Deep in the heart of truck country, it makes perfect sense that a new, hotly anticipated pickup is one of the main attractions at the 2018 San Antonio Auto & Truck Show. The 2019 Ford Ranger mid-size truck, not to mention the latest models from Chevrolet, Ram, Toyota and many others, will vie for showgoers' attention in Texas.
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Judging by the show's name, trucks will hold just as much sway as sedans, coupes and even sports cars. It's not often trucks get even a mention — much less equal billing — in the official name of any auto show.
While it's probably best known as home to the Alamo, San Antonio is a bustling metro area of some 2.5 million people. It's also a close neighbor to the equally booming Texas city of Austin, which is renowned for everything from vibrant nightlife to world-famous eateries and even an annual Formula One race. The race is proof that sometimes, even in Texas, a vehicle without a pickup bed can still draw a big crowd.
The San Antonio auto show opens its doors Thursday and runs until Sunday. Held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 900 E. Market St., the show is less than a 10-minute walk from the Alamo itself.
Show hours are 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $12 for adults and $4 for children ages 6-10. Kids 5 and under are free.
Directions and additional information are at the show's website. Here are five things you can't miss:
1. 2019 Ford Ranger
Few vehicles will cause as much stir at the San Antonio show as the 2019 Ford Ranger pickup truck. After disappearing from Ford's lineup after the 2011 model year, the Ranger finally returns to take on mid-size rivals like the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Honda Ridgeline. It boasts two available cab styles, SuperCab and SuperCrew, each with one of two bed lengths (5 feet in the SuperCab and 6 feet in the SuperCrew). If you're looking for a big-boy V-8 engine under the hood, sorry — this Ford is a more modern kind of truck. A turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder delivers 270 horsepower and 310 pounds-feet of torque to the rear wheels or both axles with optional four-wheel drive. We recently tested the Ranger and came away impressed by the punch from its turbo four-cylinder and smooth 10-speed automatic transmission.
2. Trucks, Trucks and More Trucks
You can bet that Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota, Nissan and anyone else with a truck in their lineup isn't going to let Ford steal the show in San Antonio. Other notable new models include the updated 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, along with the equally new and improved 2019 Ram 1500. Both trucks sport overhauled styling and interiors to separate themselves from their previous generations, not to mention a long list of available features that can transform a hard-working pickup into a true luxury ride. The Ram, in particular, has a highly refined cabin with an optional 12-inch touchscreen that wouldn't look out of place in a luxury sedan or SUV.
3. Test-Drive the Newest Models
We love providing expert advice on all the latest cars, trucks and SUVs, but sometimes it pays to take a spin for yourself to see how a vehicle feels behind the wheel. That's why the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show has plenty of automakers willing to hand over the keys to everything from mid-size sedans and sports coupes to cargo-toting SUVs and (you guessed it) plenty of pickup trucks. In fact, you can even pilot the 2019 Ford Ranger before it's available for dealership test drives.
Brands that will have vehicles to test-drive during the show include Ford, Chevrolet, Jeep, Ram and Toyota.
4. Classic Cars, Monster Trucks
Like almost every auto show, the fun doesn't end when you've seen all the latest makes and models on the main show floor. The San Antonio Auto & Truck Show celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and a dedicated exhibit marks the occasion with vehicles stretching back through each of the show's five decades. The muscle cars on display will likely be one of the biggest draws — but when it comes to turning heads, it'll be hard to beat a King Krunch monster truck on display during the four show days.
5. Santa Claus (No, Really)
There may not be snow in San Antonio, but the Big Man himself will make an appearance alongside Batman, the Batmobile and Super Mario. That should keep kids of all ages well behaved among the shiniest wares on display.
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