With luxurious appointments and features, the Enclave is Buick’s upscale family hauler with refinement that rivals more expensive vehicles. Power is delivered by a 281-hp 3.6-liter V-6, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The Enclave is a quiet, refined crossover with a long list of optional equipment. Some of those features hike the price of the car quickly, though, and many of those options are only marginally useful.
The Tahoe is a full-size, body-on-frame boat hauler that rules the SUV world, with loads of tech to keep you safer on the road. Features such as lane keep assist and forward collision alert help you navigate congested roads, while Apple CarPlay integrates phone, texts, maps, and music. In addition there is 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi and up to six USB ports and six power outlets. A 355-hp V-8 pairs with a six-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is an option on all models.
Although the Traverse looks like an SUV, it’s really more of a camouflaged minivan, especially considering its spacious cabin with room for eight. Powered by a 281-hp V-6 and driving either the front or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic, performance is merely adequate. Despite sharp steering, the handling is rather bland, but the ride is compliant. Many rivals are simply more engaging to drive, including some actual minivans. Luckily, an all-new Traverse goes on sale in fall 2017.
The Durango remains big, brawny, and masculine in an era of soft, curvaceous crossovers—and it’s also not as trucklike as other large SUVs. Powertrains include a 293-hp 3.6-liter V-6 or a 360-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, both offered in rear- or all-wheel-drive guises; an eight-speed automatic is standard. The V-6 can tow 6200 pounds; the V-8 can tow 7400 pounds. The optional third row makes room for seven. Uconnect infotainment with an 8.4-inch touchscreen and satellite radio is optional.
The lane-hogging Expedition and the even-longer Expedition EL provide room for eight adults and acres of cargo space. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 makes 365 hp; a six-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is optional. Some may scoff at a V-6 in a rig of this size, but its 9200-lb towing capacity (when properly equipped) should silence naysayers. An all-new Expedition goes on sale in fall 2017.
The funky Flex is Ford’s answer to those seeking a modern version of the old-school station wagon. Its three rows are standard and can accommodate seven passengers with room to spare. Two V-6s are offered, both displacing 3.5 liters and mated to a six-speed automatic. The base engine makes 287 hp with front- or all-wheel drive; the EcoBoost twin-turbo makes 365 hp with standard all-wheel drive. Adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and a 12-speaker Sony audio system are optional.
The jack-of-all-trades Acadia is ready to tackle the trails—and carpool lanes—with plenty of storage and room for up to seven. Touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE connectivity, and mobile Wi-Fi is available. A 193-hp 2.5-liter four or a 310-hp 3.6-liter V-6 drive the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive is optional. Extras like automatic emergency braking and a novel “rear-seat reminder” boost the Acadia’s safety street cred.
As capable as they are handsome, the Yukon and the stretched Yukon XL are multitasking machines. They offer seating for up to eight, a maximum tow rating of 8100 pounds, and optional four-wheel drive. A 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic powers SLE and SLT trims; the chrome-laden, leather-lined Denali offers near-Escalade levels of luxury and gets a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 and an eight-speed automatic. An 8.0-inch infotainment system, 4G LTE connectivity, and onboard Wi-Fi are standard.
If a stylish, useful, and trouble-free ride is what you’re after, well—ladies and gentlemen, this is your Pilot speaking. The 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 powers the front or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic; top-level Touring and Elite trims get a nine-speed. The all-wheel-drive system offers torque vectoring for better handling and modes for snow, sand, and mud. The Pilot’s three rows provide plenty of room for all and a host of active-safety tech is available to keep everyone safe.
Putting zoom-zoom charisma into a three-row crossover is no easy feat, but Mazda does it with the CX-9—earning it a 2017 10Best award. A well-tuned suspension offers great handling; steering is light but precise. A 250-hp 2.5-liter turbo four mates with a six-speed automatic and either front- or all-wheel drive. The EPA estimates 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for front-drive models; adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are standard on Grand Touring and Signature trims.
As Nissan’s double-duty SUV, the Armada can tow up to 8500 pounds and has space for eight. Sold in Infiniti showrooms as the QX80, the Armada inherits its luxury-branded counterpart’s plush interior and comes standard with navigation, Bose audio, and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are optional on SL models and standard on the Platinum. A 390-hp 5.6-liter V-8 drives the rear or all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic.
Once an off-road-ready ruffian, the Pathfinder has matured and has happily found itself in a family way. There’s seating for seven with easy access to the third row, even with a child seat installed on the second-row bench. The 3.5-liter V-6 makes 284 hp and drives the front or all four wheels through a CVT. The Pathfinder feels as at home performing local weekend errands as it does on long-distance highway trips; just don’t expect any behind-the-wheel fun from this minivan alternative.
Inconspicuous and sensible, the Highlander has what it takes to haul up to eight in quiet comfort. A 185-hp 2.7-liter four-cylinder or optional 270-hp 3.5-liter V-6 both pair with a six-speed automatic; front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. A hybrid combines the V-6 with two electric motors; we saw 24 mpg in our test. The Highlander provides an adequate driving experience, but it’s more focused on interior niceties and storage. An updated Highlander debuts in November.
The Land Cruiser is a world-wide legend, known from Aruba to Zimbabwe to be one of the most competent SUVs ever made. Featuring a sturdy body-on-frame design and a 5.7-liter 381-hp V-8 engine with an eight-speed automatic and full-time four-wheel drive, it offers serious off-roading ability. Creature comforts are addressed, too, with three rows of leather seating for eight (the front seats are ventilated), Toyota’s Entune infotainment, and wireless headphones for the rear entertainment system.
The SUV that time forgot—Toyota’s Sequoia—offers a cavernous interior and flexible cargo space, but not much else. A 5.7-liter V-8 drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission; four-wheel drive is optional. Standard infotainment with navigation provides adequate connectivity, and the top Platinum trim gets adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. The Sequoia is simply outclassed by its competition, and is in need of an update—luckily, one is due in fall 2017.
Volkswagen’s all-new three-row crossover with room for seven arrives next spring—it should be worth the wait. On the inside, two adults can sit in the third row with luggage stored behind them. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink are on hand; a 12-speaker Fender audio system is optional. A 238-hp turbo four with front-wheel drive is standard, while a 280-hp V-6 with all-wheel drive is optional. Safety tech includes forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning with steering assist.Continue reading
Small is in, and Buick—a big-car expert—wants everyone to know it can do small just as well. The Encore is a pocket-sized Enclave and features some of the big Buick SUV’s traits. Its stylish cabin is feature rich, quiet, and comfortable for four. The base engine is a 138-hp 1.4-liter turbo four, which delivers on fuel economy but struggles under heavy loads. A more powerful 153-hp version of the engine is optional. Handling is fairly agile and the ride is silky smooth, but steering lacks feel.
With a stylish cabin and a roomy back seat, the Envision quietly isolates you from the real world—in other words, it’s a Buick. A 197-hp 2.5-liter four pairs with a six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive. Premium and Premium II trims get a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo four and all-wheel drive. Active noise cancellation and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard; a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise, and automated emergency braking are optional.
Despite a cool name, the Trax is an unadventurous choice in a segment with more exciting, fun-to-drive choices. It offers a roomy cabin and is powered by a 138-hp 1.4-liter turbo four with a six-speed automatic; take your pick of either front- or all-wheel drive. Steering feedback is okay and the ride is smooth, but is tuned more for comfort than sport. Inside, there’s lots of tech, with 4G LTE, a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, and 7.0-inch touchscreen featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Grown up but still cheeky, the 500X complements its minuscule sibling, the Fiat 500, by offering more space and all-weather capability while retaining its classic Italian style. A 160-hp 1.4-liter turbo four drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual; a 180-hp 2.4-liter four and nine-speed automatic power the front or all four wheels. A drive-mode system provides three settings for different driving conditions and the cabin of the 500X is packed with safety features and technology.
While comfortable and fun to drive, the C-Max’s high EPA-estimated fuel-economy numbers are basically fantasy. A 2.0-liter four and electric motors in the CVT combine for 188 hp; in our testing, the C-Max and the plug-in C-Max Energi got only 32 and 33 mpg, respectively. If a hybrid can’t top a gas-powered opponent’s fuel economy, then why bother? The Energi’s EV-only range of 19 miles is inadequate, too. That the C-Max drives much like a conventional hatchback only furthers that point.
As its name suggests, the Ford EcoSport is a sporty, compact crossover offering an economy-minded package. It has plenty of storage space and a snazzy side-hinged rear hatch. A 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder with front-wheel drive is standard, while a 2.0-liter four with all-wheel drive is optional; both use a six-speed automatic. An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also available is a 10-speaker premium sound system pumping out 675 watts.
The HR-V mixes angles and curves in an attractive design that lends it a sporty look while hiding its budget-friendly roots. A 141-hp 1.8-liter four comes with either a six-speed manual or CVT and front- or all-wheel drive. The flat-folding second-row provides cargo-hauling bragging rights, and rear-seat room is generous. Although it lacks some of the active safety features offered among its competitors, standard equipment includes a backup camera, Bluetooth, and 17-inch wheels.
Named after an American desert town, styled in Germany, and built in South Korea, the Tucson is a globe-trotting go-getter. It’s value packed, too—touchscreen infotainment with satellite radio is standard. Limited models have nav and leather seats. A 164-hp 2.0-liter four, a six-speed automatic, and front-drive are standard; a 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo four, seven-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive are optional. The Eco model got 25 mpg in our testing, only 1 mpg better than a turbo we tested.
With Grand Cherokee looks and a budget-friendly price, the Compass is the tweener Jeep we’ve been waiting for. A 180-hp, 175 lb-ft four-cylinder engine can be front- or all-wheel drive and mates to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed or 9-speed automatic. It can feel sluggish when pushed, but the Compass is composed on the road, and the available Trailhawk model offers real off-road chops. Standard Uconnect and available Apple CarPlay are welcome luxuries in a comfortable cabin.
Those seeking an affordable off-roader should check out the Patriot—but move fast, as this is likely its last year on sale. It offers either a 158-hp 2.0-liter or a 172-hp 2.4-liter, both four-cylinders. For transmissions, choose among a five-speed manual, a six-speed automatic, and a CVT. Front-wheel-drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Uconnect infotainment and satellite radio are standard. The Patriot is no joy ride, but its boxy styling is charmingly reminiscent of classic Jeeps.
Its seven-slot grille marks it as a Jeep, and despite its size, the Renegade’s a capable off-roader. A 160-hp turbo four offers a six-speed manual and either front- or all-wheel drive; a 180-hp four with a nine-speed automatic is also available. Trailhawk models get four-wheel drive with low range, hill-descent control, and a traction management. The interior boasts comfy seats and ample cargo room. Responsive steering, a comfortable ride, and good brakes make the Renegade capable on-road too.
In a world of soft-road-only car-based crossovers, the Wrangler is a tough-as-nails off-road expert. Four-wheel drive is standard, as are a 285-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and a six-speed manual; a five-speed automatic is optional. Two- and four-door “Unlimited” models are offered, both with a choice of soft or hard convertible tops. The Rubicon gets front and rear locking differentials, a 4.0:1 low-gear ratio, and a disconnecting front anti-roll bar for wheel articulation and rock-crawling prowess.
