The all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia storms into a class of formidable competitors from all over the world. This Italian-born luxury compact is likely to win over buyers who prioritize driving performance over rear seat legroom or trunk space. The interior is sleekly styled, although the knobs and controls lack high-quality heft. A lively turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers the rear-wheel-drive base model, which is available with all-wheel drive
Two potent turbocharged engines to choose from; sleek interior cabin styling; infotainment system has an easy user interface; one of the best-driving cars in the segment
There are plenty of fuel-efficient small cars on the market today, but only a few of them clearly stand out from the crowd. A prime example is the 2016 Fiat 500. Fiat brought its cheeky Cincquecento ("500" in Italian) to the United States after acquiring Chrysler to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Now in its sixth year on our shores, the Fiat 500 continues to challenge the status quo with its distinctly Italian flair. Offered in hatchback and convertible body styles, numerous trim levels and specifications ranging from economical to downright sporty, the 500 is an endearingly offbeat alternative to the usual subcompact.
Those who dare to add a little Italian flair to their driving lives have found the 500L to be a fun way to satisfy their desire for something a little different, but not too different. It's chic and stylish, but still seats 5 and offers 22.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats (68.0 cubic feet with the rear seats down). The 500L also boasts fairly impressive fuel economy numbers for a 4-door family hauler, registering 25 mpg city/33 highway/28 combined when the 1.4-liter 160-hp 4-cylinder engine is coupled with the 6-speed manual (those numbers become 22/30/25 with the 6-speed automatic).
If you're looking for a stylish, affordable, and fun family wagon, it's tough to beat the FIAT 500L. With its style and space, the 500L is a winner for those who need to be practical but desire to be unique.
Take a test-drive of the 2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid and you'll discover that its hybrid system is capable of delivering impressive fuel efficiency. It uses the same hybrid powertrain as the larger Ford Fusion Hybrid, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine coupled with an electric motor. It produces a total of 188 horsepower, making the C-Max one of the most energetic hybrids in its class, while still delivering combined city-highway fuel efficiency of up to 40 mpg. At the same time, the C-Max's European roots give it refined driving characteristics and a well-dressed interior that make it substantially more enjoyable to live with on a daily basis than most of its hybrid rivals.
The 2016 Ford Edge gains a new optional infotainment system called Sync 3. Variable-ratio steering is now available on the Titanium trim and standard on the Sport, which also gets a standard power-adjustable steering wheel and hands-free power liftgate. On the powertrain front, the 3.5-liter V6 is no longer available on the base SE, the four-cylinder engine gains an automatic start-stop function (FWD only), and the Edge Sport now comes standard with all-wheel drive. Every 2016 Edge receives a noise-reducing windshield and keyless entry and ignition, with the Edge SEL adding a standard power passenger seat.
Shopping for a small crossover presents a dizzying array of options, but the Ford Escape is a smart, safe choice among a crop of great contenders. The 2017 Escape receives style and power upgrades, improved small item storage, and an updated tech interface that packs plenty of connected punch. The Escape offers optional all-wheel drive, respectable fuel economy, a spacious cargo bay and an available hands-free power liftgate. You can outfit the Escape from comfortable casual (the SE trim with no options) to rugged luxury (a loaded Titanium model that can breach $40,000). On the road, its agility instills a level of driver confidence that's rare in this class.
For 2017, Ford has trickled some desirable features such as automatic climate control down to lower Escape trim levels. The old lever-operated parking brake has been replaced by a button, which frees up space for improved small item storage. The 2017 Escape gets revised exterior styling, some minor interior improvements, a newly available 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a modified 2.0-liter engine with a bit more power. Models with Sync 3 also provide an ownership app (FordPass with Sync Connect) and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Safety features now include lane departure prevention, a drowsy driver warning system, and adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert.
Edmunds:Shoppers pretty much want everything from their full-size light-duty trucks these days. You want your new truck to be comfortable, have the most modern tech on the inside, get impressive fuel economy and, oh yeah, do all that truck stuff, too, like hauling cords of firewood and towing an Airstream travel trailer. It's easy to take all of this capability for granted, but the 2017 Ford F-150 is a perfect example of that kind of modern truck.
