When one thinks of Houston, Texas, the first items that come to mind are humidity, urban sprawl, and oil & gas. However, as a native Houstonian, the city also boasts a diverse population and equally impressive diverse food scene (that’s for another article). As the population has grown, the transportation needs of the city have needed to adapt as well, and the Houston Auto Show showcases what the future of mobility entails in the energy capital.
A Texas-Sized Debut Of New Models
I have been attending the Houston Auto Show since I could hoist myself into every single car, much to my dad’s delight. Just like the auto shows of the past, the 2022 Houston Auto Show serves as the Texas debut of new models from a variety of automakers or dealerships representing automakers. Although it has reduced in size over the years and especially due to supply chain challenges for 2022, the city is fortunate to have an opportunity to experience the new models from the major automakers.
2023 Toyota Sequoia
Only unveiled two days before the start of the Houston Auto Show, I saw the all-new 2023 Toyota Sequoia. With the U.S. departure of the Land Cruiser, the Sequoia is the largest SUV Toyota currently offers. And in Texas, the Sequoia competes in a very competitive segment with the other large SUVs, as well as for parking spots at football practice and the school run. Unique for a large SUV, the 2023 Sequoia comes equipped with a hybrid V6 producing 437 hp, as we discussed in our previous article. Since it was just unveiled, I was unable to get closer to take interior photos. The Sequoia will be built in Texas alongside the Tundra outside of San Antonio.
2022 Toyota Tundra – The Truck Of Texas
Though already unveiled in November 2021, attendees could jump into the new 2022 Tundra. Toyota displayed two trims of the Tundra – the TRD Pro and the Capstone. Toyota also proudly displayed the award bestowed by the Texas Auto Writers Association – the Truck of Texas for 2022. The Tundra is critical to Toyota’s growth in the lucrative Texas truck market dominated by domestic makers, and an optional hybrid powertrain will help the Tundra stand out in truck country. The Tundra is also manufactured in San Antonio alongside the 2023 Sequoia.
Electric Vehicles Debut
Though the pick-up trucks and SUVs were the popular models at the show, the 2022 Houston Auto Show offered prospective buyers options to see new electric vehicles (EVs) from a variety of manufacturers. Some notable EVs on display included the Ford F-150 Lightning, VW ID.4 Pro Sport, the Nissan Ariya, Hyundai IONIQ 5, and Audi e-tron GT. Unsurprisingly, the most popular EV at the show was the F-150 Lightning, and this was before Ford detailed how the truck could power a home, something Houstonians can appreciate during hurricane season.
EVolve Houston, a public-private partnership between the City of Houston, the University of Houston, and companies such as CenterPoint Energy, NRG Energy, and Shell, had EVs on display for potential buyers. Their goal is to have 30% of new cars sold in the Houston be EVs by 2030, and they had a variety of EVs on display, in addition to the offerings from automakers.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and the Nissan Ariya, having already driven the VW ID.4 and enjoyed it. The IONIQ 5 weighs considerably less than the near 6,000 lb VW ID.4 and offers an EPA rated range of 303 miles. The Nissan Ariya is a step in the right direction for Nissan, who first moved into the EV space with the Nissan Leaf way back in 2011. The lines reminded me of a Rogue if Nissan electrified it and mixed it with a first generation Murano. As someone who wrote a graduate school essay on the challenges Nissan faces in the EV space, I think the Ariya is a strong contender.
Notable Car Spots
I would be remiss if I did not discuss some of the cool and unique cars I unexpectedly stumbled onto at the auto show.
The 2021 Aston Martin DBX in Cinnabar Orange, courtesy of Aston Martin Houston (Star Motor Cars), caught my eye. Historically known for their ultra-luxury coupes, I think Aston Martin executed the DBX SUV quite well and made it look like a true Aston Martin.
I was also excited to see the new Nissan Z Coupe Sports Car. Though a pre-production model, I saw elements of the original Datsun 240z in its design, and I think it is a great evolution of the Z design. It should compete well against the Toyota Supra.
Classic Cars Never Go Out Of Style
Something I always look forward to at the Houston Auto Show is the showcase of a variety of classic cars owned by local collectors and enthusiasts. These classic cars are not just 60s American muscle cars; rather, they demonstrate the progress made in transportation over 100 years. Some of the classic cars include:
- 1919 Locomobile
- 1932 Duesenberg Phaeton Convertible – a personal favorite of mine
- 1963 Cadillac ECTO-1 Ghostbuster
- Chevrolet Nomad
- 1950s Buick Estate
- 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500
- DMC DeLorean
- 2nd Generation Ford GT
I truly enjoyed attending the 2022 Houston Auto Show, keeping a family tradition alive even while living in Colorado. It was great to have my brother and a family friend tag along this year with my dad and me. If you missed out this year, mark your calendars – the 2023 Houston Auto Show is already scheduled for January 25 – 29, 2023.