Every fall, the world’s automakers brush away the leaves long enough to debut their new rides. This year, we look at an affordable Tesla competitor from Chevrolet, a Honda pickup that’s gone mainstream, and an elegant Swede from China. Also check out Volkswagen’s answer to the iconic Subaru Outback, and finally, Alfa Romeo’s Italian accent on the sport sedan. Here’s your guide to the five cars you’ll want to drive:
Chevrolet Bolt EV
One year after the concept’s debut in Detroit, Chevrolet beats Tesla to offering an affordable electric car with more than 238 miles all-electric range. The Bolt charges for 90 miles of driving in 30 minutes. Drivers will enjoy an electric car rush given 200 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. Tech includes a rear camera mirror, remote starting, smartphone-managed charging, navigation, and cabin pre-conditioning (warm or cool before entering). And connect all your iThings via 4G LTE Wi-Fi.
Base price: $37,495 (before $7,500 federal tax credit)
Honda’s crossover-based pickup goes from homely to handsome as designers rebuff origami styling for streamlined normalcy. For the perfect game-day party, the bed has its own audio system, power outlet, under-floor trunk with drain for iced beverages, and a tailgate that swings and folds. Flip-up rear seats allow cross-loading cargo as in the tiny Fit. A standard 280 horsepower V6 engine easily tows a couple of jet skis. Safety is enhanced by available Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and LaneWatch camera. Keep haulin’!
Base price: $29,475
China’s Geely may own Volvo, but the automaker’s latest sedan exhibits Swedish design ethos with simple but elegant forms. Styling includes signature “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlamps, concave grille from the classic Volvo P1800, and adaptive lighting that adjusts for oncoming traffic. Interiors indulge in swaths of soft leather, exuberantly grained planks of wood, and 9.3-inch tablet-like touchscreen. Powertrain choices include a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 316 horsepower and 25-MPG highway or a “Twin Engine” plug-in hybrid delivering 410 horsepower. Being a Volvo, the S90 boasts safety tech like Adaptive Cruise Control, Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive feature, and an IIHS Top Pick+ rating.
Base price: $46,950
Volkswagen Golf Alltrak
Meet Germany’s Outback, all jacked up with all roads to go. Volkswagen took its Golf wagon and sported it out with an increased ride height, side sill cladding, underbody guards, redesigned bumpers, and roof rack. They placed it over 17” wheels and brightened its mug with Bi-Xenon headlamps and LED running lamps. Inside, it’s dressed up with V-Tex leatherette seating – available in Marrakesh Brown. Fender premium audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, and a panoramic sunroof enliven the drive. Go forward with a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivering 170 horsepower through a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. 4Motion all-wheel-drive, hill descent control and off-road mode enhances trail performance. A full suite of crash mitigation systems are also available.
Base price: $25,850
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Nothing dresses a gent like an Italian suit, and nobody builds a sport sedan like Alfa Romeo. Balanced and beautiful, the Giulia marks Alfa Romeo’s return to the American premium sedan segment. Base models harbor a 280 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine while high-performance Quadrifoglio editions dance with a 505 horsepower bi-turbo V6 that runs 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Aggressive Italian style accompanies an intricately-tuned chassis that carves corners with the best Germans. Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection and adaptive headlamps enhance safety. Production begins this fall in Frosinone, Italy; sales commence thereafter.
Base price (est.): $40,000