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Toyota GR86 and Toyota 86
Buying GuidesFeatures

Dealership and dash: Best new cars to take for a test drive

We hate going to the dealers. Don’t you? For many, going to the dealership is a stressful and unpleasant chore meant to be avoided unless absolutely necessary. However, it does open up the world of fun, drivable cars to the world of consumers, and there is nothing saying you can’t take some fun vehicles out for a test drive just for enjoyment. Just a wee taste. We’re not saying you gotta sign the papers on these things, but maybe, just maybe, a trip to your local dealer can be a fun way to kill an afternoon to sample some fresh metal you might actually want to buy. Or not.

Mazda MX-5 Miata – The impractical romance

For many drivers, the Mazda MX-5 Miata isn’t practical enough to own (though some of us don’t car), but they are absolutely worth a trip to the dealership to enjoy. Backed by decades of Miata reliability and presented with new styling and features, it’s obvious why this little two-door is a fan favorite. On paper, it may seem underpowered with an 181 horsepower engine, but the power-to-weight ratio of this minimalist car makes up for the difference. Don’t believe us? Drop by your local Mazda dealership and take one for a spin.

Acura Integra – Civic Deluxe

The Acura Integra was a fan favorite in the 1990s and early 2000s, and it made a strong comeback in 2024. With a buyer-friendly entry-level price of $31,800 for base models with a turbo 1.5-liter four-banger, this sporty sedan might trick you into turning your test drive into a spur-of-the-moment purchase. Bonus points: you can find A-Specs with six-speed manuals for that added enthusiast value. At 320 horsepower from the highest Type-S trim, it isn’t the most performance-oriented car, but it is practical and engaging — so we deem it well worth taking on a test drive, especially if you’re not willing to fork over the price premium over its Civic Type R sibling.

Toyota GR86 – Poor man’s Porsche

We’ve rambled a lot about the Toyobaru twins in past buyers’ guides, but the Toyota GR86 really should be on the “must test drive” list of every car enthusiast. It and its slightly tamer-tuned BRZ twin carry the torch of the affordable sports car deep into the 2020s. This sporty two-door has great looks and receives extra bonus points for the option of manual transmission and a nod to the Trueno for additional brand heritage. While muscle car enthusiasts and large-displacement engine purists would scoff at the 2.4-liter flat-four engine making “only” 228 horsepower, the peppy throttle response and tight handling make the Toyota GR86 one of the most acclaimed products in recent memory and one of the best new sports cars on the market

BMW i4 – Just a dandy EV

The BMW i4 has dominated reviews and “best of” lists this year, and if you’re wondering why, then it’s probably time to take one out for a spin. Buyers may be too timid to drop the $52,000 to $69,700 sticker prices you can expect to see on these electric vehicles. Still, from appearances to the driving experience, it is easy for EV-skeptics to forget that this isn’t a gasoline-powered performance sedan. What’s more impressive is how the i4 M50 is rated for performance that not only parallels a rear-drive M3 Competition but exceeds it, with a 0-60 mph time of 3.3 seconds. 

Alfa Romeo Giulia – Driver’s delight, mechanics nightmare

The Alfa Romeo Giulia may be a bit harder to find as Alfa Romeo dealerships aren’t as common as some more popular brands, but that’s what makes taking the Giulia for a spin a bit of extra fun. Most consumers haven’t experienced this brand, even if it is a well-equipped and reasonably priced entry-level luxury sedan. But, since we are looking for a great drive and ignoring the price — we aren’t here to buy, after all — go for the M3-fighting Quadrifoglio trim and enjoy the 505-horsepower provided by a peppy twin-turbo V6 engine. You can thank us later. Just make sure to opt for an extended warranty if you really decide to sign those papers on a Quadrifoglio at the end of the day.

Kia K5 – A cooler Camry

Over the past decade, we have seen Kia transform from a caterpillar into a market-competitive butterfly, and the Kia K5 more than proves that. In fact, the K5 breaks the mold for what people expect of an affordable, practical, entry-level luxury car at a starting price of $25,590 and a reliable amount of pep from a fuel-efficient engine. Oh, and by the way, the GT-Line rocks a 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder that squeezes out 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet while still scoring 32 mpg on the highway, wink-wink. Do with that information as you wish.

Test driving cars for fun is a great way to spend time behind the wheel of different vehicles, get a feel for what is available on the market, and, most importantly, enjoy some drive time for great cars like those in this list. And hey, even if it turns out that you hate the car you just drove, well, at least you got to try before you buy. Or, you fell in love at first wack of the throttle, then at least you got to take that car on a first date before making that commitment. That’s only fair as major stepping stones in life should always have a little trial run.

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A motor court driveway full of vehicles overlayed with the text "Acceleramota presents: The best car deals of the day"
Deals

The 50 best lease deals and car sales of May 2024

Among our favorite pastimes at Acceleramota is mindlessly scrolling through car deals and sharing the best ones to help people like you (or myself) save money. Ask my wife. The only way I can muster the strength to get out of bed is to find the most cursed Facebook Marketplace listing that morning, and from the laughter-induced dopamine rush, I emerge. But, in genuine pursuit of the best lease deals and finance offers, nothing beats CarGurus. Our marketplace of choice for new and used cars, CarGurus, will connect you directly with a local dealer to redeem these sweet, sweet car lease deals and sales you’ll find on vehicles from all the top auto brands, including Kia, Mazda, Jeep, Chevrolet, Honda, and more!

Quick notes before I set you loose! As some dealers recently signed up with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to apply EV tax credits at the point of sale, keep an eye out for these models. Purchasing one from the right dealer could add even more savings – up to $7,500. That said, if you lease an electric car, any electric car, including plug-in hybrids like the Mazda CX-90, is eligible. In my experience leasing an Alfa Romeo Tonale, dealers are happy to pass on the savings. And when you’re in the market for a luxury vehicle, leasing can make more sense than buying anyway, especially when you can write it off on your taxes.

And don’t forget this. If you think you can score a better lease deal than what’s advertised here, you probably can. Dealer-specific lease offers can sometimes beat out what’s advertised by the manufacturer, depending on inventory and regional trends. So, if you suspect you can score an even hotter lease deal, then by all means, contact your local dealers, which you can do through consumer sites like CarGurus.

(Editor’s Note: Updated April 30, 2024. See updated pricing and new/refreshed offerings from Acura and Land Rover!)

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Acura deals and finance offers

2024 Acura MDX | $589 per month for 24 months ($5,999 due at signing)

Acura MDX
Image credit: Acura

Acura’s lovable, spacious, and dynamic crossover SUV has proven to be an endearing and honest-to-goodness luxury product despite lacking any ultra-advanced tech gimmicks or outlandish styling that rivals may have. Instead, the MDX, which we’ve sampled in its Type S performance trim, delivers luxury in the form of a plush ride, expansive glass with great outward visibility, and an ergonomic interior with a healthy dose of good ol’ reliable physical buttons for managing climate and stereo controls.

2024 Acura Integra | $349 per month for 24 Months ($4,999 due at signing)

2024 Acura Integra
Image credit: Acura

The Integra has a more defined and premium feel than other vehicles in its category, Civic-based or not. While it might not be as flashy as its rival companies, it certainly makes up for those shortcomings in how it handles the road smoothly and safely. It’s a decent value for its proportions and a worthwhile successor to the old Integra nameplate, complete with a decent and lengthy warranty compared to its rivals in this space.

Audi deals and finance offers

2024 Audi Q5 | $523 per month for 36 Months ($4,917 due at signing)

2024 Audi Q5
Image credit: Audi

Audio continues its history of comfort with the Q5. This luxury SUV is superbly quiet for its size, but they do say true luxury whispers. This model adds heated steering wheels as a standard. So if chilly morning commutes are a part of your week, this good be a lifesaver. Speaking of which, the Q5 faired well in crash tests. This paired with automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts you’ll feel more than secure even with up to five passengers.

2024 Audi A3 | $440 per month for 36 Months ($3,834 due at signing)

2024 Audi A3
Image credit: Audi

For 20 years, the A3 has been an affordable small sudan and steady seller for Audi around the world. A more fuel-efficient entry makes this a great day-to-day sedan for the aspiring yuppie. The A3 is a bit more expensive than comparable vehicles but it is a smidge more performance-focused with a dose of added modernity and maturity. So what do you need for a few extra thousand? But all signs point to this being a dream to drive in all types of weather.

Buick deals and finance offers

2024 Buick Envista | $239 per month for 24 Months ($3,480 due at signing)

2024 Buick Envista
Image credit: Buick

The Envista is incredibly versatile, and it should cost an arm and a leg… But it doesn’t. Given the current market, this subcompact SUV is very affordable and well worth the investment. Buick designed this with a beautiful exterior, giving off the vibe that it’s a high-end luxury vehicle when it’s also a spunky, fuel-sipping crossover. It’s a good size for those who do not want to commit to a much larger SUV but still need the backseat space for pets, kids, and anything in between. A plus rating across the board for a Buick that’s under $25,000. Now, that’s crazy.

2023 Buick Envision | $309 per month for 24 Months ($3,929 due at signing)

Buick Envision
Image credit: Buick

Although the Buick Envision was discontinued in November last year, it is still an incredibly sleek compact SUV. Its sophisticated aerodynamic lines are in line with that of past Buicks. Exceptional fuel efficiency and smooth cruising have made this the 14th most reliable luxury and small compact SUV at iseecars.com. With heated seats and a heated steering wheel, this is a fan favorite for drivers in chillier climates. And the smart All-Wheel Drive means it tackles snow effortlessly.

2024 Buick Enclave | $479 per month for 24 Months ($4,977 due at signing)

Buick Enclave
Image credit: Buick

Buick is known for luxury, and they didn’t skimp on those details when designing the Enclave. A roomy interior means you can take up to seven passengers on your next trip, of which you’ll be riding in style. Every detail was well thought out with the lavishness you want from Buick. Plus, there is a moonroof for a panoramic view of the night sky. This is a dream for stargazers. The Enclave has a predicted reliability score of 85 out of 100, according to J.D. Power, which is great for an SUV of this stature.

BMW deals and finance offers

2024 BMW i4 | $499 per month for 36 Months ($4,599 due at signing)

2024 BMW i4
Image credit: BMW

BMW enters the all-electric chat. The i4 is a Gran Coupe that delivers a maximum range of up to 307 miles of smooth driving. With a driving performance that charts better than the gas-powered M cars that preceded it, this BMW is a fair entry into EVs. Now in it’s fifth-generation the eDrive technology is vastly improved. Even the position of the battery has changed the car’s center of gravity to ensure a smooth and secure ride every time. High-tensile steel and aluminum were used to mold this vehicle into a sleek beautiful car like only BMW could design.

2024 BMW X1 | $579 per month for 36 Months ($4,589 due at signing)

2024 BMW X1
Image credit: BMW

The BMW X1 is a classier station wagon. Just kidding, it’s BMW’s most affordable SUV, and there’s currently a lease deal on the all-wheel-drive, turbo four-banger xDrive28i. The X1 rates exceptionally on many lists in several categories and is probably one of the best SUVs available currently. Customers have noted its quick reflexes and roomy cabin, making it perfect no matter if it’s run to the grocery store or a jaunt out in the woods. A Benz for all seasons.

Jeep deals and finance offers

2023 Jeep Renegade | $339 per month for 42 Months ($4,599 due at signing)

Jeep Renegade
Image credit: Jeep

Outside of having a totally badass name, the Jeep Renegade is a solid and affordable SUV. This is Jeep’s smallest vehicle, and while this will be the year you’ll find it in America and Canada, there is still plenty of value in it. It’s dang roomy for its size, and the fuel efficiency is excellent, whether you’re running around town or heading into the wilderness for a camping trip. While it might not be as agile as its brother, the Wrangler, it handles bumps and humps better than many of its competitors.

2024 Jeep Wrangler | $349 per month for 36 Months ($4,899 due at signing)

Jeep Wrangler
Image credit: Jeep

Speak of the devil! The current-gen JL Wangler is the best version to ever exist. Packed with all the features, toughness, and reliability of previous generations, everything got upgraded. This off-road legend is timeless and always gets the job done. With a comfy interior and higher-end trims, you’d imagine this to be a much more costly vehicle than it is. There is a reason everyone knows the Wrangler. Trustworthiness and solid safety will earn you a legacy like that. 

