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Deals

The 50 best lease deals and car sales of April 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 15, 2024. See updated pricing and new or refreshed offerings from BMW, Buick, Chrysler, GMC, Audi, Acura, and Land Rover!)

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Acura deals and finance offers

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 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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DealsNews

At $239/month, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is an electric car bargain

Riiight. Let’s not beat around the bush. Cheap electric cars (plus infrastructure) are what we need for widespread adoption of the breed, but the market seems scarce on any super appealing options. Sure, the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range, Chevy Bolt family, and Nissan Leaf are effective and dandy vehicles, but they’re not really model citizens in style, quality, or character, and the Fiat 500e is still on its way. We need more, I say! Well, Hyundai seems like it’s here to help since you can now score their Ioniq 6 EV for as low as a $239-a-month lease. Two-three-nine. Sick.

Hyundai Ioniq 6
Image credit: Hyundai

For reference, a comparable Model 3 can be leased for as low as $329 nowadays. Late last year, Bolts were leased for $299. And Polestar is currently advertising Polestar 2 leases for as low as $379. At an econobox-rivaling $239, the swoopy-droopy-looking Ioniq 6 has been making headlines and fueling social media banter for being the cheapest EV lease on the market today, creating an alluring deal for urbanites searching for a solidly built, comfortable, and stylish electric car devoid of egg-inspired aesthetics or questionable leadership ethics.

The stipulations are just as intriguing as the payment itself, leading to some questioning its validity and whether it’s all some pending April Fool’s prank that we’re bracing for. $0 down. 24 months. Mileage not disclosed. Still, not bad for two years with one of the more well-received grocery getters currently on sale. Alternatively, SE AWDs will lease for $349 for $349 down, while SEL AWDs will go for $449 for $449; both deals run for 24 months, should you care. Perhaps the biggest catch is that prospective lessees must act fast, as the deal expires on April 1.

The Ioniq 6 isn’t a bad car, either. With an MSRP of $42,450 for the SE trim and $50,150 for the Limited trim before incentives or fees, it’s not the most expensive nor the cheapest EV to buy. Rear-drive Long Range variants output 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet, which is good for 0-60 in roughly six seconds and a Hyundai-estimated range of 361 miles. Dual-motor all-wheel drive saps range down to 316 miles but boosts performance to 320 ponies and 446 pound-feet. Non-Long Range variants make do with 305 miles of range while driving only the rear wheels or 270 miles with all-wheel drive. Battery capacity is either 53 or 77.4 kWh, depending on the range variant. In the unavoidable looks department, its fastback silhouette is clearly inspired by the likes of the Mercedes CLA and CLS, and its compact footprint makes it a sweetheart in urban commuting. The “borderline luxurious” interior, as described by Motor Trend, is typical Hyundai, which is to say modern, ergonomic, and totally functional.

Hurry and cop one quick if you’re in the market! April Fool’s is just around the corner. A shame such a good thing can’t stick around forever, especially for something that’s a fresh break from the bottomless sea of Teslas and Priuses. But that’s life and the cruel, cruel world of the auto industry.

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Tesla Model 3 Highland
Car CultureHot Takes

Tesla’s borderline pointless Model 3 changes they claim are “updates”

There’s seemingly no shortage of Tesla slander on the internet. Some can be a little unfair, and others can be… well, Tesla sometimes seems like it’s asking for it, doesn’t it? After nearly seven years, Tesla released its revamp of the Model 3, with minimal updates that reflect the vehicle’s minimalistic styling. While few have hit the road, we look to popular YouTuber Doug Demuro for the inside scoop on what we can expect to see from the new Tesla Model 3.

Tesla Model 3
Image credit: Tesla

Quirks and features according to Doug Demuro

As we’ve already stated, and Doug agrees, the newly re-envisioned Tesla Model 3 doesn’t seem to have many new changes. Before watching the video, we were somewhat hopeful that he would enlighten us about some of his iconic “quirks and features” that would change our minds. At first glance, the most obvious cosmetic update to the EV is the front fascia, but Tesla is known more for user-focused updates, so we decided to hear Doug out.

Cosmetic updates for the Tesla Model 3

The front fascia of the car looks more like a mid-generation facelift than an actual update, and even at that, the changes are minor. The side body lines, door panels, and rear end of the car are noticeably unchanged, leaving us to believe this is hardly an update to the styling. If you are already underwhelmed by the appearance of Model 3, these “major revisions” aren’t going to spark your interest either. The good news is that Tesla continues to offer few features to allow buyers to customize their Tesla Model 3, with the exception being wheels and trim colors, so wrap shops and car customization businesses can rest assured that their place in the Tesla community will go on.

The rear end also has some subtle and barely notable changes to the rear end of the car, most noticeably in the taillight, which now forms more of the body of the vehicle than the outgoing model. Speaking of subtle changes, that is the best way Doug could politely describe the generally negligible updates to the interior.

Questionable interior changes for the Tesla Model 3

Sitting in the driver’s seat, Doug claims that although there aren’t many changes you can see, the overall quality of the textiles and surfaces has been updated. This is likely a direct result of owner complaints that the original Model 3 didn’t feel like a luxury car. New material choices on the dashboard and around the interior feel a bit like a page out of Lucid’s book, but we will give Tesla some credit for the effort.

The biggest change to the interior doesn’t even involve the driver but rather adding another iPad-like screen to the rear of the car for backseat occupants. To Tesla’s credit, the addition of entertainment features such as Netflix, Hulu, and the arcade mode is a big bonus for some buyers. Neat.

Don’t worry, though. There is one major change for the driver, and… We hate it.

If you’ve never driven a Tesla, you may feel slightly confused when getting into the driver’s seat of the original Model 3 because it doesn’t start or engage like your typical vehicle. With the outgoing generation, gear selection was available through a stalk that protruded from the steering wheel, alongside traditional turn signals and windshield wiper controls. In an attempt to make the car even simpler, Tesla has removed the shifter and turn signal stalks and made users completely dependent on the touchscreen or controls directly on the steering wheel, making us feel more like we’re driving a giant iPhone rather than an actual car.