No dancing hamsters required—the Kia Soul is truly fun and practical, which helps it earn a 2017 10Best award. Driving the front wheels is your choice of either a 130-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder with a six-speed manual or automatic, or a 161-hp 2.0-liter four with the automatic. The 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo four is the brawniest of the bunch and comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard at this price point, and a panoramic sunroof is optional.
If you can get past the odd face of the Sportage and into the driver’s seat, you’ll find a tasteful interior that’s almost Audi-like in its detail. A 181-hp 2.4-liter four, six-speed automatic, and front-wheel drive are standard on EX and SX; all-wheel drive is optional. The SX Turbo offers a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo four. The interior features touchscreen infotainment; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available. Active safety features, such as automated emergency braking, are also offered.
The CX-3 is a fun and feisty runabout with a can-do attitude, offering taut handling paired with edgy styling. A 146-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a six-speed automatic with front-wheel drive provide the zoom-zoom; all-wheel drive is optional. The CX-3 relies on its sport-tuned suspension and creative weight-saving measures to maintain Mazda’s unique brand of driving pleasure. The cabin is equally well designed, featuring high-quality materials and modern driving aids.
Mazda’s ethos is to blend sports-car know-how into every model, and the CX-5 is no exception. Sharp steering and a poised chassis make it the enthusiast’s pick. A 155-hp 2.0-liter four, six-speed manual, and front-wheel drive are standard; a 184-hp 2.5-liter four is optional, with six-speed auto and all-wheel drive. The smart cabin, easy-to-use infotainment, and optional safety tech—adaptive cruise, automated emergency braking, and more—underscore the CX-5’s great all-rounder standing.
Offering practicality not found in other Mini products, the Countryman is agile, yet roomy for its size. Power comes from a 121-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder, which mates to the front wheels via a standard six-speed manual. All-wheel drive and a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic are both options. The S and John Cooper Works versions offer more power and all-wheel-drive options. The Countryman retains the quintessential Mini driving characteristics and quirkiness, despite its larger dimensions.
What we have here is a mini-er Mini, smaller and more expensive than its four-door Countryman counterpart. Power comes from a 121-hp four-cylinder with front-wheel drive standard, along with a six-speed manual; a six-speed automatic is optional. Mini Connected is optional and offers a 6.5-inch screen with smartphone integration. The Paceman still has the soul of a Mini, great handling, and is not without its charms. More powerful S and JCW models are also offered and are reviewed separately.
With its angular looks, the Outlander Sport cuts a swath through the sameness of cookie-cutter crossovers. A 148-hp 2.0-liter four with front-wheel drive mates to a five-speed manual; a CVT is optional and can be had with all-wheel drive. For more power, there is a 168-hp 2.4-liter four with a CVT; front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive optional. There are some pluses—a low base price and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty—but the Sport won’t steal an enthusiast’s heart.
The Juke puts the “fun” in “funky,” making it perfect for those who want a spry and speedy little runabout that also stands out in traffic. It’s powered by a 188-hp 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional. Sadly, a CVT is the only available transmission, which takes some joy out of driving. On the plus side, its light and informative steering makes it easy to fling around back-country curves or to jockey for position on a crowded interstate.
Known as the Qashqai in Europe, the Rogue Sport adopts an easier-to-pronounce name and familial styling here in the States. The Sport is more than a foot shorter than the Rogue, but the two share basic mechanicals. A 141-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and CVT drive the front wheels; all-wheel drive is also available. Bluetooth phone connectivity, satellite radio, and a backup camera are standard; a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is optional. The Rogue Sport goes on sale this spring.
Scion has refreshed the new Scion xB look and has hooked it up with a youthful appearance which is sleeker than the current model. The vehicle stretches 168-inches long, 69-inches wide and stands at a height of 63 inches. It will have a wheelbase of 102-inches. At the front, the vehicle features a new fascia with redesigned bumper, a large grille and new long but narrow LED headlights. This makes the Scion look sleek. At the rear, the car comes with redesigned rear bumper and new chrome exhaust tips. The car 4- door vehicle will also be offered in new body colors all in a bid to gain more audience than its predecessor.
The rough-and-ready Crosstrek’s standard all-wheel drive and 8.7 inches of ground clearance pave the way for adventure. Acceleration is unhurried from a 148-hp 2.0-liter flat-four that pairs with either a five-speed manual or a CVT. The sedately styled interior is straightforward, with supportive front seats and good outward visibility. Bluetooth and a 6.2-inch touchscreen are standard; a 7.0-inch touchscreen is available. Options include adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking.
C-HR stands for Coupe High-Rider, despite this little ute having four doors and riding rather low for a crossover. A 2.0-liter four pumps out 144 hp and teams with a CVT. Oddly, the C-HR is front-drive only; all-wheel drive is not an option. Safety tech includes a forward-collision warning system with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic high-beams, and adaptive cruise control.
If you want go-anywhere capability in a fun-to-drive wagon, the Golf Alltrack is the ride for you—and it’s a 10Best winner, too. A 170-hp 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder pairs with a six-speed automatic and a brake-based all-wheel-drive system. The raised suspension provides 6.9 inches of ground clearance, but it doesn’t deteriorate the Alltrack’s athletic attitude. A 6.5-inch touchscreen features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are optional.
While comfortable, well-built, and distinctively styled, the Tiguan is short on interior space and high on price, making it a hard sell. It’s still a sporty offering: A lively chassis and well-tuned suspension impart a level of agility most rivals can’t match. A 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder makes 200 hp and drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is optional, but the Tiguan is best suited for on-road exploits. This summer marks the debut of a redesigned model.Continue reading
The CR-Z is an ambitious attempt at making a sporty hybrid, but its performance doesn’t match its adventurous styling. The good news is that it’s the only hybrid sold with a manual—a six-speed—but the bad news is that the combined output is a mere 130 hp. A 1.5-liter four-cylinder pairs with an electric motor; the EPA rates it for 36-mpg city/39-mpg highway with the optional CVT; the manual gets 31/38. Standard features include Bluetooth capability, automatic climate control, and cruise.
The Veloster is a pseudo hot-hatch—its quirky styling stands out in traffic—yet its racy looks deceive. The base engine is a feeble 132-hp 1.6-liter four with a standard six-speed manual; a dual-clutch six-speed automatic is optional. The Turbo boasts 201 hp and a six-speed manual; a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional. Handling is predictable and lively, yet steering feel is vague. If a funky-looking hatchback is all you want, step right up, but enthusiasts will be disappointed.
The Forte coupe—or Koup, in Kia-speak—is sportier and more elegant than other Fortes; it’s also well equipped and surprisingly refined. The EX is powered by a gutsy 173-hp, 2.0-liter four; the SX model’s 201-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes it even quicker. A six-speed manual is standard, with a six-speed automatic optional on both. Steering and handling are nicely balanced. Alas, the Koup is no screamer, but it is sporty enough to satisfy all but the most hard-core enthusiasts.
Sun worshippers and Mini mavens continue to find this convertible irresistible—and can you blame them? Its attractions include a power top that folds flat in 18 seconds, an “Openometer” gauge that keeps track of how long you’ve motored with the top down, the joy of unlimited headroom, and plenty of charisma. Otherwise, it’s just like driving the previous-generation Mini hardtop with the base four-cylinder engine. Downsides include leisurely performance, a tiny trunk, and annoying cowl shake.
Styled like a Cooper hatchback wearing a backward baseball cap, the Mini Cooper coupe forgoes the Cooper’s back seat and practicality for a short roof and conventional trunk. Alas, the sweet-handling two-seater looks faster than it is. Power comes via a weak but fuel-efficient 121-hp four-cylinder mated to a standard six-speed manual or optional automatic transmission. Like all Minis, the Cooper coupe has tons of personality and is highly customizable, but it can get pricey with options.
Basically a Cooper convertible with a chopped windshield, a soft top, and a trunk instead of a back seat, the roadster trades practicality for spunky, two-seat style. It drives just like all other Coopers, with great steering and slot-car handling, though with just 121 hp from its a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, it is a bit on the slow side. Still, the Cooper Roadster is a fuel-efficient two-seater that lets the sun shine in with a flick of the wrist. For more speed, see the S/JCW models.
Along with the rest of the Scion brand, the Scion tC model was discontinued in 2016. Under the hood, you’ll find a 179-hp 2.5-liter four; it powers the front wheels through a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. Handling is confident and body motions are well controlled, but its rivals easily outperform it. However, the tC offers a roomy cabin, top-notch build quality, and a good reliability record.
The Golf GTI is the progenitor of the hot-hatch genre, and age has not dulled its abilities—and so we name it a 10Best winner. The base engine is a 210-hp 2.0-liter turbo four with a six-speed manual. A six-speed automatic, an extra-cost option, is almost as much fun as the manual. Choose the Sport model for 10 more horses as well as upgrades to brakes and a torque-sensing limited-slip differential. GTI’s classic plaid seats come standard, as do agile handling and hatchback practicality.Continue reading
Gutsy engines, aggressive sheetmetal, and rear-wheel drive are essential for any muscle car, but the Camaro stirs in excellent handling and great steering, too. Available as a coupe or convertible, the base engine is a 275-hp 2.0-liter turbo four; a 335-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and a 455-hp 6.2-liter V-8 are optional. All offer either a six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic. The interior, though, is tight and offers limited visibility. The V-6 and V-8 Camaros are 10Best winners for 2017.
The mighty Corvette truly competes with the world’s greatest sports cars, no excuses required. With a 6.2-liter V-8 making 455 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque (an optional sport exhaust is good for 460 hp and 465 lb-ft), an eight-speed automatic is now available in addition to the standard seven-speed manual. The Corvette sheds its unrefined reputation and has an interior befitting its stature. The Grand Sport is a 10Best winner, combining the LT1 V-8 with the Z06’s bodywork and chassis hardware.
Don’t judge the SS by its cover: Ho-hum styling hides a mighty V-8 and track-ready tuning. Chevy’s flagship performance sedan has the 6.2-liter 415-hp engine from the previous-gen Camaro and the Corvette. Rear-drive and a six-speed automatic are standard; we’d pick the six-speed manual, which is a no-cost option. Standard performance bits—front and rear Brembo brakes, magnetic ride control—contribute to exceptional handling. A comfy interior and a 4.6-second sprint to 60 mph are bonuses.
The Challenger is one big bruiser, with heft better suited to cruising or drag-racing at the strip than turning laps on a race track. Powertrains include the standard 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and an eight-speed auto; a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 makes 375 hp when paired with the standard six-speed manual and 372 hp with the optional eight-speed automatic. The Scat Pack option features a 485-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V-8; a six-speed manual is standard and a eight-speed auto is optional.
The Viper is both all-American and a true exotic, with lots of curves and bulges in all the right places to let you know it means business. The long nose, bodacious body, and predatory stare give the Viper a menacing look, while its 645-hp, 8.4-liter V-10 can catapult it to 60 mph in about three seconds. For the ultimate track monster, check out the Viper ACR. With all kinds of aero aids, special tires by Kumho and carbon-ceramic brakes, Dodge says it is the fastest Viper on a racetrack.
