It’s no secret that trucks have gotten uncomfortably expensive. While the memory of $30- and even $20,000 pickups remains fresh in their minds, most modern pickup-truck shoppers will be greeted at the dealership by bona fide luxe trucks. The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 that CarGurus recently reviewed cost more than $66,000, and a new Ford F-150 can crest $70,000 before you add a single option. With that in mind, we drove a 2019 Ford Ranger across four of New England’s six states to determine just how much value a midsize pickup can provide.
The Ranger Offers Ruggedness and Value
First and foremost, despite a $24,110 base price, the Ranger won’t always come cheap. Our test car rang in at $41,595. But that price bought us striking Lightning Blue paint, the FX4 off-road package, and a range of safety systems, including lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.
That said, the Ranger XLT SuperCrew 4×4 we drove didn’t feel overly modern, either. Shoppers who want their truck to feel rugged and ready for work will love the new Ranger, but shoppers who prioritize comfort will tire of its enthusiastic but unpolished ride. After leaving the truck outdoors overnight in some of Maine’s famous single-digit weather, we woke to discover that the Ranger’s sliding rear window (part of the $2,800 Equipment Group 302A) rattled incessantly when the car was cold. It took roughly an hour of driving before the brittle-sounding frame holding the window warmed up enough to quiet down the ruckus.
The 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine delivered great power: 270 horses and 310 pound-feet of torque. The selectable 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system handled snow marvelously, and the Ranger felt as capable cruising along the highway as it did while trudging through rutted dirt roads. The 4-cylinder constantly roared under gentle acceleration, and it returned a mild 21.4 mpg across 653 (mostly) highway miles. That sort of performance didn’t wow us when we got to the gas pump, but it wasn’t too far off the EPA’s estimate of 20 mpg city, 24 highway, and 22 combined.
But an Even Better Option Is on the Way
Midsize pickups like the 2019 Ford Ranger and its primary competitors, the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma, have become incredibly appealing for young, often urban-living, weekend warriors. They’re small enough to drive through a city but capable enough to load up with skis or bikes and take to the woods. Unfortunately, this segment has aged rapidly. The Colorado (and its corporate cousin, the GMC Canyon) debuted in 2015. The Tacoma was last updated in 2016. Even the Ranger, which arrived in the United States in 2019, has been on sale internationally since 2011 and was last refreshed in 2015.
Five years is a long time in the auto world, and that age shows, particularly inside these midsize pickups. The best-feeling option is likely the Honda Ridgeline, which can’t come close to the starting price of the better-selling Chevy, Ford, and Toyota.
Nissan is expected to reveal a refreshed Frontier in 2021 (the Frontier hasn’t been meaningfully updated for a whopping 15 years). Thankfully, competition breeds excellence, and we doubt Ford, Chevy, or Toyota will let Nissan run away with the segment. For now, the Ranger and the rest of the midsize pickup segment offer genuine usability and attractive prices. But if it were our decision, we’d hold out and see what the future brings.
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Few could argue that 2019 has been a fascinating year in the world of motoring – but what are your automotive highlights of 2019? We’d love for you to tell us in the comments section below this article, or via the CarGurus Facebook page. To get you started, below our writers have put forward their own automotive highlights of 2019, from pickups to Porsches.
Chris Knapman, Editor, CarGurus UK
Will time show that 2019 was the year the electric car broke through? There’s certainly been no shortage of new products using battery power, from the Porsche Taycan and latest Nissan Leaf to the impossible-to-ignore Tesla Cybertruck.
Combine these new cars with an improving charging infrastructure and you’d expect the tide of public opinion might start showing signs of softening towards EVs. That was certainly the case according to our own research, which revealed that the number of consumers who consider themselves as likely to own an EV in the next five years jumped to 26% in 2019, up from 15% in 2018. This is most likely just the start, too: Who would bet against that number having grown significantly by this time next year?
Back in the world of internal combustion, my honorable mention for 2019 must go to the latest generation of Porsche 911, the 992. Not only does it masterfully update the legendary 911 format for this hi-tech age with its fabulous interior and ultra-sleek exterior, but in terms of performance, the 992 moves even the basic, non-GT or Turbo models firmly into supercar territory. In fact, if I had to narrow down my automotive highlights of 2019 into just one, fleeting moment, it’d be the surreal three-point-something seconds it took our four-wheel drive, PDK-equipped 911 test car to fire from 0-62 mph.
Electric vehicles might be coming, but internal combustion is still more than capable of taking your breath away.
