CARS.COM — You don't have to be a diehard Broncos fan to appreciate all that the Mile High City has to offer -- Denver has much more to it than NFL football and a high altitude, after all. This Colorado boom-town owes its origins to 19th-century gold rushes and is still proud of its Wild West heritage. But with nearly 3 million people now calling the Denver metropolitan area home, the city is fast becoming known for being a trendsetter in everything from the tech and energy industries to craft brewing and gourmet food trucks.
Related: How to Car Shop at an Auto Show
And yes, Denver is truly a mile high — according to this Denver tourist information website, you can reach that exact point by climbing the steps of the state Capitol building. The town is also known for its walkability and attractions like the 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian walkway right in the heart of downtown that allows you to take in the city's most famous sites using nothing but leg and foot power.
Of course, if horsepower is more your thing, then this week there's the 2018 Denver Auto Show.Regional auto shows like this one draw in large crowds of automotive fans and would-be car shoppers. While not on the sheer scale of the biggest auto shows like Detroit, New York and Los Angeles, the Denver Auto Show has a wide array of headline-making cars, trucks, SUVs and crossovers. Whether you dream of hitting 200 mph in a wild supercar or prefer cruising in something more functional and family-friendly, the Denver Auto Show allows visitors to get up close and personal with — not to mention behind the wheel of, in some cases — today's most important new vehicles.
The show — held at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th St. — starts tomorrow and is open from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.; the show runs noon to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $13 for adults and $6 for children ages 6-12 (children under 6 get in free). Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. For more info, go to the auto show's website.
Here are five things you can't miss at the 2018 Denver Auto Show:
1. Test Drives
"You don't have to wait until after the Denver Auto Show is over to test drive your favorite models," says the Denver Auto Show website. "Get behind the wheel while you're here." Visitors are encouraged to take matters into their own hands by getting into the driver's seat of a brand-new car, truck or SUV.
Current makes and models available for test drives will include:
- Chrysler (Pacifica minivan and 300 sedan)
- Dodge (Challenger muscle car; Charger sedan; Durango SUV)
- Fiat (124 Spider sports car; 500 hatchback; 500X SUV)
- Jeep (Compass, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SUVs)
- RAM (1500 pickup truck)
- Ford (Focus and Fusion cars; EcoSport, Explorer, Expedition and Escape SUVs; F-150 pickup truck)
- Volkswagen (Golf Alltrack, Jetta GLI and Passat cars; Atlas and Tiguan SUVs)
- Toyota (Camry sedan; RAV4 and Highlander SUVs; Tacoma pickup truck)
2. Instagram Gold at Super Car Way
Sure, your car's fuel economy and its total amount of cupholders are important in the real world. But sometimes it's nice to dream big, especially when it comes to the exotic hardware on display at the show's Super Car Way. This section features some of the most expensive, fastest and most jaw-dropping vehicles you'll ever see. If you start feeling dizzy, don't blame the altitude — it's probably because you looked at the MSRP for some of these covetable cars.
Highlights this year will include the Bentley Bentayga SUV, Ferrari GTC4Lusso sports car, Karma Revero plug-in hybrid sports coupe, Lotus Evora 400 and McLaren 720S sports car, along with the brutal-looking USSV Rhino GX SUV. And make sure to keep your smartphone charged and ready, because your social media friends are going to be extremely jealous of your photos.
3. Race Car Pit Stop, Meet an Indy Car Racer, Military Trail
The Colorado region of the Sports Car Club of America will have racecars of all shapes and sizes at the show. Visitors will be free to explore the cars and even sign up to become an SCCA member, too. If you want driving tips from an actual professional racer, be sure to meet Andretti Autosport No. 25 Indy Car driver Stefan Wilson in the Donate Life display on Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
While not as fast as an Indy racer, the classic military machines at the show's Military Trail are still certain to draw a crowd. Look for everything from an original Willys Jeep — the great-grandfather of the modern Jeep Wrangler — to an amphibious DUKW "duck" boat.
4. NASCAR Champion's Car
If you're still feeling particularly racy and ready for the green flag to wave, be sure to check out the very car that won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2017 — Martin Truex's No. 78 Toyota Camry racecar will be on display in the show's Furniture Row area.
5. Robotic Tour of the Auto Show
With all the buzz around self-driving cars, it only makes sense to chat with a robot during an auto show. Even among all the cars on display in Denver, MAXX (Mobile Android of the Xperiment Xtreme) will be hard to miss considering he's a 9-foot-tall robot. Located at the AAA Insurance Display, MAXX will be interacting with guests throughout the show. The full schedule of his appearances can be found here.
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