Borrowing heavily from the looks of the Pininfarina-designed original, circa 1966, the 124 Spider is a stylish, if not exactly Italian, two-seat droptop. Its rival—Mazda’s MX-5 Miata—is also its main benefactor, donating its chassis, assembly line, and parts bin. But the 124 Spider does have a unique suspension and powertrain: a 160-hp 1.4-liter turbo four with either a six-speed manual or auto. The racy Abarth gets a sport-tuned exhaust, a limited-slip differential, and a boost to 164 hp.
Ford has approved 500 lucky people to purchase a GT; the rest of us can only dream. The GT has some of the most stunningly exotic bodywork around. Highlights include a mid-engine twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 making 647 hp and a maximum of 550 lb-ft of torque, carbon-fiber construction and body panels, active aerodynamics, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic; a manual won’t be offered. Ford says the top speed is 216 mph—we can’t wait to test that claim.
The galloping pony nestled in the grille serves as a reminder that the Mustang is most at home on the open road. Both the coupe and convertible come with your choice of a 300-hp 3.7-liter V-6, a 310-hp 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder, or a 435-hp 5.0-liter V-8; choose from a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The rear-wheel-drive chassis is eager to attack corners while enabling a smooth ride when cruising. An updated Mustang debuts in fall 2017 with a new 10-speed automatic as an option.
Hyundai is releasing the Genesis Coupe for the 2016 model year with a new six-inch color display in the center stack in place of the previous dot-matrix display. That’s it. Oh, except for a price increase. The coupe still packs a 3.8-liter V6 as standard, driving 348 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. For some buyers, the Genesis Coupe makes for a compelling alternative to the likes of the Nissan 370Z (which only has two seats) and the Infiniti Q60 Coupe (which is significantly more expensive).
We won’t find out if the Stinger lives up to its name until it goes on sale later this year. The base engine is a 255-hp 2.0-liter turbo four; a 365-hp 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 is optional. Both models have an eight-speed automatic and either rear- or all-wheel drive. A 7.0-in touchscreen and navigation are standard. Driver aids include adaptive cruise, automated emergency braking, and lane-keep assist. An optional Harman/Kardon audio system with 15 speakers and 720 watts kicks out the jams.
For pure driving bliss, the Miata is tops in our book—it’s so good, it’s a 10Best winner for 2017. This legendary two-seater has a 155-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a six-speed manual; a six-speed automatic is optional. Its use of aluminum helps keep weight down, so the Miata remains eminently flingable in the twists and turns that you’ll surely seek out whenever you hit the road. The RF model offers a power-folding targa top, but it’s much more expensive than the cloth-topped Miata.
Nissan’s ‘Z-car’ has been a dominant force in sports coupes for more than four decades. The latest Nissan 370Z coupe traces its roots to the legendary 240Z that took the world by storm with its exceptional looks and powerful performance. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find that the basic formula defining the ‘Z’ has stayed the same – now with a remarkable 328PS 3.7L V6 engine and a host of technical advances.
Doesn’t matter what you call it—GT-R or, more fittingly, Godzilla—Nissan’s range topper is a supercar-stomping, high-tech dynamo. Its 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 makes a mighty 565 hp while a six-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive team up to put all that power to the pavement. The GT-R’s quick steering, rigid structure and adjustable suspension can make even amateurs feel positively heroic from behind the wheel. Want more? Check out the track-ready NISMO-tuned variant with 600 hp.
When the Scion brand ended, the FR-S became the Toyota 86. Regardless, the FR-S offers excellent driving dynamics. Only one engine was available: a 200-hp 2.0-liter flat-four. A six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic were the transmission choices. The manual shifts with a solid, no-nonsense feel, while the paddle-shift automatic is quick and responsive. The cabin is cramped and plasticky, but the FR-S is very agile, which endears it to enthusiasts.
Don’t let the boy-racer vibe deter you: The BRZ is perfect for purists on a budget. An updated 205-hp version of the 2.0-liter flat-four pairs to a six-speed manual, hardly answering complaints that the rear-drive sports car lacks punch. Output drops to 200 hp with the six-speed automatic. Still, the BRZ is impeccably balanced and satisfying, not to mention slide-happy. There’s not much trunk space and adults will reject the back seat, but once behind the wheel, those objections melt away.
The car formerly known as the Scion FR-S is now the Toyota 86 and is tasked with keeping the brand’s sports-car flame burning in this crossover-crazed world. The 2.0-liter flat-four makes 205 hp when paired to the smooth-shifting six-speed manual. With the optional six-speed automatic, however, power drops to 200 hp—but we doubt you’ll be able to tell. Rear-wheel drive and a balanced chassis provide endless fun on twisty roads. When cruising around town, the racy styling will turn heads.Continue reading
If you’ve been dreaming of the next NSX, it’s time to wake up: It’s here in the form of a highly technical and utterly thrilling supercar. With weight-saving construction, a hybrid powertrain that has three electric motors and a mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 making a combined output of 573 hp, the NSX offers pulse-pounding performance paired with everyday usability. A nine-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive are standard.
This is a sexy, mid-engined Italian exotic carved down to affordable scale, and it’s available as a coupe or with a targa top. Powered by a 237-hp turbo four and weighing less than 2500 pounds, its zippy power-to-weight ratio matches its zippy steering ratio; sadly, only a six-speed automatic is available. The 4C practically anticipates road challenges, but the seats are tight, there’s almost no luggage room, and it’s so low it’s tough to get out of—none of which matters once behind the wheel.
A hugely important play for Alfa Romeo in Europe, the Giulietta is tasked with bringing the Italian firm into the top flight, up against the all-conquering VW Golf. Despite best intentions, and Alfa’s glittering heritage, it’s failed in this challenge to date – so Alfa’s having another go with a facelifted version. Which, sensibly, leaves the face well alone: a car as pretty as this needs no surgery. The improvements come inside, under the bonnet and on the road.
Turning up its looks and performance literally to 11, the DB11 continues Aston Martin’s tradition of blending style and power. A twin-turbo 5.2-liter V-12 makes a brutal 600 hp and 516 lb-ft, teamed with a paddle-shifted eight-speed automatic. We estimate a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds. A lightweight structure, torque-vectoring system, and stiff chassis result in impressively agile handling. Expect all the trappings of a modern Aston when the DB11 hits showrooms in late 2016.
The voluptuous and alluring DB9 GT is sure to get any driver’s pulse racing, especially after hearing its trademark growl from under the hood. The 5.9-liter V-12 makes 540 hp and drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic. The DB9 GT is a lively, involving sports car from behind the wheel; a new infotainment system promises to be more user-friendly. The hardest part will be choosing between the coupe and Volante convertible, which offers top-down touring at the touch of a button.
While other four-doors are sober and serene, the sexy Rapide S is flat-out berserk. Shaped like a fighter-jet canopy, built from aluminum panels so pretty they shouldn’t be painted, and powered by a thumping 5.9-liter V-12 that sends 550 hp to an eight-speed automatic, this stunner will tear to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. It’s big, but the low roof limits headroom in back. So it’s not a limousine—take something else to the Oscars. It doesn’t matter; every trip in the Rapide is a red-carpet event.
The best way to live out your super-spy fantasy is behind the wheel of an Aston Martin, and the Vantage is the least expensive way to do it. Offered as a coupe or convertible, performance from the V8 Vantage’s engine is nothing short of brutish, at 420 or 430 hp; six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic transmissions are offered. For speed demons, the V12 Vantage has a turbine-smooth 565-hp 5.9-liter V-12 with either a seven-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic handling shifting duties.
Aston Martin calls the Vanquish a “super grand touring” machine, not a super sports car, but it’s so beautiful that we don’t care what Aston calls it. Yes, its sonorous V-12 makes it fast, but many rivals easily out-accelerate it. Standard models make 568 hp, while the upcoming Vanquish S gets boosted to 580 hp. Like to drive topless? Opt for the Vanquish Volante for a truly rare ride. As with all Astons, its little flaws are forgivable since it is one of the loveliest things on four wheels.
Audi’s luscious R8 is beautiful to behold, easy to live with, and simply marvelous to drive—everything you’d want in a sports car. The base engine is a 5.2-liter 540-hp V-10; the V10 Plus makes 610 hp. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a seven-speed automatic. The handsome interior features a 12.3-inch configurable display in lieu of traditional gauges; there is also 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Only a coupe is offered for now; expect the Spyder version in spring 2017.
The RS5 provides practicality with performance and in terms of styling has plenty of sporty additions. Sporty materials include a flat-bottomed steering wheel, racy sports seats, aluminium inserts, metal pedals and a display of RS5 logos all around. The rest can be considered pure A5 with the sensibly laid out dashboard, the immaculate fit and finish with the use of Audi exclusive materials. The RS5’s 4.2-litre V8 is taken from the R8 supercar and provides 331 kW at your feet. Speed carries well when tied to strong grip, good traction and decent body control.
Puristic elegance. Incredible power. Innovative technology. When they come together, a car is created like never before: the new Audi RS 7 Sportback. It is unique in terms of dynamic performance, yet adapts individually to you thanks to the 8-speed tiptronic. The Singleframe grille featuring the black honeycomb typical of RS models sets striking design accents. The innovative Audi Matrix LED headlights are optionally available with additionally darkened trims.
More power, more dynamic performance, more driving pleasure – brought to the road by the new Audi S3 and its performance enhanced 2.0 TFSI engine with 228 kW and standard “quattro” drive. Its expressive appearance signalises concentrated power even when stationary: the exterior is characterised by details such as the side mirrors in aluminium look or the unique single-frame with its S emblem and chrome twin bridges, as well as the side sills which impressively emphasise the shape and lines of the front and rear aprons.
From the way it looks to the way it drives, the S4 is a blast to pilot, and we dig it. It’s an all-wheel-drive, sport-tuned version of the already excellent A4, powered by a supercharged 333-hp V-6. A six-speed manual is standard; a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic is optional. Interior and exterior styling is understated compared with some of its more extroverted competitors, and the S4 can get pricey when you start to add on the options. An all-new, more powerful S4 is due in early 2017.
Quick, nimble, and subtly handsome summarize the stunning S5 regardless of body style. All S5s combine Quattro all-wheel drive with precise steering, adept brakes, and sharp handling. The coupe and convertible use a 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. A six-speed manual is standard in the coupe, but the convertible’s exclusive seven-speed automatic is optional. A four-door S5 Sportback extends an already roomy rear seat; it packs a 354-hp turbo 3.0-liter V-6 and an eight-speed automatic.
The Audi S6 Sedan is so many different things: a representative business car, a prestigious family car or simply an elegant, athletic vehicle for everyday use. Thanks to Audi cylinder on demand, the Audi S6 Sedan uses its power intelligently, translating it into movement in supreme style thanks to quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
A captivating sight: the Audi S7 Sportback. An exciting experience: driving it. Feel its eight cylinders and its 331 kW (420 hp). Savour its expressive elegance and its generous level of comfort. Experience contemporary sportiness – encased in timeless aesthetics. No matter where the road takes you – it will be an exceptional journey.
