Lexus ES: $40,595

Gas mileage: 22 city, 31-33 highway

Seating: Seats 5 comfortably

Drivetrain: FWD

Horsepower: 302

What we love: The new fully redesigned Lexus ES has a more powerful V6 engine, upgraded technology, and a new sports trim, but these aren’t the only things we love about this gem. As the most expensive on our list (just over the $40k cap), it’s still quite a good product for the price with sporty ride quality and an extremely comfortable interior.


Overall rating: 8.2

What we don’t love: Many people have reported finicky, complicated infotainment systems in these vehicles, disappointing plastic quality in the interior, non-folding rear seats, and a slow-to-respond transmission. Others have suggested the trunk space is smaller than competitors, but of course, this is subjective.

Acura RDX: $38,295

Gas mileage: 21-22 city, 26-28 highway

Seating: Seats 5

Drivetrain: AWD, FWD

Horsepower: 272

What we love: The interior can only be described as posh with its “wow this is surprisingly roomy” seats. It is high tech, it handles well, and has been completely redesigned to compete with other luxury SUVs on the market.


Overall rating: 8.9

What we don’t love: The infotainment system has quite the learning curve, and any upgrades or other additional options are only bundled in pre-set packages. There is also no choice of powertrain, but we think this only affects a small percentage of buyers.

Infiniti QX50: $37,545

Gas mileage: 24 city, 30-31 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD, AWD

Horsepower: 268

What we love: These days, gas mileage is important to us — which is why Infiniti has taken it upon themselves to improve the gas mileage in their new 2019 vehicles, and to only get better from here. The interior is roomy and supportive with more cargo space than you ever need (but it’s always nice to have, right?).

Motor Trends

Overall Rating: 8.0

What we don’t love: The handling of this car has been described as “uninspiring,” but just because it has a slow kick doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. The infotainment system is also a bit rickety, which seems to be an unfortunate pattern nowadays.

Toyota Avalon: $36,420

Gas mileage: 22 city, 31-32 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD

Horsepower: 301

What we love: The seats in this sedan are as expansive as they are cushioned, so those long commutes and treasured road trips will be a breeze. The interior boasts luxury quality and aesthetics, and the new high tech additions benefit the driver the most.

Motor Trends

Overall Rating: 8.9

What we don’t love: For Toyota, this sedan has a high base price and some historically problematic infotainment systems. It lacks an Android Auto integration (who even uses Androids anymore?), and for our taller readers, the sunroof limits the front headroom.

Lexus NX 300: $36,185

Gas mileage: 33 city, 30 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: AWD

Horsepower: 194

What we love: For a luxury crossover, this Lexus gets great fuel economy, especially considering it’s slightly larger than most size. The seats are also roomy, supportive, and adjustable for those prioritizing comfort.

The Drive

Overall rating: 7.7

What we don’t love: Not only are there no major changes between this year’s and last year’s models, but the larger size does not necessarily equate to more cargo space (some would argue there is less than before). And, yet again, the infotainment system has been described as awkward and distracting at best.

Tesla Model 3 Performance: $34,200

Gas mileage: 136 city, 123 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: AWD

Horsepower: 271

What we love: Tesla’s new Model 3 is mostly popular due to the fact its price makes this luxury vehicle within reach for more people. The interior is sleek and minimalistic, which makes the 15-inch screen the vehicle’s main attention grabber.

What Car/Auto Mag

Overall rating: 8.7

What we don’t love: Although it’s an award-winning green vehicle, it only has a range of about 220 miles on it before it needs an extra charge, and even with all the new charging stations popping up, there aren’t as many as you need. The range anxiety is real!

Volkswagen Arteon: $35,000

Gas mileage: 38.7 city, 47.9 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: AWD

Horsepower: 268

What we love: VW is finally getting on the driver assistance (DA) bandwagon by including the most advanced DA yet in this Arteon. It’s spacious on the inside, sizable on the outside, and has a more stylishly extravagant look to it, both on the inside and out.

Car and Driver

Overall rating: 7.9

What we don’t love: Although it’s a great vehicle for a great price, VW had high standards for this car that it just can’t live up to. With competitors like Audi and BMW, the Arteon just might fall out of favor with those looking for real luxurious, sporty, practical cars.

Volvo XC40: $34,695

Gas mileage: 23 city, 31-33 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: AWD, FWD

Horsepower: 197-248

What we love: Although this beast has a powerful turbo engine, the smooth ride and nimble handling have remained unchanged. Volvo has always been known to have posh interiors with high quality materials, but now, it has high tech additions to match.

Consumer Reports/ Green Car Reports

Overall Rating: 9.1

What we don’t love: The cargo capacity isn’t as great as its competitors, even with the small and hidden storage options, and our taller readers must be wary of sitting in the backseat where passenger comfort was not high on the priority list.