Kelly’s Blue Book:
Now in its third generation, the 2016 Honda Fit 5-door subcompact continues to prove that subcompact cars can aspire to more than just basic transportation. The Honda Fit's so-called Magic Seat lets owners maximize cargo area easily, all without compromising the surprisingly large rear seat. The little engine and continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) ensure excellent fuel economy, while the light weight and small size mean you don't feel like you've been shortchanged when it comes to acceleration. In fact, thanks to the sharp steering and nicely balanced suspension, a new Honda Fit handles better than you may think.
Car and Driver:
The Odyssey has charmed our staff for years with its unrivaled road manners, smooth powertrain, and accommodating interior. With room for up to eight passengers to sit comfortably, the Odyssey is also fuel-efficient, thanks to the cylinder-deactivation feature on its 248-hp 3.5-liter V-6. Perhaps most exciting is the built-in vacuum in the cargo area. Featured on certain models, it’s so obvious in its usefulness you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Cheerios everywhere, beware!
Honda focused much of its attention to the Pilot's interior, which is more modern, more refined and easier to see out of. The Pilot was always roomy and versatile, but extra leg- and headroom in the third row, in particular, makes it friendlier for passengers of all sizes. There are also more bins and cup holders for your personal items. Up front, a new 8-inch touchscreen interface brings the Pilot up to date in terms of technology features and controls. The screen, standard on all but the base LX, gives the Pilot's dash a clean look, though it's not intuitive or responsive to use as some other touchscreen systems.
The Car Connection:
The Pilot’s known for its versatility, and that’s in full force in this new version. Three rows of seats have space for up to eight passengers. The front seats are just about ideally shaped, and with step-in height about an inch lower than before, the Pilot is an even better bet for smaller or older drivers. The middle row is adult-friendly, and for the first time, you can get a version with two captain’s chairs and a pass-through. The seat reclines for long trips and has its own tray table and cup holder
Coupes just aren't as popular as they once were. In fact, more luxury shoppers buy supposedly unfashionable wagons these days than coupes. Wagons, for Pete's sake! Yet this smallish segment is getting a proverbial Hollywood reboot with the arrival of the new 2017 Infiniti Q60. This coupe's exterior styling is dramatically different (and much more striking, in our opinion) than the previous generation Q60's, and it also helps the new Q60 stand out from its competitors.
So, from a "Hey, look at my cool car!" perspective, the new Q60 delivers exactly as a luxury coupe should. It also presents strong value for the money, especially on the lower end of its trim level spectrum, and advanced, well-executed safety features are widely available. Infiniti has also introduced a turbocharged V6 engine with eyebrow-raising 400 horsepower. In pictures and on the spec sheet, there's a lot to like.
A lot of what makes the Juke so enjoyable is what lies beneath the surface, namely a healthy turbocharged engine that is powerful yet efficient. An available all-wheel-drive system with genuine rear-axle torque-vectoring means the Juke can vary power delivery between the front and rear axles as well as the left and right rear wheels for optimum traction. A taut suspension makes for great handling when the roads start to curve and there are even 7 inches of ground clearance to help keep the body free of scrapes on rough roads.
The Car Connection:
The Nissan Pathfinder is a large three-row crossover SUV. It's a very useful vehicle, with seating for seven. It's not quite the Pathfinder you might expect, if you haven't driven one in a few years. The Pathfinder has undergone a few big transitions in its career as a people hauler. In its latest edition, it's given up on its truck-based SUV roots to become a more refined crossover utility vehicle.
Kelly Blue Book:
Three years after its metamorphosis from a rugged, truck-based SUV to a more efficient, smoother-riding sedan-based crossover SUV, the Nissan Pathfinder remains a smart choice among 3-row family haulers. Nissan's midsize crossover SUV offers nifty features like the Around View bird's-eye monitor and one of the easiest 3rd-row-access systems available.
Kelly’s Blue Book:REAR LEGROOM
Car and Driver:
The iM is versatile, affordable, and hardly a down-market consolation prize thanks to a slew of standard features and lots of accessories. A 137-hp 1.8-liter four pairs with either a six-speed manual or a CVT, so the sporty looks are mostly for show. The iM focuses more on ease of ownership and fuel economy. A six-speaker Pioneer audio system with a seven-inch touch screen should please audiophiles and tech lovers alike; a list of dog-friendly accessories appeals to pet owners everywhere.