Megan Hennessey, Editor, CarGurus US
I’m struck by the number of performance wagons and SUVs we saw introduced in 2019. Fans of the Audi S4 Avant rejoiced when the German automaker revealed it was bringing its RS 6 Avant to North America. It packs a 4.0-liter V8 that makes 591 hp and 590 lb-ft, hits 60 mph in about 3 seconds, and reaches a top speed of 189 mph.
Just as exciting was the introduction of the RS Q8, a performance SUV packing the same power as the RS 6 Avant. We had a chance to take a closer look at the 2020 RS Q8 at the 2019 LA Auto Show, and it adds plenty of features aside from the engine, like 23-inch wheels and an RS-specific gloss-black grille.
And in the EV space, electric trucks took center stage: Bollinger brought us a production-ready version of its B2 electric truck, Tesla unveiled its unique Cybertruck, and Rivian gets closer to its production-ready model of the R1T. But are truck shoppers willing to make the switch from gas-powered to electric? It’s hard to say. In our yearly Truck Sentiment Survey, we found that 70% of shoppers were willing to switch brands, which is good news for these startup truckmakers. However, their high prices may keep shoppers away.
Steve Halloran, Editor, CarGurus US
With one colleague celebrating electric vehicles and another performance wagons and SUVs, I feel obliged to mention one 2019 highlight they didn’t: Ford’s live-streamed debut of the 2021 Mustang Mach-E just before the LA Auto Show. Ford’s decision to put the name and badge of its mighty Mustang on an electric crossover generated controversy, of course, but a pony-equipped vehicle with up to 300 miles of range, usable seating for 5, almost 60 cubic feet of cargo room, and a 0-to-60 time of less than 4 seconds sounds great to me.
But my 2019 highlights came from two automakers CarGurus has found compelling for years, Mazda and Subaru, in the form of strong new versions of proven models. The redesigned 2019 Mazda3 earned rave reviews from almost everyone who drove it, including George Kennedy, and the updated 2019 CX-5, which we sampled in the snow at the end of last year, also earned praise from a wide variety of reviewers.
A new version of our favorite Subaru model also arrived in 2019. We got a chance to drive the 2020 Subaru Outback back in September and enjoyed it quite a bit. The new edition of this wagon/crossover finally offers a turbocharged engine under its hood, which drivers living at high altitudes should particularly appreciate. Our recently published review of the 2020 Outback found it strong from functionality and cost-effectiveness standpoints, which we consider hallmarks of the Subaru brand.
Matt Smith, Editor, CarGurus US
This time of year, everyone’s talking about electrification and progress and the hot new thing. But as anyone with their eyes open can clearly see, 2019 was the year of the throwback.
First, Chevy resurrected the Blazer as a stylish, sharp, and sexy crossover complete with nearly $1,400 worth of 21-inch tires. Sure, the new 2019 Blazer had its detractors, namely those bemoaning its lack of off-road performance, but I, for one, welcome our new crossover overlords.
And it’s not as if 2019 didn’t bring us plenty of rugged capability, either. Carrying on with the throwback theme, both Ford and Jeep returned legendary truck nameplates to the market, with the 2019 Ranger and 2020 Gladiator.
Finally, the highlight of the year for this writer was the long-awaited return of the Toyota Supra. Partnering with BMW gave the new coupe a brilliant Bavarian heart and soul (or engine and chassis, for our more literal readers) to pair with its stunning exterior styling. Sure, the 2020 GR Supra’s interior might feel a bit familiar, and the lack of a manual transmission will cut it off some enthusiasts’ shopping lists, but it’s safe to say that no other car on CarGurus’ 2019 test-drive review roster received as much attention at gas stations, grocery stores, race tracks, or anywhere else we drove it.
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It’s easier than ever for an automaker to stand out from the crowd. Before the proliferation of touchscreen infotainment systems and advanced safety features, luxury automakers relied on a car’s high-quality interior materials, high-end stereos, and exceptional performance characteristics to differentiate it from the competition.
Those elements are what helped give legacy stalwarts like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class a stronghold on the luxury compact sedan market. For better or worse, those cars benefit from a long history of success, and to their credit, both BMW and Mercedes have built impressive safety and technology offerings to weather the competition from automakers like Lexus, Infiniti, Volvo, and Audi.
But there’s an even more recent threat to the luxury-market leaders. Genesis, born from Hyundai’s flagship sedan lineup, arrived with the 2017 G90. Two years later, the company’s 3 Series fighter, the G70, debuted.
