Auto aficionados will tell you autumn is their favorite time of the year … because that’s when all of the new models arrive. Familiar names front redesigned models while all-new ones join our roads. From stylish mid-size sedans to re-imagined compact crossovers, uber-luxury coupes and spirited electric cars, the new year is shaping up to be exciting. Here are five you might enjoy.
2018 Subaru Crosstrek
If heading off into the wilderness for fun and adventure sounds enchanting, this may be your all-road ride. Completely redesigned with edgier styling, more upscale interior and enhanced rear legroom, the Crosstrek rides more like a baby Audi than a big compact. Passengers are spoiled by available Harman Kardon speakers, navigation and EyeSight crash avoidance system. A 152-horsepower “Boxer” 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine sweats as if in the gym to accelerate, but 8.7 inches of ground clearance and X-Mode hill descent control enable extreme maneuvers should a mountain stand in your way. Best of all, it’s sold by a famously LGBT-friendly automaker.
Base price: $21,795
2018 Honda Accord
Hondas were once as bland as rice in a bowl, then the automaker stepped up its fashion game beginning with the current Civic. Now the larger Accord gets its makeover. A wide stance and fastback proportions are accented by LED headlamps and foglights. More sculptural bodywork and unique rear window line add visual interest while soft-touch materials, available head-up display, wireless phone charging and 4G Wi-Fi trick out the interior. It could just as easily be an Acura. Choose between 192-horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four and 50-mpg hybrid powertrains.
Base price: $23,570
Dodge Challenger GT AWD
Before you dismiss this massive Dodge swagger as old-school machismo, take a lesson in what it is. The Challenger’s basic architecture dates to the ‘90s Mercedes E-Class, while the 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is pure Chrysler. Add in all-wheel-drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission for an all-weather muscle car that achieves 18/27-mpg city/hwy. Plus add in 19-inch wheels, projector foglamps, rear spoiler and heated/cooled Nappa leather seats. Throw in Alpine audio, bright pedals and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility too. It’s the contemporary muscle car with few compromises.
Base price: $33,395
Tesla Model 3
Although it’s taking an eternity to start popping out the little whizzers, this smaller and sleeker Tesla is inciting an Apple-like frenzy. Why do we care? The base model offers 220 miles of electric range while a battery-fortified version travels 310 miles per charge. It can be replenished at the rate of 30 mph on 240v or 130 mph in 30 minutes with Tesla’s Supercharger. The dashboard is dominated by a 15-inch tablet-like touchscreen. Standard navigation, Wi-Fi, backup camera and automatic emergency braking accompany options like open pore wood trim and glass roof. Add Autopilot with full self-driving capability for $8,000.
Base price: $35,000
2018 Bentley Continental GT
For classic and flashy style, it’s difficult to beat a Bentley. What car has more presence? Completely redesigned, the new Continental keeps traditional cues while updating themes with off-set round headlamps, tightly drawn creases, oval taillamps and accentuated rear fenders. Inside, it’s all the finest materials with quilted leather, chrome and choice of exquisite wood veneers that include native Hawaiian Koa wood. There is no faux anything to diminish its coddling. Diamond-knurled clock bezel and air vents add detail. Crank the optional Naim 2200 watt audiophile system for total nirvana. It’s fast too; the top 6.0-liter W12 engine delivers 626 horsepower, 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, and a 207 mph top speed! If you can afford it, get it.
Base price (est): $210,000