Don’t trust it? Right. Neither do we. This is probably why Tesla added a failsafe in the form of ceiling-mounted gear selector buttons, kind of like the engine start button in a, er, McLaren Senna. Odd parallel, we know.

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A silver Rivian R3 crossover electric utility vehicle is seen with its headlights on.
Features

The rally-inspired Rivian R3 could turn the world of affordable EVs on its head

In the documentary Objectified by Gary Hustwit, there’s an extended sequence where industrial designers for automakers describe the joy of putting a “face” on the grille of a vehicle. I think about this bit every time I see a Rivian EV on the road, with its little cartoon frog-looking “eyes.” This proprietary headlight and grille array makes Rivian EVs immediately identifiable – an absolute plus for a brand still trying to find its footing in the increasingly crowded EV market. Rivian continued to turn heads last week when it announced not one but three upcoming mid-sized crossover electric SUVs: the affordable Rivian R3, the R2, and the R3X.

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Rivian lineup
Image credit: Rivian

Rivian R3 reveal highlights

In case your invite to the Fashion Week-inspired event got lost in the mail, Rivian put together this bafflingly edited hype video of some of the best moments from the launch.

Rivian R3 price and trim options

Details are still scarce for the Rivian R3, and production might not begin until 2026 at the earliest, but that can’t stop us from being excited about this affordable crossover EV. The hatchback-like R3 and its slightly bigger cousin the R2 are part of what Rivian is referring to as their new midsize platform:

This platform consolidates and eliminates parts thanks to intelligent design, including the use of high pressure die castings, a structural battery unit where the top of the pack also serves as the floor, and closure systems that dramatically reduce complexity.

Rivian Press Release
Rivian R3
Image credit: Rivian

Similar to other electric carmakers, Rivian plans to offer the R3 in three motor arrays: Single-Motor (RWD), Dual-Motor (AWD), and Tri-Motor (two in front, one in back.) The press release claims that the Tri-Motor model will have some real pep, with a projected 3-second 0-60 time.

While these numbers and engineering feats are impressive on paper, it’s best to stay cautious until we get closer to the production date. That said: you might audibly gasp (like the event attendees in the video above did) when you hear the projected MSRP. The base model Rivian R2 is expected to start at $45,000 and, given the flap Tesla absorbed over the Cybertruck’s ballooning ticket price, it’s safe to assume Rivian is over-estimating.

As for the Rivian R3? The company is hoping that the slightly smaller crossover vehicle will have an appropriately smaller price tag. We’ll update this post as we get more details, but a starting price in the $35,000 range would make the Rivian R3 a fierce competitor for the remarkably affordable Hyundai Ioniq and Kona models.

Rivian R3
Image credit: Rivian

2027 Rivian R3 Price and Trim Options

  • Electric Motor Options:
    • Single-Motor (RWD)
    • Dual-Motor (AWD)
    • and Tri-Motor (two in front, one in back)
  • Starting price: Under $45,000 (estimated)
  • Lithium-ion battery capacity: 1000V (estimated) via Rivian’s new 4695 battery cell
  • EPA-estimated range: 300 miles per charge (estimated)

Rivian R3 interior and tech

As with many newer EVs, the Rivian R3’s skateboard-style battery array allows the designers to pack an incredible amount of space into a standard crossover’s footprint. As such, the Rivian R3’s interior looks luxuriously roomy. I am 6’5″, and just looking at the pictures on Rivian’s site, I can hear my legs screaming, “Please! We need one!”

For what will be marketed as a budget crossover EV, it’s clear that no expense was spared when considering the interior. Sleek details and organic textures like cork hide the spirit of a high-end vehicle in the price tag of a starter EV. A massive center console display screen and a full LED dashboard display will surely offer entertainment, customization, and other important controls at the touch of a button.

Rivian is clearly aiming for the adventure-adjacent set with the Rivian R2 and R3. And the R3X promises to be both a high-performance speed machine and a more sturdy off-road model, offering an optional pop-up tent you can attach to the crossover’s roof. They’re calling the add-on the “Treehouse Tent” and it will initially be available for the R2, but Rivian plans to have it available for the R3 as well.

If you don’t feel comfortable climbing onto the roof of your car, that’s fine! With full fold-down seats, you could reasonably just set up an air mattress in the back of the Rivian R3 and save yourself the hassle altogether. Me, I’ll be at the hotel.

2024 Rivian R3 electric range and charging times

Rivian R3
Image credit: Rivian

As we alluded to above, Rivian’s midsided platform will utilize an all-new battery array that features 4695 lithium-ion cells, produced in South Korea by Samsung. These new cells will be 95mm long, as opposed to the 4680 cells that Tesla uses, which are 80mm. According to this exhaustingly detailed LinkedIn post, the 4695 cells will represent considerable improvements, including:

In terms of cycle life, the fast charge life of 4695 type cells is 1200cls, and the normal life is 2000cls, which is also greatly improved compared to the 4680cls of 1500.

Keven Chen

It’s worth reading the whole post if you’re interested in the lithium cell arms race, but the long and short of it is that the new batteries will be more efficient and last longer than 4680 cells. We’ll go into how this impacts the Rivian R3 electric crossover vehicle’s potential power in the next section. At the time of publication, Rivian is predicting around 300 miles of range on a full charge for the Rivian R3.

Rivian R3
Image credit: Rivian

2027 Rivian R3 engine and performance

Motor1 investigated Rivian’s new battery platform based on the info available and they estimate that despite the smaller wheelbase, the R3 (as well as the R2 and R3X) will be built with 1000V architecture. This could be a real boon for anyone hoping their midsized Rivian will pack a punch. To wit:

With three of these modules wired in parallel, the voltage will remain the same but the current available will go up considerably. We don’t know what the individual cell ratings are, but other 4695s are capable of pulse discharging at up to 10C, or ten times their rated capacity in amp-hours. This could mean available power as high as 900kW, or around 1,200 horsepower. 

