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“It looks and smells like an auto show,” I thought as I entered the Denver Convention Center exhibit hall. Two years ago, I visited the Denver Auto Show when it was held outside in the parking lot of Elitch Gardens due to Covid. Let’s just say that despite the organizer’s great efforts, the show display was lackluster at best.

However, the Centennial State’s auto show was back in full swing this year. The exhibit hall was decked out with carpet, shiny new cars, and booth models to field questions from the public. During the media day, I walked the empty auto show floor with fellow auto journalists from the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP). Together, we saw new car model presentations from a few manufacturers in addition to a lot of current stuff you can find on dealership lots.

A general overview of the 2023 Denver Auto Show
A general overview of the 2023 Denver Auto Show | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

There was plenty to see at the 2023 Denver Auto Show

Since auto manufacturers usually save big new model reveals for the four main auto shows – Detroit, Chicago, New York, and LA – I didn’t expect any huge debuts at the 2023 Denver Auto Show. Additionally, those four main shows are much larger and pull more manufacturers. For Denver, there were 17 manufacturers present (if you count Stellantis as one entity), and most of the cars came from local dealerships.

There was still plenty to see, like the new 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray, the Toyota Grand Highlander, and the Lexus RX 500h. The Ford booth had a performance driving simulator on hand in addition to an electric vehicle test track with the Mach-E, the F-150 Lightning, and a Volkswagen ID4.

Toyota presented the all-new 2024 Grand Highlander

The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander at the 2023 Denver Auto Show
2024 Toyota Grand Highlander | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

As for the presentations, a rep from Toyota went over all of the specs and features of the forthcoming Grand Highlander. For the unaware, the recently released 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander is a larger version of the brand’s popular SUV. It’s larger in every direction and provides ample room for seven people and all of their stuff.

On the inside, the Grand Highlander features some tech-savvy features like a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 13 cupholders, seven USB-C ports, and a wireless phone charger. There are also heated/ventilated seats in the first and second rows, a heated steering wheel, and a power liftgate.

Lastly, the Grand Highlander is available as a gas or hybrid-powered car, making it great for long road trips and daily errands alike. The pricing and on-sale date will be released this Summer.

Stellantis showed off the Dodge Hornet

The 2024 Dodge Hornet at the 2023 Denver Auto Show.
2024 Dodge Hornet | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

After the Toyota presentation, we went over to the Stellantis booth for a presentation on the Dodge Hornet. Again, the Hornet has already made its debut, but it was great to see it in person. The Hornet is a compact SUV that has a decent amount of room for five and features either a hybrid or turbocharged powertrain.

The Hornet GT is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that puts out 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. But the real show-stopper for this car is the available Hornet R/T trim that comes equipped with a hybrid powertrain. In total, the hybrid setup puts out 288 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, which enables the car to reach 60 mph from a standstill in 5.6 seconds.

According to Dodge, this makes the Hornet “the quickest and most powerful utility vehicle in the segment while still offering more than 30 miles of all-electric range.” It’s impressive, for sure. And it looked great in person.

McLaren showed off the GT, not the Artura

The McLaren GT at the 2023 Denver Auto Show
McLaren GT | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Next up was the McLaren booth, which had a few models on hand that were roped off to the public. Luckily, since our group was part of the all-important automotive press, we got to go behind the lines for a closer look at the majestic McLarens. The spokesperson was supposed to talk about the Artura, but they couldn’t get one, so he gave us the rundown on the GT instead.

The McLaren GT is a lightweight supercar that’s meant to be driven daily by the ultra-rich. The GT offers more passenger space and cargo room than the other cars in the automaker’s lineup. It’s also powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine that puts out 612 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough power to rocket the car up to 60 mph from a standstill in only 2.8 seconds.

Case in point, the McLaren GT is a supercar that only a few people will ever get to experience. Fortunately, I got to sit in it while others took pictures from afar, which was good enough for me.

Side note: I heard that someone from the public snuck in with our group and was promptly told to leave. The exclusivity was real.

The interior in the McLaren GT
The interior of the McLaren GT | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Nissan showed off a few current models

The Nissan Z presentation at the booth at the 2023 Denver Auto Show
Nissan Z | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Next, it was over to the Nissan booth to get up close and personal with some of the current models. The spokesperson showed us the Ariya, the Pathfinder Rock Creek, and the Z. Reviews and news of all three of these cars could be found on MotorBiscuit.com, so be sure to check those out.

The 2023 Denver Auto Show was a fun experience, but it was mainly for the public

Overall, I had a fun time walking around the 2023 Denver Auto Show. There were plenty of nice cars to look at and sit in. Hopefully, I’ll be able to review some of them in the future. Although, I’m not expecting to get my hands on a McLaren GT. However, if anyone from McLarens reads this, please contact me as soon as possible.

That said, the Denver Auto Show is great for the general public to see cars in person that they normally wouldn’t. If you live nearby, I recommend it, as it’ll be up and running from April 14 to 16.

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