Car & Driver:
Audi. BMW. Mercedes. These are the popular brands people reflexively shop when looking for a luxury sedan. But what if you find them to be a bit boring or complacent? That's where the 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia comes in. This luxury sedan newcomer isn't well-known, but once you see it, it's hard to ignore.
On the outside, the Giulia looks like nothing else on the road thanks to its taut styling and classic Alfa Romeo grille. The beauty is more than skin-deep, too. The underlying hardware is competitive, with the base Giulia and Giulia Ti receiving a lively 280-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels through a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.
It's the top-of-the-line Giulia Quadrifoglio trim, however, that truly makes its presence known by aggressively gunning for top performance honors of the class. It comes outfitted with a powerful Ferrari-developed turbocharged V6 engine, weight-saving carbon fiber, articulating aerodynamics, and a whole host of other speed-enhancing features to win over the hearts and wallets of performance fans.
Finding a SUV that's great for family duty but is still easy to drive and pleasing to own can be tough, but the 2018 Ford Edge may fit the bill. Though it might not have the third row of a larger SUV, the Edge still has plenty of cargo space and passenger space. It's also still relatively easy to park and gets superior fuel economy compared to those larger models.
Inside, the Edge can be fitted with all sorts of convenience and luxury-oriented features. The optional Sync 3 infotainment system effortlessly integrates your smartphone's mapping and communication capabilities into your car, and available driver assist functions include adaptive steering and cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning and active park assist.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Ford Edge as one of Edmunds' Best Family SUVs and Best Midsize SUVs for this year.https://www.edmunds.com/ford/edge/2018/review/
Shopping for a small crossover presents a dizzying array of options, but the Ford Escape is a smart choice among a crop of great contenders. It offers a choice of three engines, an impressive voice-command interface, and cargo space that ranks near the top of the class. After a thorough update last year, the 2018 Escape offers a new trim level that bridges the gap between standard and luxury models.
The Escape offers optional all-wheel drive, respectable fuel economy, cargo space that ranks near the top of the class and an available hands-free power liftgate. You can outfit the Escape from comfortable casual (SE trim with no options) to rugged luxury (a loaded Titanium model). On the road, its agility instills a level of driver confidence that's rare in this class.
It's hard to overstate how much we like the 2018 Honda Civic. Equipped with the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, it's one of the best cars in its class for delivering both impressive acceleration and high fuel economy. Inside, it has plenty of room for passengers, clever storage solutions and more cargo space than most competitors in any body style. It also offers technology features that put some other compact cars to shame and safety ratings that are among the best.
Available as a sedan, coupe or hatchback, the Civic has a version for every niche, and all of them are good. Want more sauce? There's the sportier Civic Si, as well as the absolutely bananas Civic Type R. Just as impressive, neither one sacrifices the qualities we love about the standard variants.
It's been a favorite of [Edmunds] since day one, thanks to its impressive roominess, standout utility and frugal fuel economy. For 2018, the Fit receives a host of improvements that make it an even more appealing choice.
Inside, you'll find an upgraded infotainment interface that now supports Android Auto and Apple Car Play smart phone integration. Honda has also added new active safety technology that includes adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning and intervention. The Fit's mechanical bits are largely unchanged, but Honda has added more noise insulation and improved the Fit's suspension and steering for quicker responses. That means the Fit is a better daily driver and a nicer place to spend time -- areas where it was already beating much of its competition. This quieter, more technologically relevant Fits retains all the other qualities that made it a solid choice. The Magic Seat rear bench seat is still here, and it allows for quite a few storage and seating arrangements. Parking remains a breeze, too, thanks to the car's small footprint, nimble handling, and short doors that allow easy ingress and egress even in tight spaces.
Eclipse Cross makes good use of crisp body lines and a swooping roofline to project an athletic profile, inspired by a sprinter in the “Set” position at the starting line. This impression is amplified by wheelbase that is slightly longer that the competition’s (106.4 inches vs. 104.7 inches for 2018 Toyota RAV4) with short overall body length (175.5 inches vs 183.5 inches for 2018 Toyota RAV4). How do they do that? The designers kept the overhangs very brief in front and rear.
The Mitsubishi “Dynamic Shield” gives the front fascia its expressive look, with LED accent lighting and DRL (full LED headlights are available on upper trim levels). A signature LED taillight treatment lets you know the Eclipse Cross has left the building.
Inside, the Eclipse Cross is nicely designed, with high levels of fit and finish, good quality materials and a well-conceived layout. The second row and cargo area have received some smart engineering. In order to maximize utility, the 60/40-split seat not only folds down, it also slides forward and back about eight inches, making more room for luggage than the spec sheet indicates (22.63 cubic feet). The seat back reclines, and there’s available second-row seat heat on the outboard positions and a sliding panoramic sunroof overhead.
The driver’s seat is the place to be, with a cockpit feel. The manual tilt-and-telescope adjustable steering wheel is home to the usual buttons and controls. Big paddle shifters are mounted to the steering column behind the wheel. The seven-inch touchscreen telematics interface is mounted on the dash at the top of the center stack – the best location for safety and visibility.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offers a reason to take another look at this family SUV. While the regular Outlander lacks the comfort and refinement of its many competitors, the new PHEV model is one of the first vehicles to bring plug-in recharging capability to the SUV class.
Mitsubishi has sold the Outlander PHEV in other global markets for two years. Now it makes its debut in the United States. Starting at about $35,000 before applicable tax credits, the Outlander PHEV looks pretty much the same as its gas engine-only counterpart.
