Test Drive: Best rides of 2018 – SUV edition



Rolling brazen to a second shred of a car-of-the-year package, we demeanour during a best of a crossover and sport-utility models we test-drove in 2018. We also recall, maybe some-more fondly than usual, a year’s many fun car.

Midsize SUV

We’ve always favourite Jeep Cherokees, and it’s no consternation Fiat Chrysler brought behind a badge after a 13-year interregnum in 2014 to reinstate a Jeep Liberty. 

We described a 2019 Cherokee Overland 4×4 as “a easily proportioned midsize SUV…We were entirely confident with a handling, comfort and performance.” With a smooth, absolute turbocharged 2.0-liter Four, a Cherokee is rated during 20 mpg city, 27 highway. It’s some-more imperishable and off-road-capable than a vital competitors from Ford, Chevrolet, Mazda, Toyota and Honda, and a towing ability of as most as 4,500 is class-leading. But a foe offers improved fuel economy and load room. Also, a Jeep uses reward gasoline when versed with a discretionary turbocharged engine.

The bottom Cherokee, with front-wheel drive, starts during $23,995. Our top-of-the-line exam automobile had a plaque cost of $43,510.

Midsize Three-Row Crossover

Subaru has done a decent vital in a U.S. marketplace with subcompact and compress sedans and wagons, all featuring one of a best-performing all-wheel-drive systems available. Subarus are good winter cars that have grown some-more courteous over a years, though a code hasn’t been means to run with a big, or even medium-sized, dogs. Its midsize B-9 Tribeca, dropped after a 2014 indication year, wasn’t a bad car, though a strange 2006 chronicle was a nauseous duckling of a Subaru lineup.

Now comes a Ascent, a nice-looking three-row crossover and a biggest indication Subaru has sole in a United States. Priced between $31,995 and $44,695, it’s “well suspicion out and good executed,” we celebrated in a review. The Ascent borders on full-sized, with 86 cubic feet of load room and adult to 5,000 pounds of towing capacity. “The Ascent struck us roughly immediately as a right-sized vehicle, balancing plaque price, seating capacity, load room, fuel economy interior comfort and technology.” Specifically, it’s rated during 20 mpg city, 26 highway, uses unchanging unleaded gasoline, and boasts a 19.3-gallon fuel tank.

The Ascent reached 36,211 units sole in 2018, notwithstanding not carrying strike a U.S. showrooms until June.

Full-sized SUV

We gathering 3 full-sized SUVs in 2018 — a Cadillac Escalade, Nissan Armada and Ford Expedition — and continue to perspective them as limited-use vehicles. The full-sized GMC Denali pickup lorry we gathering late in a year left a same impression. They’re simply too prolonged for civic use, and their breadth seemed extreme even on widespread highways. Yes, they can ride 7 or 8 people in comfort, though so can a standard minivan. Their biggest item is their towing ability — 8,500 pounds for a Armada, 7,900 for a Escalade and 6,000 for a Expedition. With a ever-increasing girth of some-more docile models like a midsize Chevrolet Traverse and Honda Pilot, however, we find ourselves incompetent to suggest a full-sized SUV. Among pickup trucks, a Honda Ridgeline, that we test-drove in early 2017, stays a favorite.

Fun Car

With a primary motorist entrance off knee surgery, a Fiat 124 Spider — a two-seat roadster with a automobile tip and 6-speed primer delivery — seemed a slightest fascinating exam automobile we could have taken on. But we enjoyed it immensely, bad knee and all. Thanks to a far-reaching doors, entrance and outlet were sincerely easy, and once inside, a fun began in earnest. We described it as “a Mazda MX-5 with an attitude,” built in Hiroshima, Japan, with Italian physique design, engine and cessation tuning.

The Spider starts during about $25,000; a exam car, in top-of-the-line Abarth trim and options, had a plaque cost of $37,410. There isn’t most foe during this cost point. The MX-5, Subaru BRZ and identical Toyota 86 turn out a segment. For a lot some-more money, competition coupes and roadsters can be had from Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

Steven Macoy (semacoy@gmail.com) is a longtime automobile fan and full-time editor who lives in Bethel, Conn.

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