The truck wars, for both midsize and full-size trucks, kicked off in earnest last year, as we saw the debut of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, 2019 Ford Ranger, the new 2019 Chevy Silverado, and the new 2019 Ram 3500 at the Los Angeles and Detroit Auto Shows.
Early last year CarGurus surveyed truck owners to learn about their thoughts on these vehicles, and recently we benchmarked that with this year’s 2019 Truck Sentiment Survey.
We found that more shoppers think the cost of trucks is too high. Sixty-eight percent of respondents to this year’s survey think trucks are too expensive, up from 64% last year.
It’s true that trucks are getting more expensive: The average price for both full-size and midsize trucks has increased in recent years. New full-size trucks in 2018 were 16% more expensive than those in 2015, and midsize trucks were 3% more expensive.
Those high price tags combined with lackluster fuel efficiency have 17% of all truck owners looking outside the segment. Crossovers and SUVs were the top segments for these shoppers. Crossovers like the 2019 Honda Pilot and 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe are ideal for shoppers who want ample cargo room and better fuel economy.
For those still interested in buying a truck, price matters most. It turns out shoppers are more loyal to a good deal than one particular brand. Seventy percent of respondents would switch brands if their preferred brand increased prices by $10,000. When we looked closer at brand-level loyalty, we found that 72% of Chevy truck owners would consider switching brands, while 73% of Ford truck owners would do the same.
The Future of Trucks
With consumers paying such close attention to price, it may take longer for electric trucks to gain a following. Take Rivian, an electric truck maker, and its R1T. While it offers positives, like an all-electric 400-mile range, it has a starting price of $60,000 before EV tax credits. Contrast that with the Ford Ranger: It features Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, which is meant to increase fuel efficiency, and starts at $24,300.
Learn more about our Truck Sentiment Survey here.
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Car shoppers commonly believe they can save money by purchasing the previous year’s model when a new one arrives on dealership lots. We sifted through those 2018 and 2019 models with at least 2,000 vehicles in inventory on CarGurus, calculated the median price of each model year, and found that with certain select models, the opposite is actually true.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette: Save $7,857
Most of the Corvette lineup carries over from 2018. What’s new for 2019 is a speedier version, the 2019 ZR1. The ZR1 delivers 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque, up from the 650 hp and lb-ft of the Z06. It also features a new front fascia, Brembo brakes, and a retuned suspension.
2019 Chevrolet Camaro: Save $6,534
The Chevy Camaro got a bunch of new features for 2018, including the performance-focused ZLE trim and the 1LE Track Package, which included special lightweight 19-inch wheels and a carbon-fiber rear wing. If you opt for the 2019, you’ll also get access to these, along with another features package, the Turbo 1LE Package. The Turbo 1LE Package includes a track-tuned suspension, upgraded wheels, and a Track mode.
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe: Save $5,962
Our reviewer found that the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover has a futuristic exterior along with a modern and practical interior in his Test Drive Review. From 2018 to 2019, the Hyundai Santa Fe added a few new standard features, like blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, and lane-keeping assist, along with two additional trim levels. Importantly, the 2019 Santa Fe is now just a two-row crossover. If you need the extra row, look to the Hyundai Santa Fe XL.
2019 Chevrolet Traverse: Save $4,886
The redesigned 2018 Chevrolet Traverse gave shoppers plenty of options. Our contributor noted its intuitive tech, hefty amounts of cargo space, and eye-catching design, giving it an 8/10 overall score. The 2019 Traverse gets a few updates. It offers a new package, the LT Premium Package, which includes 20-inch wheels, an 8-inch infotainment screen with navigation, and Bose speakers. It also now offers all-wheel drive (AWD) for its RS trim.
2019 Chevrolet Tahoe: Save $4,760
The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe carries over with no major changes from 2018. Our contributor gave the 2018 Tahoe a 10/10 for Look and Feel and a 9/10 for Safety, so you can’t go wrong with the 2019 version.
2019 Kia Sedona: Save $4,632
The 2019 Kia Sedona gets a new look compared to the 2018 version, complete with a new grille, updated taillights, and a new 8-speed automatic. It also gets a new trim, the SXL, which gets 19-inch chrome wheels, LED headlights, and a unique front bumper. Shoppers can get the rear-entertainment system with 10.1-inch touchscreens behind each of the front seats, upgraded from a single drop-down screen found in the 2018 Sedona. And this minivan gets additional safety features, including a driver-monitoring system.