Mercedez Benz GLA class: $33,950

Gas mileage: 24 city, 33 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD, AWD

Horsepower: Up to 375

What we love: Voted as one of the most entertaining crossovers in its class, this Benz has excellent gas mileage, high clearance, and a long list of tech and safety features that make it worth every penny.

LoEber Motors/Edmunds

Overall rating: 8.1

What we don’t love: As much as we love this sporty crossover, we must admit it has some downsides. Cramped rear seats, unimpressive interior, and limited visibility are just a few of our complaints, but the biggest one is how expensive it gets to repair.

Mazda MX-5 Miata: $33,240

Gas mileage: 26 city, 35 highway

Seating: 2

Drivetrain: RWD

Horsepower: 181

What we love: Driving this Miata with the new, more powerful engine is a dream come true. From the incredible handling to the sprightly acceleration, sporty exterior, and regal interior, this car has left track marks on our hearts.

Car and Driver

Overall rating: 9.1

What we don’t love: With speed comes noise, unfortunately, and this Miata is no exception. The cabin gets quite loud at highway speeds, and the trunk size is mediocre at best. We also must advise care and caution when aggressively cornering, as this vehicle has a noticeable body roll.

Subaru Ascent: $32,970

Gas mileage: 20-21 city, 26-27 highway

Seating: 7-8

Drivetrain: AWD

Horsepower: 260

What we love: As a midsize SUV, the Ascent is sophisticated and sleek with its large carrying capacity and even larger hauling abilities. It is balanced, techy, roomy, and spacious, but more importantly, it’s a classic Subaru.

Car and Driver/ Subaru/ Freep

Overall Rating: 8.5

What we don’t love: As far as luxury vehicles go, the interior is definitely not as well done as some of its competitors (but who gets a Subaru for luxurious insides? Not us). The biggest complaint is of a cramped 3rd row, which still boasts a 32-inch leg room capacity.

BMW X1 sDrive28i: $33,900

Gas mileage: 35 average

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: TBD

Horsepower: 228

What we love: Unfortunately, this new BMW hasn’t quite hit the markets yet, so there isn’t much information on it and no way to test it out. However, since last year’s model was such a hit in the markets (it ranked #2 in Luxury subcompact SUVs), we’re guessing this one is only going to be better.

BMW Blog/ Car and Driver


Overall rating: TBD

What we don’t love: Even though the prototypes are wrapped in illusionary swirly papers to hide new features, we can tell that this model boasts similar outward designs as older models, which could mean no major changes to the 2019 model.

Kia Stinger: $32,900

Gas mileage: 22 city, 29 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: AWD, RWD

Horsepower: 365

What we love: We’d be lying if we said we weren’t all considering buying this Stinger. New blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts, full safety systems, heated rear seats, and surround-view monitors are just a few additions. But, it’s the generous warranty, refined hatchback utility, and sporty feel that really make it worth your while.

Car Review/ Team Gunther/ Friendly Kia

Overall rating: 9.3

What we don’t love: You may want to apologize to your taller friends before getting this Stinger because rear headspace is a bit limited for some people. The sloping back of this car also hampers the rear visibility, but new driver assistance features can help with that.

Genesis G70: $32,000

Gas mileage: 18-22 city, 25-30 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: RWD, AWD

Horsepower: 252-365

What we love: This 2019 model is all new, boasting a sporty drive, upscale design touches, unheard of warranty coverage, and more tech features than you’ll probably need. The sleek design makes it fun to drive, and the price point is, honestly, hard to beat.


Overall rating: 8.9

What we don’t love: As with most sports cars, the back seat is going to be a tiny bit cramped for larger passengers, but our least favorite part of this new model is how they took the Hyundai infotainment system and stuck it on the upscale Genesis.

Jeep Wrangler: $28,045

Gas mileage: 17 city, 23-25 highway

Seating: 4-5

Drivetrain: 4WD

Horsepower: 270-285

What we love: As one of the leaders in offroading vehicles, Jeep has continued to improve these specs to ensure near Herculean off-road ability with this new model. The 4 door has quite a bit of cargo space, and the turbo engine is as punchy as you’ve always dreamed of it being.


Overall rating: 7.8

What we don’t love: A master of the off-road, the Jeep is more mediocre on the pavement as it’s not the smoothest ride you could hope for. The starting price is a bit high compared to others, and the gas mileage is, well, Jeep gas mileage.

MINI Countryman: $26,900

Gas mileage: 21-24 city, 30-33 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: AWD, FWD

Horsepower: 134-228

What we love: With a revamped trim structure and some competitive interior/exterior designs, the Countryman has, once again, won us over. This edition comes with an optional manual transmission and provides a fun driving experience for anyone up for a ride.