Peter Holderith – Motor 1
Rivian R3
Image credit: Rivian

2027 Rivian R3 design highlights

We’ve glossed over it in this article because the news about the battery platform and price tag were so distracting but let’s be frank: The Rivian R3 crossover EV looks like it’s going to be as attractive as it is affordable. Taking design cues from classic rally vehicles like the Audi Quattro Coupe and Delta Integrale, the Rivian R3 is sure to turn heads once it hits the street.

In an interview with Road & Track, Rivian Chief Design Officer Jeff Hammoud said:

The brief I gave the design team was like, we need this to be our Solo Rally Car. So on our image boards, we had the Delta Integrale and the Audi Quattro coupe from that era… That nostalgic feeling where it looks modern, but where it looks like it’s from the future, and the past, at the same time.

Rivian CDO Jeff Hammoud in Road & Track

Clearly, a lot of love went into designing the Rivian R3, and the designers also spent a lot of time imagining what people might use the car for. An innovative “flipper glass” rear windshield flips up to allow for carrying long items like kayaks and surfboards. And to top off the back of this hatchback-esque EV, a cute little spoiler. Simply, chef’s kiss.

Rivian R3
Image credit: Rivian

We already covered the interior storage but a massive “frunk” is tucked away in this quasi-diminutive electric EV. Rivian owners are already delighted to see that the company has improved upon the R1 line’s hard-to-access front trunk.

Overall, if they pull it off, Rivian R3 could turn the world of electric vehicles on its head. No longer will EV consumers have to choose between form, function, and affordability. With its estimated sub $45k price tag and innovative battery array, we have high hopes for the Rivian R3.

Rivian R3
Image credit: Rivian

Rivian R3 review round-up

While the Rivian R3 electric crossover vehicle is still quite a ways off, some lucky reviewers did get a chance to see a prototype at last week’s launch event. So, while there are obviously no driving impressions and won’t be for some time, here’s a quick rundown of some of their thoughts:

One of the features highlighted by Scaringe during the event was a rear gate window that lifts up to allow for extra storage, especially of long items. (He called it “flipper glass,” but it was unclear if that was a nickname or something more official.) And like the R2, the rear seats fold flat for added cargo space — which he said “creates an opportunity for in-car camping.”

There’s still a lot that’s unknown about the R3, but if the R2 is meant to compete with the big boys like the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E, then the R3 looks more like a rival to the Korean EVs, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6.

Andrew J. Hawkins – The Verge

And all of that isn’t even about the car I liked most from the showing. I’m a small-car guy (and you should be too), so the surprise small-SUV-crossover-rally-car-hatchback-or-whatever-you-wanna-call-it R3 was extremely exciting to me. I love the form factor, I love that they got their inspiration from ’80s Group B rally cars (complete with funky interior), and I can’t wait to see more details on this vehicle.

There were hints of a few neat hidden ideas on the R3, like a (removable?) storage compartment on the back of the driver’s seat on the R3X and some kind of cool strap-down blanket thingy on the passenger’s seat, but since the doors weren’t open and that car is quite far from production, those will have to wait for another day.

Jameson Dow – Electrek

The R3 looks more like a lifted hatchback than a proper SUV thanks to short overhangs and tighter packaging. We don’t have full dimensions just yet, but Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said the R3 rides on a wheelbase that’s 5 inches shorter than the R2. It also looks to be shorter in overall length than the R2 (which itself is 15 inches shorter overall than the R1S). That hatchback look is emphasized by a large rear tailgate that integrates a flip-up piece of rear glass cutely named “flipper glass.”

The interior is made from sustainable materials including cork, and Rivian said it’s possible to fit a mattress in the rear hatch area (for camping trips or sleeping on a long roadie). You also get not one but two gloveboxes inside, and the interior design is classic Rivian, although it seems slightly more minimalist than we’ve seen in the R1 cars.

Nick Yekikian – Edmunds
Rivian R3
Image credit: Rivian

2027 Rivian R3 FAQs

When is the Rivian R3 crossover electric vehicle expected to go into production?

Rivian has announced that the R3 will begin production after the first production models of the slightly bigger Rivian R2 leave the factory. The company says this will allow smooth ramp-up and delivery of the initial R2 electric vehicles. By current estimations, that means the R3 will begin production in mid-to-late 2026. That means the first Rivian R3 crossover electric vehicle will likely be part of the 2027 model year.

How much will the Rivian R3 crossover EV cost?

At the time of publication, Rivian has not yet shared the targeted MSRP for the Rivian R3. The launch press release does mention that the base model of the larger Rivian R2 will be $45,000 and that the Rivian R3 will be priced below that. An MSRP below $45,000 would put the Rivian R3 in the same category as the Hyundai Kona or Ioniq 6.

What will the battery range and power of the Rivian R3 crossover EV be?

It is speculated that the Rivian R3 will be built on a 1000V platform featuring Rivian’s new, longer 4695 lithium-ion cells. In addition to allowing more design flexibility, this battery promises to have a longer life and more efficient charging time. In official press releases, Rivian says the Tri-Motor Rivian R3 will be able to go 0-60 in an impressive 3 seconds. This would put the Tri-Motor Rivian R3 on par with supercars like the Audi RS e-tron GT (3.0s) for (presumably) a much smaller price tag.

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The ultra rare hypercar, Aspark Owl, at Supercar Saturday Florida
Car CultureNews

All-electric Japanese hypercar steals the show at Supercar Saturday Florida

While most of the world is still thawing out from the tail end of winter, car show season is already hot and heavy in south Florida, and that means it’s time for Supercar Saturday, an all-inclusive and free car show hosted on the second Saturday of every month at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Each month features an insane variety of supercars, trucks, modified whips, imports, motorcycles, and classic cars, but this show we saw something extra special: an Aspark Owl.

What is the Aspark Owl?

If you’ve never heard of the Aspark Owl, you certainly aren’t alone. In years of traveling and attending events, this rare hypercar is one of the only exotic vehicles I have yet to see in real life—and seeing it in person for the first time did not disappoint.

