What a year it has been!
We pretty much outdid ourselves on bringing you some of the finest automobiles in this column. We know that not everyone is interested in a 505-horsepower Italian sports sedan or a 471-horsepower grand touring coupe with a price tag of over $100,000. That is why we also bring vehicles that are closer to what we drive—such as a couple of small SUVs made for the densest of neighborhoods.
This year, we want to present five of our best “Ride Reviews” of 2018. We also want to look forward into 2019 on vehicles we will be working on for the newly rebranded “Our Rides” column. We still love cars, trucks, and SUVs, but we also know that your want of mobility ranges to motorcycles, bicycles, public transportation, and so forth. Plus, this column will be focusing on maintaining your vehicle and the contribution our community has on your transportation needs.
Let’s finish up 2018 with these—our best “Ride Reviews” of the year:
ALFA ROMEO GIULIA: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles heralded the return of Alfa Romeo to our shores with a mid-engine two-seater coupe. Since then, they have concentrated on a sedan and an SUV—both available with a 505-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 developed by Ferrari. We had the sedan version of the Quadrifoglio, the Giulia. It is part-race car, part-touring sedan. This combination delivers on the desires of Italian car enthusiasts. Put it in Track Mode—if you dare!
HONDA ACCORD: The original Accord propelled Honda to new heights back in 1976. This latest edition continues to propel Honda further. Its sharp design, all-turbocharged lineup—along with its superb hybrid system —and incredible cabin created the basis of the new Accord for the future. The one thing you cannot fault is its distinctive design and overall execution. If you are looking for a sedan that stands out in the crowd and delivers on the promise of excellence, check out the newest Accord.
KIA STINGER: This was the car you never expected from Kia. This four-door hatchback was designed as a touring car than just mere basic transportation. It is an exciting choice for the enthusiast to enjoy a premium car at a more affordable price. The twin-turbocharged V6 delivers on both off-the-line performance and long distance engagement. The hatchback offers a practical side that most customers want. In all, the Stinger will become your new best friend with its charms and capabilities.
LEXUS LC: It began as a show-stopping concept car. It would evolve unscathed as the halo vehicle for Lexus. A 2+2 grand touring coupe that offers no apologies, loads of style, and a choice of propulsion. The Hybrid is great for long distance touring with its great fuel economy and fuel range. For more sporting adventures, the V8 delivers with a mass of power to befit its looks. No matter which LC you choose, it promises to deliver an experience, unlike any Lexus before it.
TOYOTA CAMRY: Toyota’s CEO called it “sexy.” It’s more than just its looks. This popular mid-sized sedan has set the bar for the class and still brings customers to its clutches. It offers plenty of style, performance, space, a comfortable ride, and more. Plus, you get the option of a strong hybrid driveline delivering amazing fuel economy. As you settle into the new Camry, know that it is no longer just a four-door appliance. It has transformed into a wonderful sedan to own.
VOLVO XC40: Volvo can do no wrong. This was proven with its newest and smallest vehicle—a small SUV made for urban living. The size is right, and it offers more than meets the eye. A powerful turbocharged engine provides more than enough power to get through winter and into an adventure near you. The cabin is pure Volvo —with a few twists, such as our R Design’s tester with lava and black finishes. Plus, you can subscribe to one for an inclusive monthly cost.
VOLKSWAGEN JETTA: Coming out of the TDI Scandal, Volkswagen needed to do something extraordinary to bring back customers to their fold. They looked at their most popular vehicle—the Jetta—and reinvented it. It is larger, more spacious, loaded with the latest technology, built much safer, and yielded TDI-like fuel economy figures. All from a small and very motivated turbocharged engine. This is the car that will bring you back to Volkswagen.
…and, now, a look at some possible rides for 2019! They could soon appear on these pages…
ACURA RDX: After years of finding itself and its purpose, Acura redesigned its compact SUV into something very desirable. The design will lure you in, while its cabin and cargo hold will seal the deal. Powered by a turbocharged engine, its all-wheel-drive system is designed to keep you on the road in the worst conditions. Through every inch is Acura’s new approach to their brand—a return to exciting new vehicles that are based on overall performance and occupant engagement.
CHEVROLET SILVERADO: The gauntlet thrown by the Ford F-150 has been answered by General Motors. Their approach is to lose weight, keep up its strong construction with a mix of materials throughout, expand the engine choices to include a turbocharged four-cylinder and a new diesel, and to deliver all of this through design innovation and greater capacity. The new Silverado is bolder and more distinctive of a pickup truck that will make work and play easier to live with.
NISSAN ALTIMA: The Camry and Accord may get all of the attention, they will have to step aside for the moment. An all-new Altima has arrived. The new mid-sized sedan incorporates Nissan’s new design language, distinguishing it from the rest of the segment. Inside is a more engaging interior with updated technology and improved safety functionality. This will be the first Altima with a turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive available. This is definitely not your typical Altima—not anymore.
SUBARU ASCENT: One of our favorite brands have finally developed a three-row SUV for all of us. The Ascent is now built on a new global platform designed to underpin all of its future products—a lighter, more concentrated construction that is also flexible in design. What has not changed is the standard all-wheel drive—one of the best systems of its kind out there. The Ascent is now the Subaru you want for the rainbow family.
VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON: The new entry from Wolfsburg follows a new trend in cars in this country—the mid-sized four-door hatchback. Its approach is to create an upmarket entry with plenty of space and practicality while delivering on turbocharged performance with a style that is unique and stand out. Not to mention, the latest in Volkswagen technology and driver assistance features. In a nutshell, the Arteon is set to deliver on these promises.
VOLVO S60: Never has a Volvo been produced in the USA. The new plant near Charleston, South Carolina is producing an all-new S60 for the world. The new sedan will offer a variety of power options, including a performance-based plug-in hybrid. This rounds out Volvo’s program to revamp their entire lineup. In a highly competitive segment, the S60 should deliver more of what Volvo has been doing lately—creating great fresh vehicles with superb execution.