2019 Subaru Impreza: Save $3,873
The 2019 Subaru Impreza has a lot in common with the 2018 model, as it carried over. That means you’ll still get the same 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine making 152 horsepower and all-wheel drive (AWD). New for 2019 is Subaru’s Eyesight Driver Assist Technology, which is available on the 2.0i CVT trim.
2019 Chrysler 300: Save $3,653
While many sedans are going the way of the dodo, the Chrysler 300 is hanging on. It checks a lot of boxes: a V8 engine and AWD for enthusiasts, 30 mpg combined for fuel-conscious shoppers, and a choice of 16 interior leather options for those who want custom luxury.
2019 Volkswagen Tiguan: Save $3,231
The Volkswagen Tiguan got a redesign for 2018, offering more space for an optional third row. The 2019 version offers more standard features for each trim. The SE trim now gets an alarm system standard, and the SEL trim now gets park-distance control and a digital cockpit standard.
2019 Toyota Camry: Save $3,188
It was the 2018 Toyota Camry that introduced the world to the sedan’s sportier look. For 2019, it carries over the same design and offers standard features like Apple CarPlay. As our Preview notes of the 2019 model, “Toyota still has the Camry’s priorities in order.”
The takeaway? If you’re car shopping, widening your model-year search can help you save.
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Every year, our reviewers test drive the latest cars to bring you in-depth reviews. We’re now two months into 2019, and we already have a hefty list of reviews of 2019 cars. Here are our leaders in each scoring category.
In each of our Test Drive Reviews, we look at six key categories: Look and Feel, Performance, Safety, Form and Function, Technology, and Cost-Effectiveness, along with an Overall score.
Top Performance: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata–10/10
Our reviewer gives the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata a rave review, noting its 26-horsepower increase under the hood and the manual transmission that comes standard, which he calls “a delight of its own, thanks in part to a new lightweight dual-mass clutch flywheel.”
Runner-up: 2019 Ram 1500–10/10
Top Form and Function: 2019 Ram 1500–10/10
Our reviewer raves about the functionality of the 2019 Ram 1500, pointing out the smaller details meant to make life easier for loading and unloading gear, like rear doors that open a full 90 degrees and rear seats that flip up easily and even recline. And the Ram 1500 also has a power-release tailgate–but our reviewer notes that works only on the way down; you’ll need to manually close the tailgate.
Runner-up: 2019 Acura MDX–9/10
Top Technology: 2019 Hyundai Elantra–10/10
With the 2019 Hyundai Elantra, our reviewer notes that the infotainment system is easy to use, with plenty of knobs and buttons to make navigating through the different features a breeze. Our reviewer also mentions the 3-year trial subscription to Blue Link Services, allowing you to connect the Elantra to smartwatches and voice assistants.
Runner-up: 2019 Kia Soul EV–10/10
Top Look and Feel: 2019 Mazda CX-3–10/10
“Mazda gets many things right with its cars and SUVs, and design is one of them,” our reviewer says of the 2019 Mazda CX-3. That’s probably why the Mazda CX-3, a crossover, is tied with the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, a luxury sedan, atop our Look and Feel category. Our reviewer notes that the CX-3’s interior has an upscale feel, with redesigned seats and upscale features like suede trim and leather seats–and all for under $30,000.
Runner-up: 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class–10/10
Top Safety: 2019 Kia Sorento–10/10
Many safety features, like reversing cameras, already come standard on new cars. The 2019 Kia Sorento has safety features like adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and lane-departure warning, all of which come standard on the EX trim. For 2019, lane-keep assist and a driver-attention-monitoring system also come standard on EX trims and above.
Runner-up: 2019 Subaru Forester–10/10
Top Cost-Effectiveness: 2019 Volvo S60–10/10
Our research has found that buying a car is one of the biggest financial decisions for shoppers. And we’re here to help you get the most bang for your buck. So while our reviewer isn’t a big fan of the 2019 Volvo S60’s Sensus infotainment system, “the styling of the S60 is so fantastic, so mature, so upscale, that we can overlook its warts. The S60 looks stunning inside and out, and just as importantly, it drives with the taut composure many buyers want from an upscale sports sedan.”