Aspark currently produces one of the world’s most expensive full EV hypercar, called the Owl. (Hint: It does kind of look like an owl). The Osaka-based company has only produced a limited number of this exotic vehicle, but with its distinct body lines and unusual appearance, you won’t have a problem spotting it in a crowd, even among the most extravagant sports cars in the world.

It’s no slouch in performance either, as the Aspark Owl is propelled by an insane 1,980 horsepower from an electric-only drivetrain with a reported top speed of 256mph and a nauseating 0-60 mph time of just 1.72 seconds which firmly cements its place as a legitimate hypercar.

Other epic supercars spotted

While the Aspark Owl sighting crossed off an item on my bucket list, we can’t forget about the other dozens of amazing supercars that took over the show. My personal favorites included the Lamborghini Huracan STO, which, in my opinion, is one of the best-looking modern Lamborghinis to date, super SUVs like the Lamborghini Urus and Aston Martin DBX, and both the first- and second-generation Ford GT.

Despite the intimidating name, Supercar Saturday has a bit of something for everyone. Classic Corvettes, modified sports cars, lifted and heavily customized trucks, and a handful of JDM imports filled up various sections of the parking lot, with over 100 cars to see and plenty of vendors to enjoy.

Follow Acceleramota on Instagram and sign up for our free newsletter to keep up with the latest car reviews, event coverage, meetups, and the occasional shitpost just for the hell of it!

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Ethernovia wallpaper
FeaturesNews

Meet Ethernovia, the tech company simplifying your car’s brain for the future of safer driving

Cars are hard. Computing can be harder. Yeah, I get it. And it doesn’t help when the central nervous system of your car, the brains and all its connected gizmos and wiring, are as complex as they’ve ever been. But easy, now. There exist tech companies out there that still do what a successful (and likable) company does: provide solutions and alternatives to problems. Actual problems. Ones they didn’t fabricate or exaggerate Twitter clout. I had a chance to chat with one particular company’s representatives at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, and now it’s time for you to get to know the company, too. Meet Ethernovia, the award-winning, San Jose-based tech company poising itself to tackle issues the car companies gave themselves.

Keep in mind that I am no super hardcore tech junkie by any means. Too much Super Street growing up rots the brain. But even so, I found myself so enamored by the efforts of this company, and I wish nothing more than to share my learnings and their mission statement with you.

Solving issues the automakers created

Ramin-Motortrend-Award Ethernovia
Image credit: Ethernovia

As I waited to meet with a rep outside some random booth on the CES floor, my face sweaty from meandering around all day and donning nothing but jeans and a loose t-shirt, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I never saw anyone’s faces prior to this, nor did I have a real clear understanding of what exactly this company is or what they do. A rep, who I later learned was an Acceleramota fan, simply liked our work and wanted to connect to help share their mission.

And what a mission, indeed. Well, if you’re the techy kind that enjoys problem-solving, and God knows the auto industry could use some extra wisdom. Thankfully, Ethernovia and other companies like it are here to impart that wisdom to the glacially evolving auto industry, with the goal of simplifying their electrical and processing systems while maximizing performance in the name of improved safety and lower production costs.

Think of Ethernovia as a sort of automotive neurologist.

As I’m sure you’ve seen, cars are complicated. Over the decades, with legislation after legislation putting greater pressure on automakers to implement more safety systems and customer after customer clamoring for the latest toys and niceties, cars have evolved from the mechanical relics of an all-analog past to the rolling supercomputers they are today. Even something as basic as a rental-grade Civic or a sparsely-equipped 86 is brimming with enough writing and sensors to throw aerospace engineers of old into a spiral. And as I’ve learned, automakers haven’t necessarily been the most efficient in developing and implementing such tech. That’s not to say the current ways of doing things don’t work, as they clearly do! But Ethernovia feels it could be better.

How Ethernovia does it

Miles of wiring and mini-ECU after mini-ECU occupy the innards of every car. Clearly, it must be a conspiracy to keep the rubber insulation and copper wire industries thriving! But such an abundance is what Ethernovia considers to be of great excess, and it’s what the company seeks to reduce. Not only would more minimalist systems maintain or improve the performance of the automakers’ designs, but it’d also reduce complexity and margin for system error. This equates to lowered production costs for the OEMs and safer vehicles for consumers, especially in a future heavily leaning into the safety assists and autonomous driving tech that relies so heavily on computers and sensors.

You’d think simplifying such systems would be a given for OEMs, but such an effort can often be overlooked when engineers get spread thin on a project or said manufacturers would rather just use and install electronics from existing legacy brands (Continental, Bosch, Denso, etc.)

Ethernovia stock car wiring diagram
Typical car wiring diagram, Image credit: Ethernovia

One way Ethernovia achieves its goals is through the consolidation of your car’s computers into fewer, dedicated ECUs. Fewer ECUs to communicate with also mean less wiring and chips, simplifying the production and assembly of the car’s electricals while still enabling all the luxury or safety toys the OEMs and consumers want. Another is through the production of more efficient, sharper responding “high-performance” ECUs, with lower power draws and less latency in its computing power, which is crucial when implemented in lane-centering, automatic braking, or adaptive cruise where every millisecond counts in emergencies. Data can be processed quickly, and the safety systems’ actuators can react sooner.

Speaking of which.

Ethernovia stock car wiring diagram
Diagram of Ethernovia’s consolidated ECUs, Image credit: Ethernovia

New gizmos for the era of “software-defined vehicles”

Right on time for this little tech talk/introduction of mine, Ethernovia dropped details on new chips they’ve been developing with efficiency in mind. The company announced the launch of two new 7nm PHYs (physical layers or basically the hardware in a circuit, such as chips, ports, and cabling), dubbed ENT11100 and ENT11025, respectively. Their claim to fame reportedly is that they have the industry’s lowest power draw while still having levels of processing power that meet Ethernovia’s standards for appeasing software-defined vehicles. For the die-hard techies who’ll understand it better than I do, know these new PHYs are the first and only products in their field to support 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second, a measure of bandwidth and data transmission), 5 Gbps, 2.5 Gbps, and 1Gbps.