Get in. Buckle up. Start the engine. Wherever you’re heading, enthralling driving dynamics will power you there. For as you know, the world is your oyster when at the wheel of your Audi S8. You decide the direction. The driving style. The pace. And you enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you have plenty in reserve. More than enough to get the very best from every drive.
With snazzy styling and peppy performance, the TT and TTS appeal to both the practical and the passionate. The TT has a 220-hp turbo four; the TTS makes 292 hp. Quattro all-wheel drive and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic are standard on both models; a manual, unfortunately, is not offered. The TT is available as both coupe and softtop; the TTS only as a coupe. With well-tuned suspensions, the TT and TTS are effortlessly fast. They blend style with refinement in ways the competition doesn’t.
As a favorite of rappers, superstar athletes, and million- and billionaires, the Continental has something for everyone with Louis Vuitton valises full of cash. Offered as a four-seat coupe or convertible, you have a choice of three twin-turbo engines: There is a 500-hp V-8, a 521-hp V-8 S, and a 582-hp W-12; all feature an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Prefer your Conti GT in an ultra-performance version? Check out the GT3-R coupe with its 592-hp V-8; only 99 will be sold here.
The 6-series is BMW’s most exclusive offering, embodying the spirit of elegant grand touring in a most modern fashion. As a coupe or convertible, the 6-series is available with either a 315-hp 3.0-liter inline-six (640i) or 445-hp 4.4-liter V-8 (650i); both engines mate to an eight-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is available for all-weather ability. There is also an M Sport package with even more upscale interior and exterior accents for extra bling.
As a rare breed, the limited-production ALPINA B6 Gran Coupe—featuring the standard, all-weather traction of xDrive, BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive system—pushes high-performance luxury to new heights. Unparalleled in its exclusivity, those who drive it will relish its potent power, elegant exterior and handcrafted interior
Three pistons combusting internally, a dash of electrons and lots of aluminum and carbon fiber are the i8’s main ingredients. Its 357-hp hybrid powertrain drives all four wheels; in our hands, the i8 hit 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and saw 38 MPGe on our 200-mile test run. The poised chassis and sharp steering are good fun, but eco-friendly tires and regenerative braking hinder performance. Familiar controls nestle in a plush cabin; the i8’s eye-catching styling is straight out of a sci-fi flick.
BMW’s pint-sized M2 harkens back to the original small, swift, and snappy M car, the E30-gen M3. Its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six makes 365 hp and drives the rear wheels through a six-speed manual. An optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic blasts the M2 to 60 in just 4.0 seconds. The poised chassis delivers heroic handling, and although the steering is a bit vague at times, this is easily forgiven; sticky tires and beefy brakes help inspire confidence. The M2 is a 2017 10Best winner.
The M3 is a legend in the world of performance cars, causing enthusiasts to gush when given the chance. Under the hood is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six that makes 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque; it makes glorious sounds all the way to its 7500-rpm redline. For more power, the Competition package offers 444 hp and 20-inch forged wheels. A six-speed manual is standard and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional. The M3 comes only as a sedan; coupe and convertibles wear the M4 badge.
Get behind the wheel of the M4 and prepare for explosive acceleration and razor-sharp handling. Power comes from a 425-hp twin-turbo inline-six, with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. The Competition package makes 444 hp, but for the ultimate M4, there’s the GTS with 493 hp. The GTS is only offered with the automatic and as a coupe; the regular M4 offers a convertible option. All versions have the legendary performance of the M cars that came before it.
The M5 is a souped-up 5-series sedan that packs a 560-hp twin-turbo V-8 punch. It comes from a long line of high-performance sedans tuned by BMW’s M division. Larger and heavier than ever, it remains seriously fast and, thanks to sophisticated electronic driving aids, is exceedingly capable on the track. The good news: You can get a manual transmission. The bad news: The automatic is better.
Blending a tasteful yet aggressive design with extraordinary performance, the M6 is a sexy beast indeed. Power comes from a 560-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 mated to a seven-speed automatic or six-speed manual. Offered as a coupe or convertible, one might not expect such brutish power in what is a comfortable and cosseting car, but that’s exactly why we like it. Despite being more agile than the 6-series, the steering and the brakes lack the feedback needed to make the M6 a proper sports car
The Z4 is a sporty, two-seat ragtop that comes in three flavors. The base 2.0-liter four-cylinder sDrive28i is offered with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic; there are two 3.0-liter twin-turbo sixes: the 300-hp sDrive35i and the 335-hp sDrive35is. The former is offered with a six-speed stick or seven-speed dual-clutch auto, while the sDrive35is is offered only with the automatic. Regardless of the model, however, the Z4 is not one of our favorite sports cars.
BMW’s latest convertible sports car, the Z5, has been spotted testing with barely any camouflage disguising its low-slung bodywork. These images courtesy of Auto Evolution give us our best chance yet to see the upcoming drop top undergoing testing before it hits UK roads in 2018. Out exclusive render above shows what the new car could look like.
The ATS-V is Cadillac’s athletic, muscle-bound contender, eager to represent the home team in the fight against other performance rides like the BMW M3 and M4. Sedan and coupe both get a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 cranking out 464 hp through the rear wheels and either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. Slick magnet-actuated adaptive dampers are standard, as is the irksome CUE infotainment system. Get the optional Recaro front seats; in our opinion, they’re well worth the extra cost.
Now this is our kind of Cadillac: It’s got a supercharged 640-hp 6.2-liter V-8, big Brembo brakes, an eight-speed automatic, and rear-wheel drive. A manual is not offered, but you won’t care when this brute hits 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and 100 mph just 3.9 seconds later. The steering is accurate yet hefty, while the ride is surprisingly civilized thanks to a magnetorheological suspension. Cadillac claims a top speed of 200 mph and we won’t argue. This is a supersedan in every sense.
Ferrari reinvigorated their image with the 458 Italia to counter the image that had been cultivated of them selling merchandise items rather than fast sports cars. It became the Ferrari that had to be driven and should be owned. It is one of the best fast, extreme road going Ferraris ever made.
With its twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 located behind you, you’ll enjoy its sonorous wail, and ferocious acceleration, all the way to 8000 rpm, where it makes 661 hp. A dual-clutch seven-speed is the sole transmission; we estimate a 0–60 time of 3.0 seconds. Ferrari’s revised adaptive suspension provides a relatively compliant ride without sacrificing handling. For those who really want to hear that V-8 sing, the Spider offers a retractable hardtop that raises or lowers at speeds up to 25 mph
The California T is Ferrari’s return to forced induction, but where the last turbo Ferrari was the beastly F40, the T is far tamer. It’s the softest in the Ferrari range, designed for daily ease and use—it even has a cupholder. Powered by a 552-hp 3.9-liter V-8 mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto, the T is plenty quick and agile, though not as rewarding as a 488. The folding top tucks into the top half of the trunk; while technically the T is a 2+2, the rear is better suited for luggage.
Sure, it costs more than a house, but the metal-melting aria from that incredibly operatic engine—priceless. The F12berlinetta is everything you could want from an Italian supercar. Power comes from a 730-hp 6.3-liter V-12, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with rear-wheel drive. Even with all that power, the F12berlinetta is one of Ferrari’s more comfortable cars, making it a true daily-driver. For the ultimate, there’s the F12tdf, with 769 hp and downforce-improving aero add-ons.
The FF continues Ferrari’s tradition of offering at least one curious—often plus-sized—four-seater in its lineup. Its shooting brake (two-door wagon) body is a first for Ferrari and provides plenty of room for four adults and some luggage (fitted, of course). A 651-hp 6.3-liter V-12 situated just aft of the front wheels, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and standard all-wheel drive conspire to make the FF the world’s fastest grocery-getter. Alas, at nearly $300K, it’s also the most expensive.
In a category full of two-seat supercar coupes, the GTC4Lusso politely requests a table for four. The lusty 6.3-liter V-12 makes 680 hp at an eardrum-tickling 8000 rpm. That power routes through a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic; Ferrari claims a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 208 mph. The interior boasts acres of leather and a 10.3-inch infotainment screen with capacitive-touch controls. Featuring all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering, this is a hatchback unlike any other.
Above sports cars, there are exotic sports cars—and then there’s the LaFerrari. Its 789-hp V-12 is supplemented by a 161-hp boost from an electric motor. That’s right: It’s a hybrid, enabling it to accelerate like a Bugatti Chiron while guzzling less fuel. Far prettier than its predecessor, the Enzo, the LaFerrari is styled like a ground-bound fighter jet. Both the coupe and convertible are out of production, but they will undoubtedly appear at high-end car auctions for decades to come.
From its seductively long hood to its steeply raked windshield and wide rear haunches, the F-type is a stunner. Offered as both a coupe and a convertible, it gets a snarling 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 pumping out 340 hp to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. Racier S models get a boost to 380 hp and offer all-wheel drive with the automatic. Suspension tuning is firm, and the F-type is always eager to play, but the cost is an often harsh ride over bumpy roads.
With swooping lines and traditional British styling, the XK is the quintessential grand touring car in the Jaguar range. Power comes from a 5.0-liter 385-hp V-8 mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and rear-wheel drive. Steering is nicely weighted and handling is delightfully balanced. The XK is a comfortable car, but it also feels plenty sporty on a winding road. Here’s the bad news: the 2015 model is the last year for these four-wheeled felines. Get one while you still can.
Brutally powerful and obscenely flamboyant, the Aventador is unburdened by reality. Crazy expensive and crazy fast, it’s capable of amazing performance without feeling like it’s going to spin out into a ditch, which is refreshing in a supercar. Available as a coupe (for now), it has a 6.5-liter 730-hp V-12, a 7-speed automated manual transmission and all-wheel drive. For the ultimate, the Superveloce has 740 hp and a claimed top speed of 217 mph. In our testing, it did 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds.
Nothing on Earth can prepare you for the eyeball-melting performance of Lamborghini’s “entry-level” supercar, the Huracán. The angular design is severe yet elegant; the stealth fighter–like cockpit is as luxurious as it is intense. Nestled behind the cockpit is a 5.2-liter V-10 with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (sorry, no manual transmission is offered); with rear-wheel drive, it makes 571 hp and with all-wheel drive it produces 602. A convertible version (Spyder) is also available.
With its 467-hp 5.0-liter V-8, upgraded brakes, and tuned suspension, the GS F puts Lexus back in the performance sports sedan melee. The engine carries over from the RC F coupe, along with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. Robust 15-inch front rotors are squeezed by six-piston calipers and lurk behind 19-inch wheels shod by Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. The exterior looks the part of a true executive express, while the interior has grippy seats and lots of carbon-fiber trim.
Sharply angled sheetmetal and a massively meshed grille hint at a serious performance car, and in that regard, the LC delivers. Heavily enhanced with carbon fiber and high-strength steel, Lexus says the LC has the highest torsional stiffness of any of its models to date. Under the hood beats a 471-hp 5.0-liter V-8, driving the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Steering and brakes are excellent. A hybrid with 354 hp also will be offered. Look for both new LC models in 2017.
The RC coupe brings sexy back to Lexus, with a blend of style and performance that has been lacking in the brand’s recent offerings. The RC200t offers a 241-hp turbo four with rear-drive and an eight-speed automatic. The RC300 has a 255-hp V-6 and all-wheel drive with a six-speed automatic; the RC350 has a 306-hp V-6 and rear-drive with an eight-speed automatic; all-wheel drive is optional and has a six-speed automatic. The F Sport adds adaptive dampers, special gauges and interior trim.
