Visitors to the 2020 Philadelphia Auto Show will have two extras to enjoy this year: one more manufacturer and one more day than the 2019 show.
Cadillac rejoins the fold after a few years’ hiatus when the doors open Feb. 8. And because this year’s show ends over Presidents’ Day weekend, the celebration of all things automotive will extend into the Monday of the final weekend, rather than wrapping up on Sunday.
So auto show organizers hope to beat last year’s attendance record — their second-biggest draw ever — and prove to buyers and manufacturers alike that the show is still an important place to learn about cars in an age of online shopping.
Kevin Mazzucola, executive director of the Philly Auto Show, said the digital era makes the auto show even more important to consumers.
“You can’t see it in person and you can’t touch it” when browsing online, Mazzucola said. “That’s why the show is so resilient in that digital world. People are even more hungry for that experience.”
Still, a few makes have declined attendance at the show. BMW and Mini will not be there, and neither will Mercedes. Tesla has been at some shows in the past but will not be there for 2020.
There’s still a whole lot to get up close and personal with. For readers like me who prefer not just gawking at cars from behind the ropes, here are some Mr. Driver’s Seat faves to check out:
2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette: It’s the first production mid-engine Corvette, and it’s been garnering rave reviews, including 2020 Motor Trend Car of the Year.
The popular two-seater sports car — in its 66th year now — hits 60 mph in as little as 2.9 seconds, when properly equipped. The 6.2-liter V-8 boasts 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.
2020 Land Rover Defender: Last seen on these shores in the 1990s, the nameplate that hearkened back to the first Land Rover models from 1948 returns in new form to the U.S.
The New Defender features optional 5+2 seating, with two jump seats giving it that ready-for-the-safari feel, a towing capacity over four tons, and a wading depth of nearly 3 feet. A 300-horsepower four starts the lineup, and a 400-horsepower six is the higher end.
The Defender 110 goes on sale in spring with a starting price of $49,900. A Defender 90 will join at a later date.
2020 Porsche Taycan: The German automaker debuts its first fully electric sports sedan with the Taycan, with a 0-100 kph of 3.2 seconds.
In addition to going really fast, the Taycan also addresses one electric vehicle downside: recharging time. By using an 800-volt electrical system instead of the usual 400, a five-minute high-power charge can add 100 kilometers; and a 23-minute charge can add 80% of the car’s 405-kilometer range.
Nissan Altima Trax: For people who like something really different, here’s a one-off sedan with all-wheel drive — or, more clearly, four-track drive. The “Trax” in the name refers to the tank-style belts driving the four corners.
2020 Hyundai Venue: One of the more down-to-earth vehicles on display, the new Hyundai Venue is a small crossover that Hyundai says “empowers the urban entrepreneur lifestyle.”
Its 1.6-liter engine can be mated to a six-speed manual — you don’t see that too much anymore — or a CVT, but like the cousin Kia Soul, all-wheel drive is not available. The manual starts at $17,350 and top-of-the-line at $22,050.
Toyota GR Supra Performance Line Concept: The company that brings us the Camry wants buyers to know it knows how to have fun as well. The company has put its racing technology team to work modifying the new Supra for winning at the track. The two-seater sports car gets special wheels, aerodynamics touches, and an exhaust system, all designed for maximum performance.
And here are some interesting vehicles to check out, as tested by Mr. Driver’s Seat:
Kia Telluride/Hyundai Palisade: The new three-row SUV (only the Kia Telluride was tested) gives the appearance of a vehicle ready to take on the toughest of terrains.
The 3.8-liter V-6 provides 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It offers great performance from a standing start — 0-60 in 7.2 seconds, according to Motor Trend.
The Telluride’s handling impressed right from the start. It runs rings around the Sorento for road handling and ride.
Volvo XC60: Well, yeehaw! This is not your (hippie) grandfather’s 240DL.
The XC60’s 2.0-liter four is supercharged and turbocharged, and add in 87 horsepower from the electric motor, and total horsepower climbs to 415. Necks were snapped.
The crossover goes from 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds, according to Car and Driver, and even that sounds slower than the reality.
Toyota Corolla: Toyota’s basic transportation model gets a significant upgrade across the lineup for 2020, but much of the excitement comes in XSE form.
Acceleration is surprising for a Corolla. The 2.0-horsepower four-cylinder creates 169 horsepower, and takes the not-so-little sedan to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, according to Motor Trend. Not too shabby for a Corolla.
And the speed comes with agility as well. The Corolla XSE is distinctly un-Corollalike on winding country roads and turns have never been this fun in practically any Toyota before.
Philly Auto Show
Feb. 8-17 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St.
Tickets: $14; children (7-12), $7; discounts available for active military and weekdays for seniors (62) .
Hours: Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 9 to 8; weekdays, noon to 10 (except Feb. 17, 9 to 5).