The Car Connection:
Welcome to the Alfa Romeo 4C's wheelhouse. It has performance and style—and then some more.
The Alfa Romeo 4C is as close to a budget supercar as most of us will ever get. Its mid-engine layout, carbon-fiber body, turbo-4, and dual-clutch automatic work in concert and unencumbered by weight or unnecessary luxuries.
Starting with the exceptional body work, the Alfa Romeo 4C is one of the best-looking cars on the road today—it's inescapable.
The 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C is powered by a 1.8L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which is mounted behind the cockpit, in the tradition of the best Italian sports cars. The engine is capable of producing 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. While that may seem rather modest for a sports car of this caliber, Alfa Romeo claims that the 4C is still capable of 0-60 times in about 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 160 mph.
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
Car and Driver:
Retro styling and a cheerful character make the 500 a fashionable choice among city cars. Fiat provides styling customization's ranging from sporty to upscale to help express your individuality. A 101-hp 1.4-liter four pairs to a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. A 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and 15-inch aluminum wheels are standard. A large sunroof is optional, but for more fun in the sun, the convertible model’s canvas roof rolls all the way back and down the rear hatch.
If you’re an urban dweller who follows fashion trends more than car culture, the 2016 Fiat 500 just might be your car. Small and tidy, the 500 first came to our shores for 2012, marking the return of the Fiat brand to the U.S. market after a nearly 30-year absence
The 2017 Fiat 500e hatchback is just as fun and personable as the regular 500. It is also as quick and maneuverable. But you will still want to consider whether an electric vehicle fits your lifestyle before taking the plunge.
The electric 500e was introduced in 2015 and instantly injected life into the stylish Italian coupe. It has enough range to compete with segment leaders and charges quickly, too. Add its small proportions, precise handling and EV pep, and you get a truly enjoyable car. In fact, in some ways, the 500e is more fun to drive than its gas counterpart. But if you are shopping for a lively runabout and an electric vehicle is right for you, the 500e is worth considering.
The 2017 Fiat 500e is a two-door, pure electric hatchback sold in a single, well-equipped trim level. The 500e is powered by an 83-kilowatt electric motor (111 horsepower, 147 pound-feet) channeled to the front wheels through a single-speed automatic transmission. A rechargeable 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers the motor. It shares most of its bodywork with the standard, gasoline car but has unique front and rear body panels, wider side sills, smooth underbody components, rear spoiler and 500e-specific 15-inch alloy wheels.
Car and Driver:
The just-right-sized Edge, with its daring styling, relaxed ride, and sizable cargo bay, is a crossover worth considering. A 245-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder or a 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 mate to a six-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive. The top Sport model has standard all-wheel drive and a 2.7-liter 315-hp twin-turbo V-6. The Edge has plenty of tech options, too, including Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment, a self-parking feature, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist.
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.
The Focus competes in the tough compact segment against cars from the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and Germany. Power for the base car comes from either a 2.0-liter I-4 making 160 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque or a 1.0-liter EcoBoost I-3 making 123 hp and 125 lb-ft. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual (2.0-liter), a six-speed manual (1.0-liter), or a six-speed automatic. The 2.0-liter is EPA-rated 25-26/34-38/28-31 mpg city/highway/combined, while the 1.0-liter EcoBoost is EPA-rated 27-30/38-40/31-34 mpg depending on transmission
The high-performance Focus ST and Focus RS are powered by four-cylinder EcoBoost turbocharged engines. Power for the Focus ST comes from a 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 making 252 hp and 270 lb-ft. A six-speed manual sends power to the front wheels. The Focus RS is powered by 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 pumping out 350 hp and 350 lb-ft. Power is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed manual and a new Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring, A new Drift mode is included in the Focus RS hatchback’s driving modes.
Building on last year's significant updates, the 2017 Honda Accord should appeal whether you're prioritizing interior space, fuel economy, value or even an engaging driving experience. The Accord is a must-drive if you're shopping for a midsize sedan or coupe.
Following some notable revisions last year, the 2017 Honda Accord is essentially a carryover model, Honda last gave its Accord a full redesign for the 2013 model year. Even so, most of the midsize sedan segment is still playing catch up. The current Accord is arguably Honda at its finest. It scores highly in just about every category, and unlike many rivals, it's a genuine pleasure to drive. If you're looking for a family sedan that does it all, or perhaps a sporty yet still roomy coupe, the 2017 Accord's across-the-board excellence simply cannot be ignored.
The fifth-generation Honda CR-V crossover debuts this year riding on a new chassis with more aggressive styling, and an available turbocharged engine – the first offered in the model’s 20-year history. New standard features include LED daytime running lights and dual exhaust tips, and larger standard and available wheels. A longer wheelbase increases interior space. Inside, there are more soft-touch materials, an available 7.0-inch touchscreen Display Audio interface with a Garmin-based navigation system as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and the return of the volume knob. Other available features include LED headlights, Auto High Beam headlights, a power liftgate with hands-free access, and an electric parking brake with auto brake hold.
The CR-V is Honda’s long-running compact crossover and slots between the subcompact HR-V and three-row Pilot crossovers. The Honda CR-V has grown in size over the past 20 years, making room for the HR-V below it in the lineup.
With lots of space, a versatile interior and even a bit of off-road capability, the 2017 Honda Pilot is appealing for all sorts of reasons. Capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds and comfortably carrying eight passengers, the Pilot is utilitarian by almost all standards. Getting the kids in and out is relatively easy, and options such as a Blu-ray rear entertainment system turn road trips into a breeze. And for daily commutes, the quiet cabin and smooth ride make the Pilot extremely livable.
With ample power and respectable handling, the Pilot is among the athletes in the three-row SUV segment. It's a winner on mountain roads, easily gets up to speed, and can manage light towing and slippery surfaces with the optional all-wheel drive. New to Pilots with the 8-inch touchscreen (EX and above) is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Given its above-average ride quality and seat comfort plus ample space in first and second rows, the Pilot is a very comfortable SUV. Ease of use is very high, too, which makes the Pilot a convenient and easy SUV to live with. The Pilot exhibits typical Honda efficiency and build quality. Use of space is very good with lots of storage. Practical features such as the easy-entry third row and flat load floor with the second and third rows lowered make a difference when hauling cargo and people.
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.
You don't have to pay a fortune to get a luxury-branded vehicle these days. The new 2017 Infiniti QX30 is reasonably priced and yet offers you more style and performance than the typical small crossover SUV. This all-new model is easy to maneuver around town and features a high-quality interior that looks sharp and comes well equipped. It also comes with multiple driver assistance features are available to help keep you safe.
Infiniti considers its all-new 2017 QX30 a combination of coupe, hatchback and crossover. The way it straddles these body types can be advantageous. From a driver enjoyment perspective, you will find the QX30 more athletic and better handling than a typical SUV. Compared to a traditional sedan, the QX30's hatchback design gives you greater versatility, both in terms of its taller ride height and increased cargo capacity. Then there's the QX30's coupe-like styling, which helps it look sportier than the typical sedan or crossover.
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.
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.