Cadillac deals and finance offers

2024 Cadillac CT4 | $399 per month for 36 Months ($3,739 due at signing)

Cadillac CT4
Image credit: Cadillac

A solid entry in the luxury car space, the Cadillac CT4 is a compact premium sports sedan whose performance more than makes up for its size, thanks to the Camaro-based Alpha Platform chassis. This sporty and reasonably priced sedan allows those with a smaller budget to still enjoy the opulence of a Caddy. The Cadillac Smart System safety tech suite is really where the car shines and makes it worth every penny.

2024 Cadillac XT4 | $469 per month for 36 Months ($3,509 due at signing)

Cadillac XT4
Image credit: Cadillac

Cadillac’s smallest SUV is certainly big on details. A feature that truly makes this feel like a vehicle of the future is exterior LED lighting. Stay with me. Now, both the front and the rear have IntelliBeam auto high-beam. This is such a cool look on a very sleek SUV. With a nine-speed automatic transmission, front- or all-wheel drive, and a turbocharged engine, the XT4 certainly has speed on its side. If you think it’s time to own a Cadillac, you won’t regret this one. 

Chrysler deals and finance offers

2024 Chrysler Pacifica | $564 per month for 36 Months ($4,069 due at signing)

2024 Chrysler Pacifica
Image credit: Chrysler

My favorite thing about the Chrysler Pacifica is that it was so obviously used in product placement for a certain era of time, like in the Desperate Housewives PC game in 2012. A few Chryslers were but the Pacifica was prominent. But I digress, it has remained a best-seller for Chrysler and a fan favorite for soccer moms nationwide. It is, after all, America’s most-awarded all-wheel-drive minivan. This version is the only van that offers both gas and plug-in power.

Hyundai deals and finance offers

2024 Hyundai Elantra | $199 per month for 36 Months ($3,499 due at signing)

Image credit: Hyundai

One of the most affordable cars on the market, the Hyundai Elantra is in a class all its own. The 2024 version sees leaps in both tech and styling. The modern and streamlined shape makes it perfectly stylish for every day and long-haul journeys. This compact sedan also allows you to turn your phone into a key. Create a digital key to share with loved ones so they can unlock doors without your assistance. Integrating technology seamlessly into our vehicles and lives is all we’ve dreamed of.

2024 Hyundai Kona | $232 per month for 36 Months ($4,012 due at signing)

Image credit: Hyundai

The Kona is on the smaller side of SUVs, yet it manages all weather conditions with confidence and skill. Don’t let size be a deterrent; this is a safe and featureful vehicle. The Kona’s all-wheel drive maintains a firm grip on the slickest of streets, making it a great pick for locations with ever-changing forecasts.

Mazda deals and finance offers

2024 Mazda CX-30 | $244 per month for 36 Months ($2,999 due at signing)

Image credit: Mazda

Elegance was certainly in the minds of the designers for the Mazda CX-30. It quite literally is a work of art. Light and shadow are perfectly captured as this vehicle moves at all speeds; a constantly shifting S-curve dances along the doors. But it is also there as you admire the car from different angles, even at a standstill. It’s a beautiful illusion. The CX-30 is also one of the safest and most affordable vehicles on this list, with a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Alfa Romeo deals and finance offers

2024 Alfa Romeo Giulia | $519 per month for 42 Months ($5,550 due at signing)

Image credit: Alfa Romeo

An Italian with luxury and performance, no, not that car maker. We stan the other famous brand, Alfa Romeo, ’round these parts. The Giulia is no exception; the quality and horsepower we’ve come to love from this renowned manufacturer are well on display. With its roots deep in motorsports, why wouldn’t it produce a car with the most powerful standard turbo engine in its class? The Quadrifoglio isn’t just a good luck charm. It’s a status symbol.

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale | $379 per month for 24 Months ($5,210 due at signing)

Image credit: Alfa Romeo

Another beautiful Alfa Romeo makes the list. When I saw this at the 2023 New York International Auto Show, I gasped. It’s actually breathtaking. And as you would expect from Alfa Romeo, the Tonale handles like a dream. Our founder, Gabe Carey, also agrees with the sheer brilliance of the Tonale’s performance and appearance. We here at Acceleramota would rather be in an Alfa than a Ferarri. Sorry, not sorry.

Honda deals and finance offers

2024 Honda Accord | $279 per month for 36 Months ($3,669 due at signing)

2024 Honda Accord driving quickly around a corner on a public road
Image credit: Honda

Built for everyday driving, the Honda Accord is a popular midsize sedan for a good reason. Responsive steering, braking, and a comfortable ride are all reasons why you’ll find this model at the top of many lists. While this deal is only for the LX base trim, you’re getting the basics like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a slew of driver-assistance features.

2024 Honda CR-V | $319 per month for 36 Months ($3,499 due at signing)

Image credit: Honda

The CR-V is a top-seller car for Honda. This sporty hybrid is rugged yet still sleek and efficient. It’s a distinctive style for sure, less angular and Gundam-esque than Toyota’s design language. You don’t need to be heading out for a weekend of camping to truly get the most out of this vehicle. So many of the features make everyday life easier, like the hands-free access power tailgate. Imagine loading in groceries and having the ease of the door just opening with a wave of the foot. What a time to be alive.

Nissan deals and finance offers

2024 Nissan Altima SV | $269 per month for 36 Months ($3,239 due at signing)

Image credit: Nissan

Manufacturers are getting better with safety and technology, and Nissan is at the forefront. The very reliable Altima is right there, ready to keep you safe should you dare exploit that BIG ALTIMA ENERGY. The intelligent all-wheel drive system remains vigilant on the state of the road and can react quickly. A feature like this is so important for driving in busy areas or long commutes. America loves this car for a very good reason.

2024 Nissan Sentra | $239 per month for 36 Months ($2,589 due at signing)

Image credit: Nissan

If you’re looking for efficiency, the Sentra is an excellent option. The 2024 version enhances every drive you take with cutting-edge technology, a dynamic style, agile performance, and a luxurious inside and out. Make your commute a little more comfortable with smooth handling and intelligent climate control.

Toyota deals and finance offers

2024 Toyota Highlander | $459 per month for 36 Months ($4,999 due at signing)

Toyota Highlander
Image credit: Toyota

A tried and true best-seller, the Toyota Highlander is definitely one of the best out there. Year after year, even little tweaks make this a highly desirable SUV. Everything about it was designed with the rugged outdoorsman (and woman) in mind. Its ability to handle all terrain with control and ease means there are very few places you wouldn’t be safe driving this. And that big ol’ turbo powertrain means plenty of torque to get up and over any obstacle. 

2024 Toyota RAV4 LE | $329 per month for 36 Months ($4,999 due at signing)

Image credit: Toyota

The RAV4 was made for the outdoors but handles just as beautifully in the ‘burbs or city. A darling vehicle for Toyota, the RAV4 is prepared to take you and your family anywhere. This compact crossover SUV is prepared to navigate trails with ease just as smoothly as it cruises the highway.

2024 Toyota Camry | $319 per month for 36 Months ($3,999 due at signing)

Image credit: Toyota

There is a very good reason the Toyota Camry is America’s best-selling midsize sedan. It’s everything you look for in a vehicle: style, performance, and safety. This sleek, smooth car has been a US fan favorite for 21 years, and the 2024 version keeps that tradition alive and well.

Kia deals and finance offers

2024 Kia Carnival | $399 per month for 36 Months ($3,499 due at signing)

Image credit: Kia

It’s like they always say: there ain’t no carnival like a Kia Carnival. This eight-passenger minivan features a spacious interior, cutting-edge safety tech, CarPlay, Android Auto, and, of course, it wouldn’t be a minivan without power sliding doors. Bear in mind that this deal only applies to the most basic LX trim.

2023 Kia EV6 | $299 per month for 36 Months ($4,499 due at signing)

Image credit: Kia

Heart set on an electric SUV? The Kia EV6 is a stylish midsize option with decent cargo along with sharp steering and handling. Its performance is impressive, too – you’re looking at Kia’s most powerful production model, complete with 576 horsepower. Go from 0-60 in only 3.4 seconds at a big discount. While this price is exclusive to the rear-wheel drive Wind model, check with your dealer because there may be incentives on other trims, including the all-wheel drive version.

2023 Kia Forte | $199 per month for 24 Months ($3,499 due at signing)

Image credit: Kia

The Kia Forte is a sophisticated little sedan with above-average utility and great value for the money. With a long list of available amenities, this comfy ride is an affordable dream for commutes and trips. The Forte offers excellent value when paired with good performance from the GT trim, high fuel efficiency, and a comprehensive warranty.

Subaru deals and finance offers

2024 Subaru Outback | $305 per month for 36 Months ($3,055 due at signing)

Image credit: Subaru

TikTok’s favorite manufacturer, Subaru, has rizz. The Outback is an excellent SUV and, for years, has outranked others in this category. Subaru boasts that 97% of Outbacks purchased in the last decade are still on the road today, so this is a very good investment to make. Those engineers are doing something very right; the Outback has become the definition of reliability and durability.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek | $299 per month for 36 Months ($2,549 due at signing)

Image credit: Subaru

A compact SUV paired with Subaru’s legendary Asymmetrical All-Wheel Drive traction makes this a killer pick for those on the go and off to the forest. The 2024 Crosstrek goes hard. This is the safest version of the vehicle that’s ever been on the market. Subaru upgraded their EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, as well as other detection sensors, to alert at a moment’s notice. Very smart to have in low visibility areas. They have also improved their Starlink connection for extra safety, which could be handy in dark, isolated woods.

2024 Subaru Impreza | $249 per month for 36 Months ($2,549 due at signing)

Image credit: Subaru

The 2024 Impreza is the ultimate all-weather vehicle, packed with cutting-edge technology, premium engineering, and a versatile, sleek hatchback style. For this reason, the Impreza was selected by experts at IntelliChoice as a SmartChoice winner for High Retained Value for two consecutive years.

Chevy finance deals and offers

2024 Chevy Malibu | $319 per month for 36 Months ($4,999 due at signing)

Chevrolet Malibu
Image credit: Chevrolet

Looking for an affordable midsize car for the whole family? We like the Chevy Malibu as an option. The Malibu is a reliable and competent sedan that’s kind of sexy and handles well. Honestly, if you need a car you wouldn’t mind letting your teen or young adult kid drive, at least you know it’s safe and sturdy. This almost decade vehicle has some staying power, it’s wallet-friendly, cushy, and spacious. 

2024 Chevy Blazer | $309 per month for 24 Months ($4,919 due at signing)

Chevrolet Blazer
Image credit: Chevrolet

My college truck was a 2001 Chevy Blazer. I drove it all over the mountains of Virginia and Pennsylvania. I loved this SUV, and so did my dog. I moved to NYC in this, so I can vouch for the roominess of it. There are tons of space for pets, friends, boxes, and even skiing equipment. I still think about how beautifully this handled in feet of snow and icy roads and had tons of torque to get up the entire side of a hill to a ski resort. The Blazer is definitely a vehicle I’d recommend for the sporty types. This 2024 version is one of the best yet. 

2023 Chevy Bolt EV | $309 per month for 36 Months (up to $4,919 due at signing)

2023 Chevy Bolt parked in front of attached garage
Image credit: Chevrolet

For the longest time, the Chevy Bolt EV compact hatchback was the EV price defender’s greatest weapon against their adversaries. Not only is it affordable, but it squeezes a lot of power into a compact package. Making considerably more horsepower and torque than the Chevy Sonic it supplanted, the standard Bolt EV can zip from 0-60 in just 6.5 seconds while carrying five passengers up to 259 miles at a time.

