STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
A Philadelphia institution since 1902, the Philadelphia International Auto Show lets you get up-close looks at models from more than 40 manufacturers. There will be more than 700 vehicles in all.
It’s where you can see the latest automotive technological features firsthand. Show chairman David Kelleher said it’s a great time to be in the market for a vehicle because prices will generally remain stable while even more advanced features, such as autonomous braking and rear view camera, become standard.
“We want to make it an entertainment experience, as well as a car experience,” said Kelleher, who is also the owner of David Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep in Glen Mills.
Forty manufacturers? Isn’t that like every car maker there is?
Scheduled to be at the show, in alphabetical order: Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Maserati, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Ram Trucks, Rolls Royce, Scion, smart, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. Can you think of any they missed?
Some of the buzzworthy models we’ve heard about are the Karma Revero luxury car, the 2018 Lexus LC 500 (“Absolutely smokin’,” according to Kelleher), the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SUV, the 2018 Volvo V90 crossover, the 2017 Acura NSX, the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid SUV (Kelleher says it gets a whopping 84 MPG equivalent when alternating between gas and the battery), the 2017 Infinit Q60, the all-new Jeep Compass Trailhawk (which Kelleher said was treated like a top secret matter at the recent Detroit auto show) and the 2017 Nissan GT-R. Kelleher added that BMW will have a seven-passenger crossover that should draw attention.
You probably noticed the presence of utility vehicles in that featured list. Kelleher boldly predicted that the sedan will eventually go away altogether. He said consumer preferences are for the up-higher seating in SUVs and crossovers, plus their easy-to-fold-down seats, the hatchback instead of a traditional trunk, and all-weather capability.
Keep checking the Featured Cars section at www.phillyautoshow.com because there’s always a chance for a last-minute addition before the show opens.
When is this?
Jan. 28-Feb. 5. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday Jan. 29, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday Feb. 5.
The official kickoff is the Black Tie Tailgate the evening of Jan. 27 from 7 to 11:30.
Where is it being held?
It’ll cover more than 700,000 square feet of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., Philadelphia.
I hear you can sit inside the vehicles and stuff, except for the concept cars and exotics, but can I take a test drive?
They call them “Ride & Drive opportunities” at the Auto Show. Indoors there’s Camp Jeep, with a looped track where you can ride in and experience the ruggedness of a few different Jeep models. The Ride & Drive Zone is outside the building by the show’s dub car section on the convention center’s street level. Participating manufacturers are BMW, Nissan, Kia, Mazda and Toyota. The specific hours are posted at www.phillyautoshow.com/experience/ride-drives.
What about classic and antique cars?
Displaying will be the Antique Automobile Club of America, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, and the Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey.
“One of my passions is movies and old TV, and we’re bringing in the Hollywood cars. We’ve got the ‘Back to the Future’ DeLorean. We’ve got the Batmobile. We’ve got the ‘Ghostbusters’ Cadillac hearse. We’ve got the (Jeep) Wrangler from ‘Jurassic Park’,” Kelleher said.
Am I going to get pressured into making a purchase?
Although the show is presented by the Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia, the Auto Show is what’s known in the business as a “non-selling” show. It means sales are not allowed to be made on the show floor. It’s a casual, “kick the tires,” browsing kind of deal. The product specialists at each manufacturer booth will answer your questions, and maybe send you home with some freebies. Some may even have information on rebates that might influence your future purchase decision.
What does it cost to get in?
$14, $7 for children 7-12 and on weekdays for seniors 62+, $11 for active military and for people in groups of 25 or more. You can get tickets on the Auto Show website or at the box office at the convention center. Tickets for the Black Tie Tailgate, which are tax deductible, start at $250. Proceeds from the Black Tie Tailgate benefit Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia.
I’ve heard there’s some celebrity appearances at the Auto Show.
The Honda section is the place to be gawking. On Jan. 29, the 2014 Little League World Series sensation Mo’ne Davis will be there. On Feb. 3 from 6 to 10 p.m. Audra McLaughlin from “The Voice” Season 6 is supposed to be there. UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez stops by Feb. 4.
What’s the best way to get to the convention center?
SEPTA’s Jefferson Station is right underneath it. The cost of parking around the convention center depends on if you park on the street or in a parking garage. The website has directions and parking information at www.phillyautoshow.com/show-info/faq. Sugar House Casino is offering free parking and shuttle service.
I don’t really feel like wearing my coat the whole time I’m there. Is there a coat/bag check?
Yes, it’s available for a fee.
Can I take photos and video?
Yes. Make sure you tag @phillyautoshow when you share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What’s the food situation?
There’s a food court on the show floor, or you can get your hand stamped and go to any of the many restaurants and shops outside the convention center. Some vendors accept credit cards, but some do not. You can bring cash or use the ATMs at the convention center. Also, Reading Terminal Market is adjacent to the convention center.
Kelleher recommended The Pit Stop, a car themed “watering hole” on the show floor with auto-centric video games, beer and more.
Take a look at www.phillyautoshow.com/getting-here/highlights.