At its fastest, Ethernovia’s PHYs are capable of transferring data at 4,500 Gigabytes per hour. At its slowest, it’s more like 450 Gigabytes per hour. Compare that to the estimated average of 25 per hour in today’s connected cars.

Ethernovia services
Image credit: Ethernovia

“Electrification, increasing connectivity demands, and the advancement of automated driving functions result in ever-increasing requirements on fast and secure data transmission in the vehicle and to the cloud,” stated semiconductor expert and systems architect for Volkswagen Group, Andreas Aal. “Ethernovia’s new PHY meets these demands by offering energy-efficient, high-bandwidth, low-latency data transmission paired with embedded co-optimized safety and security IP to enable a seamless and holistic architecture transition that paves the way up to future software-defined vehicles.”

Essentially, the ENT11100 and ENT11025 chips possess greater data transmission abilities for improving safety and functionality in today’s field of cars while being capable of saving energy. When implemented in mass within a car’s entire electrical system, the resulting energy savings could bode well for system reliability as well as possibly prolong the range of electric vehicles. Single-port variants are currently being sampled by prospective customers, with quad-port variants due to be available for sampling later this year.

Yes, very creative with the nomenclatures, I know. But at least all the creative juices flowed into making their crop of gizmos work as advertised to help automakers and consumers alike.

Ethernovia is up to some pretty rad stuff, and it’s companies like this seeking real solutions to real problems that we should be backing, not those who pride themselves on nothing but glitz, glam, and publicity through controversy. I wish Ethernovia and other companies like them the very best in their efforts, for if they succeed on an industry-wide scale, it will truly lead to the safer and more affordable cars we’ve been yearning for. And in my opinion, although it’s not the most star-studded headline, it’s certainly worth more curiosity than some 8-bit tinker toy of an EV rendered in 144p.

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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.

(link will open in same tab)

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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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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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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EVs Explained range no text
EVs Explained

The secret to electric car range estimates—and why Tesla always scores big

Welcome to yet another lesson on what’s perhaps the biggest selling point on today’s crop of electric cars: EV range. Yes, everyone would love to have an EV that can keep pace with, if not outlast, their gasser companions on the open road, but what some may not know is that those big ol’ range numbers people use in their games of Top Trumps come from tests. Different tests. Not every EV is held to the same standard and, therefore, can produce wildly varying range numbers in real-world scenarios, oftentimes as a bid to earn the bigger number just to say they can.

Gasp! You mean an automaker can willingly choose a method of range testing if it means being able to advertise that they can wave a bigger stick, even if the product doesn’t necessarily yield the same results in practice? That’s obscene! They would never choose a less honest route just to fluff up their brand image, would they?

Ha! Well, yes. Yes, they can. And they have. Many electric cars have been recorded not to hit their original estimates, and only a few are noted to match or exceed. Tesla and, recently, Lucid have been accused of being the worst offenders in magazine range comparisons, and there’s angst out there regarding it. Enough for me to pen up this EVs Explained piece just to tell you all about the wonderfully riveting world of EV range testing. Don’t get too restless. Like an old compliance car, I won’t take you too far.

A white 2023 Kia Niro EV is seen driving through the city.
Image credit: Kia

One size fits some

Varying EV range tests have been a thing for some time. Such methodologies include America’s EPA, Europe’s Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), Europe’s now-obsolete and unrealistically optimistic New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), and the controversially unrealistic China Light Duty Vehicle Test Cycle (CLTC).

On a recent press launch, I had the opportunity to discuss such varying test methods with Edmunds test editor, Reese Counts, who commented on his Mach-E long-term loaner’s range. And although it didn’t quite hit its EPA estimates, as he commented that almost no electric car does, he does enjoy that it was a very “real” range estimate and didn’t leave him feeling as though a buyer would be conned. As a youngin’ in this field, I asked him what he meant.

Each agency has slightly different testing practices, which already yield different numbers on just the window stickers alone. In America, automakers have a choice of two routes within the EPA’s own set of rules. Because of this, it’s become a clear trend for certain cars from certain brands to come closer to their estimates than others, while others are seemingly blatant lies, except they’re not actual lies. They’re just tested under optimal conditions that favor them. Frequently, it seems these test results can be too optimistic, as seen in some of these big-name magazine range tests, where some cars consistently leave egregious gaps, sometimes as big as 100 miles or more, between their as-tested range and their advertised estimate, like the Tesla Model 3 or Lucid Air in Motor Trend’s recent test.

Mustang Mach E in the snow
Image credit: Ford

“They don’t bullshit you,” summarizes Counts regarding automakers with comparatively uninspired range claims for cars that can at least come close in the hands of normal drivers on real roads. Then he recounts cars that willingly choose alternate tests to bolster the range numbers as yet another example of “overselling but underdelivering.”

“Their numbers rarely line up with each other and can also differ from real-world ranges because each organization has its own specific test procedures,” explains Jeremy Laukkonen in a tech explainer for Lifewire. Enough content exists on the internet to explain at least some of those in greater detail, but I’ll summarize them with key highlights as best as I can.

EPA vs. WLTP vs. CLTC range testing

Basically, all EV range tests involve strapping a car down to a dynamometer or dyno, a “rolling road” as they’re sometimes referred to and basically function as a treadmill for cars. The vehicles are then charged to full, left overnight, and run through various cycles to simulate city and highway driving until the batteries can’t power the car. The vehicle is then recharged and run again and again for many tests. EPA and WLTP function similarly but have a few slight twists to them to make their estimates vary.

There’s enough nuance and small details to spin each agency’s test methods off into their own article… which we may actually do at some point. But for now, here are quick, digestible breakdowns of each one.

For greater detail, please consult your doctor (this breakdown by InsideEVs) to see which EV range testing method is right for you (less of a load of crap, in your opinion).