Kelly’s Blue Book:
The 2016 Toyota Highlander places an emphasis on safety, comfort, economy, reliability, and resale. Its sharp exterior and numerous interior features are simply sweeter icing on the cake.
DRIVER EASY SPEAK SYSTEM
Addressing misbehaving kids in the 3rd-row seat no longer requires a screaming parent or pulling over to administer discipline. With Easy Speak, a microphone carries the driver’s voice to the rear speakers, essentially converting them into mini-megaphones.
The Car Connection:
The Toyota RAV4 is a competent crossover utility with a new Hybrid model this year, updated safety systems, and lots of interior space. That gives the RAV4 not only a version with better fuel economy, but the only hybrid in the smaller SUV segment.
Kelly’s Blue Book:
The Toyota RAV4 remains a perennial favorite thanks to its compact size, spacious interior, sleek styling and well-deserved reputation for reliability and resale. The RAV4 has everything they need. This year, Toyota adds a hybrid model to the lineup, something you won’t find with the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue or Ford Escape.
The Toyota Tacoma, redesigned in 2016, has stuck closely to its formula for two decades. Though it doesn't represent a revolution in truck design, this newest Tacoma has plenty of appeal for those shoppers who don't want the bulk or inconvenience of a regular full-size pickup.
You can pick either a four-cylinder or a V6 engine as well as either an extended-cab or crew-cab body style. Interestingly, all rear-wheel-drive Tacomas share the raised ride height of the four-wheel-drive (4WD) variants, but the 4WD Tacoma's ability to do things off-road has never been greater. The TRD Off-Road variant (with the automatic transmission) has Toyota's Crawl Control driver aid system, and for 2017 there is a new TRD Pro model with even more off-road-oriented equipment. Other appealing qualities include Toyota's latest touchscreen interfaces, a standard lockable damped tailgate and an available tri-fold hard tonneau cover.
The Car Connection:
The Volkswagen Beetle is a versatile retro compact, with a choice of powertrains, including a thrifty diesel, and coupe or convertible body styles. It mixes the original Bug's design elements with a thoroughly up-to-date front-drive chassis. It has shed some cuteness in the current generation, but still carries the happy look of its ancestors.
Kelly Blue Book:
By evolving the original Beetle’s styling to meet 21st-century demands, the VW Beetle is set to win over a whole new generation. Like its ancestor, the Beetle is cute and affordable. Unlike the first Beetle, however, this latest version is loaded with modern safety and high-tech features, comes in a number of colors and offers a choice between two powerful turbocharged engines. The 2016 Beetle elongates the original car’s form, creating a silhouette more reminiscent of a vintage Porsche 356. Unique wheels for each trim further set the Beetle apart from the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500, as does its considerably larger size both inside and out.
Car and Driver:
While we rarely skip an opportunity to praise the Volkswagen Golf, our infatuation has never fixated on the hatchback’s price. That’s because while its cost is reasonable, its core competencies—a solid structure, an impeccably finished interior, and comfortable and capable suspension—would be welcome at any price. And value is just one of the main criteria we use to name cars to our 10 Best Cars list, the others being satisfying driving dynamics and unparalleled execution of purpose. Because the Golf excels at all three, it has been named a 10Best winner for a decade running.
Its lighter price tag has no effect at the test track, of course. The turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder still makes 170 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, and the six-speed automatic transmission’s ratios are unchanged. The Wolfsburg model tested here reached 60 mph in 7.3 seconds and stopped from 70 mph in 168 feet. Those figures are a shade better than those laid down by our 2015 long-term test car when new. This Wolfsburg’s 0.84-g skidpad grip figure trails that car’s, due to its less grippy tires on 16-inch wheels in place of the older model’s 18-inch rubber.
There's a sense of substance and purpose in the way the 2016 Volkswagen Touareg goes down the road, but it's not so large that it ever feels unwieldy. In fact, thanks to its exceptionally responsive steering, the Touareg can be genuinely fun to drive, and it offers more road feel than some others in its class. It also excels on the highway, where low noise levels and exemplary stability at speed give it a cool, confident demeanor that's instantly likable.
Thanks to a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, the Touareg remains composed on loose off-road surfaces despite its lack of low-range gearing. With a respectable amount of ground clearance and a compliant suspension, it powers over washboard roads, and through light snow and light-duty trails without breaking a sweat.