Runner-up: 2019 Hyundai Elantra–10/10
Top Overall: 2019 Ram 1500–8.8/10
Think of our “Overall” category like the Oscars’ Best Picture. We take into account all the different features and capabilities–along with cost-effectiveness–to come up with a final score. Is it any wonder that the 2019 Ram 1500 scores the highest overall? Our reviewer describes it as a full-size truck that “takes that everyday commuter-truck concept to new heights. This truck offers more comfort and refinement than any truck we’ve ever driven.”
Runner-up: 2019 Kia Forte–8.7/10
Did your favorite 2019 vehicle win? Let us know!
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Ford recently announced its plans to build an electric F-150, making it the latest automaker to turn its gas-powered workhorses electric. (Want to see what it’ll look like? Check out the photos.) It will have plenty of competition from strictly electric carmakers like Tesla. How will these electric trucks compare with the gas-powered ones we know and love? We take a closer look.
The gas-powered heavyweights
Let’s start with gas-powered heavyweights like the full-size Chevy Silverado 1500. The Silverado offers up to 2,285 pounds of payload capacity and 12,200 pounds of towing capacity, depending on the configuration. Then there are midsize trucks like the Ford Ranger. The Ranger came back for 2019, offering up to 7,500 pounds of towing capacity and 1,860 pounds of payload. And when it comes to fuel efficiency, it’s not bad: EPA estimates suggest it’ll get up to 21 mpg city, 26 highway, and 23 combined.
The electric contenders
Despite the number of automakers investing in electric, only a few electric trucks are currently available to consumers. At the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, Rivian debuted its R1T, a pickup truck that, with the 180kwh battery, can go 400 miles between recharges and offers 700 horsepower and 826 pound-feet of torque with a maximum towing capacity of 11,000 pounds. Should shoppers opt for the smaller battery, 135kwh, torque stays the same while horsepower increases to 745. The smallest battery, 105kwh, offers 402 hp and 413 lb-feet of torque.
Another company forging ahead is a smaller operation based in Ohio called Workhorse. It makes the W-15, a hybrid that can tow up to 5,000 pounds and go 80 miles between charges. It also includes features that will make it friendly for shoppers that need, well, a workhorse at work sites, including a 7.2kw outlet you can use for power tools without the truck running.
The challenges of electric trucks
Automakers face a few obstacles with creating electric trucks. The first is price. We’ve talked before about the disappearance of the affordable pickup truck, and electric trucks are no exception. Prices can start at $60,000. If you add range extenders, you may be looking at an even higher price tag. Those high prices may not be a deterrent for some, but a poll of CarGurus shoppers found that they’re less willing to pay a higher price, even for a longer list of features and gadgets.
The second is capability. If you use your truck for everyday tasks, you may not need to tow 12,000 pounds. However, if you rely on your truck to help with heavy-duty tasks, you may be left wanting. The third is us, consumers: We’re wary of electric vehicles. CarGurus recently conducted a survey and found that many shoppers want more infrastructure before they’ll buy an electric vehicle.
Hybrids may be the answer (for now)
Shoppers who want a truck that will go longer between fill-ups have few options. The Chevy Silverado 1500 can come with an Ecotec V8, which disables cylinders when they’re not needed, ultimately improving fuel economy. Ford also offers its EcoBoost engine in the F-150, offering more power and using less fuel. And Ram now offers eTorque in the 2019 1500 for both the V6 and V8. But for now, gasoline-powered trucks still rule the roost.
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We’re in the midst of winter—and no one likes the prospect of something going wrong with their car in snowy weather. At CarGurus, we wanted to create an CarGurus Emergency Maintenance Guide that will help you stay prepared. Download this guide straight to your smartphone! Here’s what we cover:
Use CarGurus Emergency Maintenance Guide to help you stay safe this winter!
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Who remembers the “wood”-paneled station wagons of our childhoods? We can’t help but wonder whether they’re making a comeback despite the declining popularity of sedans.
If you scan the headlines, SUVs and crossovers are taking over and the sedan is dead. But CarGurus data shows the story is more complicated than that: Younger shoppers still want new and used sedans, because they offer more value and are still great options. But most American automakers have nixed sedans, with the exception of performance vehicles. European automakers continue to make sedans, such as the 2020 Volkswagen Passat, which offer more premium features and design elements, such as heated front and rear seats and dual-zone climate control. But what of the wagon? Let’s take a closer look at some recent debuts.