We had a chance to drive that 2019 G70 and found it to be startlingly great. With some recent experience in a 2020 G70, we’re left wondering if it’s truly better than the segment’s best, and if so, why? How?
Sport Mode Keeps the G70 Competitive—To a Point
First of all, the 2020 Genesis G70 is not as impressive a performer as a similarly equipped 3 Series. Despite being built upon the Kia Stinger’s platform (or perhaps because of it) and featuring a tweaked suspension, the G70 never truly feels like a dedicated sports sedan. Our car was equipped with the 3.3-liter turbocharged V6, and it absolutely ripped. While the Kia K900 coaxes comfortable, confident acceleration out of that mill, the Genesis approach seems to be more along the lines of dropping a sledgehammer out a window. Point the nose, punch the gas, and before you know it, you’re there. Thanks to the Brembo brakes that come standard on V6 G70s, you’re likely to stop quickly, too.
Unfortunately, the car becomes much more sedate—almost boring—when you switch out of Sport mode. And before you think, “Just keep it in Sport, problem solved,” heed these words: Sport mode turned aggravating as soon as we hit traffic, and our combined fuel-economy number of 15.1 mpg in testing (drinking premium fuel) had us looking to save gas at any opportunity.
The 2020 G70 Has a Price to Beat
Inside, the design is busier than the typically spartan German setups, but it’s incredibly well-appointed. And this, more than anything, is how the Genesis G70 stands out amongst the crowd. On its infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. The seats of our test car featured quilted stitching, which drew oohs and ahs from nearly every passenger. The backseat is tight on space, but the front passenger seat features adjustment buttons easily accessed by the rear passenger, like in the K900.
There’s a lot to love about the 2020 Genesis G70. The car’s silhouette draws plenty of attention, and its LED head- and taillights look great, particularly at night. The optional 3.3-liter engine kicks like a horse, even if the chassis doesn’t carve corners like butter. But in today’s market, performance might not be necessary to win over fans. The brilliant interior design makes a statement, and the G70 is no slouch when it comes to safety or infotainment technology. And, at the end of the day, the G70’s attractive price—which starts at $34,900 and consistently lives nearly $8,000 less than a comparatively equipped 3 Series—may be all a conflicted shopper needs to make the decision.
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The Kia K900 debuted for the 2015 model year as a genuine competitor to established full-size luxury sedans like the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Or, at least, that was the plan.
Despite an impressive spec sheet, Kia’s big cruiser failed to gain real traction in the luxury segment. With a total redesign for 2019, Kia is giving the K900 another go. To start, the V8 has been replaced by a more modern twin-turbo V6. The infotainment system pairs a euro-style rotary controller with a touch-sensitive screen. And all-wheel drive now comes on every K900. This all qualifies as what the auto industry likes to call “a good start.”
To see if the new K900 is truly a luxury competitor, we slogged through nearly an hour of Boston traffic before enjoying nearly 200 uninterrupted miles of highway on our way to Burlington, Vermont. After all, what better way to gauge a full-size luxury sedan than a road trip?
This Sure Doesn’t Feel Like a Kia
The first thing you’ll notice when entering the K900 is how it doesn’t feel like a run-of-the-mill Kia. Brown Nappa leather covers nearly every inch of the cabin, and the 20-way adjustable driver seat means anyone behind the wheel will be able to find a comfortable position. The backseat, in particular, fills the primary requirement of a luxury sedan: Sitting in the second row will make you feel like the most important person in the car, not like you’ve been relegated there because the front seat was taken.
The K900 feels smaller than it is, too. Don’t be surprised if passengers suggest it’s a midsize sedan, rather than a full-size. With the help of Kia’s surround-view camera, it’s as easy to park and maneuver as a smaller car, too.
That said, the second thing you’re likely to notice is the K900’s rapidly dropping fuel-gauge needle. Driving through traffic, the K900 was quiet and powerful, although surprisingly different than a Kia Stinger or Genesis G70, both of which use the K900’s engine. Rather than sprinting from stoplights like those two sports-oriented machines, the K900 swept us away with very little drama. All of that sweeping, however, takes a toll on fuel economy. Even with two fewer cylinders than the previous-generation K900, don’t expect this one to be a gas sipper.
Granted, things got better once we hit the highway. Silence is possibly the K900’s most noteworthy attribute. Smooth power delivery and a peaceful ride are requirements of any luxury car, and the K900 offers both. Combined with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, I finished a 3.5-hour drive to Lake Champlain astonishingly refreshed. Something as abstract as “quiet” is tough to notice when driving, but once you do, you’ll continually appreciate it. By keeping me alert and refreshed, the lack of droning road noise is practically a safety feature.
