I grew up in Southern California, I like cars. It’s somewhat of an inevitability when you live in such a car-oriented culture, a sprawling city where public transport just doesn’t really work very well. That’s okay, I had a license and my own car from the day I could manage to drive within the law, as did my buddies. From a Chevy Nova to a Chevy Malibu to a Mazda RX-4, the first few years were hand-me-down and used cars. But a guy can dream and I definitely watched the BMWs and muscle cars cruise the beach, wishing I had a set of keys to a similar vehicle for myself.
The closest I ever got was my beloved Toyota Supra with its targa top and low, muscle-car lines. The last year before it turned into a Miata-inspired jellybean and broke a lot of driver’s hearts in America, at least. And that car? Well, let’s just say I had to trade it in for a minivan and leave this conversation alone.
Suffice to say, heading to an auto show is always great fun because you can use it for research if you’re even informally in the market for a new vehicle, but you can also use it to check out and fantasize about all the amazing cars available for sale nowadays. And so, when Chrysler, Jeep, VW, Toyota, RAM and Chevrolet all invited me to events for the pre-opening Press Day at the 2018 Denver Auto Show, I of course RSVP’d for everything!
The show’s running this weekend, April 6-8, at the Denver Convention Center and it’s really fun. It’s also growing; every year it’s gotten bigger and most of the big car manufacturers have been clear that it’s become a major priority for them, with more cars, fancier displays and more folk from HQ on the floor to talk to customers and potential buyers.
And oh, those cars. Here’s a photo tour of some of my favorites…
To start, you can never go wrong with a Lamborghini, right?
It is not, however, trail rated (as the sign suggests behind). But who the heck would take this on a trail? 🙂
Okay. Let’s get serious…
Us Colorado folk like our rugged outdoor vehicles, whether it’s an SUV or a truck. But that doesn’t mean it can’t look really cool, as this custom paint job on a surprisingly big and tough Toyota Tundra demonstrates. Bonus: Driving a modern pickup truck is much more like driving a luxury vehicle with a flat bed grafted on than you realize.
Of course, you can go pretty far down the rabbit hole tricking out your pickups, as Nissan demonstrated:
This is the car I imagine James Bond would drive for his secret arctic tryst. And oh, I’d love to try driving it in the deep snow or maybe during the next ice age. If we have one. So awesome.
Nissan had another spiffy vehicle to show off too, the Armada:
Much more tame with actual wheels, but still, that’s one nice looking vehicle, ready for the trails and the toughest weather Mother Nature can throw at us Coloradans!
Meanwhile, RAM had lots of big, manly trucks to show up and they were quite impressive. Like the RAM 3500 Longhorn, with a price tag much higher than you’d imagine. Until you opened the doors and saw the cute details on the premium leather seats. And saddle bags. I kid you not:
What cowboy wouldn’t want a truck with saddlebags to keep the little doggies in the back seat organized?
On the other end of the spectrum, I always marvel at the people who can fit into the Mini Cooper. And can then trick it out as a portable home away from home:
Pretty sure that’s closer to glamping than camping, but still, pretty cool if you don’t roll around too much while you’re sleeping! That’s the Mini Cooper Countryman, if you’re curious, and yes, the tent is functional on a solid platform.
One of my favorite cars at the show wasn’t getting much attention tucked into a corner, but the Karma Revero is a plug-in electric with solar panels on the roof. Check it out:
Gorgeous. But there were other gorgeous cars on the show floor, of course.
Like this BMW:
I hadn’t heard of the 430I line prior to checking this vehicle out, but it’s lovely. Very much a classic BMW look and the interior is ridiculously comfortable. Nice, eh?
Moving into something a bit more affordable, but still chock full of safety and performance tech and sporting some nice lines, the 2018 Honda Accord TRG drew lots of attention:
Well, except in the photo above, where most of the journalists were listening to the Honda rep talk about some of the other cars in their lineup, that is. Lots of cool tech in this one makes it something to check out if you’re looking for a green car and the Karma is a bit out of your price range…
I resisted photos of SUVs for the most part, but Jeep had much interesting to share about the redesign of its mainstay Cherokee for 2018:
I’ve had a chance to drive this one too – you can read my review of the 2017 Jeep Cherokee – and it’s a very nice vehicle. Jeep’s come a long way since its early years as a rugged US Army vehicle for WWII.
Muscle cars. I still have a soft spot for ’em even if I’m never going to buy one for myself. Maybe I’ll get one for my son some day. Or… maybe I’d rather see him grow old 🙂
The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT8 39Z is so cool, as you can see above, and with this green and black paint scheme, very much ready to impress your neighbors and their kids both.
But the winner for best American sports car at the show, hands down, was the 50th Anniversary Hot Wheels edition of the venerable Chevy Camaro:
That’s just one gorgeous, sexy car. Bonus: The Camaro is really fun to drive. And Hot Wheels. Come on, it’s a killer combo!
That’s it for my photo gallery. This is a small fraction of the cool, beautiful and fun vehicles at the Denver Auto Show. I haven’t even shown all the progress and variation in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, including Nissan’s terrific redesign of the Leaf that makes it one of the best electric vehicles on the market.
You can get tickets and attend the Denver Auto Show for yourself. Just head to DenverAutoShow.com for hours & tickets. It’s a great time, and definitely much fun for the kids too (if your kids are like mine, that is).