The wagon comeback
In the past two years, we’ve seen the introduction of several new wagons. Volvo, which already had the V60, debuted the new V90 in 2017 (a previous version was offered in the US in 1998), which we reviewed the 2018. Shoppers can now get an off-road friendly version of the V90, called the V90 Cross Country, which offers more ground clearance, black cladding around the wheels, and, of course, all-wheel drive (AWD). Jaguar, known for its luxury sedans like the XJ Series, broke tradition and introduced the XF Sportbrake in 2018. Its starting price is in line with the rest of the luxury brand’s vehicles, and it offers 20-inch wheels, soft-close doors, heated seats, and more cubic feet of cargo space than the F-Pace.
Buick is the other automaker that introduced a wagon in 2018 with its Regal TourX. Our reviewer notes the Regal TourX can work as a premium alternative to brands like Subaru, with its much-beloved Outback. The TourX has premium touches, like dual-zone climate control, while also featuring more rugged details like plastic cladding around each wheel well and a roof rack along with AWD.
We looked at the number of searches for each of these three wagons in the second half of 2018 and compared that to the first six months of the year. While two of those new wagons saw an increase in searches, we were surprised to see that the Buick Regal TourX had the bigger boost, with a staggering 69% increase. The V90 saw a 30% increase in the number of searches. Only the XF Sportbrake saw a decrease, of 4%, in the second half of 2018 compared to the prior six months.
The future of the wagon
Based on searches on CarGurus, the wagon is indeed making a comeback. Bloomberg suggested the increased interest in wagons is a result of shoppers now having more wagon choices. It also may be due to the smaller number of options for sedan shoppers. Wagons, thanks to their lower center of gravity, feature less body roll and better handling than their crossover and SUV counterparts while not losing any of the capabilities or close-to-the-road driving experience a sedan would offer.
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While the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was relatively quiet this year, there was still plenty to see. Here are the top cars we saw.
The 2020 Toyota Supra finally debuted! As excited as we are about that, its reception has been mixed – partly due to its lack of a manual transmission. It wasn’t the only speed demon available at NAIAS, though. The 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 also made waves, offering a whopping 700+ horsepower and a 0-60 time of just over 3 seconds.
Subaru’s WRX STI S209 was another speed demon that caught our attention, in part because it’s the first S-line vehicle available to American consumers. Limited to 200 vehicles, the S209 is 1.7 inches wider than the STI with a 2.5-liter boxer engine that produces an estimated 341 horsepower along with Brembo brakes. It also includes standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and 19-inch gold wheels.
The 2019 Ram 3500 accomplished a first-in-class milestone: It now has 1,000 pound-feet of torque available along with 400 horsepower, if you specify it with the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel inline-6 engine. It also sets new benchmarks in payload and towing capacity for a heavy-duty pickup: 35,100 and 7,680 pounds, respectively. Other updates include a center console big enough to fit a 15-inch laptop and a tire-pressure-monitoring system for up to 12 tires.
The 2020 Ford Explorer gets more towing capacity, now up to 5,600 pounds when properly equipped and with the V6 engine. If you prefer a sportier daily driver, you can find that in the performance-focused ST trim. It features a 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine making 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque and taking the car to a top speed of 143 mph.
The 2020 Kia Telluride is a 3-row crossover made for the American market: It’s big and boxy, bringing to mind classic SUVs like the Ford Bronco. You can deploy the second-row seats with a push-button to access 46 cubic feet of cargo space. The Telluride also taps into our desire for a luxury crossover that we can take off-road with handles next to the cupholders and optional all-wheel drive (AWD).
The 2020 Cadillac XT6 should be ideal for those who like to drive in style. You can choose between the Premium Luxury trim – complete with chrome details and wood-trim accents inside – or the Sport trim, which swaps out those features for carbon fiber accents.
Yup, sedans like the 2020 Volkswagen Passat made news at the Detroit Auto Show. The exterior is fully redesigned with a wider, bigger grille and a coupe-like profile. Inside, it offers luxury features like heated seats and dual-zone climate control. This new look potentially sets up the Passat to compete with premium sport sedans like the Acura TLX.
The 2020 Cadillac CT6-V also makes news during this auto show. It features a hand-built twin-turbo 4.2-liter V8 engine that makes 550 horsepower and 627 lb-feet of torque. Similar to the S209, production of the CT6-V will be limited – in this case to just 275 vehicles. While it’s got a high price tag – close to $90,000 – you’ll also get two days at the Cadillac V-Performance Academy as part of your purchase.
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