We may be standing on the precipice of a new world of transportation, filled with robot drivers and free from gas stations. But let’s be honest: That future’s a bit further away than we thought. But there’s plenty great about the present automotive universe.
Just take these 10 shining examples we had the good luck to drive in 2018. If you’re in the market for a new car or truck, don’t overlook these all-new models.
Gear of the Year 2018: The 55 Best New Tech, Tools, and Toys
2019 Mercedes G-Class
The G Wagon still looks like a military truck—but it no longer drives like one, as we discovered during a rainy summer sprint through the Pyrenees. For the first time in 40 years, the G Wagon was the beneficiary of a ground-up redesign. And though the boxy shape stays, nearly all of its underpinnings are new, from its smarter suspension to a panoramic digital dash.
Courtesy of Mercedes
2019 Ram 1500
The back of the new Ram is where it’s at, as we discovered on a drive through the Arizona desert. A redesign made the Ram the largest crew cab on the market, with the lion’s share of space going to its rear legroom. Though the cabin has been swankified and outfitted with tech like a foot-high vertical touchscreen, the changes go even deeper. A tougher frame bumps its towing capacity to 12,750 pounds, and a smart eTorque mild hybrid system makes shifts buttery smooth while bumping up its fuel economy. Shopping for a pickup? Be smart—curb your brand loyalty, and test drive a Ram. Trust us.
2019 Jaguar I-Pace
A slew of luxury battery-electric SUVs will arrive in the coming years. In terms of pure kicks, they’ll have a tough competition in Jaguar’s five passenger plug-in. A bash of torque (512 lb.-ft) via its two electric motors and an exceptionally stiff chassis make the I-Pace a joy in sweeping curves. We didn’t expect such brio from this early entrant in the electric SUV stakes.
2019 Subaru Ascent
Subaru went big, turning out a three-row SUV for the first time since 2014. It was worth the wait—the Ascent takes the familiar Subaru recipe—just enough toughness, more-than-expected tech and refinement—and supersizes it. What better way to start 2019 than picking up a vehicle with 19 cupholders?
Courtesy of Subaru
2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The 505-horsepower Quadrifogloio proves to be a righteous, raucous family hauler that’s surprisingly easy to point-and-shoot even on a racetrack even as technical as Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. Only 10 percent of Alfa SUV buyers will opt for the Quadrifoglio. Let’s just say that the other 90 percent are missing out.
All images courtesy of manufacturer
2019 Volvo S60
The nordic conquest continues. Volvo took much of what’s made its recent models great— muscular styling and performance you might not expect from the brand—and imbued it into a smaller sedan. During a drive on winding Texas backroads, an T6 model delivered a caffeinated kick, via its 302-hp turbo-and-supercharged four, along with some impressively direct handling around corners via its all-wheel-drive system. Consider it the mini-Thor.
2019 BMW M5
Sedans seem to be in a sort of twilight, but then you have pyrotechnic flashes of brilliance like BMW’s M5. Its boosted, 600-hp V-8 and all-wheel-drive system produce effortless, predictable 2.8-second launches that leave you (and your passengers) giggling. But when you’re inevitably stuck in traffic, the M5 becomes a placid luxury car. It’s a mad muscle car in disguise.
2019 Genesis G70
Sleeper of the year: The G70 is a rear-wheel drive sport sedan aimed directly at BMW’s 3-Series, and it succeeds at every level, from design to handling—of course, it costs thousands less than competitive German rides. If you’re looking for more rear legroom, check out its chassis partner, the equally impressive Kia Stinger.
2019 Audi A8 L
The limo-like A8 is a rolling preview of tech for the car world to come, even without its once-promised level-three autonomy features enabled. A 48-volt electrical system enables tricks like an active suspension that uses cameras, radar, and AI to predict isolate, and negate speed bumps and surface imperfections. Likewise all-wheel steering shortens the lengthy car’s turning radius and makes high-speed lane changes seamless and stress-free. And ain’t that the point of a big, baller sedan?
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