2024 Chevy Camaro LT1 | $279 per month for 24 Months (up to $6,689 due at signing)

2023 Camaro (silver) and 2023 Camaro (red) facing opposite directions
Image credit: Chevrolet

Few things scream American more than a V8, but alas, 2023 marked the beginning of the end for big block, high-displacement engines. So, why not make the most of it by leasing one of the last great muscle cars, the Chevy Camaro? Get ’em while they’re hot… and going out of production. The LT1 trim, as the name suggests, shares its 6.2-liter LT1 V8 small block engine with the Corvette C7, making 455 horses and 455 lb-ft of torque. Ain’t nothing wrong with that! Although current Chevy lessees can get away with putting $5,189 down, you will have to plunk down a sizable chunk of change if you’re new to the brand.

GMC deals and finance offers

2023 GMC Canyon | $369 per month for 36 Months ($7,999 due at signing)

2023 GMC Canyon
Image credit: GMC

This is GMC’s all-grown-up big-boy truck, and it is stellar. Although it is pricer than its counterpart (Chevy’s Colorado), this third-gen Canyon is turbo-charged and made very specifically for off-road. This is a workhorse of a pickup truck. With upgraded suspension, robust turbocharged torque, and supreme pulling power, the Canyon will quite literally get the jobs done on all terrain.

Dodge lease deals and finance offers

2023 Dodge Charger | $429 per month for 42 Months ($5,649 due at signing)

Image credit: Dodge

We are a bit biased here, but this is a good-looking car. This might also be sentimental, with the production of the Charger coming to an end, but it’s still a stunning piece of ingenuity. Dodge is releasing six packages inspired by some of the make’s most iconic looks. Whether on the racetrack or just cruising on the highway, the horsepower will have a special place in history and our hearts. Probably a good idea to grab one now, even if it’s just a cozy SXT cruiser.

2023 Dodge Challenger | $399 per month for 42 Months ($5,699 due at signing)

Image credit: Dodge

Past and present, the Dodge Challenger is a stunner. Even in its modern iteration, there is something beautifully timeless about it. Dodge knows how to make pretty perfect muscle cars. Another make getting sent to the junkyard in the sky, the 2023 Dodge Challenger is a glorious send-off version. The incredible horsepower and speed are something to behold for years to come. Instant cool points here, and right now, you can snag a plush SXT at a comparatively low cost.

Volkswagen lease deals and finance offers

2024 Volkswagen Tiguan | $289 per month for 36 Months ($2,999 due at signing)

Image credit: Volkswagen

Its spacious cabin comfortably holds up to seven people. It comes standard with heated front seats, and right now, lessees in select regions can take home the S model with 4Motion all-wheel drive for $299 per month – that’s like half the price of a monthly parking spot in NYC!

2024 Volkswagen Jetta | $279 per month for 36 Months ($2,999 due at signing)

Image credit: Volkswagen

An American fan-favorite, the VW Jetta is a modern sedan that is actually cool. Volkswagen doesn’t overlook any detail in this update. All materials were carefully selected to make the interior as cozy as possible, like a home away from home. This is especially true with a state-of-the-art digital cockpit for an intuitive user experience. Clear, concise driving information helps you get anywhere safely and efficiently. We get why this is a hit.

Ford lease deals and finance offers

2024 Ford Escape | $393 per month for 48 Months ($3,601 due at signing)

2023 Ford Escape side profile (red)
Image credit: Ford

While the Ford Escape might not be the most exciting car on the road, sometimes you just need an affordable, reliable daily to get you from point A to point B without spending half your salary on fuel. And that’s exactly what the Escape is: a practical, front-wheel drive family hauler with the option of all-wheel drive across trim levels. But even without any upgrades, the 2023 Escape includes all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from modern vehicles, including a touchscreen infotainment system, a backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system.

2023 Ford Explorer | $496 per month for 36 Months ($4,855 due at signing)

Image credit: Ford

“Built Ford Tough” is a very true statement, and no vehicle exemplifies this better than the Explorer. This SUV was made to work, as it can tow up to 5,600 lbs. The Class IV Trailer Tow Package makes bringing your camper or boat along on your wilderness vacation quite simple. You don’t need to love the great outdoors to get the most out of the Explorer, but it doesn’t hurt. With Ford’s Co-Pilot360 Technology, stay completely in control no matter where you roam.

Volvo lease deals and finance offers

2024 Volvo V60 Cross Country | $609 per month for 36 months ($3,985 due at signing)

Image credit: Volvo

A roomy, hardy, and reliable wagon built for all adventures. The Volvo V60 Cross Country can literally weather all storms and road conditions. Regenerative braking with this mild hybrid means that energy gets stored in the  48V battery, and this helps cut fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions.  With all-wheel drive, an off-road mode, and high ground clearance, this is everything outdoorsy people search for in a car.

2024 Volvo S60 | $435 per month for 36 Months ($3,909 due at signing)

Image credit: Volvo

Volvo’s mild hybrids save fuel without sacrificing performance in the process, and their S60 is a beautiful example of this. The S60’s smooth takeoffs and gentle acceleration tackle the streets of cities and bumpy highways with ease. If you didn’t love driving before, you will after experiencing this car.

Mercedes lease deals and finance offers

2023 Mercedes S-Class | $1,349 per month for 36 Months ($10,763 due at signing)

Image credit: Mercedes-Benz

It’s okay to be posh; there is no judgment here. Every year, the S-Class evolves into a more intuitive and advanced vehicle, and that’s exactly what embodies the Mercedes-Benz User Experience. The sportiness of this sedan and its very recognizable grille not only help it stand out in the mix but also make it unmistakably an S-Class. This is kind of a beauty and brains situation, and it gets our thumbs up.

Porsche lease deals and finance offers

2024 Porsche Taycan | $949 per month for 39 Months ($9,829 due at signing)

Image credit: Porsche

Unlike VW, its more affordable sibling, it’s not cheap to own a Porsche, and the Taycan is no exception. Despite its $90,900 starting price, the base model Taycan might not keep up with the Tesla Model S in a straight line, but its two-speed transmission on the rear axle, superb handling and suspension system, and sportier interior make it a great family cruiser that’s still plenty capable on a track or a backroad. And now you can score one for under a grand a month for 39 months.

2024 Porsche Macan | $849 per month for 39 Months ($8,649 due at signing)

Image credit: Porsche

One might expect the 2024 Porsche Macan to cost an ungodly amount, but it’s quite reasonable. The Macan is Porsche’s other bread-and-butter sports ute behind the Cayenne and will soon be their second EV alongside the Taycan sedan. Porsche was able to create this Macan with a strong emphasis on the brand’s signature driving dynamics and steering feel. They ate with this model, and you’ll definitely turn heads cruising in it.

Land Rover deals and finance offers

2024 Land Rover Range Rover Velar | $849 per month for 36 months ($6,995 due at signing)

Land Rover Range Rover Velar
Image credit: Land Rover

Make a statement with the other lil’ Range Rover in Land Rover’s opulent arm. Arguably the sleekest and prettiest of the Rover SUVs, the Velar will be sure to turn heads with that deep front fascia and clean, mature rear fascia. Base Velars utilize a 2.0-liter turbo-four to output a respectable 247 horsepower and 269 pound-feet through an eight-speed auto, and Range Rover’s typical suite of drive modes and terrain settings are available for those who dare venture off the beaten Rodeo Drive valet driveway.

2024 Land Rover Defender | $829 per month for 36 Months ($7,495 due at signing)

2024 Land Rover Defender
Image credit: Land Rover

Every good list should include something a little high-end. Enter the Land Rover Defender. Is it silly expensive? Yes. Is it worth that price tag? Also, yes. When you look up the very definition of off-road there will be a picture of the Defender. Combine the sexy, flowing Land Rover box design with a beautiful, luxurious interior, and you get a winner. It could be more fuel-efficient, but when you look this good, that’s a small price to pay for everything else being excellent.

Best car subscription deals

Finn | $200 off first month

Promo code: FINN11XACCELERAMOTA200

Image credit: Finn

Finn is completely changing the process of what it’s like to shop for cars. In fact, we called it the best car subscription you’ll find in 2023. Browse its selection online of an ever-growing catalog of different makes and models, select your subscription term length, and then confirm your order. Your car will be delivered right to you if you live in the Northeast. And right now, we have an exclusive discount to save $200 on the first month of your subscription. Just use the code FINN11XACCELERAMOTA200.

Car accessories, merch, and collectibles

RevMatch | 15% off ANY coffee bag

Promo Code REDLINE15

Image credit: RevMatch

Don’t go falling asleep at the wheel. RevMatch has a wide selection of small-batch, craft-roasted coffee to help you start your engines (wake up in the morning). Right now, you can use the promo code REDLINE15 to receive 15% off everything on the site.

Acceleramota Merch | 20% off

Promo code: INSTANTTORQUE20

We’ve finally launched our merch store! And, starting off, we have a selection of T-shirts, crewneck sweatshirts, and hats to choose from. Be sure to use our promo code INSTANTTORQUE20 for 20% off your order for a limited time.

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Tifosi Sunglasses
Buying Guides

Tifosi sunglasses review: The best budget shades for driving?

I wasn’t sure what to expect when Gabe hit me up, saying some sunglasses company was interested in sending us stuff to sample. Us? Sunglasses? But then I thought about it. Most humans wear sunglasses every day on our silly little commutes to shield our feeble eyes from that dastardly ball of gas in the sky. Glare, whiteout reflecting off snow, clouds, and stupid Altimas, or direct sunshine funneled straight into your eyes all spell potential health hazards and an impending car accident. I’m no superhuman. I wear sunglasses on the road, too, and so do many of you, probably. So why not give these trinkets a shot? After all, sunglasses aren’t just for adding glitz to some snarky fashion freak’s aesthetic, right?

Tifosi Sunglasses
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

🚦Get ready, set, full disclosure! Some of the links powering our posts contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase, even if it’s not from the page we linked. Affiliate links are not always an endorsement of the product. To really help us keep our headlights shining to make more content like this, subscribe to the Acceleramota newsletter.

Price and specs

Thanks to Tifosi Optics, a fine producer of budget-friendly sports sunglasses, I had the opportunity to sample two styles of frames with two styles of lenses over the past couple of weeks during my normal-ass routine. Both had different feels and would certainly appeal to different tastes, but one thing they have in common is a stellar price point. When I titled them as “Budget Shades,” I meant it.

A quick bit of online window shopping showed me that their aviator-style glasses range from anywhere between $35 and $59, depending on the exact lens and frame. Their Rayban Wayfarer-esque shades bounce between $30 and $55. It’s not as cheap as something on a stand at the mall, but it vastly undercuts the likes of Oakley and Rayban. Expectedly, non-polarized lenses will save you tens of dollars, while polarized lenses, like my two testers, occupy the upper echelon of Tifosi’s price range. All sunglasses are sold with a lifetime warranty, and spare parts are available on select models, including the aviators. And should you need it, you can get Tifosi glasses with prescription lenses, as well.

As for typical Acceleramota specs, let’s see. 0-60 mph? Some day. Quarter-mile? I don’t know, however fast you can jog. Displacement? I’m guessing less than two liters. No turbos, superchargers, or hybrid batteries, obviously.

What’s hot?– Impressive glare protection comparable to more expensive brands
– Little-to-no slide or bounce
– Versatile lenses provide great vision, even in dimmer settings
– Lifetime warranty and replacement parts available
– Prescriptions available

Tifosi Shwae

Tifosi Sunglasses
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Tifosi Optic’s Shwae aviators are about what I expected for an affordable aviator. It rocked a far sturdier build and better lenses than your typical mall booth or airport convenience store sunglasses, albeit to say it had a sturdier build is to say it can still feel a little frail in your hands at times. Aviators are aviators, and you’re often left worrying about being a clutz and damaging the thin frame. Still, it sits great on your face and almost never slides off your nose, and the black polarized lens does a fantastic job of filtering our sun glare without inhibiting your vision much at all, even on overcast days and dim mornings or evenings. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s comparable to more expensive brands.

If I had one bone to pick, it’d be that the “scratch-resistant” polycarbonate lenses aren’t scratchproof. Interestingly, they went through less abuse than the other pair I was given, yet they seemed to scuff easier despite being made of the same lens material. Weird.

