improved platform, and flashy technology, it—to quote Car and Driver—“emphasizes fuel economy more than fun.” Ouch. Here’s hoping the performance-variant GLI will remedy the situation.
Autoblog speculates that the new GLI will swap in a multi-link IRS to replace the previous torsion-beam rear axle, in addition to placing a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood that is the same as, or dang close to, what’s currently offered in the Golf GTI putting out 220-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Also rumored is the buyer option of either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic. It is worth noting however, that the 2018 GLI does not offer a manual option. And as Ford and Toyota showed us at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, dropping that option is becoming a popular move.
Both Toyota and Mazda have some anniversary reveals planned for the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, celebrating the Land Cruiser and MX-5 Miata.
Technically, the 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition already debuted, but fans will have a chance to check out this retro-inspired beauty up close and personal this month in Chicago. Commemorating over 60 years of reliable off-road achievement, the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition will be going on sale this summer. Only 1,200 will be made and interested buyers can probably expect to shell out over $90k, since a base trim 2019 Land Cruiser starts at $85,015 MSRP.
Mazda plans to return where it all started, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Mazda MX-5 Miata’s debut at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show. No word yet on what to expect—although Mazda did release this blurry but clever teaser image.
For reference, the 2019 MX-5 Miata packs a newly-updated 2.0-liter engine putting out 181 horsepower. And the 25th Anniversary Edition, released in 2015, was limited to a mere 100 models that sold out in 10 minutes.
2019 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series
Another limited-edition model, the 2019 LC 500 Inspiration Edition will make its first public appearance at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. Powered by the same 5.0-liter V8 found in other LC 500 coupes, it will produce 471 horsepower with a 4.4-second 0-60 time.
The interior has all the primo luxury touches one would expect from a limited-edition Lexus, while the exterior’s stunning lines are, um, highlighted? by a very loud shade of “Flare Yellow” paint. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Although, I’m sure Lexus can find at least 100 fans willing to shell out $106,210 for a fair-weather sporty coupe. Besides, there’s always the FREE TOTEBAG for a little extra incentive!
That’s Not All
Obviously the 2019 Chicago Auto Show will have plenty more to offer than just new vehicle reveals. Current offerings and already-debuted pre-production models will be on display. Indoor test tracks from Jeep, Toyota, and Kia will be available. There will also be virtual reality displays, sweepstakes and giveaways, outdoor ride-and-drives, celebrity appearances, and much more.
The 2019 Chicago Auto Show runs February 9 – 18 at the McCormick Place. Tickets are $13 each, with discounts available for senior citizens and young children.