2019 Silicon Valley Auto Show: Crowds come out to see ‘what’s hot, what’s new’

Meagan Wilson was on her way out of one of the main halls of the 2019 Silicon Valley Auto Show with her kids Sunday when a jet black Chevrolet Suburban caught her eye.

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“That might be my new car,” she said to her friend, Leif Coponen.

She liked the SUV for its size.

“It can fit lots of kids, and it’s got lots of room,” she said..

The annual show, held Thursday to Sunday, brought out hundreds of cars from nearly 30 manufacturers, many spread out on gray carpets among the spacious halls of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

The event focuses on the latest and greatest, as carmakers bring their newest, or sometimes even pre-production models to the floor, trying to wow potential customers with innovative features, customized trim packages, and updates to old favorites.

Amy Wong-Thai, of San Mateo, was sitting in the passenger seat of a fully loaded 2019 Lincoln Navigator, with her 3-year-old Mia in her lap, enjoying the soft, mahogany red leather interior.

“It’s very luxurious,” Wong-Thai said. And it had better be, as Lincoln sells the massive SUV for just over $100,000.

She and her husband have come to the show for several years because they enjoy the atmosphere it offers.

“The ability to check out the cars without being hassled to buy one,” she said. “You can’t do this in a showroom,” she said.

Elsewhere in the center, Ray Buttler of San Jose was checking out a deep green Ford Mustang with his family, who came to the show with him to celebrate his recent 41st birthday.

“We’ve always been into cars,” Buttler, who owns a 1964 Oldsmobile Cutlass said. He said this car show has a nice vibe to it, especially because it’s indoors.

“Every other car show I’ve been to was in an outdoor parking lot,” he said, adding that many of the cars looked “brand new, like they’ve never been driven.”

From massive trucks, to small commuters and supersport cars that are barely street legal, the show boasts a big variety.

Alejandra Davalos, of Hayward, came to the show with her friend Aurora Sanchez, of San Lorenzo, who invited her.

“At first, I was like, ‘I don’t know anything about cars,’” Davalos said. It was her first time at the car show.

“But it’s really cool to see them and be able to get in and feel them out,” she said.

The car show also has space for owners to display their customized cars, where people walk through rows of dozens of cars showing off their engines with hoods popped and doors wide open.

Some are sporty, with frames lowered to within inches of the ground, others have matte paint jobs and carbon fiber hoods, and one Mercedes E350 had a customized headliner, with multicolored LED lights embedded.

Carlous Brown, of Union City, came out with a couple of cars in mind he wanted to check out, including the new Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Blazer, which he thought was a bit too small in its rebirth.

He’s come to the car show multiple times, and, like many at the event, said he likes staying up to date on the latest car offerings.

“I’m not really looking to buy,” he said, “but I wanted to see what’s hot, what’s new, and what changes they’ve made.”

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