Hyundai Santa Fe
The new Santa Fe is bigger than the current Santa Fe Sport, which it replaces, with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. It also comes with a long list of fun features such as a panoramic sunroof and wireless device-charging on the center console, plus a whole package of safety features (including forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection). Hyundai also will offer a diesel engine for those who put fuel economy first on their "must" list.
This small SUV offers a rare treat in its hybrid form: It both saves fuel and is fun to drive. The RAV4 — now Toyota’s best-seller, surpassing even the Camry — is now a little bigger and sits a bit higher off the ground, for a more rugged feel. The government hadn’t rated the XSE hybrid yet, but forecasts are mid-30s mpg in combined city-highway driving.
A midsize luxury SUV whose new model really is all new, it's smart looking and smart, and includes the latest assisted-driving technology. The ProPilot Assist feature offers “a hands-on driving assistant” that, among other feats, can keep you centered in your lane and a certain distance from the car in front of you.
The redo of the 2019 Acura is a big step up from the already well-regarded 2018 model. The interior is roomier, the engine is more powerful, and it gets better gas mileage. It’s also chockablock with tech updates, including an armrest-level console touch pad that, after a little practice, lets you keep your eyes on the road while working the navigation, stereo and phone controls — rather than poke at the dashboard.
Taking a page from old Detroit marketing, the fully redone midsize sedan is longer, lower, wider — about an inch of each. Altima has all-wheel drive for the first time, but only on the base model. Standard goodies include a heated steering wheel, automatic braking, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to integrate your phone into the car’s infotainment system. Add NissanConnect and you can update some features wirelessly; no need to hit the dealership.
It still looks like a Chevy pickup — but it’s a little bigger, a lot roomier (for both people and cargo) and handy as a Swiss Army knife, with its dozen cargo tie-down straps, optional power tailgate, plus blind-spot cameras and hill-start assist, which holds the brakes momentarily or until you press the accelerator to prevent rolling backward. Diesel is optional.