Buckle up, Buccaneers: The 2020-Model Tampa Bay New Car and Truck show is heating up the tires as we speak. Hundreds of cars, trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles from domestic and international automakers will be on display on the showroom floor — including the impatiently awaited (and late-coming) eighth-generation, mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette.
Related: How to Car Shop at an Auto Show
The Tampa Bay New Car and Truck show kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin St. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets run $12 for attendees age 13 or older, $5 for seniors and military, and free for children age 12 or younger. Visit the show’s website for ticketing information and to buy advance tickets at a $1 discount. Convention center parking starts at $1.60 per hour.
If you can manage to pry yourself away from the palm trees and sunshine for a few hours indoors (while we in places like Cars.com’s hometown of Chicago dig our cars out of the snow), here are five things you don’t want to miss at the 2019 Tampa Bay New Car and Truck Show.
1. 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
Tampa Bay showgoers will be in the early wave of the general public to get an up-close look at the brand new Corvette — and a look is all anyone is going to get for a little while. Production on Chevy’s new mid-engine Vette was slated to begin this year, but has now been pushed back until February. When the eighth-gen (or “C8”) Corvette finally arrives, it should feel entirely new … because it is: Chevy says only one part has been carried over from the previous generation. And despite the delay, Chevy has made good on its promise that this Vette will be the fastest one yet. This thing goes 0-60 mph in three seconds flat (2.9 seconds with the Z51 Performance Pack). Situated behind the seats is a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that puts out 495 horsepower and 470 pounds-feet of torque. On the show floor, you can take a look at the engine through a rear-hatch window.
Starting at $59,995, including a $1,095 destination charge, the new Stingray’s price doesn’t quite sting. Chevy says it will hit dealerships in both coupe and convertible formats sometime in early 2020.
2. 2020 Toyota Supra
Since its unveiling at the Detroit 2019 North American International Auto Show in January, enthusiasts were celebrating the return of the Supra for a fifth generation. Despite its unique look, the 2020 Toyota GR (GR stands for Gazoo Racing) Supra was actually co-developed alongside the 2019 BMW Z4. The cars share a powertrain and chassis components, but superior tuning makes Toyota’s performance coupe more than just the sum of its BMW parts. The turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder puts out 335 hp, Toyota says — but we think it feels more like 380 or 390 hp. The steering and suspension are sharp, and even the Sport mode exhaust noise is pleasant.
3. Exotic and Luxury Cars
You can spend plenty of time at an auto show perusing display cars that you might actually purchase — but what’s an auto-show experience without a little fantasy? At the duPont Registry Live event, showgoers will have the opportunity to get a peek at a collection of ultra-luxury and other unique vehicles from exotic-car manufacturers. Mainstream luxury brands on display at the Tampa auto show include Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Genesis, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
4. Test Drives
The Tampa Bay auto show features more than 350 cars, trucks and SUVs — perfect for making cross-manufacturer comparisons in a salesperson-free, no-pressure environment. But perhaps the best way to envision yourself in a new car is to actually get behind the wheel. That’s where test drives come in.
Here are all the vehicles available to test drive:
- Chevrolet: Blazer, Camaro, Colorado ZR2, Equinox, Malibu, Silverado 1500 Trailboss, Silverado 2500 diesel, Traverse
- Chrysler: Pacifica, Pacifica Hybrid
- Dodge: Durango SRT
- Fiat: 500X, 124 Spider
- Jeep: Compass, Cherokee, Gladiator, Grand Cherokee
- Ram: 1500 Limited, 1500 Rebel, 2500 Limited
5. Collections of Customs
In addition to the new-model cars in the showroom, the Tampa Bay auto show will also feature collections of cars with custom paint and body work for all you aftermarket enthusiasts. The Ronnie Setser Collection will include custom-painted classic hot rods by local paint and body shop owner Ronnie Setser. Aspire Autosports, a Division of Dimmit Automotive Group based in Clearwater, Fla., will display exotic and luxury customs in its collection.
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