So far, it’s proven to be a solid pair of driving glasses that will be an invaluable aid once the brutal Nevadan summer rolls around to roast eyeballs left and right. And I mean, look at it. You’ll be safer on the roads and look fly at the same time—unless you don’t like aviators, in which case, I say stop being lame.

Tifosi Smirk

Tifosi Sunglasses
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Although I was more excited about receiving the Shwae aviators, it was these Smirk Wayfarer-ish glasses that actually left me the most smitten. The acrylic frame was tough enough to withstand my clumsy self dropping a few, okay, several times, yet flexible enough not to crack when finagled into my Subaru BRZ’s terrible strap-type sunglass holder. I received a brown “Honey” frame color, one of several available, that goes well with many outfits, and the brown polarized lens proved to be the most versatile, easily making short work of glare while still being bright enough to forget they’re even on your face, cloudy or sunny. There are also small rubber pads on the nose piece to keep it from sliding off your face, which is a thoughtful touch when other Wayfarer-style glasses are straight-up plastic.

For the price (a few dollars cheaper than the comparable Shwae, mind you), I’m impressed. I originally thought it wasn’t my style, but it easily became my new favorite pair.

What’s not?– “Scratch resistant” doesn’t mean scratch proof
– Aviator frame feels easier to bend or damage
– Polarized lenses (expectedly) cost more

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Sunglasses weren’t really something I put much thought into as a driver, despite how often I use them. If I receive a pair as a gift, that’s cool. Or if I forget to bring a pair on a press trip, well, that’s okay; the airport sells a bunch for ten bucks a pop. But genuinely well-made, high-quality sunglasses with quality lenses are not to be slept on, and I’ve learned companies like Tifosi exist to deliver them to the masses at agreeable prices. The Shwae and Smirk are such examples and have proven we don’t have to settle for less because better options are too expensive. Let’s not short ourselves because we’ll never know when glare will come to send us into the back of a semi-truck or sail us off the race track or into a crowd of pedestrians holding kittens and bunnies or whatever else we find valuable that we’d prefer not to hit.

Shoutout to Tifosi Optics for the opportunity, and good job on a pair of commendable products. Keep it up.

Tifosi Sunglasses
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

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Volvo S60 Recharge
Buying GuidesFeatures

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with the longest all-electric range

As the world heads towards complete electrification by the end of the decade, many car manufacturers are looking for ways to go all-electric. While some automakers have eagerly jumped on the electrification bandwagon by rolling out all-electric models, others are taking a smoother route and introducing plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) in their current vehicle lineup. While adding a small battery and an electric motor might seem like a minor tweak, it can make a world of difference, especially when it comes to fuel economy. 

For folks who want to cut down on their fuel costs, a PHEV can be a very smart choice. These cars pretty much give you the best of both worlds: you can use electric power for short trips and switch to the gas engine for longer drives. But with so many options in the market, picking the longest-range plug-in hybrid can become a real head-scratcher. To find the perfect long-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, it’s important to understand what each option offers based on your specific requirements.

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BMW 530e

What’s hot?

  • Comfortable passenger seating 
  • Tons of powertrain options

What’s not?

  • Rivals provide much more luxurious interiors
  • Optional packages (with desirable features) can burn a hole in your pocket

The BMW 5 series has always set benchmarks that people still use to compare with newer executive sports sedans. The 530e plug-in hybrid pairs the same exquisite powertrain offerings with an electric motor providing an all-electric range of 62 miles in WLTP tests or roughly 50 miles in EPA tests.

The recently unveiled 530e has a total power output of 299 horsepower, 11 more than the last-gen 530e, and an impressive 332 pound-feet of torque, up by 22. Knowing BMW’s strong performance, that should translate to more than adequate acceleration numbers. The 530e also benefits from the tons of upgrade packages offered by BMW and can be customized to make it your unique car.  

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

What’s hot?

  • Comfortable seating
  • Plenty of cargo space

What’s not?

  • No all-wheel-drive option
  • Slower acceleration and handling could be better

The Ford Escape PHEV is the only front-wheel drive SUV from this list of the longest-range plug-in hybrid cars. This hampers performance in poor weather but improves fuel efficiency and all-electric driving range by quite a lot. So, if you don’t plan on taking this off the tarmac, you won’t miss the AWD.

The Ford Escape has an all-electric range of a respectable 37 miles on a single charge. The Escape has a 2.5L four-cylinder engine combined with a 14.4 kWh battery pack powering the electric motor to produce a total of 210 horsepower. 

Karma Revero

What’s hot?

  • Luxurious and exclusive design
  • Blisteringly fast acceleration

What’s not?

  • Tight cabin space and almost nil cargo space
  • Engine noise and vibration

The Karma Revero (formerly Karma GS-6 and Fisker Karma) is the fastest accelerating car from the current pool of long-range PHEVs. It is a sleek-looking sports sedan that’s essentially the PHEV version of its current full-size sedan and is quite exclusive in terms of price and availability. It gives aggressive styling along with a massive 536 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque from its BMW turbo three-banger powertrain (older versions had a GM EcoTec four-cylinder). To top it off, it offers a substantial 61-mile all-electric range.  

It is difficult to recommend this car to families, however, as the seating is quite cramped up at the back, and the ride quality could do with more comfort. Think of it as more of a sports sedan for that one eclectic buyer and maybe a couple of passengers every so often.

Land Rover Range Rover PHEV

What’s hot?

  • Practical and luxurious
  • Comfortable and refined

What’s not?

  • It’s a heavyweight
  • Mediocre cargo space

Big, bold, and now able to help the rich skirt past taxes when driving through the heart of London. The Range Rover PHEV is a complete package from the pool of long-range plug-in hybrids currently available. It is quite capable in off-road conditions and provides a great experience to the driver and the passengers. 

This posh and elegant utilitarian can travel up to 51 miles on a single charge in the all-electric mode, which is quite impressive for such a hulking thing. It also produces a combined power of an impressive 400 horsepower with a maximum torque of 472 pound-feet. 

Toyota RAV4 Prime

What’s hot?

  • Impressive fuel economy
  • Generous cargo and passenger space

What’s not?

  • Handling capability doesn’t match its speed
  • Longer than average braking distance

The Toyota RAV4 Prime unfortunately goes unnoticed due to its cousin, the Prius Prime, which is a shame given the RAV4’s practicality and impressive performance. The RAV4 prime is comparatively bigger and gives it a longer range of 42 miles. This car easily covers most daily commutes before actually engaging the internal combustion engine. 

The combined power the 2.5-liter four-banger engine produces, along with the electric motor, is a healthy 302 horsepower and a combined torque of 288 pound-feet, enabling hot hatch and entry-level sports car-rivaling performance numbers. Toyotas are generally known to be reliable machines, and the same goes for this PHEV setup. 

Lexus NX 450H+

What’s hot?

  • Best safety and reliability scores according to IIHS & JD Power ratings.
  • Impressive tech list for the standard model

What’s not?

  • Sub-par handling
  • Lesser back seat space

The Lexus NX 450H+ is another SUV in the list of long-range PHEV cars with an all-electric range of 37 miles. It has a motor on each of the axles, which enables the driver to have an all-wheel drive system. The NX 450H+ has a combined power of 304 horsepower and can do 0 to 60 mph in a quick 5.9 seconds – all this while also maintaining an efficiency of 36 mpg and a grand total range of 550 miles. Talk about a great pick for interstate cruising.

Toyota Prius Prime

What’s hot? 

  • Balanced ride and handling
  • Comfortable front seats

What’s not?

  • Slower acceleration
  • Limited rear headroom 

The latest iteration of the Toyota Prius is the perhaps best design of its lifecycle. This is not the only change, as the Prius now has a much more capable electric motor paired with an equally capable gasoline engine. It is quite impressive to see that the model that popularized PHEVs is still alive and well. 

The Toyota Prius Prime has an all-electric range of 46 miles. The Prius Prime has almost doubled its combined power output to 220 horsepower, whereas the electric motor can produce 161 horsepower on its own, which was more than the last Prius Prime did in total.

Volvo S60 Recharge

What’s hot?

  • Fresh, mature, and sporty design
  • Superb fit and finish of the interior

What’s not?

  • The design could be a hit-or-miss if you like ’em flashy
  • Kind of expensive

The Volvo S60 Recharge is the most efficient offering by Volvo. And we can’t not talk about safety when it comes to Volvos, so here’s a fun fact about the S60 Recharge – the 2022 model was IIHS’s top safety pick of the year in the mid-size luxury sedan category.  

It has an impressive all-electric range of 41 miles, considering the amount of power produced by this car. The S60 recharge produces 455 horsepower and 523 pound-feet of torque combined while retaining an impressive 69 MPGe rating. 

Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid

What’s hot?

  • Futuristic looks help redefine the Korean brand’s image
  • Spacious and practical interior

What’s not?

  • Dull base engine
  • Its handling leaves room for improvement

The Hyundai Tucson is one of the Korean manufacturer’s most unnoticed offerings, so to offer a PHEV version for it seems like a good decision. The Tucson PHEV knocks out most of its long-range PHEV competitors thanks to its peppier handling and commuter-friendly behavior.  

The Tucson has a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-banger bolstered by a 13.8 kWh battery, which produces a combined total of 261 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. This is sent to all four wheels and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

BMW X5 xDrive50e

What’s hot?

  • Comfortable ride
  • Well-balanced handling with plenty of grip

What’s not?

  • Not a connected drive like BMWs of old
  • Extra charges for driver assists is highly controversial

The BMW X5 xDrive50e has competitors from almost every brand in the market as it falls in the mid-size luxury SUV segment. The car, however, stands out in the segment thanks to its perfect mix of power, performance, and utility. It has loads of features and dozens of personalization options to make it your unique car. The X5 xDrive50e has an all-electric range of 40 miles.

The xDrive50e has a total power of 483 horsepower and has a torque of 516 pound-feet. The electric motors here are paired with a turbocharged straight-six engine. 

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Best Car Reviews
Best CarsBuying GuidesNew Car Reviews

The best cars we’ve reviewed (so far) for 2024

Welcome to the start of our ever-expanding home base of car reviews, where we file the best cars we’ve driven so far in order. Don’t think of this as an outright competition to see what is the definitive best vehicle out of a few classes. We’ve got more than that, anyway. Best EVs, best sports cars, best compacts, best trucks, and more! Think of this as all our existing car reviews coming together to help you decide on what are some hot ticket choices to look out for on the new or used car market. 

Check out the linked subheadings for full reviews with specs and pricing, and check back occasionally as we continue to grow our portfolio of car reviews!

(Editor’s Note: Updated 3/1/2024 with pickup trucks and EVs category!)

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🚦Get ready, set, full disclosure! Some of the links powering our posts contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase, even if it’s not from the page we linked. Affiliate links are not always an endorsement of the product. To really help us keep our headlights shining to make more content like this, subscribe to the Acceleramota newsletter.

Best EVS

1. Audi Q8 e-tron – A proper take on urban luxury EVs, even if it’s not a spec sheet winner

What’s hot?

  • Proper luxury car interior with all the accouterments
  • Serene ride and NVH

What’s not?

  • Some minor Audi MMI glitches
  • A tough sell with a high price and okay-ish range

Is it too late for the legacy automakers to topple the startup giants? Will no one eclipse them in terms of price, production output, or range? Ah, screw it. Let ’em have it when automakers like Audi still know how to build a damn good car and damn good features. The Q8 e-tron may not take home any victories in Top Trumps or bar stool drag racing, but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed, because what Audi has delivered is a sublime urban EV for those who’ll heed its offerings. Ride quality is plush, even on such big wheels, and the interior is well-built and well-equipped, with enough screen to satiate the especially tech-indulgent without appearing cheap or gaudy.

The Q8 e-tron is a fine automobile. We just wish it could be an easier sell so more folks can bask in what it gets right. But we get it. What it gets wrong are things that wouldn’t be the fault of any sensible buyer should they say turn the e-tron down. With a price that starts at $74,400, it’s already an uphill battle. And with a range of only 285 miles, it’s tough to convince folks to fork over the dough for one of these instead of the comparable Tesla or a cheaper Mach-E. But give it a chance and let it thrive in the urban environments it was made for, and you may see that the numbers game isn’t the point of the e-tron. The point is to just be a great product.