EPA

EPA gives the automakers a choice of a “two-cycle” or “five-cycle” range test, which essentially just dictates how many times the car goes through testing cycles. More on those cycles in a bit, as those are what give us the bigger and smaller gaps in real-world range numbers. City test cycles are conducted for a hair over 11 minutes at a time with a top speed of 56 mph and an average speed of just over 21 mph. Highway test cycles are run for a bit over 10 minutes at an average speed of 48 mpg and a top speed of 60 mph. The combined range figure is estimated by weighing together the city and highway numbers, with city driving accounting for 55% of the score and highway driving for 45%. To further simulate the range-dropping factors of real-world environments, the range is then multiplied by 0.7 to lower it.

In 2008, the EPA added three more cycles an automaker can test for that would better indicate range in real-world conditions, including a 95-degree hot weather test with air-conditioning on, a 20-degree cold weather test, and a high-speed test. Again, the results of using these extra cycles are detailed in a section below, but first, let’s see how they do things across the pond.

WLTP

Like EPA, WLTP uses cycles to test vehicles, but they’re also broken down further into classes based on max speed and power-to-weight ratios. The higher the vehicle’s performance, the higher the test speeds, hence why a Model S Plaid won’t be held to entirely the same standard as, say, a Renault Twizy. A WLTP test will be broken down into Low, Medium, High, and Extra High sub-cycles and run for 30 minutes over 14.4 miles at an average speed of 31 mph and a top speed of over 81.

Unlike the EPA range tests, the lab temperature is static at 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and they do not add the 0.7 real-world multiplier to lower the final range numbers. This is partly why EPA numbers are typically lower than their WLTP counterparts. For instance, the combined range of the most frugal Mustang Mach-E in America is rated at 300 miles. Compare that European Mach-E estimates of up to 372. Want another? The refreshed Tesla Model 3 Highland Long Range has a range of 305 to 341 miles, depending on wheel choice, but WLTP estimates peg it between 390 and 421.

Ah yes, the Long Range’s range is indeed long.

CLTC

This is a China-exclusive measure that isn’t necessarily relevant to Western EV buyers unless you enjoy speculating and eyebrow-raising. Criticized as “pushing an EV down a hill in a vacuum,” this methodology has been panned for the same reason as the now-defunct NEDC by producing highly optimistic range figures that may not be anywhere near indicative of what a real-world owner may experience. Unless they apparently push their car down a hill in a vacuum.

This CLTC test is conducted at a constant cruise of 25 mph until the battery goes kaput and is then adjusted for weather, terrain, and other factors via data compiled from real Chinese drivers across its many regions. While yes, this very much plays into an electric car’s inherent lows-speed efficiency and is not quite representative of what Western-driven cars will see, it’s important to remember that this is a Chinese test for Chinese market cars, so EVs are held to a different standard for their own driving environments, which are often dense, slow, and without too much intercity travel on massive high-speed highways.

Two-cycle vs five-cycle range testing

EPA test cycles
Image credit: fueleconomy.gov

Okay. So, different regions in the world conduct varying range tests and score different figures. Alrighty then, but what about the rampant talk of some brands like Tesla and even Lucid having massive disparities between lab-brewed estimates and real-world numbers?

As Counts explained to me when talking Mach-E numbers, this widdles down to the number of test cycles an automaker chooses to use.

As mentioned, the EPA offers a simple way to test for city and highway ranges with a city and highway cycle. Most automakers opt for this two-cycle test, while a few, particularly smaller startups, opt for the five-cycle test, which, as you can imagine, tests the car over more cycles. As detailed in another InsideEVs piece, it’s not that these companies are conning anyone or cheating a system. They’re just using the options available to them to gain an advantage. Such an advantage yields them a higher number that, therefore, looks better to the press and consumers and puts these startups or anyone else who uses the five-cyle option on a pedestal.

Why is this? Simple.

More cycles let EV makers take advantage of a car’s low-speed efficiency since they’re obviously exerting less energy to move at slower speeds and are bolstered by goodies like regenerative braking. The additional test cycles reportedly also include “high-speed” or aggressive driving, hot weather with air conditioning, and cold weather tests, all of which are done at a low enough speed to work in an electric car’s favor. Cool beans, except when magazines and owners conduct their own independent tests, typically on highways and at far higher speeds than the EPA’s lab experiments. This means the range disparity is, well, to say “noticeable” would be an understatement. Still, this practice of extra low-speed tests is allowed by the EPA and is totally legal, even if it’s not exactly aligned with other automakers’ decisions and doesn’t perfectly convey real-world range results on American roads.

“Such variance. Much wow.”

In case this article, its more detailed source material, and the embedded videos haven’t engrained this into your head by now, there is a mindboggling, brain-jerking, head-spinning array of variance and inconsistencies involved in EV range testing and, by extension, MPGe testing. Not only do global agencies use different methods, but there are also different cycles and sub-cycles within these methods that all yield different results for different cars. On top of that, it doesn’t help that electric vehicles are politically and societally forced to be one of the fastest evolving niches of cars on the road today, with vehicles from several years ago being nearly unrecognizable from a technical perspective from electric cars produced today.

“EVs are one of the fastest-changing areas that we deal with in our laboratory just in terms of how fast this technology is moving,” says engineer, Jarrod Brown, in CNBC’s look at EPA EV testing. “If you look at a vehicle that we had in here even five years ago, a 2016 or 2017 electric vehicle looks almost completely different internally from what we’re seeing in vehicles coming in 2024.”

When testing for range and efficiency, automakers have different ways of recording data for certification, and their cars can all use power differently. One car may not allocate the same energy to running HVAC systems as another, or they may intake and exert electricity to propel the car differently, and so on.

“Every manufacturer kind of has their own way of reporting data on where the power is coming into and going out of the vehicle,” Brown continues regarding the complexity of EV power distribution. “How it’s moving around between the motors and the batteries, or if it’s doing things like regenerative braking, or strategies about how power goes to the heating and cooling system versus how to keep the battery at the right temperature.”

