Throughout the space of a year, I have the opportunity to get a first look at the latest and greatest vehicles, and I drive a lot of cars.
From economy chic to downright expensive, there are a lot of great cars out there. So, after 365 days and more than 100 test drives, here’s a look at my favorite vehicles from 2018.
2018 Nissan Kicks ($18,995)
Engine: 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder
Torque: 115 lb-ft
I didn’t expect to like the Nissan Kicks as much as I did. But the seats are comfortable, the acceleration is decent for a 125-horsepower engine, and the included technology is impressive.
I do wish there was available all-wheel drive, but nonetheless, the new Kicks is an impressive entry in the compact CUV market, and it will definitely give the likes of the Hyundai Kona, Ford EcoSport and Toyota C-HR a run for their money.
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback ($20,910)
Engine: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder
Torque: 151 lb-ft
The 2019 Corolla Hatchback is a true surprise. In a good way. You’re looking at a vehicle that will likely start around $20K, and you’ll get an amazing array of standard features including up-level safety tech such as adaptive cruise control and lane trace assist.
Whether you’re an urban dweller or young professional looking for a first car, this hot hatch has what you’re looking for: fun-to-drive dynamics, great visibility, tons of safety features and (finally) Apple CarPlay.
2018 Buick Regal TourX ($29,995)
Engine: 2.0-liter, turbocharged, 4-cylinder
Torque: 295 lb-ft
If you were in a one-vehicle household, the 2018 Buick Regal TourX would cover the full range of what you might need from easy city parkability to I-need-to-make-a-trip-to-Ikea functionality. Plus, as a Northerner, I also really like the standard AWD.
Also, considering that only high-end automakers like Jaguar and Audi or regular automakers like Subaru and Volkswagen are offering what passes for a (cough) wagon, Buick might be well-positioned to snag those buyers who are in the middle.
2019 RAM 1500 ($31,695)
Engine: 3.6-liter V-6, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8
Horsepower: 305, 395
Torque: 269, 410 lb-ft
At the end of the day, Ram has done a really nice job with its 15th-generation pickup truck. It’s chockfull of clever features, high-level technology and impressive capability.
The folks at Ram have been calling this all-new 1500 a “no compromises” truck since it’s reveal last January at the Detroit auto show, and after time behind the wheel, I believe them.
2018 Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels Edition ($39,290)
Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, 3.6-liter V-6 engine, 6.2-liter V-8
Horsepower: 275, 335, 455
Torque: 295, 284, 455
It’s been several years since I’ve driven a Camaro, and I’m happy to say it has not lost its mojo. It’s still just as fun and slightly impractical (like all muscle cars) as it has always been.
I’m a particular fan of the SS trim, which adds an even higher level of fun and sport. And when you add in the Hot Wheels edition, you have a cool-looking collector’s item on your hands.
2019 Lincoln Nautilus ($41,335)
Engine: 2.0-liter, turbocharged, 4-cylinder
Torque: 280 lb-ft
I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked the Nautilus. It’s not sporty like a BMW X1 or Infiniti QX50, so if you’re looking for a stiff suspension and ultra-tight steering, this is not the SUV you’re looking for.
But if you’re looking for something quiet, effortless and luxurious, the new Nautilus should be on your must-test list.
2019 Jaguar I-Pace ($69,500)
Battery Pack: 90 kWh
Torque: 512 lb-ft
The most impressive thing about the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace is that it can handle mild off-roading, aggressive racetrack-style driving and everything in between. All the while, it provides exceptional range (up to 240 miles), cool technology and fun-to-drive dynamics.
2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio ($81,590)
Engine: 2.9-liter twin turbo V-6
Torque: 443 lb-ft
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio should be driven hard and fast – which is perfect for a jaunt to the racetrack. But it is also a decent touring car with comfy seats and maneuverable turning radius.
Standard all-wheel drive makes it an excellent choice for Northern climes, and assuming you aren’t going to take it out on a racetrack, the fuel economy is fairly reasonable for a high-horsepower, AWD vehicle at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo E-Hybrid ($105,050)
Engine: 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine + an electric motor
Torque: 516 lb-ft
Right now, the Panamera Sport Turismo is playing in a segment of one, since there aren’t many luxury wagon-esque vehicles available – especially when you factor in the E-Hybrid powertrain. So, add “unique” to the adjectives describing this vehicle.
If your soul craves a sports car yet your significant other demands you get a functional family vehicle, the Panamera Sport Turismo is an excellent compromise. It’s still incredibly fun to drive and provides excellent space for passengers and cargo.
2019 Aston Martin DB11 Volante ($216,495)
Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8
Torque: 497 lb-ft
The Aston Martin DB11 Volante is a sinfully beautiful car. The attention to detail is breathtaking, and the V-8 engine is spot-on amazing. I’ve loved every iteration of the DB11 I’ve driven so far, but the Volante is special. It gives you an open-air experience when you want it with a no-compromises canvas top when you don’t.