Did yinz hear? The 2019 Pittsburgh International Auto Show is going on dahn-tahn this weekend. For less than the cost of a 12-pack of I.C. Light at the Gine Iggle, Pittsburghers can treat themselves to a day of car shopping, auto enthusing and just general family fun at a car show that'll be as packed with exciting new models as a Primanti Bros. Carnegie sandwich is with pastrami and corned beef (and ... fries, as it were).
Related: Video: How to Shop at an Auto Show
Now, lest anyone think I'm poking fun at the Steel City vernacular, it really ain't like 'at. Although I grew up in St. Louis, half the gene pool that produced me comes from good Western Pennsylvania stock. I may not root for the Stillers, but my favorite ketchup is Heinz, and I'd go so far as to say my favorite river is the Monongahela; I just like saying it ... Monongahela.
But I digress — enough about my 'Burgh street cred, let's get back to what you're gonna see at that auto show. Like the Chicago show — which opened the past weekend and continues through Monday — the Pittsburgh show is uniquely positioned to benefit from the momentum that auto-show season has built up by this point in the year, starting with Los Angeles in November and followed by Detroit in January and the Windy City show this month. What that means is the City of Champions comes out on top when it comes to catching all of the most exciting new-model debuts that have accumulated at the major auto shows over the course of the past few months — and all without having to leave tahn ... er, sorry, I mean, town.
Fitting for a city that is arguably the buckle of the Rust Belt and still famous for being the quintessentially American steel town, the Pittsburgh auto-show roster is heavy on pickup trucks and SUVs. The big star in this regard is the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup truck, an off-road enthusiast's dream that bowed in L.A., along with another truck that's generated veritable payloads of excitement in recent months, the returning-for-2019 Ford Ranger that was unveiled at the 2018 Detroit show. A pair of 2019 Detroit debuts making their way to Pittsburgh provide some can't-miss SUV action, including the 2020 Ford Explorer and Kia Telluride; that's in addition to the return of yet another nostalgic nameplate in the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer (revealed at the 2018 Orange County Auto Show, of all places).
The Pittsburgh auto show opens Friday and runs through Monday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd., downtown. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday. General admission is $12 for guests age 17 or older, $10 for senior citizens and military personnel, $6 for children age 6-16 and free for kids younger than 6; regular admission is half off ($6) on Monday. For more info, visit the show's website.
Here are five things you can't miss at the 2019 Pittsburgh International Auto Show:
1. Pickup Trucks: Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger
The aforementioned Gladiator and Ranger might be reason enough to spend your 12 bucks on auto-show admission. In the Gladiator's case, it's your chance to get up close to Jeep's first pickup in more than a quarter of a century before it finds its way to dealerships in the spring. But this isn't just any mid-size pickup; it's a Wrangler-based off-roader with all the detachable-door fun bits that will guarantee you stand out from the Chevy Colorados, Nissan Frontiers and Toyota Tacomas parked in your neighbors' driveways.
Meanwhile, the Ranger at last comes back from its eight-year U.S. hiatus to ease the pangs of what PickupTrucks.com Editor Mark Williams described as being like "seeing a childhood friend leave the country with his parents after grade school. You knew that he was out there, traveling the world, having a great time without you, and you wished that he was here to bum around with at home." Well, rest easy, old friend: The Ranger has returned to the states — and he's stopping through Pittsburgh on his homecoming tour.
2. SUVs: Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, Chevrolet Blazer
Not unlike the phenomenon of the mid-'90s that was strangled to death by a span of sky-high gas prices, America has once again gone SUV-crazy. That's reflected in automakers' shift away from cars and toward high-riding, cargo-carrying family haulers once more. Some of the latest high-profile suvies slated for Pittsburgh include the Blazer, Explorer and Cars.com Best in Show-winning Telluride. That's in addition to the updated-for-2019 Nissan Murano and the new-for-2019 Lincoln MKX redo, the Nautilus.
3. Cars: Nissan Maxima, Mazda3
The non-luxury, low-riding, points-A-to-B vehicles may ostensibly be on the endangered species list, but automakers aren't giving up on the "car" entirely. Mazda redesigned its compact sedan and hatchback, the Mazda3, for the 2019 model year; the fourth-generation Mazda3 gets simplified exterior styling and updated tech, along with available all-wheel drive and a new hybrid version.
4. Exotic, Vintage and Specialty Cars
Auto shows are a great way to shop for cars, providing a venue for conveniently comparing and contrasting current models under consideration across entire automotive segments. But as we all know, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (and it doesn't do Wendy any favors either). So, for the aspirationally inclined, Galleria Exotica at the Pittsburgh show will provide all the opulent escapism your inner multimillionaire desires. High-dollar, high-gloss, high-performance sports cars from Acura, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, McLaren and Porsche will all be present and (Swiss bank) accounted for to let you have a tiny taste of how the 1 percent lives. That's in addition to vintage cars including an Alfa Romeo GTV racer, Ford Mustang GT350 and Ford GT40, along with a selection of specialty racecars on display.
5. Pittsburgh Pride
With half my family being Pittsburgh natives, I can personally attest to the fanaticism inherent to being of and from the 'Burgh. This hometown pride will be catered to at the auto show with appearances by local professional athletes, sports mascots and performers. Former Steelers defensive end Arthur Moats will greet show goers from 1-3 p.m. Friday; rising music star Elias Khouri will perform from 6-8 p.m. Friday, 3-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Saturday, and 3-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Sunday; early-'90s Penguins center Bryan Trottier will sign autographs from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday; MLB mascot The Pirate Parrot and erstwhile Penguins center Tyler Kennedy will be around from 2-3 p.m. Saturday; Steelers mascot Steely McBeam will be there from 1-2 p.m. Sunday; and the Penguins' Iceburgh will skate through from 1-2 p.m. on Monday.
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