Overall rating: 8.0

What we don’t love: This car is better left to our smaller readers, however, as our taller ones have complained of confining front and back seats. The storage isn’t large but for a car that’s called MINI, we have cut it some slack here, even though this car does require premium fuel.

Ford Mustang: $26,675

Gas mileage: 14-21 city, 23-32 highway

Seating: 4

Drivetrain: RWD

Horsepower: 310-480

What we love: If you’re getting this car, we highly suggest going with the throaty, punchy, potent V8 engine, and if you are willing to spend a little more, go with the commemorative Bullitt edition. The interior is sporty and handsome, and the interface is sharp and user friendly.

Motor Trends

Overall rating: 8.9

What we don’t love: As a two-door, the backseat is clearly pretty tricky to access. But, as the #2 rated vehicle in Sports Cars and Convertibles, it’s hard to find anything else wrong with this classic muscle car.

Ford Ranger: $24,300

Gas mileage: 21 city, 26 highway

Seating: 4

Drivetrain: RWD

Horsepower: 290

What we love: This ruggedly efficient truck has an astonishingly handsome exterior that would look good in pristine condition, or with a few lumps, bumps, scratches and dents. You have options to upgrade, downgrade, add, subtract, or multiply to this beauty from a long list of available options, but all safety features are top of the line and already included.

Gear Junkie/KBB/Ford

Overall rating: 8.4

What we don’t love: For those who desire a single cab truck, unfortunately, it isn’t an option for this 2019 Ranger, and there is only one available powertrain. It’s a solid competitor to the Tacoma, but the lack of these two options makes the battle more of an uphill struggle for Ford.

Nissan Altima: $24,155

Gas mileage: 25-28 city, 34-39 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD, AWD

Horsepower: 188-248

What we love: The fully redesigned Altima offers a brand new all-wheel drive, new engine technology, award-winningly comfortable seats, semi-automated driving features, and an improved infotainment center that has proven to be user friendly (unlike some of its competitors).

Consumer Reports/Automotive News

Overall rating: 8.6

What we don’t love: We understand that new cars can’t please every driver on the road, but I don’t think people would mind spending a few extra dollars for some higher quality cabin materials and a more agile ride (why did they get rid of the V6 engine again, anyway?).

Honda Insight: $23,725

Gas mileage: 51-55 city, 45-49 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD

Horsepower: 151

What we love: Can we just take a second to appreciate this stellar fuel economy? And, although you can’t see it, the trunk is surprisingly large. The Insight offers some standard driver assistance features that haven’t been included in previous models, which ensures this one is high tech and definitely on the competitive side of the market.

Consumer Reports/Car and Driver

Overall rating: 8.2

What we don’t love: If you’re looking for a more sporty car, look elsewhere — this beast can haul a full family on a 2-week long road trip, but don’t expect it to race you down the Autobahn. Even with the lack of an athletic exterior, this is still a sleek and sophisticated vehicle that you’d want to show off in your driveway.

Buick Encore: $23,200

Gas mileage: 25-36 city, 30-21 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD, AWD

Horsepower: 138-153

What we love: Buick is most known for their absolute tanks of vehicles, but their recent lines have been sleeker and more stylish than their predecessors. The Encore is definitely one of them with beautiful tech features, standard safety features, nimble handling, and a stylish interior.

Cart Traction/Buick

Overall rating: 8.2

What we don’t love: Some have complained of an underpowered base engine, while others say the cargo space is subpar. Either way, everyone can agree this isn’t the most stylish of cars (but can we complain at such a great price point?).

Fiat 500L: $21,750

Gas mileage: 22 city, 30 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD

Horsepower: 160

What we love: For a small hatchback (they classify it as a wagon — but, come on), there is a surprising amount of passenger and cargo room available. This car has us swooning. They’ve taken the city-perfect charm of the original Fiat and updated, enlarged and improved it without sacrificing style.

USN Best Cars

Overall rating: 6.9

What we don’t love: Unfortunately, the seats are hard and uncomfortable which doesn’t help the lackluster suspension and choppy ride quality over rough pavement. It also does not have the latest standard driver safety aids, nor do the rear seats fold flat for more cargo space.

Toyota Corolla Hatchback:$20,910

Gas mileage: 32 city, 42 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD

Horsepower: 168

What we love: This redesigned Corolla has a new and improved interior design, better materials, and more upgraded technology, but what we love most is how many standard driving aids are included — even with the manual transmission.