Safety Comes Standard
On the topic of safety, cameras and sensors are almost compulsory in a sedan as big as the K900. Kia’s suite of advanced safety features does make driving much easier, and the unique blind-spot cameras are particularly helpful. When the driver hits a turn signal, the K900’s instrument panel will replace either the left or right gauge with a digital video feed from a camera mounted under the corresponding wing mirror. The picture is predictably grainy during night-time driving, but still provides a clearer view of the K900’s blind spots than its wing mirrors do.
A Good Value… Today
Unfortunately, the K900’s appointments, performance, and safety can’t help it clear its current hurdle. Nor can the car’s 12.3-inch touchscreen or 17-speaker Lexicon sound system, as impressive as they are. On the surface, the K900 appears to be a great deal. Its sub-$65,000 price certainly makes it a financially pragmatic approach to luxury; this car offers 90% of what you can get from a BMW 7 Series at 70% of the price.
But developing a car takes a long time—years, at least. So, when Kia was designing the K900 for a 2015 model-year launch, a big V8 engine and rear-wheel drive fit the bill. But Kia quickly found itself behind the times with that formula, as shoppers showed greater interest in fuel economy and all-wheel drive. The resale values of those early K900s support this; take a look around, and you’ll find plenty of low-mileage first-generation cars priced well below $30,000.
Similarly, the 2019 Kia K900 has been developed to suit those 2018 desires, but the world of luxury is now pivoting hard toward hybrid and all-electric powertrains. As a result, the Porsche Taycan and Tesla’s Model S, Model X, and Model 3 look like the future of luxury, and even the more conventional 7 Series now offers a hybrid variant. Today, the K900 looks and feels amazing. But I can’t help but wonder if, tomorrow, it will have aged the way many older full-size sedans have: classically cool at best, outmoded and inefficient at worst.
All photos by CarGurus contributor George Kennedy.
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This year at the LA Auto Show, electric vehicles took center stage. We round up vehicles for every type of lifestyle that we saw at the 2019 LA Auto Show.
The 2020 Audi RS Q8 made quite an entrance with its massive grille and striking lime green exterior. It’s got good looks and plenty of power, thanks to its 4.0-liter V8, which also sits under the hood of the RS 6 Avant. It can get from 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds and up to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. You can also check out the 2020 Subaru WRX STI Series.White, which makes 310 horsepower and is available only with a 6-speed manual. It stands out with 19-inch matte bronze wheels and silver brake calipers.
The 2021 Kia Seltos debuted at the LA Auto Show, making it the latest crossover to join the company’s growing family. It offers 7.2 inches of ground clearance along with a rugged design that echoes its slightly older sibling, the Telluride. Even better? According to Kia, the Seltos will have a starting MSRP of under $22,000. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime also debuted, showcasing a new plug-in hybrid powertrain that packs 302 horsepower. You can expect 39 miles of all-electric range and 90 MPGe.
We saw plenty of EVs at the LA Auto Show that offer a combination of performance, range, and technology. The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E features a 15-inch touchscreen and an EPA-estimated 300-mile range. If you opt for the GT Performance Edition, a 98.8-kilowatt-hour battery makes 459 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque. The 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S also caught our eye. It’s got a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds and packs up to 562 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque if you opt for overboost with launch control. Inside, you’ve got up to four screens, with the 16.9-inch driver cluster, a 10.9-inch infotainment screen for the driver and another for the passenger, and an 8.4-inch screen in the console.
The 2021 Lexus LC 500 convertible offers a number of luxe features, including the Lexus Climate Concierge, which tweaks the car’s heated seats, neck warmers, and heated steering wheel to the ideal temperature. BMW introduced a new version of the M2 with the 2020 M2 CS Coupe. It gets a 39-hp power increase to 444 hp and a 6-speed manual standard. Inside, it features Alcantara-and-leather seats and a Harman Kardon sound system.
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It seems that when it comes to EVs, electric trucks are the last frontier. While Ford and Chevrolet have introduced one-off models or prototypes of electric pickups, a few newer automakers have beaten them to the punch with production-ready—or near-ready—models. We take a closer look at the entrants in the startup truck wars.
The Electric Truck Contenders
Three startup automakers are looking to win the hearts and wallets of consumers: Bollinger Motors, a Detroit-based company showing its B2; Rivian, which created a buzz last year with a prototype of its R1T; and Tesla, which will debut its Cybertruck on November 21.