2. Chevrolet Blazer EV – That one SUV from the Barbie movie is actually quite a stunner

What’s hot?

  • Sharp and sporty like its looks
  • Quiet and refined

What’s not?

  • Range lags behind key rivals, including fellow Ultium-based EVs
  • Oh boy, yet another expensive electric SUV

Hey there, Barbie! Let’s go party! And party indeed, as the Blazer EV is actually quite the charming and likable EV, with polarizing styling that contrasts with the sea of egg-shaped lunchboxes that also occupy the pantheon of electric SUVs. But for that price, you get a highly configurable package, with trim levels to match anyone’s wants, and drivetrains that offer front, all, or rear-wheel drive. Can’t think of another vehicle where you can pick either three. The Blazer also matches its sharp looks with dynamics that don’t fall on its face in the twisties and acceleration that earn the top trim its SS badge. And if you like cockpit-like interiors, the Blazer certainly fits the bill with a digital dash and infotainment setup that vaguely reminds us of a C8 Corvette and Alpha-platform Camaro blended together.

If we had to complain, there’s that sorry excuse for a frunk that’s easily trumped by rivals in its class. Range is only okay and doesn’t set any new records, with the most frugal trims seeking out 324 miles. Oh, and there are the embarrassing software issues that plagued early cars enough to cause a stop-sale. Ironically, not long after winning a round of praise and awards from all who’ve driven it. Oh, Chevy.

3. Mercedes-Benz eSprinter – Electrified mobility for businesses and tradesmen

What’s hot?

  • Fairly quick and responsive at low speeds
  • Still perfectly capable of around-town work

What’s not?

  • Uncomfortable seats
  • No dual-motor variants as of yet

Not much to say here, is there? It’s an electric cargo van with plenty of space for products or tools, enough pep for stoplight drags, and just enough range to accomplish a day of work and still have some to spare. The Mercedes eSprinter is exactly as advertised: a nicely made, well-appointed, electrified take on work vans intended for urban environments. And you know what? That’s a-okay with us. The interior is standard Sprinter, with an attractively-designed and functional infotainment system and seats that are less than optimal but get the job done. Hey, you’re getting paid to work, not lounge!

Aside from wanting more comfortable seats, a 42-minute max charge speed to 80% is only okay, there are currently no dual-motor variants available as of yet, and the payload takes a significant hit versus any gas or diesel Sprinter. Gardeners and Geek Squad folks will be fine. But no trying to smuggle kei cars in the back, you hear me?

Best plug-in hybrids

1. Mazda CX-90 PHEV – Bridging the gap between family crossovers of the past and future

What’s hot?

  • Commendable EV range for such a massive thing
  • Mazda edges closer and closer to the luxury car kingdom

What’s not?

  • Not the most cavernous three-row SUV
  • Rotary dial infotainment controls only

Mazda has been on a not-so-secret upward spiral toward faux luxury car stardom for some time now. From smooth, sporty driving dynamics to interiors with actually pleasant build quality and aesthetic design, the Zoom-Zoom brand has been making quite the name for itself. The CX-90 three-row crossover cements its status as a serious brand worth more than just one mere damn, and the plug-in hybrid variant acts as a wonderfully executed bridge between family cars of the past and present. 26 miles of EV range? Not bad! 24 mpg in the city? Heck yeah! 369 pound-feet of yoinking power? Now, you got me flustered. And these are just the specs. We haven’t even started with the gorgeous, airy, wood-lined interior that can shame the Germans or the sporty dynamics that can actually put the “sports” in sports utility vehicle.

Okay, so a big lunk like this will never score the range or MPGe of smaller plug-in crossovers. And its towing capacity and average mpg took a hit versus the Bimmer-flattering inline-six. Oh, and touchscreens be damned because the Mazda’s infotainment is controlled via a rotary dial only, which will definitely not resonate with anyone who hasn’t come from an older BMW. But if you can live with those nitpicks, you’ll still be left with one of the most compelling products to come, not just from Mazda but from any automaker in recent memory.

2. Alfa Romeo Tonale – A commuter a way only the Italians can

What’s hot?

  • A family crossover that’s actually a drop-dead stunner
  • Commendable performance and handling

What’s not?

  • Dodge Hornets are cheaper if you don’t mind the styling differences
  • Dodge Hornets have an ICE-only powertrain if you don’t care for plug-ins

Nothing says car enthusiast like anything sporty from Italy. Nothing says drab and dreary appliance like a compact crossover. Combine the two, and you might just have the recipe for a fun little urban runabout, as Stellantis has proven with the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Although ICE variants exist elsewhere, we Yanks get a bold, powerful plug-in powertrain as our sole option. It pairs a spunky little 1.3-liter turbo four boosted to high hell with an electric motor to yield over 30 miles of handy EV range and produce 285 horsepower and 347 pound-feet, which, last time I checked, is a lot more than your average compact crossover.

Sadly, it also costs a lot more than most compact crossovers and is lined up squarely against competent, similarly powerful rivals like the RAV4 Prime. Those who are a fan of spunky Italian dynamics but are willing to forgo the spunky styling can also step down to the cheaper Hornet, which produces more torque, has a similar EV range, and offers a significantly cheaper ICE powertrain. Still, flawed or not, there’s a lot to love about the Alfa Toe Nail, and there’s something to be admired when offered a fun, stylish alternative to the usual crop of cookie-cutter family cars on the market.

3. Dodge Hornet R/T – I’m like the guy right above me but with less swagger

What’s hot?

  • Fun and fast for lil’ crossover!
  • Usable EV range

What’s not?

  • Why is there no Regular-Ass Prius mode?
  • Minor electronic annoyances

“I do everything the guy above does, but better,” says the Dodge Hornet R/T, probably. Psst, it’s not better, but it is just ever so slightly different.

Not much to say here that hasn’t already been said about the Tonale. I don’t think we can say anything until we score an all-ICE Hornet GT to sample. But here it is, the Americanized take on Italy’s dandy little compact crossover, complete with the same KONI two-valve shocks, vividly red Brembos, and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 tires. The car receives the same plug-in powerplant in R/T trim, albeit with an extra motor to help it yield 288 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of faux hot hatch fury. It costs a few grand less for a comparable Hornet R/T versus a Tonale, too. What’s not to love?

Well, it’s still a Tonale. This means it still suffers from the typical Italian (or perhaps just Stellantis) electronic hiccups that make it difficult to recommend, from awkward lane centering and intermittently dysfunctional safety sensors. It may also be too small for some families, and asking for the R/T skyrockets the price tag fairly quickly. But if you can live with all of it, the Hornet is still a lovable, fun-to-drive alternative in an otherwise ho-hum segment of effective yet uninteresting cars.

Best hybrids

1. Toyota Prius – shockingly fun but still lovably practical

What’s hot?

  • New powertrains are punchy
  • Easiest 50-mpg solution on the new car market

What’s not?

  • Some interior ergonomic quirks
  • Still viable in today’s world of plug-ins, EVs, and upscale economy cars?

Go ahead. Laugh. But you won’t be laughing for long when a $30 or $40 fill-up nowadays buys you well over 500 miles of range, not including the short bits of EV cruising you can manage behind the wheel of the current-gen Toyota Prius. Did I make fun of Priuses before? Of course! Do I still do? On occasion. Do I love them, though? You bet your ass.

City slickers, you can’t beat 50-plus mpg and all-electric parking lot creeping in a car with the forward and side visibility of a fishbowl (the rear is a different story) and a footprint small enough to fit in nearly any parking space. There’s an abundance of nifty safety and convenience tech to make you feel as though you’re in a more substantial vehicle, and the new chassis and powertrain result in a Prius that’s a bit of a hoot to fling around.

The question remains if the Prius is still the obvious solution when compact family sedans and crossovers are now as efficient as ever while sitting at a slightly lower price point and offering comparable, if not better, practicality and ergonomics. Not to mention the growing waves of affordable EVs and plug-ins if efficiency is really your absolute top priority. But if a middle ground between them all is what you’re eyeing, then the new Prius remains a fantastic, well-rounded entry, even if it’s not necessarily the best.

Best luxury sports sedans

1. Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance – A final bastion for V8 sports sedans

What’s hot?

  • N/A V8 rear-drive sports sedan? For real?
  • Typical Lexus premium vibes, inside and out

What’s not?

  • Not a true IS F replacement
  • Could go for more low-end torque

If you can’t find an ounce of love for something like this, you’re either not human or one of those stereotypical Tesla fans we were warned about on social media. The Lexus IS 500 was a last hurrah we didn’t expect, but we couldn’t be happier it exists, even if it’s for a moment. Lexus delivers a compact executive sedan with rear-drive, go-fast suspension and braking hardware, and a monstrous, free-breathing V8 pushing 472 ponies! What a day to be alive! And in typical Lexus fashion, it oozes style and quality inside and out, from the way it drives and handles to the materials and tech. 

Sure. It’s not a true IS F successor in the same vein as the RC F coupe. The platform is quite old, dated, and small by car industry standards. But perhaps we shouldn’t complain about its age and shortcomings. For less money than a BMW M3, here’s a final bastion for naturally-aspirated V8 sport sedans with more charm and character than a current M3 will ever have.

2. Genesis G70 – A bonafide sports sedan to challenge the Germans

What’s hot?

  • Actually fast, fun, and engaging across all trim levels
  • Oozes style and quality at a strong price point

What’s not?

  • Fuel economy pales in comparison to German I4 and I6 engines
  • No hotted-up M, AMG, or F rival (yet)

I’ve driven and ridden in a small handful of Korean cars over the years, each getting more and more alluring the newer they got. Now, the icing on the cake, the Genesis G70 cements a notion in my head that’s been parroted by auto journalists since the Sonata got good: South Korea will take over the world. Good. Let them. Because they can build a damn fine sports sedan.

The latest G70, the only Genesis product I’ve yet to sample, sports a buttery smooth 8-speed auto directing power from either a 300-horsepower, 2.5-liter turbo four, or a 365-horsepower, 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. You can get it dipped in rear-drive or all-wheel-drive sauce, and V6 cars can be sprinkled with a serving of electronic suspension and limited-slip diff. Sounds like a good time, yeah? But thankfully, Genesis knew not to sully the car’s luxury mission with an overly “sporty” setup, so it remains posh, refined, and quiet, perfectly balanced for wannabe touring car champs and yuppies alike.

No, there’s no super-hot M3 killer yet. And no, the fuel economy is good but not great, as BMW’s crop of turbo engines beg to differ. By like, a lot. Backseat space can be a bit tight, and interior design, while impeccably well-built, may not offer enough flair and pizazz as one might like. But these minor nitpicks shouldn’t stop you from considering the G70, especially when you get the chance to experience all that it gets oh-so right.

Best luxury SUVs/crossovers

1. Acura MDX Type S – Quick and cushy

What’s hot?

  • Genuinely fun to drive
  • A cushy, coddling cruiser for the whole family

What’s not?

  • Not as sporty as it could be, especially in the face of German rivals
  • Curse these touchpad infotainment controllers

We love a good, unsensible dose of automotive debauchery. Manic vehicles with fire-breathing engines or cyberpunk-esque EVs with more gimmicks than goodwill. Are they useful? Not always. But they sure are fun. Yet, here stands the Acura MDX Type S as the near-perfect Goldilocks’ choice of crossovers. A cavernous interior invites occupants to revel in plush leather seating accented with real wood and metal accouterments, controlled via logically arranged hard buttons to show that physical switchgear ain’t going out of style just yet! And once you take control, you’re rewarded with a lovably pleasant driving experience, defined by a powerful and silky V6, well-tuned automatic transmission, and supple suspension that’s still competent in the canyons and freeway on-ramps. Sometimes, it’s good to enjoy the middle ground.

Of course, it’s not without faults. The most glaring of which is that infernal touchpad infotainment controller, which will apparently bow out in favor of a better system in future Acuras. Good riddance. And of course, people eying the Type S badge hoping for a true M or AMG fighter may be disappointed. It’s not that car. It’s fun and engaging. Really fun, actually. But it’s not that car. In a day where clout-chasing is king, the MDX Type S reigns itself in and stays true to its family crossover roots without being afraid to have just a little senseless fun every once in a while.