NY Daily News

Overall rating: 6.5

What we don’t love: Even though its low to the ground, the body roll on this vehicle is pronounced more than we expected it to be. The backseat doesn’t have much legroom, so if you happen to be tall and also own an Android, we have bad news for you — this car doesn’t have Android Auto.

Honda Civic: $20,650

Gas mileage: 35-32 city, 35-42 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD

Horsepower: 158-174

What we love: We all know Honda Civics just never die. They are the Nokia phones of the car world, just a lot more attractive looking. The 2019 Civic has incredibly dynamic performance, a high-end cabin, ample cargo and leg room, and an even better fuel economy.

Car and Driver/ Digital Trends

Overall rating: 8.7

What we don’t love: The minor things, like an unintuitive touch-screen interface, are just a tad bit frustrating, but not necessarily a deal breaker for us. Just like the overly vigilant forward collision warning system is annoying, but definitely appreciated in those “Oh, that was too close” moments.

Hyundai Veloster: $19,385

Gas mileage: 26 city, 33 highway

Seating: 4

Drivetrain: FWD

Horsepower: 147-201

What we love: Hyundai is one of the few car makers who listen to their customers’ complaints, which is why they revised the 2019 Veloster’s suspension to handle a lot better than it did before, added a third door for easy backseat access, and improved their turbocharged engine.

Detroit Free Press/ Zimbit/ Motor Authority

Overall rating: 8.6

What we don’t love: The fuel economy isn’t the best, but it’s also not as bad as, well, any Jeep that has ever existed. Some of the cabin materials look or feel a little cheaper, but in order to make a car this affordable, we understand why they opted for less luxurious design materials.

Kia Forte: $18,585

Gas mileage: 27-31 city, 37-41 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD

Horsepower: 147

What we love: Fully redesigned with the Stinger in mind, the 2019 Forte has some bold new looks. The fuel economy is even better than last year’s model, the exterior is sharply designed, and the interior is just as sleek. With a generous warranty, it’s hard to go wrong here.

Car and Driver/Kia

Overall rating: 8.8

What we don’t love: The pick-me-up in this car is a little stiff when, for example, you’re going from a full stop to freeway speeds. There’s a noticeable amount of road noise, but not remarkable enough to be a problem in our opinion.

Kia Soul: $16,490

Gas mileage: 24-26 city, 30-31 highway

Seating: 5

Drivetrain: FWD

Horsepower: 109-201

What we love: Of course we love the commercials with the dancing hamsters, but there’s a lot more to love about this cute little rectangle than that. The spacious, upscale cabin, the roomy cargo area, and the optional (how could you say no?) turbo engine all add to the charm of this vehicle. Not to mention the same generous warranty as the Forte is available for the Soul, as well.

Kia/Car and Driver

Overall rating: 8.8

What we don’t love: The Soul has, unfortunately, fallen into the shadows of the Forte in terms of fuel economy. Some have complained about the less-than-smooth ride quality, but unless you’re currently driving a Tesla or a Cadillac, you’ll hardly notice the little bumps.

What to look forward to in 2020: The Ford Bronco: $30,000

Ford has done quite a good job keeping this new car under wraps — literally. The only photo of this redesigned legend has been of the vehicle under a loose white sheet. While the 2019 Bronco was more akin to the Ford F150, the new 2020 Bronco will have similar insides to the Ford Ranger.

Road and Track

Above, Road & Track has taken this veiled photo of the 2020 Bronco and designed what they think the redesigned version will look like. Of course, everything is speculative right now, but we think this one gives a perfect tribute to the classic Broncos, while mixing in some luxury Land Cruiser-esque components, and of course, adding some new technology.

2020 VW Golf GTI: $27,310

Dubbed as one of the best cars in the world, the VW Golf has seemingly perfected this 8th generation version of their hottest model. The interior includes sophisticated plaid seats, a contrasting color line in the grill, and delivers “sublimely balanced performance,” according to Car & Driver.

VW News

We can see that standards have been raised to an unparalleled level on this GTI hatchback. Plus, new infotainment systems have begun production. We can only assume that since the VW has been building GTI’s since 1975, there can’t be much that goes wrong with each new model. After all, practice makes perfect.

What to look forward to in 2022: The VW Mini Bus: $40,000

VW admittedly has some past transgressions to make up for, but all will be forgiven when this new Mini Bus comes out in 2022. As a fully electric vehicle with similar yet updated exterior designs, it seems like this bus can’t get any better — but, it does. The makers of this vehicle have promised that this beast will offer everything and more than you have seen from other electric carmakers.

News Room

A front trunk, fully removable and movable seats, heads-up display integrating augmented reality, pop-up laser scanners, and a fold-away steering wheel are only half of this spectacle. We don’t know about you, but we just might already be saving up for this gem in 2022.