For those who think too much is just enough, the RC F takes an already aggressive-looking car to the extreme. The styling is wild, with a domed hood, a deeper grille, unique fascias, flared fenders, and ample cooling ducts. The suspension is specially tuned for handling with wide 19-inch wheels. Under the hood there’s a 5.0-liter V-8 rated at 467 hp mated to an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Despite that power, the RC F is still too heavy for it to compete with the BMW M4.
With its lightweight chassis of bonded aluminum, supple suspension, and mid-engine layout, there’s nothing ordinary about the Evora 400. A supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 cranks out 400 hp; a six-speed manual is standard and a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic is optional. We estimate a 0-to-60 time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 172 mph. Handling is lively, steering is light yet responsive, and the brakes excellent; acceleration, however, doesn’t feel as strong as we would expect 400 hp to be.
Say “gib-lee.” It’s named for an African desert wind—and the perfect name for a hot Italian sedan. With its deliciously curved lines, the Ghibli’s looks are backed up by what’s under the hood. The base setup is a 345-hp, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 and rear-wheel drive; the S performance version has 404 hp and optional all-wheel drive. Both engines have an eight-speed automatic. The interior needs nicer materials, but this desert wind is a breath of fresh air in a world dominated by German sedans.
Maserati’s GranTurismo offers something extraordinary in a high-performance, six-figure coupe or convertible, one that embodies all that is compelling and irresistible about Italian cars. The exterior has curves in all the right places; the interior is lavishly appointed. There is an amazing, 454-hp 4.7-liter V-8 that is good for sub-5.0-second 0-60 runs. The droptop adds weight and lacks the coupe’s stiffness and response, but still looks fabulous.
In Italian, “Quattroporte” means “four doors,” but you don’t need to speak the language to appreciate this car’s dramatic flair. Two twin-turbo engines are offered—a 404-hp 3.0-liter V-6 or a 523-hp 3.8-liter V-8. An eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is offered with the V-6. Inside the sumptuous, leather-lined cabin is an 8.4-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are optional.
There are two members of the 570 family: the 570S and the 570GT; both are set to kick sand in the face of lesser sports cars. The S is sportier, while the GT is set up for long-distance-driving comfort. Both models have a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 making 562 hp and 443 lb-ft, mounted behind the cabin; a carbon-fiber tub reduces weight and adds strength. A sequential seven-speed gearbox drives the rear wheels. The S is faster to 62 mph by 0.2 second; both models have a top speed of 204 mph.
The 650S may look like a face-lifted 12C, but there’s a lot more to it: The revised styling pays tribute to the P1 hybrid, the body tub is lighter, and about 25 percent of the parts are new. The heart of the car (and the name) is the 650-PS (641-hp) 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8. Mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, the 650S can hit 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. There’s also a Spider version. For more power, there’s the 675LT, which makes 666 hp and hits 60 mph in a claimed 2.9 seconds.
Experience the raw adrenaline of the McLaren 675LT, the lightest, most driver-focused, most exclusive series-production McLaren supercar ever built. The 1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ was the ultimate evolution of the Le Mans-winning F1 GTR. Almost two decades on, the limited-edition 675LT follows its uncompromising ethos to create a visceral driving experience of unique intensity. More power, less weight, more precision – nothing has escaped our attention in the quest for perfection on both road and track.
McLaren’s know-how with lightweight, aerodynamic, ferocious supercars is undeniable, and the 720S is proof. A 710-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 drives the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic. A Drift mode is offered in addition to Comfort, Sport, and Track settings to allow for some drama. A touchscreen infotainment system is standard, as is a digital gauge cluster that hides away in the dashboard when in Track mode. The coupe goes on sale in 2017, with an open-top model coming in 2018.
Gullwings are no longer part of the design, but the GT is still set to swoop in and snag buyers away from its archnemesis, the Porsche 911. Its three variants all have a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8. In the base model—if anything at this level can be called base—the engine makes 456 hp. The GT S adds 47 hp, and in the halo GT R edition, engine revisions give it 577 hp. In our testing, we got a GT S from 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds. We expect the GT R to be even quicker when it debuts in summer 2017.
These AMG twins are the high-performance roadsters for those who refuse to settle for anything less than awesome. The SL63 has a 577-hp 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 mated to a seven-speed automatic; this powertrain motivates the SL63 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. The more potent SL65 has a 621-hp 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12 with the seven-speed; it can hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. The optional active suspension helps these brutes behave. Note: These models replace the Mercedes-Benz versions.
The SLS AMG Coupé Black Series accelerates to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds. The top speed stands at 315 km/h. The AMG 6.3-liter V8 engine generating a power output of 464 kW (631 hp) and 635 Newton meters of torque is a byword for thrilling driving dynamics, making the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series the most powerful AMG high-performance automobile with a combustion engine at present.
Continuing to define sports-car excellence, the Boxster is once again a 10Best winner. With turbo four-cylinders (the base is a 300-hp 2.0-liter; the S gets a 350-hp 2.5-liter) that are substantially more powerful and torque-rich—making the Boxster faster—we can’t help but miss the guttural yowl from Porsche’s iconic flat-six. Despite these changes, the mid-engine roadster certainly hasn’t lost its dynamic perfection, which is nearly without equal. A touchscreen infotainment system is optional.
Sharing the same “718” prefix as its Boxster brother, the Cayman also shares the award as a 10Best winner. Despite more-powerful turbo fours (there is a base 300-hp 2.0-liter and a 350-hp 2.5-liter in the S) with increased torque, the legendary Porsche flat-six rasp of yore is gone—and we miss it. The car remains perfectly poised as its predecessors. A six-speed manual is standard; a seven-speed automatic is optional. An improved infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen is standard, too.
No matter what you think about the Panamera’s styling, its dynamic abilities are beyond question. The base engine is a 330-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 with rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic; all-wheel drive is available. Optional is a 440-hp twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 with the eight-speed and all-wheel drive; we estimate a zero-to-60 time of 3.2–4 seconds. A hybrid is also available, EPA-rated at 51 MPGe. A 12.3-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash controls the infotainment.
Luxurious, exclusive, exquisite; take your pick of adjectives for the lovely Dawn and any one of them will suffice. Basically a Wraith coupe under the skin, the Dawn’s sheetmetal curves and swoops, making it—according to Rolls—the “sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built.” Inside there is room for four adult passengers; occupants will be dazzled by the gorgeous leather and acres of real wood trim. Under the hood is a 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 that makes 563 hp, so the Dawn is as fleet as it is sexy.
The Wraith is derived from the Ghost, but it has its own distinct—some might say sporting—personality. With a 624-hp version of the Ghost’s V-12, the wheelbase is shorter and the fastback body is unique. The Wraith is quicker and more nimble than the Ghost, with a light touch to the steering and a gently controlled ride. Rolls tradition abounds, with rear-hinged power doors, the available Starlight headliner, and an array of options that can launch the already-lofty base price into high orbit.
Chevy’s flagship sedan is no longer the queen of the rental fleet: It’s big, bold, and (more) beautiful, with a spacious, well-trimmed cabin. It also has the latest electronics—including an optional Wi-Fi hotspot—and a much improved driving experience with a well-damped ride and respectable handling. Revisions are few from its 2014 intro: The mild hybrid is dropped, the 2.5-liter four gets stop-start technology, and the 3.6-liter V-6 will offer CNG/bi-fuel technology later in the year.
In this era of hybrids and crossovers, the 300 redefines old-school cool. With a classy design, a spacious cabin, and a comfortable ride, it offers a plethora of powertrains. The base 300 gets a 292-hp 3.6-liter V-6—bumped to 300 hp in sportier 300S trims—a 363-hp 5.7-liter V-8 is optional. All models use an eight-speed automatic with rear drive; all-wheel drive is offered on V-6 models. An 8.4-inch touchscreen provides infotainment in all 300s; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are optional.
A muscle car for the family, the Charger offers the style and stance to intimidate more mainstream sedans. The sport-tuned suspension and accurate steering lend a decidedly agile feel for such a big car, without compromising a compliant ride. A 292-hp 3.6-liter V-6 (300 hp with a Rallye appearance package), an eight-speed automatic, and rear-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Two brawnier rear-drive Hemi V-8s are also available—a 370-hp 5.7-liter or a 485-hp 6.4-liter.
Once a household name, the Taurus is now on life support and in critical need of resuscitation; its uninspired design, cramped cabin, and lackluster performance do it no favors. Both the 288-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and the optional 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo four drive the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available on the V-6. The all-wheel-drive Taurus SHO gets a 365-hp turbo V-6, a sport suspension, and subtle styling tweaks, but it’s showing its age, too.
From its quiet cabin and refined powertrain to its handsome yet mild styling, the Azera offers plenty to appreciate. Touchscreen navigation is standard, with Blue Link, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Top-spec Limited models get a tech upgrade with adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and automatic high-beam assist. The 293-hp 3.3-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic provide enough grunt to haul the front-wheel-drive Azera around. During our testing, it returned 23 mpg on average.
The original Hyundai Genesis was something of a mixed bag. A great first effort, no doubt, but as with any, well, genesis, there were weak points – the infotainment system and some interior materials, for example. In creating its second-generation model, Hyundai paid plenty of attention to these shortcomings while wisely deciding to retain the most notable of the original model’s strengths: its 5.0-liter V8.
Kia continues to redefine the meaning of “near luxury,” and the Cadenza is another example. The roomy interior is handsomely outfitted with quality materials; Nappa leather, as well as heated rear outboard seats, are available. The only engine choice is a 290-hp 3.3-liter V-6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Optional safety tech includes a blind-spot and forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, rear-park assist and automated emergency braking.
The Avalon’s sculpted and swanky styling, luxuriously modern interior and surprising agility give even pricier rivals a run for their money. A 268-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic are smooth and responsive. An efficient hybrid version is also offered, pairing a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor and sending 200 hp through a CVT. For long-distance cruising in style and comfort, the Avalon is hard to beat—and its dashing looks will charm more than just the AARP set.Continue reading
Enticing new buyers and satisfying loyalists requires careful balance, but the LaCrosse delivers. With the base setup, it’s a casual cruiser, but an optional adaptive suspension and 20-inch wheels transforms it into a taut, competent sedan. A 310-hp 3.6-liter V-6 powers the front or all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. An eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE connectivity is standard; automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are options.
With a chassis engineered in Europe, the Regal supplies a credibly athletic sedan to Buick showrooms. A 182-hp 2.4-liter four, six-speed automatic, and front-wheel drive are standard; a 259-hp 2.0-liter turbo four and all-wheel drive are optional. An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE connectivity, and onboard Wi-Fi will satisfy tech aficionados. GS models get 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, and unique interior trimmings.
With handsomely styled sheetmetal and an aggressive front end, the Malibu is set to slice through the tedium that permeates the world of family sedans. The interior has more rear-seat legroom than before, while the materials and overall design lend an upscale look. Under the hood is a 160-hp turbo 1.5-liter four-cylinder; a 250-hp turbo 2.0-liter four is optional. Both have front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic. A hybrid Malibu is also available; in our testing, we saw 35 mpg.