Best hot hatches and sports compacts

1. Acura Integra Type S – The surprise knockout

What’s hot?

  • Chassis, brakes, engine, and pretty much everything else by the gods
  • Easily daily-drivable for thousands of miles on end

What’s not?

  • Exhaust is too quiet for how raucous it can be
  • Expensive for its class

Oh, Integra Type S, my beloved. How incredible you are clubbing GR Corollas and Golf Rs over the head with the sheer force of your awesomeness. The gods bestowed upon you suspension soft enough for tattered highway commutes yet taught enough for unflappable canyon cornering prowess. You’ve been granted a rev-happy powerhouse of a turbo four-banger with a Bimmer-rivaling 320 ponies channeled through a manual whose shifts hit crisp like ice water with a mint. And you carry yourself with civility and politeness when it’s time to calm down for the long journeys home. 

Could you tell I’m obsessed? The Acura Integra Type S is an easy winner and a rockstar in its segment, delivering Civic Type R attitude in a slightly more comfortable and mature package. Perhaps the only reason we leave here at Number 1 is because we haven’t yet tested a real Type R, which sports more supportive bucket seats and a whimsically cool wing for several thousand dollars less, trumping any value proposition the Acura had. Until then, the Acura will stay our king of the sport compact hill. 

2. Hyundai Elantra N – Shattering Korean car stereotypes

What’s hot?

  • Rip-snorting lil’ WTCC car for the road, even with the dual-clutch
  • Premium interior and performance at a stellar price point

What’s not?

  • Bucket seats are a pain on road trips
  • Ugly duckling

“Am I the only one who understands the complexity of this ambitious automotive masterpiece? This car isn’t stupid! You’re stupid!” – Billy, probably.

Hyundai’s N division has proven to be a massive disruptor in the performance car world, building comparison test winners and headline stealers since the Veloster N in 2019. The Elantra N carries forward much of the same spirit and hardware, routing 276 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbo-four through your choice of a good ol’ six-speed stick or a snappy 8-speed dual-clutch. 

Brakes rock. Adaptive suspension rocks. The selection of drive modes that all make a meaningful difference rock. Everything rocks. And, best of all, the Elantra N goes about its performance biz with genuine chassis feel and an eager, soulful playfulness seldom found in European sports sedans. Couple that with its strong value proposition, and you have an affordable halo car that poses a serious threat to our current sports compact king. 

3. Volkswagen Golf R – The mature grown-up’s hot hatch

What’s hot?

  • Sports sedan performance with all-wheel-drive versatility 
  • Mature, elegant bodywork with hatchback practicality

What’s not?

  • Controversial infotainment system is a tad bit of a learning curve
  • On the steeper side of the pricing fence

The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf R is a divisive product, as praiseworthy as it was a source of ire among auto journos for a variety of reasons. But one thing is for certain, and it’s that no one can really hate on the fiery powerhouse that is the EA888 four-cylinder, pushing 315 ponies in Golf R trim, a sliver more than its Audi S3 cousin. It also features a trick Haldex all-wheel-drive system with Drift Mode for sideways action and Volkswagen’s baby-PDK DSG dual-clutch. 

That said, the mighty Golf R has some Achilles heels. It’s not the fiercest, most playful thing in the toybox, trading the antics of something like a Focus RS or Type R for a more upscale and serious demeanor befitting its German heritage, which may or may not resonate more with certain buyers. Its heftier price tag may also push some buyers away, as well, sitting comfortably above the likes of Elantra Ns, GR Corollas, and its not-too-dissimilar, front-drive GTI sibling. Oh, and that love-it-or-hate-it infotainment. Sheesh. At least they’re bringing buttons back.

Best affordable sports cars

1. Subaru BRZ – Jack of all trades, master of many

What’s hot?

  • A palette-cleansing trendsetter of what proper driver feedback should be
  • 2.4-liter engine staves off most desires for extra power… most

What’s not?

  • GR86 is more playful for slightly less money
  • Lame engine and exhaust sounds

Here comes the little Subaru BRZ trying to prove it has everything you need and nothing you don’t. 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet from its 2.4-liter flat-four quells most complaints about the last car being gutless, bolstered by short gears and a svelte 2,800-pound weight. There’s a supple ride, CarPlay, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate, and options for banging sound system and scalding heated seats. 

Sure, it’s not perfect. Far from it, actually. The flat-four in stock form makes some pretty gruff, uninspired engine and exhaust noises. Space and practicality will never rival that of a hot hatch. And then there are those pesky RTV shards and daunting oiling pressure woes that have forums in a frenzy for permanent fixes. Still, if you want a track-capable, confidence-inspiring, infinitely tunable plaything that’s at home on the daily drive as it is high up in the canyons, few cars come close.

Best luxury sports cars

1. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray – “Budget supercar” is no hyperbole

Black Corvette C8 at Joshua Tree National Park
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

What’s hot?

  • Faux supercar performance for a fraction of the price
  • Impressively practical

What’s not?

  • The usual supercar headaches in traffic and urban settings
  • Some stylistic quirks and nitpicks

Value is important when choosing a car. And I don’t think the value gets much stronger than the C8 Corvette Stingray. You’re telling me I can snag a base one for between $60,000 to $70,000 and still have the time of my life? Hell. Yeah. And before you snark at me and say no one gets the base model, know that me and Gabe’s tester absolutely was. No Nappa leather. No Z51 pack. No aero kit. Just the C8 ‘Vette in its most pure form.

Even with none of the extra fancy thingamajigs like MagneRide, auxiliary coolers, and Pilot Sport 4S tires, which I’m sure would have been transformative in the LA canyons and on SoCal freeways where we tested, we were still blown away at the base Corvette’s unfathomably serene ride and handling balance. It can haul all our camera gear for the LA Auto Show in the frunk, stow a body, uh, extra luggage in the rear, comfortably soak up all the expansion joints and potholes California had to throw at us, and still be an engaging ripper in the canyons.

Sure, it could be a little sharper. It could be a little lighter. It could be a little more connected. My advice? Don’t drive a 718 Cayman GTS before this. But I suppose for the money, this thing is a tough act to follow. A really tough act to follow.

2. Lotus Emira – A driving enthusiast’s dream come true

What’s hot?

  • Shocking ride and handling balance, even with Sports suspension setup
  • One helluva’ V6

What’s not?

  • Somewhat baulky manual shifter when cold
  • Not long for this cruel world

I can’t say it any better than Peter, so I’ll slip in a little excerpt.

“The 2024 Lotus Emira First Edition is a very special sports car for this day and age. It one-ups everyone else by making the most of old steering technology. This blissful steering then combines with a wonderfully communicative chassis, manual gear shift, rousing supercharged engine, and overall brilliant driving dynamics to make it a true top-level driver’s car.”

The Emira looks like so many other sports cars and supercars out there, but beneath the skin, it’s a rare breed like few others, if any at all. So it’s not the most practical or efficient thing on this list, nor is it that strong of a value in the presence of Porsche. It’s not even long for this world, slated for replacement by 2027. But when it comes to a pure driving experience, you can’t argue with some good ol’ analog fun, or as Rob Crespo and I call it, “oldfashionedasfuck.” And you know what? That’s exactly how the fanboys want it. And it’s how Colin Chapman would want it.

3. Maserati GranTurismo Trofeo – A true grand tourer with sports car chops

What’s hot?

  • Near supercar fast!
  • Sports car reflexes don’t hurt its cross-country comfort

What’s not?

  • Annoyingly long in parking situations
  • Priced smack dab in the middle of some serious rivals

God, no one does a driver’s car like the Italians. And yes, this portly, (possibly) two-ton, leather-clad, land yacht is a driver’s car. From its hellaciously fun Nettuno twin-turbo V6 to the trick Skyhook adaptive suspension with air springs. I didn’t quite know what to expect with the GranTurismo Trofeo. I kind of expected it to be a bulky, lazy touring car with tons of cross-country cred, as a car of its class should have. But I’m happy to report it can also straddle the line between touring car and sports car shockingly well, with quick, intuitive steering and a well-tuned all-wheel drive system that never lets the threat of understeer rear its ugly head in the tightest of Malibu canyons.

Sadly, its occasional electronic quirks, which range from meh to motherfu-, ahem, excuse me. It’s Stellantis-ness makes itself apparent. Not that it feels cheap. It sure as hell does not! It just has hiccups. And it better not feel cheap, not at nearly $230,000 as-tested! That’s a touch cheaper than GTs from more prestigious nameplates, but it places the GranTurmismo right in the middle of key rivals like the Mercedes SL, Porsche 911 Turbo, and even Maserati’s own MC20 supercar.

Best pickup trucks

1. Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison – A serious contender in factory-fresh prerunners

What’s hot?

  • A bonafide adventurer with otherworldly suspension!
  • Plush, well-appointed interior

What’s not?

  • Steeply priced
  • Limited to crew cab with short bed only

Huzzah! Chevy’s baby Ford Raptor before Ford brought their own baby Raptor stateside. The ZR2 Bison is a phenomenally capable, lovably riotous off-roader that defies the weak and feeble stereotypes of smaller mid-size trucks. Not that today’s crop of mid-sizers are what anyone would call small, especially the Bison and its hulking 35-inch rubber. Like the new batch of Colorados, the interior is reasonably spacious, modern, and well-appointed, even including ventilated seats, which is a thoughtful addition for desert rats on Chevy’s behalf. The turbo four-banger plucked and retuned from base-model Silverados proves strong and more than up to the task of rocketing this Tonka truck cosplayer down sand dunes with ease, and the Multimatic suspension is every bit as capable and impressive as you’d expect from this company.

If you can live with the presumably abysmal fuel economy and the questionable styling, then this is a worthy rival to any fast Ford on the trail or in the open desert. Just mind the steep price tag, because ticking the Bison box on your build sheet will skyrocket the already pricey ZR2 to right around $60,000. You could buy Raptors for not that much more not long ago.

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Buying Guides

Here are five great used SUVs for family hauling on a budget

New SUVs are expensive! You can thank dealer markups and cost of living expenses for that terrible news. However, not all is lost. If you want to get yourself or your family a nice SUV, you just need to look at a good used SUV that can do what you need without robbing you at the dealer. Now presenting our round-up of five great used SUVs that you can get in 2024 year that will help you find and choose the best soccer practice shuttle for yourself. 

Subaru Forester

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • Comes standard with all-wheel drive 
  • The Forester comes standard with many EyeSight driver assists 

What’s not?

  • Lackluster performance from the engine
  • “Meh” CVT

Subaru is often overlooked when it comes to buying cars, but that does mean the price of the Forester is often much lower, and you can get your money’s worth when buying one used. That does not mean the Forester is a bad SUV. In fact, it is beloved by people who like to overland and who love to explore the wilderness. 

The inviting size of the cabin and the features that come standard on the Forester make it an ideal family SUV. With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto being a feature since 2019, the infotainment functionality of the Forester is up with there with other premium cars, even if its appearance is a bit dated.  The engine and transmission of the Subura Forester is what many people complain about as the engine feels lackluster and the CVT introduced in 2014 is, well, a CVT. Even the best ones can make an engine drone and moan like a complaining brat. If you don’t mind the age, older variants with more conventional autos would do nicely, and you may even be able to find a turbocharged XT with a stick! However, the easygoing handling and impressive all-weather and all-terrain capabilities of the Forester make it an easy pick, nonetheless. 

Honda Pilot

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • Tons of cargo space and interior space.
  • The Pilot is reasonably fuel-efficient with its V6 engine. 

What’s not?

  • The third-row seats are not comfortable for long-distance
  • The infotainment system isn’t the most user-friendly in older generations

The Honda Pilot follows in the footsteps of Honda’s reputation of being practical and reliable but still has that premium feel. The Pilot shares the same platform as the Honda Odyssey but loses the interior space due to it being limited to becoming an SUV. This means that the Pilot does have a third row like the Odyssey, but the seats are not as comfortable for long distances. 