Bollinger’s B2 is likely to be the most exclusive of the bunch. Only 1,500 will be made in the first year with a price tag of $125,000. It’s got an all-aluminum body and electric powertrain that can deliver 614 horsepower and 668 pound-feet of torque. Bollinger says this engine can tow 7,500 pounds and has a payload of 5,000 pounds—but several outlets have noted that its primary use will be for off-roading, so its speed is capped at 100 mph and range is limited to 200 miles.
One cool feature is a pass-through that extends from the front grille through the cabin into the bed. But look inside and you’ll notice it lacks an infotainment system, which many shoppers have come to expect in new cars.
The R1T, with its rounded corners, elongated headlights, and futuristic tech, is a stylistic polar opposite of the B2. Rivian says the R1T will be able to make 754 horsepower and travel 400 miles. Its storage cubby—found behind the cabin—is best for snowboards or skis. Inside, it features a digital dashboard behind the steering wheel and a large, horizontal infotainment screen.
The R1T is set to go on sale in 2021. Its starting price will be just over half the price of a B2, at $69,000.
Details are sparse right now about Tesla’s electric truck. Musk has said the truck will have 400-500 miles of range, can seat six, and will start at $49,000. If Tesla is able to accomplish this, the Cybertruck will be the most affordable option for an electric pickup.
These startups face big challenges in getting their vehicles in front of consumers: Tesla has previously had problems sticking with deadlines, and neither Bollinger nor Rivian have established dealer networks.
Established Automakers Make EV Truck Plans
It’s not just startups that are developing electric trucks. Earlier this year, Ford debuted an all-electric pickup that can tow 1,000,000 pounds. While the automaker admits the production version of this vehicle won’t have that capability, it showcases how Ford is thinking about electric trucks. We could see an electric version of the F-150 as soon as 2021.
And recently at SEMA, Chevrolet introduced the all-electric E-10. The company’s press release suggests it can make 450 horsepower. And unlike the newcomers, the E-10 uses the entire bed for the truck’s battery. It also offers a 0-60 mph time of 5 seconds. However, it’s worth noting that we may never see a production-ready model of this vehicle.
For more news from the LA Auto Show, check out these articles:
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With the 2019 LA Auto Show just a week away, now’s the perfect time to take a quick look at some of the new models set to be unveiled in the LA Convention Center. Below we’ve listed a half-dozen of our favorites, plus be sure to visit the CarGurus Facebook page and CarGurus YouTube channel during the LA Show press days on November 20th and 21st for updates.
Without further ado, here are six cars that have already piqued our interest.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Two things tell you all you need to know about the faith Ford has in its all-new and all-electric SUV. First, there’s the name—because you don’t call something a Mustang without also inviting intense scrutiny about its heritage, positioning, and performance. Mustang it is, though, albeit with an added “Mach-E” for good measure.
Second is the fact that Ford’s opening press surrounding the car hasn’t detailed its drivetrain or performance, but simply informed customers that it’ll be taking pre-orders (via a deposit) the moment the official unveil ends on November 18. Now that’s confidence.
Among the options for those pre-ordering a car will be to go for a lavish First Edition model, although Ford stresses that “timing will be critical” for anybody looking to secure a vehicle in this spec. Whatever Mustang Mach-E takes your fancy, it’s hard not to think that with the right styling and performance, this could be one of the hottest cars to go on sale in 2020.
Audi RS Q8
It is unlikely anybody could come away from a drive in Audi’s Q8 and think that what it really needs is more power. However, the imminent arrival of the RS Q8 will provide precisely that, courtesy of Audi Sport’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. With what is likely to be around 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, the RS Q8 is expected to get from 0-62 mph in just 3.8 seconds and has already lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:42:2. That—because we know you’re wondering—is a record for a production SUV.
The RS Q8 will be joined in LA by Audi’s latest RS 6 Avant, which is making its debut on US soil along with its five-door coupe sibling, the RS 7. Powered by the same V8 as the RS Q8, the RS 6 can get from 0-62 mph in just 3.6 seconds. Having never been offered in the US before, it’ll be interesting to see if Audi’s muscular estate is as well-received here as it has been with European buyers.
