When it comes to Indianapolis automotive events held over holidays, they don’t come any bigger than the Indy 500 on Memorial Day weekend. But auto enthusiasts also have reason to flock to downtown during the Christmas-to-New Year’s Day doldrums. After all the eggnog has been downed, the gifts torn open and the Christmas cheer starts to dwindle, the Indianapolis Auto Show offers a chance to rekindle the excitement that may start dying down between the holidays. Purported to be America’s second-longest-running auto show, the 105th Indy auto show kicks off at the Indiana Convention Center Dec. 26 and runs through Jan. 1.
Related: Video: How to Shop at an Auto Show
In addition to being a great place to car shop or just gawk at all the latest car models, the Indy show is as good an excuse as any to get the whole herd out of the house after days being cooped up under the same roof and sprawled out around the Christmas tree after the inevitable sugar crash.
Admission to the 2018 Indianapolis Auto Show is $7 for adults — tickets purchased online in advance are $6 — and free for kids age 12 or younger, as well as all military, active guard and reserve personnel, along with police officers and firefighters with an I.D. Show hours are Dec. 26-30 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more info, visit the show’s website.
Here are five things you can’t miss at this year’s Indianapolis Auto Show:
1. 2020 Jeep Gladiator
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles debuted the all-new Jeep Gladiator at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, and the brand’s mid-size pickup truck/SUV mashup is now making its way eastward to Indianapolis. With towing capacity of 7,650 pounds, Jeep re-engineered the frame of the Jeep Wrangler and lengthened the wheelbase to accommodate a 5-foot bed. The Gladiator measures 218 inches in length, becoming the longest vehicle in Jeep’s lineup.
“There is a tremendous demand for this unique vehicle from our loyal Jeep customers and pickup truck buyers everywhere,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of Jeep North America, in a statement. Kuniskis added that the Jeep Gladiator delivers a combination of “rugged utility, versatility and functionality” that results in what the brand describes as the “most capable mid-size truck ever.”
The Jeep Gladiator will come in four trim levels: Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon. Indy auto show attendees can check out the Gladiator well before it hits showrooms in the spring of 2019.
2. 2020 Hyundai Palisade
With the unveiling of the all-new Hyundai Palisade three-row family hauler, the Korean automaker will showcase its flagship SUV at the Indianapolis Auto Show — one of the first post-L.A. public shows it’ll appear at ahead of its arrival to dealer showrooms in the summer of 2019. The Palisade will enter the market against stiff competition, facing the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander
Auto show guests will be able to hop inside the Palisade — named for exclusive L.A.-area enclave the Pacific Palisades — and check out its family-friendly features, such as 16 cupholders, seven USB outlets and a plethora of safety features.
Meanwhile, the Hyundai Space in Indianapolis will showcase the automaker’s slate of eco-conscious Blue Drive vehicles, such as the Kona Electric and the Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell SUV.
3. 2019 Lincoln Nautilus
The Lincoln Nautilus takes the place of the MKX in Ford’s luxury brand lineup, joining the updated Navigator and Continental, as well as the upcoming Aviator. Lincoln premiered the Nautilus at the 2017 L.A. auto show and has showcased it at other West Coast auto shows before it brings the new SUV to the Midwest for the Indy show.
Starting at $41,335 including destination, the Nautilus went on sale in the fall. Cars.com reviewers had mixed reactions to the SUV, saying it offered a borderline “premium” experience for a “luxury” price. Noted features include its optional 355-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6, spacious cargo and cabin spaces, and the excellent Sync 3 touchscreen multimedia system. Car shoppers can come see the Nautilus up close to decide for themselves how Lincoln’s rebranded mid-size SUV fares.
4. 2019 Subaru Forester, Ascent
Touted by Indy show organizers as a “camper’s dream” and bowing in the spring at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, the Subaru Forester got an elongated wheelbase for 2019, providing nearly an inch and a half more legroom than the previous model. The fifth-generation Forester comes standard with Subaru’s EyeSight safety tech, while the new DriverFocus “distraction mitigation system” debuts on the Forester’s Touring trim level. The Forester comes standard with a 6.5-inch multimedia touchscreen and features GPS, Pandora and Bluetooth connectivity, along with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
In addition to the Forester, Subaru will also elevate its presence with the 2019 Ascent, its enthusiastically received three-row SUV and Subaru’s self-described biggest ever vehicle. Would-be buyers will have the opportunity to get a good look at the Ascent inside and out before heading to the dealership for negotiations, as the Ascent is on sale now.
5. New BMW Models
BMW will showcase the 2019 X5 xDrive40i SUV and high-performance M850xi coupe. The X5 comes standard with standard with a host of safety features like Active Driving Assistant, blind spot detection, forward collision and lane departure warnings, and a system that detects traffic jams ahead and alerts the driver to speed-limit changes. The M850xi goes from zero-to-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, according to BMW, though local acceleration enthusiasts may want to wait for a more hospitable season before testing its legal limits on Indy’s Midwest-winter streets. (After all: There’s a reason they hold the Indy 500 in May.)
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