Native Baltimoreans can easily pick each other out of a crowd by the way they pronounce their city's name — it kind of sounds like "Bawlmer." A relatively small but vivacious city, some of Baltimore's claims to fame are the city's eponymous crab cakes, an annual summertime art festival called Artscape claiming to be the largest free fest of its kind in the U.S., the filming location of HBO's celebrated show "The Wire" ... and that Duff dude from "Ace of Cakes." Oh, and let's not forget the city's well-known cultural and entertainment center, the Inner Harbor — which also happens to be ground zero for the 2019 Baltimore auto show.
Related: Video: How to Shop at an Auto Show
The Baltimore auto show — officially known as the Motor Trend International Auto Show Baltimore, but this is Cars.com, so we're just gonna call it the Baltimore auto show — kicks off this week at the Baltimore Convention Center. The show will feature more than 500 new cars, trucks, SUVs and alternative-fuel vehicles. It runs from Thursday through Sunday at the convention center, 1 W. Pratt St., at the Inner Harbor. Thursday hours are noon to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission is $12 for adults age 13 or older; $8 for seniors age 62 or older on Thursday and Friday, and $10 on the weekend; and $8 for military personnel with a Department of Defense I.D.; children age 12 or younger get in free, and a $1 discount on adult tickets is available online in advance. For more info, visit the show's website.
Planning on attending? Here are five things you can't miss at the Baltimore auto show:
1. 2019 Chevrolet Blazer
Once upon a time, SUVs were more about camping and hauling stuff, and marketing was tailored to consumers' desire to live that "rugged" lifestyle. Today, buyers are branching out, according to Dan Wiznitzer, an auto show spokesman.
"The Blazer is kind of the Camaro of crossovers," Wiznitzer said. "It's more sporty and low-slung than the Traverse and Equinox, but [it] still does the chores."
The RS gets the Blazer's available 3.6-liter V-6 engine making 305 horsepower and 269 pounds-feet of torque. The rebirth of the fondly remembered Chevy Blazer for 2019 comes nearly a decade and a half after the SUV stopped production. The new version starts at an attractive $29,995, but things get pricier pretty fast as you start optioning one up. For more on the Blazer, check out our full preview.
2. Car-Shopping Opportunities
No dealership visit. No salesmen. No pressure. As we're fond of saying around here at Cars.com, the best part of any auto show is having a massive indoor showroom of vehicles from across all automotive segments for you to sit in, get behind the wheel of, climb in the backseat, open the rear liftgate and in some cases even take for a spin — all in one place to be shopped, cross-shopped, compared and contrasted to help would-be new-car buyers make the most informed decision possible. A host of brands will be displaying their current and upcoming models, including Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Subaru and Toyota.
3. Test Drives
Grab the keys to the following vehicles from six brands and take any of an anticipated 17 models for a spin through the streets of Charm City. Representatives will be on hand to answer questions about all the models in one spot, so you can save yourself the time and energy of having to visit multiple dealerships to shop. Models available for test drives are as follows.
- Chrysler: Pacifica minivan
- Dodge: Challenger coupe, Charger sedan and Durango SUV
- Fiat: 124 Spider roadster, 500 hatchback and 500X SUV
- Jeep: Compass, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Wrangler SUVs
- Ram: 1500 pickup truck
- Toyota: Camry sedan, Highlander and RAV4 SUVs, and Tacoma pickup truck
4. Luxury and Custom Cars
A selection of ultra-high-end vehicles will appear at the show's DuPont Registry Live display, including models from McLaren, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin. Lovers of Land Rover's Range Rover can get an up-close look at a bespoke creation by Overfinch — billed as the "ultimate Range Rover." Overfinch specialists will be on hand to discuss custom add-on options like personalized interiors and unique paint colors.
If customized cars are your thing, check out tricked-out rides the expert gearheads at the Livewire Custom Showcase have been "modding, tuning and painting into one-of-a-kind customs." Some of the northeast's top customizers will show off their modified creations.
"The cars look way cooler, sit way lower and go way faster than they did when they left the factory," Wiznitzer said. "Turbos, superchargers, body kits, incredible paint jobs on race-ready rides that are truly one of a kind [and] all buffed and polished to an eye-watering glow."
5. Test Drives for Tots
Moms and dads may be having a great time fantasizing about their next new ride, but at some point, their younger kids are gonna get bored. Fear not: When youngsters' energy gets low, fill 'er up at the Citgo Kids Test Drive, where kids can race miniature cars around a special track while their parents continue debating what interior color they prefer with what paint job. Citgo Kids Test Drive hours are 4-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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