Porsche 911 Manual
The debut of an old-fashioned manual transmission in a car that’s already been for sale for almost a year would not be normally deemed newsworthy. But when the car in question is a Porsche 911, things are a little different. To a non-car person the surprise would grow further upon learning that by gaining a manual, the latest 992-generation 911 becomes slower rather than faster; for that, thank the fact that Porsche’s dual-clutch automatics now change gear so quickly it’s simply not possible to match them when you throw human limbs into the equation. As a guide, Porsche is quoting a 0-60 time of around 4.0 seconds for the 992 Carrera S manual versus 3.3 for the PDK automatic.
However, speed is not everything in a performance car. What some buyers also crave is the tactile interaction that a manual offers, whether it’s the weighty feel of the clutch pedal, the precise throw of the shifter, or the joy of a perfectly executed heel-toe downshift. And these are precisely the people Porsche is targeting with the installation of its 7-speed manual in the Carrera S and Carrera 4S versions of the 992. Rumour is these cars—and that gearbox—will be on the stand in LA. Watch this space.
Bollinger B1 and B2
Slab-sided and right-angle rich, Bollinger’s built-in-Detroit, all-electric, all-aluminum, all-black LA Auto Show debuts look less sleek than any other vehicles expected to hit the show floor. The B1 “sport utility truck” promises all-wheel drive, 10 inches of wheel travel, 15 inches of ground clearance, and a 200-mile range despite its 5,000-pound curb weight. With 614 horsepower, 668 pound-feet of torque, and a list of removable parts and off-roading angles reminiscent of the Jeep Wrangler’s, we can’t help but be intrigued.
The longer B2 electric pickup truck shares the B1’s powertrain, weight, range, and most of its removable parts, not to mention its full-length central pass-through, which in the B2’s case will accommodate cargo up to 16 feet long. Each of these trucks features air conditioning and 10 110-volt outlets (we can’t help but wonder how those will impact range). At $125,000 each, these vehicles aren’t intended for the masses, which is probably fine for now, as Bollinger hasn’t found a production partner yet.
MINI Cooper John Cooper Works GP and SE
Featuring enough airflow-managing scoops and bulges to shame Ford’s buttressed GT in addition to a huge rear wing/spoiler, the third-generation MINI John Cooper Works GP aims to whet appetites for a limited-edition 3,000-unit high-performance 2020 model. The GP concept and its 301-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder recently lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in under 8 minutes, making it the fastest MINI model ever produced. It should reach US showrooms in mid-2020 at a price of $45,750, including an $850 destination fee.
MINI’s stand will also feature the new MINI Cooper SE, an all-new EV based on the MINI Hardtop 2-door launched in 2014. The SE’s electric motor supplies 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft to the front wheels, getting the car from 0 to 60 in 6.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 93 mph. A full charge will be possible in as little as 4 hours at home, and charging to 80% can happen as quickly as 35 minutes at a public charging station. The SE should reach dealers in March 2020 at an MSRP of $30,750, including a similar $850 destination fee.
Volkswagen ID. Space Vizzion Concept
Volkswagen’s fleet of ID. concept cars will welcome its seventh member at the Petersen Auto Museum November 19th with the world debut of the ID. Space Vizzion crossover concept. VW describes this new vehicle as combining the aerodynamics of a gran turismo with the spaciousness of an SUV in a zero-emissions car with a range of up to 300 miles.
Looking like a very long, low, streamlined station wagon, the ID. Space Vizzion, unlike the earlier ID. Vizzion, features a steering wheel and a very large but horizontal digital control panel on the dashboard. Using sustainable interior materials, the cabin features AppleSkin, a vegan alternative to leather that’s made with leftovers from apple-juice production. Volkswagen plans to release a production version in late 2021, with different versions available in North America, Europe, and China.
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The 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show is just around the corner. It promises dozens of debuts, many of which are electric vehicles. With more EVs available to consumers, we wanted to see how they feel about purchasing and owning one. We queried 1,702 vehicle owners and compared the results to our 2018 survey.
Interest in EV Ownership Increases, But Price Still Proves an Obstacle
In 2018 when we asked respondents how likely they were to own an EV, just 15% said they would probably or definitely own one in the next five years. For 2019, that number jumped to 26%. While respondents were not asked why they are more likely to consider an EV, it’s likely that this increase may be in part due to the larger number of EVs available. Since last year’s survey, Audi, Mercedes, and Jaguar have all introduced new EVs. And there’s no sign of automakers slowing down. Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Toyota have all announced plans to introduce several EVs by the mid-2020s.