Not the worst but not the best might be an accurate—if less than dazzling—description of the 200. It offers a competent chassis, an intuitive infotainment system, and plenty of storage, yet it lacks the refinement of its competitors. A 184-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder, nine-speed automatic, and front-wheel drive are standard; a 295-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive are optional. It’s a pleasant sedan for commuting and household chores, but poor sales mean the end is near for the 200.
From the workaday SE to the posh Platinum, the Fusion offers something for everyone. The base engine is a 175-hp 2.5-liter four, but two turbo fours are offered—a 181-hp 1.5-liter and a 245-hp 2.0-liter. All get a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional. Two hybrids—one a plug-in—are both rated for 41 mpg highway. A stiffened suspension and 325-hp 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6, both exclusive to the Fusion Sport, promise athletic handling with muscle.
The Accord delivers driving fun in a practical package; all models (except the hybrid) are 2017 10Best winners. A 185-hp 2.4-liter four and a six-speed manual are standard in the coupe and sedan, while Sport models make 189 hp. A CVT is optional, as is a 278-hp 3.5-liter V-6 with a six-speed automatic; the coupe offers a six-speed manual. The hybrid saw 45 mpg in our test. EX models and above have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but some may find the button-less infotainment system annoying
Powered by hydrogen and emitting only water as its exhaust, the Clarity brings you the future today. Its spacious interior seats five; the EPA-estimated range is 366 miles and its fuel-economy rating is 68 MPGe. Available only to California residents, the 3-year lease requires $2499 plus the first month’s payment of $369. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, along with the Honda Sensing suite of safety/driver-assistance tech, 20,000 miles per year, and up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel.
The Ioniq isn’t on sale yet, but here’s what we know. There will be three models: a hybrid, an EV, and, later in fall 2017, a plug-in. The hybrid and EV go on sale in spring 2017; the hybrid gets a 104-hp gas engine, a 43-hp electric motor, and an EPA highway rating of 59 mpg—better than the Prius Eco’s 53. The EV gets a 120-hp electric motor and an estimated 124-mile range; a fast charger can recharge its battery to 80% in 20 minutes. The plug-in gets the gas engine and a 60-hp electric motor.
The Sonata features Genesis-inspired styling with a bit less flourish; it’s contemporary, with powertrains to match. A 185-hp 2.4-liter with a six-speed automatic is standard; there is a 178-hp 1.6-liter Eco model with a seven-speed automatic as well as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid. A 245-hp turbo four with a six-speed automatic rounds out the lineup. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available. With a supple suspension and pleasing steering, it’s a good car, no excuses needed.
More than a pretty face, the Optima is a great value, thanks to its refined chassis and upscale cabin. Five powertrains are offered: a 185-hp 2.4-liter or a 245-hp 2.0-liter turbo with a six-speed automatic transmission; a 178-hp 1.6-liter turbo with a seven-speed automatic; a hybrid; and a plug-in hybrid, rated at up to 99 MPGe combined. There’s lots of tech, too: optional touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, and autonomous emergency braking.
If you think all family sedans are created equal, you’re in for a surprise with the nimble and curvaceous Mazda 6. It lives up to its racy looks, too—a precision-tuned suspension and driver-focused cabin make it the ideal choice for those who enjoy driving. A 184-hp 2.5-liter four teams with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The seven-inch infotainment system is easy to use, and optional automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control provide an extra level of safety.
Curvy, dramatic styling mimics bigger brother Maxima and gives the Altima an upscale vibe. Engine choices are either a 182-hp 2.5-liter four or a 270-hp 3.5-liter V-6, both with a CVT. The SR infuses a little fun by adding stiffer suspension tuning, paddle shifters, and unique wheels. Forward emergency braking with adaptive cruise control creates a robust active-safety bundle. Overall, the Altima is a capable sedan with a decent options list and a roomy, comfortable cabin.
It’s time to stop pressuring the Maxima to live up to its billing as a four-door sports car and accept it for what it is: a bargain-priced luxury car. A gutsy 3.5-liter V-6 makes 300 hp and drives the front wheels through a CVT. The cabin is quiet, has an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay, and can be fitted with diamond-quilted seat inserts, mahogany wood trim, and ambient lighting. Adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are standard on all but the base S.
With standard all-wheel drive and a suite of available safety tech at a price that undercuts less-equipped competitors, the Legacy is an undeniably smart buy. It’s also a solid performer, with a 2.5-liter, 175-hp flat-four or an optional 3.6-liter, 256-hp flat-six, both paired with a continuously variable automatic. The interior is comfortable, but the infotainment system lacks the latest in smartphone integration. An updated Legacy debuts in summer 2017.
For the majority of people to whom a car is merely an appliance, the Camry meets their needs perfectly. Those seeking a zestier ride should look elsewhere. A 178-hp four-cylinder is standard, while a 268-hp V-6 offers some serious zip. Both get a six-speed automatic. A hybrid is EPA-rated for 38 mpg highway. The XSE offers a stiffer suspension and some extra styling bits, but its steering is numb, its braking and handling unexceptional. An all-new Camry will roll onto dealer lots this summer
In Japanese, “mirai” means “future,” and the Mirai is the future of motoring: It runs solely on hydrogen and its only emissions are water. Expected later in 2015, the Mirai initially will be sold or leased just in California, where the infrastructure for hydrogen fueling exists. Range is around 300 miles, refueling will take about five minutes, and fuel is included for the first three years of ownership. The powertrain has an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty to allay early-adopter concerns.
With its combination of space and efficiency, the Prius is quite compelling—in our experience, 46 mpg is achievable, even at 75-mph speeds. In the fun-to-drive department, though, it falls short, and the brakes feel vague. The cabin is mostly quiet, but the tires clomp loudly over broken roads. The seats are comfortable; fold down the rear ones for 66 cu ft of cargo room. A responsive touchscreen controls the infotainment system. The Prius Eco model rates at 58 mpg city and 53 mpg highway.
Despite its German brand name and heritage, the Passat is a thoroughly American-style family sedan, from its limo-like rear seat to its supple ride. The base engine is a 170-hp 1.8-liter turbo four with a six-speed automatic; a 280-hp 3.6-liter V-6 is optional. A quiet and exceptionally roomy cabin is the Passat’s strong point. Niceties such as touchscreen infotainment, Bluetooth, aluminum wheels, and dual-zone climate control are standard; SE and SEL trims get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.Continue reading
The RDX is the luxury crossover for those who value comfort, safety, and technology over gratifying driving dynamics. The 3.5-liter V-6 makes 279 hp; front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. Both powertrains feature a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Fuel efficiency is decent and the ride is tuned for relaxed cruising. Available active safety features such as forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control help keep the RDX on the road.
Named after a famous winding pass in the Italian Alps, the Stelvio is perfect for carving up canyons. A turbo 2.0-liter four makes 280 hp and pairs with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. For more power, the Quadrifoglio flaunts a 505-hp 2.9-liter turbo V-6; an adaptive suspension is standard. Alfa claims a zero-to-60 time of 3.9 seconds. Inside, the Stelvio offers an optional 900-watt Harman/Kardon audio system, but we’re pretty sure that sweet engine is all you’ll want to hear.
Cadillac’s SRX is an avant-garde alternative in a segment founded by the more unadventurous Lexus RX350. Buyers can choose from front or all-wheel-drive as well as two different suspension options with varying levels of rigidity. The six-speed automatic is a little coarse and the 3.6-liter V-6 is noisy during acceleration, but the luxurious interior is quiet once up to cruising speeds. The SRX has proven itself a popular choice for crossover buyers despite back-of-the-pack performance.
Whether cruising on Park Avenue or parked at Costco, the XT5 cuts a dashing silhouette wherever it goes. Lightweight construction offers nimble handling; a 310-hp V-6 and eight-speed automatic provide brisk acceleration. Front-drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. The handsome interior features a rear seat that reclines and slides fore and aft for added comfort; a 40/20/40 split-folding seatback aids flexibility. Tech includes 4G connectivity as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
You’ve got your choice—hot rod, hybrid, or family cruiser. Along with multiple powertrains, the versatile X5 handles like BMW’s excellent sports sedans. Its styling, flexibility, and optional third row are also reasons we consider it tops among crossovers. A 300-hp turbocharged inline-six is standard; a 445-hp twin-turbo V-8 and a 255-hp turbo-diesel inline-six are optional. Unfortunately, the plug-in hybrid’s electric-only range is 14 miles, and in our test we recorded a disappointing 21 MPGe.
Unrestrained styling, raucous power, and surprising agility define the X6—although its fastback design limits rear-seat room and cargo space. A 300-hp 3.0-liter turbo inline-six with an eight-speed automatic can be ordered with either rear- or all-wheel drive. An audacious 445-hp 4.4-liter turbo V-8 is optional and comes only with all-wheel drive. The standard Driving Dynamics Control system allows for five distinct driving modes and an available air suspension provides even more fine-tuning.
Flaunting a rakish, athletic stance and boisterous exhaust note, the QX70 is a snazzy standout. A somewhat coarse but brawny 325-hp 3.7-liter V-6 is mated to a seven-speed automatic; choose either rear- or all-wheel drive. The QX70 feels at home hustling around corners but the steering is regrettably numb. Passengers are treated to an attractive and hospitable cabin chock full of tech toys. The ride is too firm to be considered luxurious, but that may be appealing to more spirited drivers.
The F-Pace brings Jaguar’s sexy styling and athletic moves to a crowded market and ends up in a compelling place. Powertrains include a standard 340-hp or optional 380-hp supercharged V-6, each with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive; a diesel comes later. Aluminum construction creates a rigid structure; sharp steering and superb body control instill driving confidence. The interior is roomy and cargo space is ample; an updated infotainment system finally offers fast responses.
This latest build, which recently earned the People’s Choice Award from Florida’s Festivals of Speed, sees the iconic 4×4 equipped with Chevy’s LS3 Performance engine – tuned to perfection. We’re talking about a fully capable, off-road Land Rover that can top 60 MPH in just 7 seconds. It’s outfitted with Ashcroft drive shafts and axles to handle the power of the engine, complete with limited slip differentials. There’s also an upgraded Terrafirma suspension to ensure the Beast can reach its top speed and brake effectively. In the interior, the Beast hosts hand-stitched leather throughout, a premium eight-speaker JBL entertainment package, Corbeau racing seats, a PUMA dashboard, and MOMO sports steering wheel to boot. The Defender also has a push-button shifter that replaces the traditional lever shifter, offering split-second shifting capability with the push of a button. Another gem from the folks at ECD.
If you’re seeking the perfect vehicle to explore terra incognita, look no farther than the Discovery. With ground clearance of 11.1 inches and a wading depth of 35.4 inches, the Disco is practically without peer. It has a tow rating of 8201 pounds and Advanced Tow Assist, which automatically steers the SUV when backing up with a trailer. Engines include a supercharged 340-hp V-6 and a 254-hp turbo-diesel V-6, each with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. The Disco debuts in mid-2017.