The exterior looks of the Honda Pilot are nothing special, and you can easily forget what the Pilot looks like when you compare it to rival cars. Even the driving experience is nothing special. This does not mean it is a bad thing, especially if you want an SUV that can easily tow between 3,500 to 5,000 pounds, is reliable and you do not want a flashy SUV.  The Pilot does come with many driver assists that come standard on all trim levels of the car, making it a very practical SUV to drive.

Ford Explorer

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • The rear-wheel drive improvements help with towing
  • Abundance of interior and cargo space 

What’s not?

  • Wind noise can be harsh at highway speeds
  • The interior material, build quality, and the seats weren’t that great

By owning a Ford Explorer, you can be seen as one of the most hated SUVs on the road, but you can have fun with it. I’m talking about how the Explorer is used by Police, and many people may mistake your SUV for a police Explorer (psst, get one in silver or dark blue for that near-universal Highway Patrol cosplay).

With the 2020 redesign of the Ford Explorer, you can get the SUV either in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. This is an improvement over previous versions that offered the front-wheel drive version. The interior of the Ford Explorer wasn’t always up to par with rivals such as the Honda Pilot or Santa Fe. The infotainment systems and the safety technology inside the Explorer are very competitive when you compare them to rivals, especially in newer generations. It just the materials of the interior is that bring down this SUV, particularly in generations past. 

Hyundai Santa Fe

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • Some powertrain choices of later years are a hoot
  • The infotainment system is top-notch.  

What’s not?

  • There are a lot of hard plastic interior bits 
  • Some model years don’t have third-row seating

The 2.5-liter turbo inline-four in the Hyundai Santa Fe boasts impressive figures, making it a strong performer. Plus, the dual-clutch eight-speed transmission is just as willing to play along with you as it will happily downshift to get into the torque range of the engine. This means that you can surprise many unsuspecting cars at the stop light when you take off. 

While being a bit playful due to the power figures, you still get a great family SUV that is reliable and has infotainment systems that all modern SUVs and cars need to thrive in today’s modern world. One possible issue with the interior is the abundance of hard plastics that can make the interior feel cheap when you compare it to rival SUVs. Some used Santa Fe options may come with the upgraded premium quilted Nappa leather seats, but they are not as good as full luxury seats in more premium vehicles. 

Toyota RAV4

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • Easy to drive with excellent handling
  • Exciting powertrain in the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid

What’s not?

  • Interior can suffer from wind noise gruff engine noise
  • Ride quality can be harsh in more adventurous off-road variants

As the world’s first urban SUV (or so Toyota insists), the RAV4 has become a popular choice for people to buy. Due to it being parked in nearly everyone’s driveway for a very long time, it has become the standard on which many other SUVs are judged. And for good reason. RAV4s have always been reasonably efficient. Reasonably spacious. Easy to drive and easy to live with, all backed by that reputation of Toyota reliability.

The RAV4 has excellent features, as some of the later models come with wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay. You also get great safety systems that include automatic braking and automatic high-beam headlights. Adventure and TRD Off-Road variants, if you can find them used, score standard torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, and hybrids offer an efficient yet lively driving experience, especially the Prime plug-in.

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Buying Guides

Here are five great used sports cars you need to welcome into your heart

Let’s be real: a soccer mom (or dad) SUV is no sports car, and a pickup truck may have the power, but it’s big, bulky, and cumbersome. A sports car needs to be lean, mean, and a genuine fighting machine. This is why these nimble and fast cars are the most fun on the road, but of course, none of us will dare to speed or break the law, right?  The only issue with getting a sports car is usually the price, especially the recent trend of dealers putting those ridiculous markup prices on our favorite new cars. So say, “screw the new car market,” and consider this crop I’ve compiled to be the best used sports cars you need to look at.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • With over 35 years of production, you are bound to find that perfect one
  • You can easily modify, fix, and race these cars as parts are readily available
  • The perfect “momentum car”

What’s not?

  • Piss poor boot space or interior luggage space versus rivals
  • May be underpowered to some, especially for the price of later-year cars

You do not need a tire-shredding behemoth of a sports car to have fun. Instead, a lightweight and (debatably) underpowered car can be even more fun. By getting an MX-5 Miata, you open yourself to 35 years of multiple generations offering different needs for different drivers. You can get the original NA model with pop-up headlights or the latest generation with all the fancy technology to help you drive faster. You can even get highly modified Miatas that can outperform anything on a track or for drifting. That is why a Miata is always the answer to any car question you need. 

What models to get:

I personally recommend the “NB2.5” Mazda Miata, which is the facelifted second-generation model of Miata. It comes in either a 1.6-liter engine or the 1.8-liter VVT engine. There is also the rarer Mazdaspeed spec of the car, which comes with a 1.8-liter  turbo engine, but these are quite pricey. Our editor insists on the high-revving, actually-kind-of-fast ND2 Miata, with it’s 182-horsepower screamer of an engine.

Ford Mustang

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • You get the iconic pony badge of the Mustang that comes with a lot of horsepower. 
  • It is an affordable option for a sports car. 

What’s not?

  • The automatic or dual shifting is somewhat lazy and slow compared to rivals. 
  • The Mustang is a heavy sports car and doesn’t handle hard corners like other sports cars. 

Often considered the first pony car, the Mustang is the face of American sports cars. Sorry, Corvette. The 5.0-liter or Coyote engine in most modern Mustangs offers that rich V8 sound no other engine configuration can beat, and later suspension advancements over the S197 and S550-generation cars lead to some seriously compelling track cars, i.e. Boss 302, GT350, Mach 1, etc. As Mustangs aren’t too expensive and are undoubtedly popular, it attracts a “special” crowd unfamiliar with coping with such performance. This leads to its infamous reputation, which is nothing the discerning Acceleramota reader should be concerned with… Uh, right?

What models to get:

2005 to 2014 “S197,” or the fifth generation of Mustang, is the most value-packed generation to get used to. It has a retro redesign that Ford brought out with the 5.0-liter Cotoye engine. It is also easy enough to get spares and modify to how you want the car to be, thanks to the near-infinite aftermarket support.

Toyota GR86, Toyota 86, Scion FR-S, Subaru BR-Z (they’re all the same, dang it)

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • Lightweight chassis helps with handling and keeps fuel consumption down (double win!)
  • The predictable, forgiving handling makes it a perfect beginner’s car to learn HPDE driving

What’s not?

  • May be underpowered to some, especially first-generation 2.0-liter cars
  • Interior has little storage space for your handheld items

Toyota and Subaru, from the start, wanted to make a lightweight, affordable sports car for people to enjoy, and boy, did they fulfill that goal to perfection. Well, almost perfection. The Toyota GR86, also known as the Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S in older generations, has the perfect blend of chassis stiffness and compliant suspension to make it easy for people to drive these cars to their limit without hurting daily drivability. However, the flat-four engine is nothing too special, at least not without a bit of tinkering. With only 200 to 205 horsepower and that infamous torque dip that forced owners to somehow drive around it, the 86 sometimes feels like it’s missing something when you put your foot down. 

What models to get: 

The latest generation of 86 and BRZ that came out for 2022 is probably the best version to get, if not the cheapest. With a bump in engine displacement, you get 228 horsepower. Plus, you get the nicer interior and more aggressive styling. Just mind the oil starvation and RTV issues if you’re a track rat.

Porsche 911

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • Multiple flavors to choose from, with convertibles, full-on track cars, and cushy daily drivers
  • Flat-six engines that sound glorious 

What’s not?

  • Not cheap to maintain, meaning you will pay a lot for services and parts
  • They all look damn near the same, if that bothers you


Standing as one of the most recognized cars in the world, the Porsche 911 a real head-turner and a treat to any enthusiast. The unique flat-six howls will make anyone envious of your car, and the high performance bar is tough to unseat with any of its rivals. These German sports cars are almost too good to be true as the handling and power are perfect for the road. The competition of the 911 can not compare to them. The only major issue with the Porsche 911 range is that it can be too confusing sometimes, initimidating the unitiated with their littany of models and niches and with many generation models looking nearly identical. Plus, you also have to worry about the Porche purists who hate everything that is not factory spec. 

What models to get:

My opinion on which Porsche 911s to get is the 997 or the 996. These models are reliable enough, as the 996 was the first 911 to have a water-cooled engine, but it doesn’t look the greatest. That is why the 997 is the better option; you get a more traditional headlight arrangement with all the improvements, such as the 3.8-liter flat six producing 325 to 345 horsepower from just the base Carreras.

Dodge Challenger

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • More horsepower than you ever need to need in higher trims
  • Classic muscle car design with modern comfort

What’s not?

  • The stigma. Don’t look at me like that. You know.
  • Can be a handful for amateur (and overconfident) drivers 

This all-in-your-face American icon from Dodge is brute power, rude, and unapologetic. Why do you need to worry about fuel economy or your neighbors when you can blitz most traffic in a straight line? Pick your pison: You can fake it with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar Challenger or raise hell with a supercharged Hemi making 797 horsepower in the Hellcat Redeye model. Either way, this is one of America’s last hoorahs for producing pure, distilled hooliganism that its community wants instead of an electric muscle car with fake sounds, which is just cringe to think about. Fingers crossed the next one has can continue its lineage with spicy Hurricane-powered variants up its sleeve.

What models to get:

My personal pick is the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack on the basis that they’re literally everywhere, and you snag a fairly nice configuration rocking 485 horsepower for relatively not that much dough.

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Buying GuidesFeatures

What’s the best foldable e-bike for last-mile commuting?

That last-mile commute can be a pain for many, especially those who call the urban jungle home or those cursed to park in lots that’d shame a Mall of America. I know it. You know it. I’m sure millions more out there know it, too. Try having to park at a garage miles away from a store you want to visit or having to hike all the way across campus at the university just to make your dumb classes and not screw your attendance grade. Yeah. Well, thankfully, some smart minds graced us mildly lazy people with electric bicycles we can fold and stow in our cars! But with a market this saturated, it can be tough to pick the right one. So help us out and shoot us your picks for the best foldable e-bike on the market.

Once more, we want to give a shout-out to our friends, readers, and followers who helped us with our first community guide on racing sim wheels. Don’t forget to check that one out if you’re in need of one for your setup.

EVELO e bike
Image credit: EVELO

Think about it. You drive to where you need to go. Traverse all those freeway miles and whatnot. But your parking spot is far, or it’s July and a million freaking degrees outside. I’m all for fitness and getting your steps in, but sometimes, you just gotta say, “screw that.” Pop the trunk or hatchback, whip out your e-bike, and scoot along at a brisk pace that’d have paperboys of generations past envious. That’s the magic of an e-bike you can breakdown and simply toss in the back seat, little-to-no disassembly required and no shelling out extra dough for some trick bike rack.

If anyone reading has any bright ideas on their top pick or picks, drop us your suggestions in the comments section below! Just acknowledge the following requests:

  1. Give the full name of the product, including make and model, for easy search.
  2. Please list at least three pros for why you like it and two cons about your choice! Any pro or con is valid, from build quality to performance to pricing and value.
  3. Feel free to engage with fellow commenters on their choices, but be courteous and respectful! Constructive criticism or affirmations of the products can help with deciding buyers’ guide picks!

Sound good? Lovely. Have at it, and let us know what you got!

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Buying GuidesDeals

Here are some great racing sim wheels to get your gaming setup rolling!

Hello, and welcome to our first community-curated buyer’s guide! This first one ain’t much, but it’s honest work. And we hope fellow consumers, enthusiasts, and gaming junkies can probably find something to love here. After all, you guys chose them. So thank you to our readers, social followers, and close friends who helped us piece this together with their insight. Now presenting (and in no particular order) our round-up of the best racing sim wheels according to you, the people!

Scroll on through, and happy shopping.

Moza R5 – for PC

Moza R5
Image credit: Moza, Amazon

What’s hot?

  • Sleek design with swappable quick-disconnect wheel akin to real race cars
  • Tough steel and aluminum construction vs commonplace plastic
  • Customizable and configurable buttons
  • Acclaimed direct drive and force feedback system

What’s not?