However, of those surveyed, 67% said that cost has been one of the biggest obstacles to their purchasing an EV, a finding that was consistent with last year’s survey. Despite the number of EVs available, many have higher starting prices than gas-powered vehicles. Some automakers still qualify for federal incentives, which can help make electric vehicles more affordable—but some, like Tesla, have already passed the 200,000-unit mark, making them ineligible for those tax credits.
Shoppers Need More EV Infrastructure
Similar to last year, respondents cited the lack of infrastructure and charging stations as an obstacle to purchasing an EV. Automakers are actively working to remedy this. Some, like Tesla, are creating their own network of charging stations while others, like Volkswagen, are partnering with large companies like Wal-Mart to provide them across the US.
The Next Frontier: Electric Trucks
Shoppers have multiple options for an electric sedan or SUV. But the next frontier that many automakers are racing toward is that of the electric truck. Automotive startups like Rivian and Bollinger have already introduced prototypes and production-level models of their EV trucks. Ford and Chevy have also showcased one-off models with the electric F-150 and E-10, respectively. And Tesla will debut its Cybertruck on Thursday, November 21, in a separate event from the LA Auto Show.
Read more about this year’s survey here.
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Modern cars are all curves and swoops and bends and slopes. The 2020 Toyota 4Runner offers none of these. What one shopper might describe as “old-school,” a 4Runner buyer would certainly call “classic.” The 4Runner doesn’t feel outdated, it feels familiar. “Revolting?” Try “Refreshing.”
The SUV frenzy gave way to the crossover craze years ago. The 4Runner’s history stretches back to the 1980s, but it’s the Toyota Highlander (and its softer, friendlier design) that keeps Toyota in the black. With the 2020 4Runner, Toyota attempts to bridge the gap between the former car’s capable, rugged legacy and the luxurious, safe, and comfortable appeal of the modern Highlander.
Dependably Tough, Surprisingly Nimble
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner comes in a variety of trims, but no matter how you spec it, you’ll likely expect a certain level of performance. All trims come equipped with a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. Step on the throttle to hear its Tim Taylor grunt. Poor fuel economy comes standard, too. Over roughly 400 miles, I managed a meager 17.7 miles per gallon. What’s even more unbelievable, that number sits 0.7 mpg higher than the EPA estimate. The antiquated engine keeps the 4Runner feeling like a truck. When reviewing a 2019 example, George Kennedy actually described the V6 as, “more similar to a V8 with two cylinders lopped off than it is to a modern V6 designed for efficiency and smooth operation.” As a result, the 4Runner delivers only 5,000 pounds of maximum towing capacity, despite its rough-and-tumble feel.
Driving on city streets, the 4Runner feels surprisingly at home. The broken pavement of Boston’s inner suburbs was no match for this SUV. It plowed through and punished any potholes brave enough to appear in my way. Equally surprising, the 4Runner ended up being significantly nimbler than it initially felt. At 18 feet, 7 inches, this overgrown mountain goat sports a tighter turning radius than both its main competitor, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and its more family-friendly in-house stablemate, the Highlander.
That doesn’t mean the 4Runner is small. The steering is a blast from the past, managing to feel both heavy and vague at the same time. The full-time 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system in the Limited trim burns fuel like crazy. And I generally used the moonroof only to see how close the 4Runner’s roof was to scraping the garage doors.
Tech and Safety Finally Step into the Present
The 4Runner’s Limited trim swaps in a lot of chrome detailing, most notably the crossbar across the grille. It also adds power-retractable side steps. These started as a cool novelty but quickly wore on me as they appeared and retracted each time I opened a door. Predictably, the 4Runner offered an upright, commanding seating position for the driver and passengers in the front and second row. The third row’s jump seats offer a different story. Even though they showcase some very nifty space optimization, sliding out from underneath the third-row seatbacks, these two extra seats are definitely good for only short trips. If I ordered an Uber XL and got stuck in the third row of a 4Runner, I would not be a happy camper.
On the tech front, Toyota has drastically improved the 4Runner. What was classified a year ago as “basic but straightforward” has advanced to “well-equipped and nicely designed.” Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have both been integrated,. The touchscreen display has been bumped up to 8 inches. Entune, Toyota’s proprietary infotainment system, is easy enough to use. Still, I was particularly grateful to have Android Auto at my fingertips when navigating home. While Google Maps suggested an hour-long route, Entune navigation would have had me driving closer to two hours.