The EPA system, with its many cycles, strives and often succeeds to at least come closest to what consumers can see on their commutes. But this level of added complexity and nonstop evolution may have the current ways of lining up their rulers all tripped up and out of spec. Many critics agree that modern EVs have well outgrown their archaic methods and that a new wave of standardization must come in order to bring realism and uniformity to electric car efficiency measuring.

And if the word is true, change is indeed coming. One popular suggested method is providing city and highway range estimates like how the EPA already does for MPG and MPGe instead of weighing together the two for an average number. That way, consumers know what their best and worst-case scenarios are and don’t take a singular number as the definitive range their cars will always achieve.

Class dismissed

Did I lose you yet? Summary time!

The world has its many ways to measure range, all of which controversially lack a resemblance to real-world range tests, an issue which can be attributed to a variety of reasons, such as different test lengths and speeds, varying methods of averaging out final numbers, or even a lack of air resistance being in a lab strapped to a giant automotive treadmill. Europe currently has WLTP, China has CLTC, and America has the EPA, the latter of which offers a two and five-cycle test for automakers to run their EVs through.

Tesla EVs Explained range
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

A two-cycle test is a fairly basic test with cycles to simulate city and highway driving. The longer optional five-cycle test introduces high-speed, air-con, and cold tests conducted at fairly low-ish speeds, which works in favor of EV manufacturers since electric cars are incredibly efficient in urban use and deliver the best mileage at slower speeds. This, along with a final range number that favors 55% city and 45% highway driving, makes the five-cycle incredibly alluring to startups like Tesla and Lucid, who claim the biggest numbers in the game yet tend to show the biggest disparity in real-world range come independent tests, which are often done at higher speeds over mostly highway. And while it doesn’t deliver the prettiest, most headline-worthy figures, other automakers opt for the simpler two-cycle test as it yields the more realistic final number that is then more likely to be met by actual owners or at least have come close to.

So go forth and stay educated! And remember this one big takeaway: Like gas mileage, EV range can vary greatly. Everything from weather, road conditions, speed, and HVAC usage can affect your range, and, like these many different magazines, your own electric car’s range may be different from what any agency or even another owner gets. Your driving style may yield a 10-mile range disparity or a 100-mile one. Who knows? Just know that whatever car you buy, whether from some big-name legacy automaker or a fancy-schmancy startup, take those window sticker estimates with a grain of salt.

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Fiat 500e
FeaturesHot TakesNews

The all-electric Fiat 500e is one of the coolest new EVs, but does it belong in the U.S.?

Perhaps I’m not the ideal candidate to write this piece, given my family’s affinity for the lil’ Ciquecentos, but no one else will, so here I go. It’s official. The all-new, all-electric Fiat 500e, reborn for the European market in 2020, now makes its way to American shores as we speak, heralding a new era for Fiat in the United States and Fiat’s first real, non-compliance-car attempt at an EV for the North American market. Hipsters rejoice! Rise, my beloved tinker toy! Rise!

At first glance, it’s undeniably easy to dismiss the new 500e as some unimpressive cash grab by Stellantis to resurrect the recently deceased (to Americans) 500, with okay range and Corolla performance numbers. But that’d be completely ignorant of us, even if it is very on-brand for mindless consumers in a blatantly more-is-better society. The new 500e is not here to wow us with any victories in the numbers game. It’s not here to win any drag races or set any world range records. As Fiat puts it, it’s just here to be a “damn good car.” And a damn good car, it might be. But is it the right car for this market?

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What is the new Fiat 500e?

The last Fiat 500e, while actually well-received for delivering solid driving dynamics, was often dismissed as a mere compliance car, something to keep Fiat’s foot in the door in California and nothing really more than a gasser Fiat 500 converted to run on electrons… for, like, less than 90 miles. It was akin to many other ICE-cars-turned-battery-powered science projects of the time, just a little over a decade ago, but that didn’t excuse its afterthought development, California and Oregon-only sales, and lack of usable range. Even Fiat’s own CEO famously slammed it as a money pit spawned out of necessity. Ironic that it garnered a cult following in the years since, and now half my neighbors have snatched one up to use as grocery store shuttles.

The new 500e rides on a bespoke platform intended for EV use from the start and is available for all 50 states. It ditches the old compliance car’s 24-kWh battery for a 42-kWh lithium-ion/nickel manganese cobalt unit, helping it produce a healthy 118 horsepower and 162 pound-feet. Despite the extra battery capacity, it weighs roughly 50 pounds less than the outgoing car, making it 600 pounds heavier than the old gasser 500s but hundreds of pounds lighter than any other EV in its segment. Keeping the battery down low and pairing the car’s revamped suspension with a wider stance and standard 17-inch wheels wrapped in 205-wide tires should translate into a superbly fun-to-drive commuter with more high-speed stability than any previous generation 500. Inside is a 10.25-inch touchscreen with UConnect 5, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, built-in GPS navigation, a digital gauge cluster, and adaptive cruise control.

Fun facts. That wheel and tire package is the same size as the outgoing Abarth’s. And if certain tidbits inside and out seem familiar, it’s because they better be. The platform is bespoke, but consider that 500e’s details to be a little parts-bin hodgepodge of Stellantis’ finest. The 10.25-inch screen is from the Alfa Tonale/Dodge Hornet, while the door handles, start button, and interior door release buttons were plucked from Maserati. Get that. This shares a start button, and door switches with a GranTurismo and MC20. Viva Italia!

Base prices:$32,500
Motor/battery choices:AC three-phase with permanent magnet w/ 42 kWh lithium-ion nickel manganese cobalt
Transmission choices:Single-speed direct drive
Drivetrain choices:Front-wheel drive
Power:118 horsepower
Torque:162 pound-feet
Weight:2,952 pounds
Zero-to-60 mph:approx. 8.5 seconds
MPGe:TBA
Range:149 miles

The Fiat 500e cares not for your silly little numbers game

“Cares not for your silly little numbers game,” I say. Proceeds to infodump a bunch of numbers. Oops.