It's a different story under the hood, where a four-cylinder gas engine joins electric hybrid components. The engine and electric motor combination drives the front wheels, while a second electric motor drives the rear wheels. Sophisticated computer processing determines the best way to dole out power to all four wheels, although drivers can also manually engage a four-wheel-drive lock mode when desired.
With its supercar-like performance abilities, the 2018 Nissan GT-R is a standout in the narrow field of $100,000 high-performance. At the heart of every GT-R is an extremely potent twin-turbo V6, plus a fast-shifting automated manual gearbox, a sport-tuned suspension, powerful Brembo brakes and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. All these elements come together to make the 2018 Nissan GT-R an extremely capable sports car. Inside and out, the GT-R looks the part of a fast car. Its exterior is sleek and aerodynamic, and its inside is a well-crafted, sport-infused cockpit with no shortage of performance cues.
From a speed and acceleration standpoint, the GT-R is as good as it gets, with blindingly fast straight-line performance and tire-melting torque. All this power feels a little less daunting because it's accompanied by a very precise steering system, sophisticated all-wheel drive and big, strong brakes that are designed to reel the car in with precision and control.
Though the Nissan Leaf has received incremental changes over its lifetime, 2018 brings the most comprehensive rework of the car to date. The new car's styling is a complete departure from the previous Leaf, although under the skin the cars are very similar aside from the larger battery capacity and additional power.
The Leaf hasn't become more expensive in the bargain. In fact, the new car is actually less costly than the outgoing model when you factor in the differences in feature content. As such, it offers more range for the same price as other similar EVs, such as the Volkswagen e-Golf. Only the more expensive Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 offer more driving range.
Other advantages to the 2018 Leaf include its new e-pedal mode and a new suite of advanced driver assist features called ProPilot Assist. The e-pedal delivers stronger regenerative braking when you lift off the accelerator, making it easier to slow the car appreciably without requiring you to apply the brake pedal.
The 2018 Toyota Highlander is one of the best picks available for a versatile three-row crossover SUV. Thanks to a comfortable and quiet ride, abundant standard features and a just-right size, it should serve you well as a do-all family hauler.
While the Highlander isn't as big as traditional truck-based SUVs such as Toyota's Sequoia, it's easier to maneuver around town, yet it still has three relatively usable rows of seating. We also like how Toyota outfits every Highlander with its Toyota Safety Sense bundle, which include adaptive cruise control, lane departure intervention, and forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking. Overall this popular and well-rounded crossover is certainly worth a test drive.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Toyota Highlander as one of Edmunds' Best Midsize SUVs for this year.
If excellent utility and off-road ability are priorities for your next vehicle, the 2018 Toyota Tacoma should be high on your list. The wealth of available configurations means there's likely a Tacoma that fits your needs, and some of them provide an impressive degree of trail-busting capability.
Alongside those specialized off-road Tacomas with their knobby tires, upgraded suspension and off-road driving aids, there are street-oriented versions of the Tacoma, too. Notably, even the more luxurious trim levels share their siblings' lifted stance. It creates a high step-in height and a slightly unusual seating position, but it also means every Tacoma is at least a little adventure-ready.
Overall, we think the Tacoma hits the spot for what most midsize pickup shoppers are looking for.
A frequent recipient of Car and Driver’s 10 Best Cars award, it expertly blends practicality, affordability, and real driving chops for a delightful package that demands almost no compromises from its owner. A 170-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides just the right amount of motivation for this little hatch, but the real stars of the show are the Golf’s dynamic, nimble chassis and its always accurate steering, which make this car as rewarding to push hard in corners as it is when sliding improbably large cargo through the wide hatchback. Sure, big brother GTI has more power and better performance numbers, but for the everyman with weekly chores and a yen for back-road joy rides, it’s hard to do better than a Golf.
The Golf’s changes are relatively minor for 2018. Still available in only two trim levels, Volkswagen has renamed last year’s upper Wolfsburg trim as the SE. LED taillights and daytime running lights and rain-sensing windshield wipers are all newly standard. Lightly modified bumpers and a chrome-trimmed grille gussy up the front end. Inside, infotainment screens are larger across the lineup, with a 6.5-inch touchscreen now marking the display in the S trim, while the SE model has an 8.0-inch screen.
Overall, the Golf is satisfying and predictable, reasonably priced and has an expansive (for the class) cargo hold. And while the GTI is an enthusiast’s dream, the base Golf has most of the fun with less of the cost.
For 2018, the Passat introduces an upgraded four-cylinder engine. The larger 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (174 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque) gains 4 hp and more miles of improved fuel economy, now 29 combined mpg (25 city/36 highway). This is still just average mpg for a midsize sedan, but what the Passat lacks in fuel efficiency, it makes up for with lively performance and pickup. The last four-cylinder we tested sprinted from 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, quick enough to make the optional V6 engine just that: optional.
For 2018, the Passat gets an updated four-cylinder engine with more power and improved fuel efficiency. A new GT trim level debuts featuring the V6 engine, 19-inch wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. Base models can now add optional driver aids such as blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking.
The Volkswagen Passat shines as a supremely comfy and quiet cruiser, especially when long-distance driving is considered. If you go on a lot of road trips, especially with a full load of family or friends, it's a great choice.
The Passat is very roomy inside and easy to see out of. The controls are easy to use, too. Really, this German sedan is one of the most old-school American cars on the road. Essentially, it's a full-size sedan for the price of a midsize one.