The Texas Auto Show at the Texas State Fair runs from September 28 to October 21, 2018.


“I dunno — I gotta see it.” Though your first emotional response to a design is usually the most honest, the fair-minded among us often reserve final judgment until we see a new vehicle in person. The Texas Auto Show at the State Fair of Texas offers showgoers a chance to see the latest summer launches in person, to form an informed impression in the context of the competition.


The Kia Telluride Looks Nothing Like a Yukon

Kia chose a fashion runway rather than an auto show platform to introduce the world to its new Telluride SUV, teasing with a near-production concept vehicle in advance of the real truck’s debut. At a star-studded New York City reveal, photographers shot the custom Telluride from beneath its tall launch platform, cheating its proportions and making it look tall. Twitter collectively erupted into comparisons to the GMC Yukon front fascia — but in person, Kia’s new eight-seater looks nothing like the Yukon.

The Kia Telluride concept sits on the Texas Auto Show floor thanks to a last-minute decision to bring it back to its roots. Concept collaborator Brandon Maxwell hails from the remote West Texas outpost of Marfa, an unlikely art enclave in the rugged desert. His concept impression reflects that locale, with leather-capped mirrors and a saddle-stitched dash to offset an exterior roof ladder and tailgate-mounted full-size adventure spare.

In person, the Telluride’s beltline is low, with a strong character line nearly three inches below the window opening. Fat fenders and the low belt make the Telluride look slammed, with a minimizing effect that belies its ability to seat eight.


Toyota Suddenly Makes Racy Mainstream Cars Again

Okay, so that new Avalon has quite a maw — but if Toyota’s big cruiser can eschew conservative lines in favor of something more stirring, that bodes well for the entire lineup. At a time when Ford shifts toward an all-crossover lineup, Toyota celebrates conventional cars front-and-center at the Texas Auto Show. Next to an Avalon XSE sits a Camry SE finished in Supersonic Red, a new extra-cost hue for 2019. To the left sits the new Corolla Hatchback. Press photos don’t tell the whole story: this isn’t just a warmed-over Corolla iM from last year. In person, the rear liftgate is an impressive piece of metalwork, presenting an unexpectedly strong curve accented by deep character lines. Coated in advertorial Blue Flame paint, the end effect evokes exciting hot hatches like the Peugeot 208 or Mazda3. With one of the industry’s only remaining manual transmissions, the 2019 Corolla Hatchback earns the privilege of such esteemed company — and rounds out a lineup that becomes more interesting every model year.

The Chevy Blazer Premier Rocks Enormous Wheels

Chevy’s Blazer arrived as a surprise this summer in an unexpected debut off the auto show circuit. Rumors before the reveal anticipated a body-on-frame variant of the Colorado pickup with real off-road cred — but when Chevy pulled the wraps off a riff on the unibody GMC Acadia, enthusiasts’ hopes were dashed.

In the Chevy display at the Texas Auto Show sits a top-trim Blazer Premier coated in Graphite. Massive 21-inch bright-finish wheels immediately set the crossover apart from its Acadia cousin. In person, its large wheels and relatively small window openings work as contrasting elements. Inside, it’s common fare, with handsome styling rendered in inoffensive tan, devoid of particularly exciting details over the pedestal barrier. The pre-production example on display isn’t quite ready for hands-on inspection by the general public just yet, but Chevy says production examples head to dealers in early 2019.

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