The 500e is part of Fiat’s “Dare Forward” bid to achieve 50% EV sales in the U.S. and 100% in Europe by 2030. And I’m sure they can get there if buyers can see the little econobox for what it is: perfectly fine urban transportation. It’s not meant to wow anyone with world-beating range estimates or instant charge times. Fiat knows this. And to many North American consumers, that may be enough to have them look the other way. Not the best first impression. Except the 500e was tailored to excel at being accessible transportation for urban environments, delivering just what you’d need and nothing more.

The average American commute is around 50 miles if not a little less. Fiat gives you 149 to work with. Most EV owners charge at home, assuming the car is sitting for hours overnight. The 500e will fast charge to 80% in 35 minutes, and the base price includes a Level 2 charger or Free2Move charge credits for those who already have their own charger. How thoughtful of them. 0-60 in 8.5 seconds is roughly on par with today’s econoboxes, and 162 pound-feet of torque available at 0 rpm means stop light drags or darting up and down the hills of San Francisco are more effortless in this 500 than in any prior iteration, turbocharged Abarth included. And did I mention this is reportedly the third most affordable EV on the market, third behind Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt?

Starting to see the gist here? Fiat is aiming for a usable EV that can thrive in most urban environments in a far more attractive and charismatic package than any Bolt or Leaf. No disrespect to those fine vehicles. But there’s no substitute for the Cinquecento’s cutesy Italiano vibes, which Fiat claims has the potential to shift and change throughout the 500e’s life cycle.

The Fiat 500e lineup will always evolve

According to Fiat North America’s current head honcho, Aamir Ahmed, the current 500e will launch in the U.S. and Canada as a fairly simple RED model (yes, it comes in more colors than red), serving as a sort of study as they see what buyers want and what Fiat thinks they can pull from European cars. There will initially be the sole RED model, which features three available colors and the option of all-seasons or summer rubber, but that’s only the start.

Fiat 500e
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

One way Fiat aims to make the 500e more appealing is through its goals of constantly evolving its lineup, like all the fan favorites in the automotive kingdom, from Mustang to 911 to Challenger. Buyers are told to expect something new, whether it’s some sort of flamboyant collaboration with brand partners, like the fashion brand concepts they debuted before, or a more content-rich model with goodies pulled from European cars, set to debut in “drops” like this initial drop of RED models. If Americans want a ragtop cabrio or a rip-snorting Abarth, then sure. They’re all certainly on the table, according to Ahmed, but Fiat is just playing its cards carefully for now while they see what really clicks and doesn’t click with American audiences.

And you know what? They’re right to tread carefully. Fiat should navigate its revitalization with extreme caution. Time to talk skepticism surrounding one of the most wishy-washy automakers in America.

Will the 500e survive?

Oh yeah, and that’s the other thing. I said it wasn’t a compliance car like the old 500e. It’s not. It’s a “compliance car” in different ways.

The Fiat 500e carries the torch of the outgoing generation and welcomes the Fiat 500 lineage back into North America. But sources have shared with me that it’s not the definitive end-all Fiat vehicle for our market, or at least it won’t be for very long, nor is it the cash grab I originally speculated it to be. Like a handful of other unique EV curiosities to have launched lately, the Fiat 500e is a placeholder. An appeaser. A stopgap. It’s a way to keep the Fiat name relevant until a new wave of “proper” USDM cars reportedly arrive in a few years, earn Stellantis some tax credits in the process, and allegedly serve as a low-cost, low-effort guinea pig for experimenting with their direct-to-consumer sales tools. Smart, I suppose. But that means it’s not the next big 500 I was hoping for. And frankly, this 500e could never be that, no matter how cool.

The 500e has been a hot seller in Europe since it dropped in 2020, moving hundreds of thousands of units in a few short years. That’s Europe. This is America, where EVs are the politically charged bane of many people, distances are long and far, and buyers can be a bit, uh, stubborn? Superficial? Extra careful and particular about car buying in the wake of shit-ass interest rates? Let’s say all of the above. In a time where even members of the Big Three are backpedaling on their heavy-handed EV efforts to explore other avenues, citing slow demand growth and high costs, here comes a company that failed to hang on in a highly competitive, ever-evolving market resting its hopes on a sub-200-miles EV city car without any other angle other than it being good in cities.

Sources have also fed me more deets regarding the 500e’s gestation, such as a troubled and confusing entry into the U.S. market stemming entirely from the notions of being “a day late and a dollar short” and “great car, wrong market.” It’s nearly identical to the European hot-seller but coming to a market that’s on the fence of EVs, has comparatively ill-prepared infrastructure, and lacks the sheer size, versatility, and practicality other EVs or even normal cars offer for similar money. Yes, it’s a solidly engineered, well-built car that oozes style and character. But how many American buyers are picking low-cost EVs based primarily on that? On top of that, being constructed in Turin, Italy hurts its chances of qualifying for all the possible EV tax credits, if any at all.

These are going to be sold or leased to careless hipsters who really, really want it (i.e., me) and affluent folk looking for a grocery getter as their fourth or fifth car. You’re not prying a prospective Model 3 Standard Range buyer away for this. And that’s a bit of a shame.

Fiat 500e
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

As Ahmed put it best, “We don’t want you to care that it’s electric or not. We just want you to care that it’s a damn good car.”

And I’m sure it will be a damn good car. Engineers and Euro journos alike all preach that it is indeed a damn good car. Time will tell how well the 500e will truly perform Stateside, but it will be viewed as a cutesy fashion statement for the few who want it. If you want one and your lifestyle can accept one, then by all means, get one! This thing will be just dandy in its intended environment, like New York, the Bay Area, or even my home of Las Vegas, where distances are short. Fiat’s efforts are welcome, but history and stigma work against any dream of cementing itself in our market with any semblance of stability and permanency. Perhaps they’ll surprise us. Perhaps not. But hey, any Cinquecento is better than no Ciquecento. So welcome back, little fella. Good to see you again. Please tell your 500e Abarth kin overseas I said hello and that I’d love a visit.

Fiat 500e
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

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