2018 Atlanta Auto Show: 5 Things You Can't Miss

Call it "ATL" or "the A," but when in America's ninth-largest metropolitan area, those who dare to utter the word "Hotlanta" should be prepared for dirty looks to follow — that's because few in the Peach State actually call it that. Home to the world's busiest airport and the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., Atlanta is one of the most important cultural centers of America's South.

Related: How to Car Shop at an Auto Show

Because of its large population and sprawling urban bustle, Atlanta also happens to be one of the worst cities in the nation for traffic — which, by default, sorta makes it among the biggest car towns, too. And the 2018 Atlanta International Auto Show, rolling into town this week, will give area residents an opportunity to check out the next new car they hope to ... sit in during rush-hour gridlock every day.

The many streets in the Atlanta area named Peachtree are known to confuse out-of-towners, but luckily the Atlanta auto show will be held in a locale that's easy to find. The 400,000-square-foot showroom in the Georgia World Congress Center will boast the latest models from some 25 manufacturers when the exhibit, now in its 36th year, opens to the public on Wednesday. Admission — which is cash only, according to the show's website — is $12 for adults, $6 for children age 6 to 12, and free for kids age 5 or younger, with half-off discounts for emergency-services workers and veterans, senior citizens age 55 or older, and college students, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Here are five things you shouldn't miss at the 2018 Atlanta International Auto Show:

1. Ride and Drive

A major perk of the auto-show experience is that car shoppers can check out dozens of different vehicles from a host of automakers all in one place. Drive current-model vehicles from:

  • Chevrolet (Bolt EV, Camaro muscle car, Cruze and Malibu cars, Equinox and Traverse SUVs, and Silverado and Colorado pickup trucks)
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Chrysler Pacifica minivan and 300 sedan; Dodge Challenger and Charger muscle cars and Durango SUV; Fiat 500 hatchback, 500X SUV and 124 Spider sports car; Jeep Cherokee, Compass and Wrangler SUVs; and Ram 1500 pickup truck)
  • Ford (EcoSport, Escape, Explorer and Expedition SUVs; Focus and Fusion cars; and F-150 pickup truck)
  • Kia (Cadenza, Forte, Optima, Rio and Sonata cars; Niro, Sorento and Sportage SUVs; Sedona minivan; Soul and Stinger hatchbacks)
  • Mazda (CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9 SUVs; Miata MX-5 sports cars; and Mazda3 and Mazda6 cars
  • Mini (Countryman John Cooper Works and plug-in hybrid, Hardtop S two-door, and Clubman S convertible)
  • Toyota (Camry sedan; C-HR, Highlander and RAV4 SUVs; and Prius hybrid)
  • Volkswagen (Atlas and Tiguan SUVs; Golf GTI hatchback; and Jetta and Passat sedans)

2. 2019 Subaru Ascent

Having had its world premiere in November at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, Subaru's all-new three-row SUV — the Ascent — will make its local debut at the Atlanta auto show. Visitors can check out the interior's three-row seating, and learn about driver-assist technologies like Subaru EyeSight and the Starlink multimedia and emergency assistance system.

3. Celebrity Athletes

Atlanta loves its pro sports teams as much as, if not more than, most American cities. Fans can meet former Atlanta Falcons defensive end Chuck Smith on March 24 starting at noon at the Ram display; Kevin Willis, retired Atlanta Hawks basketball player, will visit the Kia display the following day at 3:30 p.m.

4. 'Black Panther' Lexus, Et. Al

Marvel superhero fans can get an up-close look at the ultra-sleek Lexus LC 500 used during the filming of massive box-office hit "Black Panther." The luxury performance sedan is the most technologically advanced vehicle ever produced by Lexus, according to Toyota's upmarket offshoot. Black Panther will make full-costumed appearances March 23-25, Spiderman will meet with fans March 24-25, and Scooby-Doo will meet with fans on March 24-25. In addition, Nissan will display three models of the limited-edition fleet of vehicles styled after imagery from the "Star Wars" universe.

5. Exotics

Dunwoody, Ga.-based car exhibitor Caffeine and Octane will bring a display of exotics and supercars to the show. The monthly car show is typically held on the first Sunday morning of each month at Dunwoody's Perimeter Mall. The show is known to draw hundreds of people to get up at the break of dawn to watch the parade of cars that begin arriving before the sun comes up, according to the Caffeine and Octane website.

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