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New Mexico International Auto Show showcases top vehicles for the 15th year

Get behind the wheel of some of the newest and coolest car, truck and SUV models without the pressure to buy at the 2018 New Mexico International Auto Show.

“This is a nonselling show,” said Charles Henson, president of the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association. “They can’t sell cars at the show because we want people to be able to enjoy an environment that is relaxed and yet provides the factory product specialists to answer any questions they may have.”

The showcased vehicles vary in price range as well as in versatility to appeal to everyone from sports car enthusiasts to luxury vehicle lovers to people looking for family-friendly transportation.

“The manufacturers bring what they want to show off the most,” Henson said. “But they also are very diligent in how they bring the cars that people want to see and want to experience and by that I mean we have the hottest of the super muscle cars and we have the most practical in transportation and utility use. We’ve got cars that are great for the racetrack, great for a Sunday drive, great for going to work and great for a weekend outing.”

Some of this year’s highlights include a 2019 Corvette Z06, a 2019 Ford Mustang, a 2019 Ford Ranger, a 2019 Lincoln Nautilus and a 2019 MKC.

Eventgoers who want more of a hands-on experience can take a number of vehicles for a spin on a course near the Albuquerque Convention Center, where the event is being held today through Sunday, April 15. This is the 15th year of the event.

Guests will have the opportunity to drive the latest models from Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT including the Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Fiat 124 Spider, Grand Cherokee, Jeep Compass and Ram 1500. Attendees can also test drive Ford models including the EcoSport, Escape, Explorer and F-150, as well as Toyota models including the Camry, Corolla, Highlander and RAV4. Vehicles are subject to change.

“Along with a valid driver’s license we assure that the people that are going to enjoy the Ride and Drive are capable of driving the cars,” Henson said.

Children ages 3 to 9 also will be able to get behind the wheel of their own vehicles as part of the Kids Autobahn. They will be able to zoom around in a child-size Jeep Wrangler, Barbie Convertible or Hummer.

Guests can also be part of a good cause for a chance to win two of the children’s car models.

“First Financial Credit Union has joined with the New Mexico Auto Dealers Association and the Albuquerque Police Officers Foundation to sell tickets for a drawing to be held at the end of the show for two powered vehicles just like the ones in the Kids Autobahn,” Henson said. “The Albuquerque Police Officers Foundation grants money to law enforcement officers or their families when an officer is either injured or killed in the line of duty. (Guests) purchase tickets at the event. They do not have to be present to win. All of the proceeds for the drawing go to the Albuquerque Police Officers Foundation.”