You’ll rarely find me in the center of downtown Dallas, TX, but if you do, you’ll see my media pass for the local auto show. This year was no different as I left my home at 5:00 am to tackle the I-35 super slab for 300 miles to attend the 2023 North Texas Auto Show. As I entered through the doors of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, I was greeted by the latest gas and electric powered people movers on the market.

One can learn a lot by listening at auto shows, as conversations are loud and plentiful. A man of a certain vintage talking up an elegant General Motors PR rep next to a 2023 Corvette C8 Z06. A toddler demanding to see the photo his Millennial father phone took of him next to a Dodge Challenger R/T so he can “see how cute I look.” A wide-eyed chocolate Labrador expressing joy in the arms of a new home at the Subaru Loves Pets adoption center. A young woman professing her love for a Tuxedo Black Ford F-150 Lightning after experiencing battery-powered torque at the EV Test Track. 

Remembering I had a job to do, I made my way to Toyota to take a gander at two new models making their Texas debut, the 2023 Toyota Crown sedan, and the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander crossover. The 2023 Toyota Crown is a family sedan on a fitness kick flexing 5.8 inches of ground clearance and standing tall on 21-inch wheels. Moreover, the Toyota Crown’s motivation derives from its 2.4-liter turbocharged Hybrid MAX powertrain producing 340 horsepower and a brawny 400 lb.-ft of torque. 

The all-new 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander is an eight-passenger crossover SUV designed to fill the gap between the Highlander and Sequoia. The Toyota Grand Highlander’s extended wheelbase allows for a third-row seat that won’t feel like you’re flying coach on Southwest. Moreover, the Grand Highlander offers an alternative to parents who need a minivan but don’t favor sliding doors. Available with a 362 horsepower, 400 lb.-ft of torque Hybrid MAX powertrain.

The new generation 2024 Ford Mustang GT was on display in its own private booth gleaming under FoMoCo blue LED lights. Dressed in Race Red with black wheels and a matte finish ‘5.0’ badge on its front fender. The new pony car bears a family resemblance to its World’s Fair ancestor as it lassoed people’s attention just like in 1964. Lifelong fans of the Ford Mustang will be happy to know that a naturally aspirated 480 horsepower V8 and manual six-speed transmission is still on the options list. 

Snack bar aside, auto shows offer a unique experience. The fun of a dealer showroom without the hassle of an always closing sales rep. A stress-free environment to find out if the kids are comfortable in the third-row minivan and sit behind the wheel of an empty nest two-door daydream.