The Range Rover caters to every conceivable need by offering luxury and off-road prowess. The 340-hp supercharged V-6—with an eight-speed automatic and four-wheel drive—offers a decent compromise between power and efficiency. There is also a 254-hp turbodiesel V-6 with 440 lb-ft of torque. Standard and long wheelbase models are equally posh, especially in Autobiography trim, and feature lots of tech. The Rover may be expensive and imposing, but few utes can match this status symbol’s panache.
Agility isn’t normally a word that springs to mind when the subject is a 2.5-ton luxury SUV—but the Range Rover Sport blends a certain enthusiasm with legendary off-road prowess. Engine choices are a 340-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 or a remarkably quiet, efficient 254-hp 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6. Both are matched to an eight-speed automatic and four-wheel drive. Classic styling, smart features, sharp handling, and go-anywhere reputation make the Range Rover Sport a well-rounded package.
The safari-ready LR4 is the automotive equivalent of Bear Grylls, albeit with James Bond’s wardrobe. Powered by a 340-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and driving all four wheels, the LR4 is equally at home on the trails or touring the suburban wilderness. An array of off-road gadgetry is offered, including hill descent control, an adjustable air suspension, and a Terrain Response system. Seating for seven and a luxury-lined interior is icing on the cake.
Don’t let the RX’s daring style fool you—it’s still the plush-riding crossover it’s always been, but a technological leap forward from its segment-defining predecessor. A 295-hp V-6, eight-speed automatic and front-drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. There is a hybrid, but with optional all-wheel drive, we managed 22 mpg; its combined EPA rating is 30. The cabin uses rich-looking interior materials throughout; the F Sport gets comfortable and supportive seats, among other upgrades.
The 2016 Lexus RX 350 is redesigned and gains a more aggressive sheetmetal, revised chassis tuning, more powerful engines, and a suite of new safety aids. Both gas and hybrid models are now available with the F Sport package but only when equipped with all-wheel drive.
Lexus isn’t afraid to do things differently as the RX 450h shows. Not only does it look very different from other 4x4s, but as the ‘h’ in the name suggests, this is a hybrid model. It combines a V6 petrol engine with an electric motor to keep CO2 emissions low at 148g/km and also makes it exempt from the central London congestion charge. Unlike the previous RX model, there is no standard petrol version and as with all the big Lexus models, there’s no diesel choice either.
The MKX pairs stylish sheetmetal with high levels of standard features to help set it apart from the crossover crowd. Underneath, however, it’s basically a Ford Edge. A 303-hp 3.7-liter V-6 is standard, while an optional twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 makes 335 hp. Both powertrains offer a six-speed automatic with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional. On the interior, the MKX is loaded with luxury, including supple leather seats and an optional 19-speaker Revel audio system.
The Levante offers zesty Italian performance backed with an expressively designed exterior—kind of like an automotive Monica Bellucci. Two twin-turbo V-6s are offered: one with 345 hp, the other with 424 hp. Both have an eight-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. The ride is compliant on-road; off-road, the Levante is quite competent. The interior boasts lots of wood and leather; an 8.4-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Siri and Android Auto are standard. The Levante goes on sale this fall.
There’s a GLE for practically every purpose—if you can’t find one to suit your needs, well, you may be beyond the help of mortals. The GLE350 boasts a 302-hp V-6 with rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. The GLE400 4MATIC has all-wheel drive and a twin-turbo V-6 good for 329 hp. The GLE300d 4MATIC is the diesel version, with a 201-hp turbodiesel four and all-wheel drive. And for the first time in a Benz SUV, there’ll be a plug-in hybrid: the GLE550e 4MATIC with a total of 436 hp.
Put the C-class sedan on stilts and you get the GLC-class, a competent luxury crossover that also features the excellent interior of its sedan sibling. There’s lots of standard tech and safety, including collision-prevention and crosswind assist, adaptive suspension, and keyless start. The GLC300 has a 241-hp 2.0-liter four that pairs with a paddle-shifted nine-speed automatic and rear drive; all-wheel drive is optional. The seats are comfortable, the interior quiet, just like a real Mercedes.
You won’t see it in showrooms until early 2017, which should be enough time to get used to calling this hatchback a coupe. There is only one engine/transmission: a 241-hp turbo four with a nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Standard equipment includes a sunroof, a power liftgate, keyless ignition, and a 7-inch infotainment display. Options include heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and an air suspension. Safety tech includes collision prevention assist and stability control.
Mercedes-Benz has meticulously revamped the successful M‑Class. The new generation of the dynamic, stylish SUV now has even more distinctive characteristics, and looks even sportier and more powerful. The front end of this off-roader is now defined by a redesigned bumper, recontoured headlamps and a larger, even more dominant radiator. The rear view also sports a new-look bumper with integrated reflector strips, emphasising the vehicle’s width, as well as tails lights with a smoked-glass look. Stylistic fine-tuning and new high-grade materials which are pleasing to the eye and touch combine with a new two-tone colour scheme to add fresh highlights to the interior. Moreover, the eye is immediately drawn to the new four-spoke multifunction steering wheel. The Mercedes-Benz M-Class standard specification has also been significantly upgraded. It now includes the unique anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE® and NECK-PRO head restraints as well as an all-new, high-performance telematics system developed by Mercedes-Benz, which is much easier to use thanks to a host of new functions. The Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG is also set to become even more distinctive and striking, courtesy of new front and rear aprons with a chromed underguard, and a larger AMG radiator grille.
The Cayenne is a spicy-hot mix of luxury, off-road ability, and sports-car performance—just what you’d expect in a Porsche SUV. The base model has a 300-hp V-6; the S makes 420 hp, and the GTS makes 440 hp, both from a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6. There’s also the S E-Hybrid. All have an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. A leather-lined cabin and infotainment with navigation make it a comfortable road tripper. The Cayenne is easy to hustle around curves and equally ready for family duty.
Get in a Macan, hit the gas, and any objections about a hot-rod compact crossover disappear—which earns it a 2017 10Best award. The Macan is quicker and more capable on- and off-road than its corporate cousin, the Audi Q5. The base engine is a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo four. The S has a 340-hp twin-turbo V-6; the GTS makes 360. All-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic are standard on all. The S hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds in our test, but numb steering and a soft brake pedal are un-Porsche-like.
As the latest in a long line of Volvo wagons, the V90 combines style and practicality like few luxury cars can. It’s available in Cross Country form with five drive modes and more ground clearance, or as a special-order V90 with sleeker looks. A 316-hp turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder with all-wheel drive is standard on the Cross Country; the V90 offers this or a 250-hp turbo four with front-wheel drive. The high-quality, distinctly Swedish interior justifies the $50,000-plus price point.
Volvo is mildly refreshing its XC70 and S80 models for 2012, and both will gain Volvo’s latest safety and infotainment features, as well as a new center stack. The biggest upgrades come in the form of Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system. It replaces the current pop-up nav screen in the S80 and XC70 with an integrated screen at the top of the dash, and is now standard in those cars as well as the XC60 and S60. The basic Sensus display is five inches and displays radio and vehicle info, but a $2700 upgrade package enlarges the screen to seven inches, and adds a fancier audio system, navigation, backup and panorama cameras, and DVD player (only while parked, please).
The XC90 is a handsome, square-jawed Swede striving to offer more efficiency and safety than its rivals, while adding a dose of Scandinavian flair. Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder uses turbocharging and supercharging to create 316 hp and drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. An 80-hp electric motor joins the party in plug-in hybrid models. There’s room for seven in the elegantly appointed interior, with deeply comfortable seats as well as Sensus, Volvo’s new infotainment system.
The name sounds odd, but the Touareg offers a comfortable ride and spirited performance—something we all can understand. Its 3.6-liter V-6 makes 280 hp and is mated to an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. The Touareg is large, comfortable, and solid—plus it’s equally at home both on and off the pavement. A standard touchscreen infotainment display is functional but dated; the optional adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking, however, are well engineered and effective.Continue reading
As the flagship of the Acura line, the RLX mixes tons of tech with your choice of a gas or a hybrid powertrain. While the gas version makes 310 hp, the hybrid is more compelling. It employs a gas-powered V-6 driving the front wheels via a seven-speed transmission and electric motor; a separate pair of motors controls the rear wheels. This results in 377 combined horsepower and tenacious grip. Both models deliver swift performance and sporty handling; downsides are bland styling and high prices.
Acura likes to tout high-tech systems as the main selling points of its models, and the TLX is no exception; it offers four-wheel steering and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive to enhance its agility. The base powertrain is a 206-hp 2.4-liter four with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic or a 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6 with a nine-speed automatic. The TLX has LED exterior lights and electronic driving assistants including AcuraLink, road-departure mitigation, and collision-mitigation braking.
An emotional, hot-blooded Italian car like the Giulia is sure get pulses racing in the usual entry-luxury crowd. A 280-hp 2.0-liter turbo four with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Leather seats, a dual exhaust, and a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel with integrated push-button start also come standard. A 6.5-inch or optional 8.8-inch touchscreen provide connectivity; high-tech features like adaptive cruise control are also available.
Sharply creased bodywork and a refined cabin make the A6 a well-tailored option for discerning drivers. The base powertrain is a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo four, seven-speed automatic, and front-drive; all-wheel drive with an eight-speed automatic is optional. A supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 with all-wheel drive is also available. A 7.0-inch infotainment system is standard; tech such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, night vision, adaptive cruise control, and automated emergency braking are optional.
A fastback roofline gives the A7 both flair and hatchback practicality, while the luxury cabin pampers occupants. Standard all-wheel drive helps get all of the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6’s 333 hp to the ground through an eight-speed automatic. A taut suspension and confident brakes round out the A7’s performance credentials. Smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. Night vision, automated emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control are optional.
The luxury cabin is nice, but a lively chassis is what gives BMW’s 5-series an edge over softer rivals. A pair of turbo engines—a 248-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 335-hp 3.0-liter inline-six—power the rear or all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. The posh interior does its best 7-series impression with 16-way-power-adjustable front seats, a 10.3-inch infotainment system with nav, and available Gesture Control, which used to be a 7-series exclusive. Apple CarPlay is optional.
With a lithe chassis and muscular powertrains, the XF combines graceful moves with a powerful punch. A 180-hp turbo-diesel four is the base engine; a 340- or 380-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 is optional. An eight-speed automatic pairs with rear- or all-wheel drive. A standard 8.0-inch touchscreen can be upgraded to a 10.2-inch HD touchscreen. The back seat and trunk are roomy. Steering is obedient and handling competent; the XF is quick, quiet, and spacious—everything a sports sedan should be.
Leaving sportiness to its rivals, the E-class caters to those who’d rather waft along in the lap of luxury. The quiet and supremely comfortable cabin features a 12.3-inch infotainment screen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 241-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder provides adequate power and pairs with a nine-speed automatic with either rear- or all-wheel drive. Automated emergency braking and other safety tech like lane-keeping assist and a semi-autonomous driving mode are optional.
Only the folks at Bentley would consider a $200,000 car as an “entry-level” sedan, but that’s the logic in the land of the super rich. Based on the Continental, the Flying Spur offers a 500-hp twin-turbo V-8 for the merely rich and a 616-hp twin-turbo W-12 for the truly wealthy. Both feature an eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, and a handsewn interior to please even the most sybaritic. Believe it or not, the V-8 is the more spirited driver of the two, but at these prices, does it matter?