Previously, the 4Runner was a poster-car for the hallmarks of passive safety: seatbelts, airbags, and being bigger than other cars on the road. In 2020, that style doesn’t play well, and Toyota has made efforts to keep the vehicle up to date. Notably, you’ll find 2020 models equipped with adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning, both of which are part of the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) suite of advanced safety features. This helps bridge the growing gap between the modern Highlander and the relatively archaic 4Runner. As usual, adaptive cruise proved to be a blessing, but the truck-like 4Runner could have benefited from lane-keeping assist more than it did from lane-departure warning; with a vehicle this big and steering this vague, I ended up turning off the system pretty quickly.
A Little Bit of Everything
The days of a $30,000 SUV are well behind us. The 4Runner starts at $36,020 and rises past my Limited test car’s nearly $50,000 price tag. In order to justify that price, Toyota had to bring its go-anywhere rig into the future. That means upscale appointments and advanced safety features. Today, this is a car for the person who needs a little bit of everything. It’s for those who want a truck that can go anywhere but also one that can suit their family’s needs. Some shoppers will undoubtedly see the 2020 4Runner as a compromise, failing to excel in any one area. Others will see it as an appropriate balance between old and new. Regardless, it’s clear that the 4Runner’s 36-year-old name won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
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How do the 5 crossovers behind some of CarGurus’ most-watched 2019 Test Drive Reviews compare when it comes to cargo space? We put them to the turkey test.
The drive to Thanksgiving festivities can be hectic. And no one wants the added stress of not knowing if they can fit all their passengers and the fixings for turkey. So we took a closer look at five of our most-watched 2019 Test Drive Review videos and asked a critical question: How many turkeys can they fit? (We update this list yearly. Want to see our favorites from previous years? Scroll to the bottom of the page.)
How We Calculated the Base Turkey Measurement
Anyone who’s been car shopping knows that automakers list cargo-space capacities in cubic feet. To give you comparable numbers, we calculated the size of a turkey in cubic feet. Since all turkeys are oddly shaped—and after all, you have to carry those turkeys in something—we decided to create a consistent measurement. A 21 x 14 x 8.5-inch roasting pan with a lid (which, for those keeping score at home, can hold a 20-pound turkey) measures approximately 1.46 cubic feet. And now for the fun part.
Most-Watched 2019 Test Drive Reviews
2019 Honda CR-V
When it comes to traveling with passengers and cargo, the 2019 Honda CR-V is up to the task. The CR-V offers 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in use, enough to hold 26 turkeys. Fold them down and cargo space expands to 75.8 cubic feet, giving you enough room for 52 turkeys. Its ample room is just part of the reason our reviewer gave the CR-V a 9/10 for Form & Function.
2019 Subaru Forester
The 2019 Subaru Forester gets a few updates from the previous model year, including a 5-inch wider tailgate opening. You’ll also get access to 76.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the base trim, which can hold up to 52 turkeys, just like the CR-V. If you want to unlock some of the features available in upper trims, your cargo space will drop to 70.9 cubic feet, or 48 turkeys. And with all-wheel drive standard in this capable crossover, you can drive in nearly any weather.
2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid checks many boxes. Rugged good looks? Check. Fewer stops at the pump thanks to its improved fuel economy of 40 mpg combined? Check. Plenty of room for rear passengers and gear? Check. When you’re using the rear seats, you’ll get 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space, just enough room for 25 turkeys. You’ll have access to 70 cubic feet, enough to hold 47 turkeys, with them folded.
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is “the rare SUV that performs admirably on and off road,” according to our reviewer. However, it has slightly less cargo area than the other top-watched crossovers, with just 36.3 cubic feet behind the second-row seats, which can fit 24 turkeys. Without second-row passengers, you can fit 46 turkeys in its 68.3 cubic feet of cargo space.
2019 Lincoln Nautilus
Turkeys sometimes need to ride in luxury, too. For those situations, take a look at the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus. This two-row SUV offers 37.2 cubic feet, about 25 turkeys’ worth of space. A push button can fold the second-row seats, making 68.8 cubic feet of cargo space available. That’s enough room for 47 turkeys. It also comes with a power tailgate with foot gesture control, making it easier to load the trunk when your hands are full.
If you’re torn between two models, you can learn more about each using our car comparator page. Scroll to the bottom of any Overview page and look for the “Cars compared to…” heading to access the tool. No matter which crossover you choose, we suggest you don’t try to fit all those turkeys at once (unless you’re doing it for a good cause). You’ll want room for pie, after all.
Most-Watched 2018 & 2017 Crossovers
2018 Subaru Crosstrek
2018 Honda HR-V
2018 Jeep Compass
2018 Hyundai Kona
2017 Kia Soul
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