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Month: November 2018

What didn’t make the cut

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Whittling through the list of new cars this year for our Best Car To Buy 2019 nominees was no easy task. Nearly every major automaker debuted at least one redesigned model, touting it for its safety, its performance, its spacious interior, or its innovative features.

Our staff spent weeks debating which cars deserved to make the final cut to be considered for our top award. We’ve already shown you the nominees, but what about the cars, crossovers, and SUVs that didn’t make it all the way through the nomination process?

MORE: Follow all our Best Car To Buy 2019 news as we name a winner

Here’s a look at what cars we considered, and why they sat on the sidelines. It’s not necessarily because they’re bad cars—truthfully, no new car is truly awful. But we were able to distill them down to a few common reasons why they didn’t earn a nomination.

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3

Too expensive

To be a Best Car To Buy 2019 nominee, the version we recommend needs to cost less than $50,000. Some cars, such as the BMW X5, Jaguar I-Pace, and Porsche Cayenne didn’t even make it to the discussion.

Although it’s possible to find a Tesla Model 3 configured to our recommended specifications costing less than $50,000, buyers need to qualify for incentives that will expire by the time the calendar turns into 2019. Cheaper Model 3 sedans are on the way, though, so Tesla may qualify in the future.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Close, but not quite

There’s a lot to like about the redesigned VW Jetta with its gentle road manners, spacious interior, and good safety tech, but we kept coming back to one issue. Does it do anything better than the other cars on our list? Nope.

Volvo’s new S60 sedan and V60 wagon are stylish options worth shopping if you’re in the market for a compact luxury car. They narrowly missed out on our list because they reminded us too much of our experience last year with the runner-up Volvo XC60. Volvo’s XC40 represents more out-of-the-box thinking and it easily made our list, though.

Finally, the Genesis G70 delivers impressive handling and performance, but it doesn’t fix what’s holding back the brand. Consumers want crossover SUVs, and the G70 is yet another four-door sedan from a brand that’s in need of some utility-vehicle presence.

The Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio give buyers good reasons to stick with small cars. They’re as roomy inside as some mid-size cars were a few years ago, and the ones we recommend can be had for around $21,000. Against a wide range of cars that make better choices for families, however, the Accent and Rio lost out on our nomination.

2019 Nissan Altima

2019 Nissan Altima

This year’s letdowns

The redesigned Nissan Altima should have been a shoo-in, but it doesn’t feel like as much of a step forward from behind the wheel as it does on paper. The Altima’s turbo-4 engine is powerful, but should be mated to all-wheel drive. Meanwhile, its all-wheel-drive system may steal a buyer or two in wintry markets, but most of those shoppers are looking for crossover SUVs. Just ask Subaru.

We have similar issues with the Mazda 6. It’s not that Mazda’s four-door isn’t enjoyable to drive, but the turbo-4 engine that’s new for this year doesn’t move the needle far enough. We wish Mazda had put it in the model its dealers can barely keep in stock: the popular CX-5 crossover SUV.

We ran into the same issue with the Buick Regal TourX, a tall station wagon that we really wanted to like. It probably would have have earned a spot on our list had Buick not restricted active safety tech that we consider crucial on a new car to only the top trim levels.



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2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos

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The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander is a decent alternative to the many crossover SUVs it competes with, but there’s a reason Mitsubishi’s sales have slumped for years.

With a total score of 5.8 out of 10 on our scale, the 2019 Outlander performs well, but competitors offer a myriad of more satisfying options, making the Mitsu a more difficult sell. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Last year, Mitsubishi finally brought over the plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander from overseas, which can run on electricity only for up to 22 miles and is one of the few plug-in crossover SUVs on the market.

Review continues below

For 2019, the Outlander receives some a revised front end, newly standard 18-inch wheels on all trims, new front seats, an electric parking brake, a rear USB port, and tweaks to its suspension and steering for better ride and handling.

Available in ES, SE, SEL, and GT trims, the Outlander is one of the few crossovers of its size that has a standard third row seat standard. It also includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and rearview camera for just over $25,000 after destination charge.

Each Outlander below the top-tier GT trim comes standard with an over-worked 2.4-liter inline-4 that makes 166 horsepower, while the GT packs a V-6 with 224 horsepower, but its power benefit is offset by a drop in fuel economy and a need for premium fuel. Every version of the Outlander is equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) as the only option. Front-wheel drive is standard on ES, SE, and SEL, while all-wheel drive is optional across the range and standard on GT.

The Outlander does deliver on safety, at least in terms of crash test results. Recommended  active features such as automatic emergency braking mean buyers have to opt for a package on higher trim levels, tech other competitors make standard.

Though delivering on features and value, the Outlander lacks the refined quality of most of its rivals, dropping it from the consideration set of many crossover buyers.

 



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