Whether you’re in Miami for the legendary nightlife and miles of sandy beaches or visiting strictly for business, this vibrant city at the southeastern tip of Florida is known for its energy and international flavor — not to mention its humidity. So, when it comes to an exhibition of the hottest new cars and trucks currently available, the 2018 Miami International Auto Show is guaranteed to get things steaming.
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After a one-year hiatus due to the show’s cancellation last year because of Hurricane Irma, the Miami auto show returns with both a renovated exhibition space — and, of course, some of the most buzzworthy cars, trucks and SUVs. Among the most noteworthy is the brand-new Cadillac XT4, the GM luxury brand’s long-awaited entry into the booming market for premium compact SUVs. Sedans and concept cars will also be present, with new models like the 2019 Genesis G70 and the futuristic Essentia Concept making their first appearance in the Magic City.
Showgoers will also be able to view or jump behind the wheel of cars, trucks and SUVs from more than 40 manufacturers. Quick test drives are available in a wide range of vehicles, including the Chevrolet Camaro convertible (a natural fit for the Sunshine State), Cadillac Escalade, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Nissan Rogue and Mazda CX-9.
The show opened its doors Friday and runs through Oct. 13. Held at the Miami Beach Convention Center — situated at 1901 Convention Center Drive in Miami Beach — the show is open 2-11 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $15 for adults and $6 for children ages 6 to 12 (children 5 and younger get in for free). Directions and additional information can be found directly at the show’s website.
Here are five things you can’t miss during the 2018 Miami International Auto Show:
1. Genesis Essentia Concept
When a car opens its doors by recognizing your face, you know it’s something special. This wildly futuristic concept car was first shown earlier this year at the 2018 New York auto show. While strictly a concept, the Essentia offers a glimpse of what might be on sale during, say … the 2038 Miami auto show.
There’s a good reason we called this low-slung coupe “essentially awesome” when we first spotted it in the Big Apple. From just about any angle, the Essentia could pass for the latest supercar from the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari or McLaren. With its rigid chassis, constructed from lightweight carbon fiber, and a suspension that borrows from Formula One racing technology, the electric-powered Essentia is said to be capable of accelerating from zero-to-60 mph in just 3.0 seconds. Trust us: You’ll want to sprint just as quickly to the Genesis stand to see this amazing machine for yourself.
2. 2019 Cadillac XT4
It might not have the supercar lines of an outlandish concept like the Genesis Essentia, but the 2019 Cadillac XT4 is one of the most important production models at the Miami auto show. This compact SUV is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that can be coupled to optional all-wheel drive. We recently drove the XT4 and praised it for delivering a comfortable ride, reasonably roomy rear seats and having available tech features like wireless smartphone charging. You don’t have to take our word for it because, in Miami, you’ll have the opportunity to test drive the XT4 for yourself on the sun-dappled streets of Miami Beach. Starting at $35,790 (including destination), the Cadillac XT4 is arriving at dealerships now.
3. 2018 Jeep Wrangler, 2019 Ford Ranger, 2019 Chevrolet Blazer and More
Among the hundreds of vehicles to see during the show, trucks and SUVs are currently among the hottest segments of the automotive world. Sales are booming, and some of the most popular vehicles on display in Miami have higher ride heights, all-wheel drive and some serious off-road credentials. Perhaps one of the SUVs most synonymous with beachside drives and brilliantly sunny skies is the Jeep Wrangler. This rugged sport-utility looks like it’s from another era, but a recent round of improvements has made the latest Wrangler more powerful, more fuel efficient, and even more capable when paved roads give way to dirt and gravel. (And yes, with patience and the right tools, you can still remove doors and fold down the windshield.)
Also appearing in Miami is the 2019 Ford Ranger, Ford’s long-awaited rival to mid-size pickup trucks like the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado. Powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Ranger returns to Ford’s lineup for the first time since 2011. Meanwhile, the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer (which just made its auto-show debut last week in California at the Orange County auto show) similarly revives a name from the recent past and applies it to an SUV that’s intended for on-road commutes and errands. Starting at $29,995, the Blazer comes with either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, or optional 3.6-liter V-6.
4. Test Drives
Nothing beats getting behind the wheel to see how a vehicle really performs — especially when you can do so in multiple cars across multiple classes without having to visit multiple dealerships. That’s why the Miami auto show has dozens of cars to test-drive, including everything from sun-loving convertibles to family-friendly SUVs and even electric cars.
Current models available for test drives will include:
- Chevrolet (Cruze hatchback, Malibu, Bolt EV and Camaro convertible cars; Equinox and Traverse SUVs; Colorado and Silverado trucks)
- Cadillac (CT6 and ATS-V cars; XT4, Escalade and XT5 SUVs)
- Mazda (Mazda3, Mazda6 and Miata MX-5 cars; CX-5 and CX-9 SUVs)
- Nissan (Sentra, Altima, Maxima and Leaf cars; Kicks, Rogue, Murano and Pathfinder SUVs; Titan pickup truck)
- Volkswagen (Golf GTI, Jetta and Passat cars; Atlas and Tiguan SUVs)
- Toyota (models not specified)
5. Classic Cars
We love giving you the best advice when it comes to all the newest cars and trucks, but this doesn’t mean we don’t have a nostalgic side, too. Classic cars tug at our heartstrings — even if they don’t offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, or even have a cup holder in which to place our morning coffee. The 2018 Miami International Auto Show boasts muscle cars, like a 1968 Ford Shelby GT350 and 1960 Chevrolet Corvette, along with head-turning models with a movie pedigree, like a 1980 DeLorean DMC-12.
There’s even a section devoted entirely to Cuba’s rich and complex history of classic cars. Called Havana Classics, cars on display include American behemoths from the 1950s, such as a 1954 Buick Roadmaster, 1950 Pontiac Catalina and 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. Also on display is a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300d sedan, once used by ousted Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. The car was confiscated by Fidel Castro for his personal use in the 1960s and eventually ended its official work duty at the Cuban embassy in Ottawa, Canada.
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