The Mulsanne is a leather-lined, wood-adorned rolling lounge for the well-heeled motorist. A 505-hp 6.75-liter twin-turbo V-8 drives the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic. Although perfect for chauffeur duty, the Mulsanne is also a driver’s car with sharp steering, a poised chassis, and the moves of a smaller car. Rear-seat passengers will be similarly charmed, especially when the Mulsanne is personalized through the Mulliner customization program and its wide range of bespoke features.
Meet the CTS, the car that taught Cadillac engineers to speak German. The base engine is a 268-hp turbo four; a 335-hp V-6 and a 420-hp twin-turbo V-6 (a.k.a. Vsport) are optional. All have rear-drive and an eight-speed automatic; the Vsport doesn’t offer all-wheel drive. While the exterior is distinctive, the interior looks dated with its glossy-black trim. The ride and handling are great, so if you like your car to go as good as it looks, check out the CTS. The Vsport is a 2016 10Best winner.
Attractive sedan 2017 Infiniti Q40 is coming as new model and it is one of the most stylish vehicle in entire Infiniti lineup for that year. Not only styling, but also performance is upgraded for new vehicle which should come out in next few months. Nevertheless, luxurious cabin offers comfort and complete joy of ride. This mid-size sedan will keep both drive modes of its predecessor, while it is still unknown will there be more trim levels offered for Q40. Company is also preparing Q50 sedan, which will be launched in next couple of years, and we must wait to see if that means some other role for Q40.
The Q50 is one slinky sedan, set to make anyone in a coupe seem dull. The 208-hp turbo four lacks power to back up those looks; consider the twin-turbo V-6 with 300 hp, or 400 hp in the Red Sport. Rear-drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. A hybrid rates at 34-mpg highway; rear-drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. Infotainment features apps for email, calendar syncing, and concierge services. Available safety tech includes lane assist and backup collision intervention.
As luxury flagships go, the Q70 is stylish and quite voluptuous, but good looks and a fetching interior aren’t enough to steal the spotlight from fresher foes. A 330-hp 3.7-liter V-6 or even more potent 420-hp 5.6-liter V-8 powers the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is optional. A hybrid model pairs a 3.5-liter V-6 with an electric motor for 360 hp and a stretched Q70L model adds 5.9 inches of rear leg room and extra luxury features for rear-seat passengers.
With a lithe chassis and muscular powertrains, the XF combines graceful moves with a powerful punch. A 180-hp turbo-diesel four is the base engine; a 340- or 380-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 is optional. An eight-speed automatic pairs with rear- or all-wheel drive. A standard 8.0-inch touchscreen can be upgraded to a 10.2-inch HD touchscreen. The back seat and trunk are roomy. Steering is obedient and handling competent; the XF is quick, quiet, and spacious—everything a sports sedan should be.
This luxury cruiser’s styling and vague dynamics aren’t for enthusiasts; everyone else, read on. The ES has a quiet cabin, a spacious rear seat, and an impressively quick 268-hp 3.5-liter V-6 that make this luxe car a contender. The available hybrid powertrain seemingly offers improved efficiency, but in our testing we averaged just 33 mpg despite the EPA’s 40-mpg estimate. The hybrid is less powerful than the V-6, too. An optional safety package adds a suite of adaptive safety technologies.
The GS hopes you’ll look past its polarizing looks and consider it a sports sedan worthy of competing with the best from here and Germany. The GS200t’s 241-hp 2.0-liter turbo four, rear-wheel drive, and an eight-speed automatic are standard. GS350 models get a 311-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and eight-speed auto; optional all-wheel drive has a six-speed automatic. GS450h hybrids make 338 hp with a CVT. Enthusiasts will want the F Sport package with a tuned suspension, larger wheels, and upgraded brakes.
Despite its sleek design, the MKZ is a bit of a quandary: It shares its underpinnings with the Ford Fusion but costs more. There are two gas-engine choices plus a hybrid version. The base engine is a 245-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder; a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 is optional with 350 hp for front-drive models and 400 hp with all-wheel drive. Both engines have a six-speed automatic. The hybrid is front-drive only with a CVT. The 400-hp MKZ hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds in our testing.
It might be the least expensive Benz available, but the CLA’s swoopy design makes it one of the more stylish cars on the road. The only engine is a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder making 208 hp. It teams up with a seven-speed automatic and either standard front- or optional all-wheel drive. However, the steering is heavy and the ride can be harsh over rough roads. The interior design is handsome, but the infotainment display looks tacked on—and tacky. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are optional.
The 2016 Volvo S80 in Fort Myers, FL, is the midsize luxury sedan that delivers style and performance in spades. Equipped with a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder direct-injection engine that delivers 240 hp and gets up to 37 highway MPG, the 2016 Volvo S80 delivers a thrilling driving experience. The vehicle has been designed with crisp lines and a muscular back end to draw attention whether you are driving to Sanibel Island or Estero. Chrome accents in the fog light panel, lower air grille, door strips, and below rear lights create a sassy profile for this cutting-edge vehicle. Inside the cabin you are surrounded by comfort with leather upholstery and dark walnut inlays. You will feel completely in control with a three-spoke leather steering wheel with decorative wood inlay. Power driver seat, heated front seats, electronic climate control, and adjustable rear vents keep you and your passengers at the pinnacle of luxury. An available glass moonroof and available rear park assist camera give you more visibility than ever before. Drive confidently into the modern age with standard Volvo On-Call for hands-free control of phone and Sensus Connect for access to entertainment and information apps.
This svelte sedan is the XC90’s under-the-skin twin; as a Volvo, it mixes style with safety in a decidedly Swedish way. The powertrains, however, are slightly less sporty. There’s a choice of four-cylinder engines: a 250-hp turbo (T5) or a 316-hp turbocharged and supercharged model (T6). Both pair with a silky eight-speed automatic. The ride is quiet and well controlled; steering is heavier than we’d like. Brakes are excellent. Tech includes Pilot Assist, which steers the car at up to 80 mph.Continue reading
Blending comfort, technology, and spirited handling into a three-row crossover is no easy feat, but the MDX manages to pull it off with ease. A 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6 drives the front or all four wheels through a quick-shifting nine-speed automatic. Automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and dual infotainment screens are standard; navigation and rear-seat entertainment are optional. A hybrid, powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 and a trio of electric motors, should go on sale in late 2016.
In this class, we expect ample room and comfort, but the Q7 adds agility, earning it a 2017 10Best award. The base engine is a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo four; a 333-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 is optional. Both engines pair with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive; available four-wheel steering and an air suspension help the Q7 remain composed. The high-quality interior features the latest in infotainment, including the optional Virtual Cockpit, a 12.3-inch driver-facing cluster.
With room for up to eight, a tow rating of up to 8300 pounds—and tons of bling—the Escalade is luxury writ large. A 420-hp V-8 and eight-speed automatic with rear- drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. The long-wheelbase ESV adds about 25 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. The rough ride and reluctant handling betray its pickup-truck foundation, and extras can push the price into the stratosphere. A tribute to conspicuous consumption, it’s more than most drivers need.
Crossover capability doesn’t come at the cost of luxury or comfort in the stylish QX60. A creamy ride, a nicely appointed interior, and an easy-access third row highlight this seven-seater. The engine is a 295-hp 3.5-liter V-6 driving the front wheels; all-wheel drive is optional. The EPA rates the hybrid model at 27 mpg highway. An 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard; rear-seat entertainment and onboard Wi-Fi are options. Also available are adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking.
As big as a luxury yacht and just as opulent inside, the QX80 is Infiniti’s answer to the Cadillac Escalade. It’s built on a full-size truck frame and powered by a 400-hp 5.6-liter V-8 with a seven-speed automatic; rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. The QX80 can accelerate briskly and tow up to 8500 lb, with standard seating for seven and eight optionally. In terms of quiet and comfort, it matches its competitors; when it comes to price, it is often cheaper.
2016 Infiniti QX80 powertrain
Previously known as QX56, the 2016 Infiniti QX80 continues to make its way in full-size crossover segment. For 2016, redesign is expected, with better features and technology used inside, and some new lines as part of refreshment. There is no official info on it, but 2016 QX80 won’t get radical cuts. Instead, vehicle gets few updates to exist to next big overhaul, or possible new generation. New trim levels are expected, while existing could be refreshed, and safety systems are going to be enlarged and improved. In short, we expect better vehicle than before.
Merging a sturdy chassis and typical Lexus luxury, the GX is a mountain climber in a three-piece suit. A 301-hp 4.6-liter V-8, a six-speed automatic, and a four-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential are all standard and provide the GX its off-road credentials. Inside, plush seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and a power-adjustable steering wheel are standard; adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are optional on the top Luxury trim.
It’s smooth, upscale, and imposing, but the LX’s heavy steering, dismal braking, and questionable towing capability are tradeoffs its rivals don’t force you to make. The cabin is a classy place for eight, featuring many modern conveniences like a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, park assist, and optional rear-seat DVD entertainment. A 5.7-liter V-8 makes 383 hp and is mated to a silky eight-speed automatic transmission; full-time four-wheel drive is standard.
Stylistically divergent from the Ford Flex with which it shares a platform, the MKT is equally spacious and comfortable. The base V-6 is sufficient, but an optional twin-turbo V-6 is more powerful and comes paired with all-wheel drive and a three-mode adjustable suspension that improves its already commendable ride and handling. Considering its mass, the MKT is surprisingly quick with the EcoBoost engine. Technophiles will enjoy a host of available infotainment and driver assistance features.
Stepping aboard the Navigator feels like climbing the steps to a private jet, and its commanding view of the road maintains the high-altitude ambiance. A 380-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6, six-speed automatic, and either rear- or four-wheel drive provide up to 9000 pounds of towing capacity. Both standard and long-wheelbase bodies can seat eight, and the third row is even suitable for adults. An eight-inch touchscreen with navigation is standard. A new Navigator should debut sometime in 2017.
Its basic design is almost 40 years old, it’s high and boxy, the suspension is soft, the gas mileage is scandalous, and the base price tops $120,000. But if your goal is Kardashian-level visibility, then the mighty G550 is just the ticket. It’s rocket-quick with its 416-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, all-wheel drive, and a seven-speed automatic. The interior is full of high-tech and ample comfort. Once you’re behind the wheel is where it all begins to make good sense.
This is it, the very best Mercedes-Benz SUV that isn’t an overpriced, reformed military vehicle resembling a shipping container on wheels. The GL-Class is to gated communities what Peet’s is to coffee houses: not exactly common, but not exactly uncommon. This is the last year for it, too. The name changes to GLS-Class for 2017, when this sizable SUV receives a number of upgrades.
Mercedes calls the GLS the S-class among SUVs—its rich appointments and power earn it a 2017 10Best award. Its three rows offer room for seven; the interior has leather, wood, and options such as an air-ionization system. The GLS450 has a 362-hp twin-turbo V-6; the GLS550 has a 449-hp twin-turbo V-8. For economy, the GLS350d has a 255-hp diesel V-6. Each model has all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic. Safety tech includes cross-wind assist, collision-prevention assist, and brake assist.Continue reading