As the auto-show season storm gathers, the front is now rolling into to the drizzly Pacific Northwest. The 2019 Seattle International Auto Show kicks off Thursday, giving showgoers access to more than 500 new vehicles varying from electrics to exotics — all indoors and out of the elements of course. On display will be the 2020 version of the best-selling Ford Explorer, the all-new 2020 Bentley Continental GT and many more cars, trucks and SUVs.
Related: How to Car Shop at an Auto Show
This year, the Seattle auto show runs Thursday through Nov. 17 at the CenturyLink Field Event Center, 800 Occidental Ave. South, in downtown Seattle. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 17.
General admission is $16 for visitors age 13 or older, $14 for seniors 62 and older and military, and free for children age 12 or younger when accompanied by a paying adult. Visit the show’s website for more info and to buy advance e-tickets at a $1 discount; discounted parking ($5) is available with an e-ticket purchase.
Doing all you can to stay out of the rain or shopping for a new car? Here are five things you don’t want to miss at the 2019 Seattle International Auto Show:
1. 2020 Ford Explorer
The “best-selling SUV of all time” (at least, according to Ford) is redesigned for 2020 and on display at the Seattle auto show. After a stint as a front-wheel-drive, car-based crossover since 2011, the 2020 Ford Explorer is back on an all-new, rear-wheel-drive platform that it shares with the Ford Police Interceptor Utility.
The new-generation Explorer is sleeker and slightly longer than before. It’s powered by either the standard turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder that puts out 300 horsepower or an optional turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 that puts out 365 hp. Both are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and come in rear- or all-wheel drive.
The SUV has class-competitive cargo space behind its three rows, the second of which comes in either bench or captain’s chair seating. Though Ford’s excellent Sync 3 multimedia system comes on the optional touchscreen, the system can connect with your phone via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The new Explorer also has Ford’s Terrain Management System, an electronic system that enables different traction programs for various environments.
Other 2020 SUVs to look out for at the Seattle auto show include the Lincoln Aviator (built on the same platform as the Explorer), Cadillac XT6, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride and Lincoln Corsair, as well as SUV-like wagon the Subaru Outback .
2. 2020 Bentley Continental GT
As much as an auto show is about cars you could buy, it’s also about cars you can dream about. Where else are you going to get a good look at the all-new 2020 Bentley Continental GT?
Under its sleek hood is a totally new twin turbo-charged 6.0-liter W-12 engine that puts out 626 hp and makes 664 pounds-feet of torque, propelling this beast from zero-to-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. It tops out at 207 mph, but if you’re not looking to go quite that fast, you can still enjoy the ride in one of four driving modes, including a Custom option. Available as both a convertible and coupe, the Continental GT has a number of truly luxurious features — including an exterior lighting sequence that welcomes you as you unlock it, configurable seats that remember your seating position and the Bentley Rotating Display that allows you to switch between a 12.3-inch touchscreen, classic dials or nothing on the dashboard at all.
The 2020 Bentley Continental GT starts well above the $200,000 mark and (if you’re not either laughing sarcastically or crying longingly) is available now.
3. Electrics & Exotics
If you’re in the market for an electric vehicle, you likely know the category is broader than ever, and many models boast high-tech features and super-long ranges. The Electric Highway exhibit will feature some of the most talked-about model-year 2019 and 2020 EVs — including the BMW i8, Hyundai Ioniq, Jaguar I-Pace, Volkswagen e-Golf, Audi e-Tron and Chevrolet Bolt. Experts will be on hand to answer your questions about owning, driving and charging EVs.
But maybe electrics aren’t your thing. You can still get up close and personal with a selection of luxury and ultra-high-end exotic vehicles on display at the Seattle auto show. Whether you’re in the market for one or just adding to your list of dream cars, you’ll have the chance to check out the 2020 Lamborghini Huracan, 2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan, an unspecified 2020 McLaren and many more. For some luxury that’s a little more attainable, brands like BMW, Cadillac, Genesis and Volvo will also be on display.
4. VIP Treatment
For a truly immersive experience at the Seattle auto show, take a VIP group tour with expert guides. During a one-hour tour, you’ll get an up-close look at the newest vehicles on display and go in-depth about some of the hottest cars on the show floor. VIP tour tickets are $30 through today and $35 thereafter. For tour times and tickets, visit the website.
5. Test Drives
With more than 500 cars, trucks and SUVs at your fingertips and not a salesperson in sight, the Seattle auto show is a great, low-pressure place to car shop. This year, more than 75 new-model cars from top automakers will be available to take for a spin.
Here are all the vehicles available to test drive:
- Chevrolet: Bolt EV, Colorado, Equinox, Silverado, Traverse
- Chrysler: Pacifica, Pacifica Hybrid
- Fiat: 500X, 500 Abarth, 124 Spider
- Ford: EcoSport, Edge, Escape, Expedition, Explorer, F-150, F-Series Super Duty, Fusion, Mustang, Ranger , Transit, Transit Connect
- Honda: Accord, Civic hatchback, Civic sedan, CR-V, HR-V, Passport, Ridgeline, Pilot
- Jaguar: F-Type, I-Pace, F-Pace
- Jeep: Gladiator, Wrangler, Cherokee
- Land Rover: Discovery, Discovery Sport, Range Rover, Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar
- Nissan: Leaf
- Ram: Ram 1500 Limited, Ram 1500 Rebel, Ram 2500 Limited Diesel
If getting behind an actual wheel isn’t your thing, virtual reality is also an option at the Seattle auto show. Ford is offering an experience that simulates what it’s like to take a world-class racecar out on the track. Hyundai will put you in the driver’s seat of a virtual 2019 Veloster N to test your racing skills against other showgoers for a chance to win prizes.
Some of us would rather have a four-legged friend than a four-wheeled one, so Subaru is working with local rescue Burien C.A.R.E.S. (Community Animal Resource & Education Society) to offer pups up for adoption at the Seattle auto show.
Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.