  • PC only
  • More expensive than Logitech offerings

Arguably the best thing on this list. And it’s not even the fanciest, schmanciest thing Moza sells. The R5 is touted as an excellent PC offering for those who fancy any sort of serious, tense racing, from iRacing to Forza Motorsport lobbies and even DiRT. The aluminum direct drive system and tunable force feedback of the R5 allow gamers to have as realistic and immersive an experience as possible without totally breaking the bank, although Moza’s systems aren’t that cheap, to begin with. But if you’ve got extra coin burning a hole in your pocket, we can’t argue with the most critically acclaimed item on this list. Shop around their store, and maybe you can find a quick-disconnect wheel in a cooler style you’d prefer.

Logitech G923 – for PC, Xbox, PlayStation

Logitech-G923
Image credit: Logitech, Amazon

What’s hot?

  • Choice of Playstation or Xbox configurations for this one model
  • Amazon bundles for manual shifters and headsets
  • Built-in launch control feature
  • Strong value

What’s not?

  • Logitech manual shifters feel very cheap and plasticky
  • Very few but notable quality control and performance hiccups

Not a bad value for what’s ultimately an “intermediate” racing sim wheel. The G923 sits as a slightly more feature-ladden iteration for the common and popular Logitech wheel lineup, featuring fun tidbits like shift lights, launch control, and Logitech’s TRUEFORCE feedback system that can adjust steering wheel based on in-game surface, cornering load, and weather changes. It’s a hot pick that’s seemingly often sold out on Amazon, given its enticing shifter and headset bundles and the fact it can be had in Playstation or Xbox configurations, although there have been mild QA concerns, according to Amazon shoppers.

Logitech G920 – for PC, Xbox

Logitech G920
Image credit: Logitech, Amazon

What’s hot?

  • Stellar price point
  • Logically-laid out buttons
  • Helical gears reduce vibration, backlash, and noise.
  • Dual-motor force feedback provides commendable steering feel

What’s not?

  • Awkward pedal spacing for big feet
  • Bargain bin price means fairly basic build quality and mounting

The G920 and its PlayStation-oriented G29 twin are Logitech’s bread-and-butter go-tos for budget pros and casual gamers alike. Its compact, plasticky construction, while it may look quite cheap at first, keeps costs down to a stellar price point and makes it easy to mount to nearly any setup. A dual-motor, helical-gear system reportedly provides surprisingly decent steering feel over a variety of in-game traction conditions and with minimal backlash or noise, making it my friends’ choice for many games, from Assetto Corsa and Forza Motorsports to Forza Horizon and BeamNG.drive. Just mind the tight pedal spacing if you’re a big fella’.

Logitech G29 – for PC, PlayStation

Logitech-G29
Image credit: Logitech, Amazon

What’s hot?

  • Great starting price
  • Logically-arranged buttons for PlayStation
  • Vivid contrast with red and blue accents
  • Same helical gears and dual-motor setup as G920

What’s not?

  • Same pedal spacing issues as G920
  • Same cheap feel for some parts of its construction

Gran Turismo fans, enter the G920’s PlayStation counterpart. Not much differentiates the two other than one being optimized for Xbox and the other for PlayStation. Both sport roughly the same features, roughly the same design, and just about the same price point, not accounting for any ongoing Amazon deals. Like the G920, it rocks an F1-like two-and-a-half turns from lock to lock, paddle shifters, and the ability to accept Logitech’s chintzy yet effective manual shifter add-on. Again, not the the fanciest thing on this list, but it’s an excellent do-it-all bargain. As one reader put it best, “A Logitech will suit your purposes just fine and provide a fun, engaging experience without being overwhelming.”

Thrustmaster TS-XW – for PC, Xbox

Thrustmaster TS-XW
Image credit: Thrustmaster, Amazon

What’s hot?

  • Superbly accurate steering rack with great feedback
  • Swappable wheels like some higher-end brands
  • Trick cooling system for belt drive for prolonged racing sessions
  • Compatible with all Thrustmaster add-ons, including gated shifters

What’s not?

  • Steep price tag encroaches on entry-level direct drive wheels
  • Optimized for Xbox and may need modification for PC

Careful, Icarus. Flying awfully close to the direct-drive sun, I see. But I guess it’s not a bad place to be when the wheel is this damn good, and it better be for that hefty price! A dual-belt system raises questions over why there is no gear or direct drive, but the community has spoken and frequently sings its praises for strong force feedback and top-notch steering feel. Like the Moza sim wheels, there’s also the ability to swap quick-disconnect wheels for designs of your choice, such as this bundle’s Sparco wheel. There’s also an appreciable degree of modularity akin to Logitech, allowing users to tack on Thrustmaster’s wide array of add-ons, like their drool-worthy gated shifter.

FAQS

Direct drive vs. belt drive vs. gear

It’s a matter of price point and quality. Belt drives can be made phenomenally, as Thrustmaster proved, but are generally low-cost servo motors that can dampen steering feel and accuracy. Gear drives are often more tactile and direct but costlier and open the door to possible vibrations and backlash. Direct drives typically offer the best feedback and accuracy but at the cost of, well, a literally higher cost. Some companies can do the cheaper stuff better than others, but direct drive systems often stand at the pinnacle of a brand’s lineup, serving as their flagships aimed at pro gamers and e-sports professionals.

Are all sim wheels compatible with every console or platform?

Sometimes. Some systems, like Logitech’s G923, have configurable variants compatible with PC and both major consoles. Others in Logitech’s lineup are made specifically for a console. And models like the Moza R5 are PC exclusives. Some wheels may crossover but may require slight modification to do so and aren’t guaranteed to have all their buttons and controls mesh perfectly with a platform’s system. When searching for a wheel, do yourself a favor and spend the extra minute to double-check and see if the wheel you want is truly compatible with your platform or if it can be modified to be so.

Can I use a sim wheel for more casual games like Forza Horizon or Need for Speed?

If my ambitious friends and certain nutcases on Instagram are anything to go off of, the answer is yes. You can use a sim wheel to play anything you want. I’ve seen people play Counterstrike on a sim wheel. You can do anything with whatever setup. Games like Forza Horizon even have settings in their menus to help you tailor your game to be more accommodating to sim wheels.

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These are the best deals to grab from the F1 store in their huge winter sale

With pre-season testing still in Sakhir a month away, now is an excellent time to stock up on gear for the new year. The official F1 Store is having a massive winter sale to make room for new merch and styles. There are over 500 items to grab with discounts of as much as 70% off. We pulled a few of our faves that would make an excellent fit for your 2024 F1 Sunday outfit. And don’t worry. Yes, everything is officially licensed.

1) Scuderia Ferrari Race MT7 Track Jacket

Image credit: F1 Store

A few things Ferrari does well is make merch people want. This jacket is sleek and chic, you’re sure to stand out in the classic red hue. Save 48% on this, and cross your fingers for a Charles podium. Lord Perceval hasn’t had a win since the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, but this jacket could be a good luck charm.

2) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 2022 Team Baseball Cap

Image credit: F1 Store

A classic black baseball hat never goes out of style, and neither does Sir Lewis Hamilton. It’s just $17 and will see you through the 2024 season, and possibly podiums for both George and Lewis. This cap is easily adjustable and made from 100% recycled polyester, so it’s breathable even in the hottest of climates.

3) Oracle Red Bull Racing 2023 New Era Beanie

Image credit: F1 Store

Winter just decided to start with lots of snow in many parts of the world, so it’s a good idea to cover your noggin. Red Bull is a winner, and so is this adorable $21 beanie. It’s a polyblend (so easy to clean) and designed by New Era.

4) McLaren USA Crew Sweatshirt

Image credit: F1 Store

The papaya is strong with this sweatshirt. I like the vintage college vibe of this one, and I also like that this has crossover appeal. Wear it for F1, Formula E, and IndyCar races. It’s a cotton blend, versatile, and a steal at 57% off.

5) Scuderia AlphaTauri Team T-Shirt

Image credit: F1 Store

RIP Alpha Tauri. This shirt is now a collector’s item as the rise of Visa CashApp Racing Bulls takes its place on the grid. If you think that is an awful rebrand, don’t worry. We do, too. I heard a girl once call Alpha Tauri ‘Sugar-Free’ Red Bull, and honestly, why they didn’t go that way is beyond me. But grab this unisex cotton tee for just $27, and still show your love for Danny and Yuki.

6) Formula 1 True Classics Crew Sweatshirt

Image credit: F1 Store

There are a few basic F1 merch items available in the sale, and I love the ones that are so subtle. This classic crewneck sweatshirt is a nod to the start of the sport in 1950. With clever racing stripes down the sides, this is a mod way to show you’re a motorhead too. It’s just $33.

7) Mercedes 2022 W13 E Performance No.44 – Lewis Hamilton 1:43 Model

Image credit: F1 Store

A few of these models from the last two seasons are on sale for just $7. These make great gifts and decorations for offices, living rooms, and bookshelves. If you got a Merc fanatic in your life, this would be a nice little present to surprise them with. It’s die-cast metal and plastic and a stunning representation of the actual million-dollar monster.

8) Michael Schumacher Legacy Classic Edition Poster

Image credit: F1 Store

We recently celebrated the legendary driver’s 55th birthday. Schumacher has no doubt left a huge mark on F1 and motorsports as a whole. This poster honors him and his supreme legacy. Printed on high-quality paper it was designed by Automobilist as a collab piece with the Keep Fighting Foundation. This is a brilliant piece of art for only $20.

9) Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 2023 Official Team Cap

Image credit: F1 Store

Save $30 on this 100% recycled polyester, totally adjustable official team hat. I love this green color and think it looks so stunning in a crowd. As a Fernando lover, I couldn’t make a list and not recommend something that represents him. There are a few items from Fernando’s Kimoa brand on sale as well.

10) Williams Racing Off Track Sweatshirt

Image credit: F1 Store

I think Williams knows how to lean into quiet luxury. Must be a British thing. This year especially they have designed a great line that isn’t flashy. This 100% knitted polyester sweatshirt has zipper pockets and is $39.

11) Alfa Romeo 2023 Valterri Bottas Driver Cap

Image credit: F1 Store

Of course, I’m including my favorite driver on this list. While Alfa Romeo was sunset for Sauber, the historic Italian brand will still live on. I have one of these and absolutely love the Milano cross and snake boldly standing out. I’m going to miss this team a lot, but I’m also preparing my soul for this to be Valterri’s last year as well. Nothing official, my gut just feels like this is it. Save 49% on this and add it to your collection.

12) Oracle Red Bull Max Verstappen Zandvoort Special Edition Tee

Image credit: F1 Store

Are you a member of the Orange Army? What better way to celebrate another outstanding year for Verstappen than with a tee celebrating the Dutch lion’s home race win? I love the Max design on this cotton unisex shirt in that fetching neon shade. Save it for the Dutch GP, or wear it every Sunday as they play the national anthem we’ve all come to know so well.

13) Haas F1 Team – Miami 2023 Limited Edition Poster

Image credit: F1 Store

Haas isn’t the best team, let’s be honest. But making dope posters is one of the good things they do. I love this one from the Miami GP, where, if you’ll remember, Magnussen actually got points. While their house may be a little on fire, so are these designs. This is not currently on sale, but if you sign up for the newsletter, you will get 10% off, and it ships directly from the printer.

14) Kimi Leave Me Alone Crew Socks

Image credit: F1 Store

There’s no way I could make this list and not include my other favorite Finn. These cotton blend socks designed by West Coast Choppers immortalize one of Kimi’s best F1 moments. These are also a great way to communicate with loved ones when the race is on.

15) Pirelli Podium Cap

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This is not on sale either, but I highly recommend buying this on the site and not at the track, where it is double the price. This is an item I want to add to my hat arsenal, and I just love the way it looks. It’s one of those “if you know, you know” when you see one in the wild. It’s retro, which adds a little something. You don’t need to be a fan to rock this, but it doesn’t hurt

If you are interested in catching the Bahrain GP, it will be on Sunday, March 2 at 10 a.m. (EST) on ESPN in North America and, as always, on F1TV.

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