As far as we're concerned, every year is a banner year for us because we get to drive some of the best cars for sale in the domestic American market. Most of the cars are quite good, some truly excellent, while there are a few total dogs in the group. This past year, we got behind the wheel of no fewer than 108 cars, trucks, vans
So, we look ahead to 2018 for the vehicles we hope to drive. Not all of them are pumped full of horsepower or taut in the handling department, but we're excited nevertheless. We look at cars from all angles, and practicality, safety, fuel economy, and comfort are all factored in. Here's our "short" list of 18 cars we're excited to drive in the coming year, in no particular order.
1. 2018 Acura RLX
The RLX has suffered the ignominy of poor sales for a long time, and it's been a bit of a snoozer in terms of style and presence. Acura aims to change that with this significant refresh. The new
2. 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
If you think crossovers are boring, think again. The performance version of the Stelvio is almost here, and it's going to be a hoot with 505 horses from its twin-turbo V6 and torque vectoring. If it's even half as exciting as the Giulia Quadrifoglio, we'll prepare our faces for some serious grinning. Rumor has it that it'll hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, making it faster than just about every sports sedan around. Woohoo!
3. 2018 Audi A5 Sportback
The A5 is no longer just a
4. 2018 Audi A7
We were hard-pressed to believe that the new A7 would look better than the 1st-generation sport-luxury sedan, but it does. Not only does it look more sporty, it looks way
5. 2018 BMW M5
Enter the king of sports sedans. The new M5 will be an absolute monster thanks to a big 4.4-liter twin turbo V8 engine that will deliver 600 horsepower. And for the first time, the M5 will have an
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6. 2018 Buick Regal
The name Buick Regal doesn't exactly instill excitement (not since the Regal GN in the '80s), but that's about to change with the arrival of two Opel-based models known as the Sportback (a hatchback sedan) and the TourX (a station wagon). Power will come from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 250 horses. And all-wheel drive is available on the Sportback and standard on the higher-riding TourX. Both models promise upped driving fun and proper Buick levels of luxury and convenience.
7. 2018 Ford Expedition
The Expedition was in serious need of an overhaul, and now it's been done right. The exterior is cleaner and more adventurous, while the inside (especially in regal Platinum trim) is downright opulent. The available 400 hp V8 engine and the ruggedness of body-on-frame construction mean it will put the thumbscrews on competition from Chevy in a big way.
8. 2018 Honda Accord
Sedans might be declining in sales, but the folks at Honda aren't giving up just yet. Their latest Accord is the best its ever been with some of the best driving dynamics in the segment and more aggressive looks. The V6 engine option is gone, replaced by a 250 horsepower turbo four, and it now has a 10-speed automatic transmission. Thank goodness you can still get the stick shift on the
9. 2018 Honda Odyssey
Are we excited about minivans? No. Are we excited that Honda has finally redesigned their venerable Odyssey to compete with the very good Chrysler Pacifica? Yes. The new munchkin-hauler gets more body creases and a more daring fascia. The new Odyssey now comes standard with niceties like heated leather seats,
10. 2018 Hyundai Kona
Small crossovers are arriving in droves, and the Kona is Hyundai's latest. Looking a bit like a Jeep Cherokee mated with a Hyundai Tucson, the Kona has driving lights on top and headlight underneath. The new brand grille is big and bold for a vehicle that's compact. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four or a peppy 1.6-liter turbo. Techy options like a head-up display and wireless device charging mean its more than just a pretty face.
11. 2018 Jaguar E-PACE
Jaguar's E-PACE has the signature Jag looks, the nimble handling of a sporty crossover, and the sophistication to make it one of the most coveted compact premium crossovers on the market. You can opt for a 296 horsepower turbo four or one with 246 horses (base model), and both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available. The
12. 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
What can haul, tow, transport the family, and rocket down the tarmac like a bat out of hell? It's the Trackhawk (we still can't figure out what kind of animal this is), and it's out to utterly thrill and frighten. The top performance version boasts a 707 horsepower supercharged V8 engine from the Dodge Challenger Hellcat that totally embarrasses the still fast 475 horsepower Cherokee SRT. When you read the 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds, which is Ferrari fast, you wonder what demigod forged this thing from the pits of Hades.
13. 2018 Kia Stinger GT
Don't say the Koreans aren't serious about breaking into the same market as the Germans when it comes to sports sedans. The Stinger GT is evidence of that. 356 horses from the turbocharged V6 engine is enough to launch it to 60 in 4.6 seconds, putting it up there with more expensive performance sedans. Inside, everything is laid out cleanly and crisply, and in the top trim GT2, there's a robust set of tech and safety features rivaling the Germans.
14. 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar
We're actually in the Velar right now, so chalk it up as our first 2018 car on this list we're getting to drive. The design-heavy crossover focuses on sleek and sexy sheet metal and a truly svelte interior that boasts twin 10-inch touchscreens and capacitive steering wheel controls. The Velar comes with one potent engine, a 380 hp supercharged V6 that rockets it to 60 in 5.7 seconds. This one's a looker and by far Land Rover's biggest head-turner.
15. 2018 Lexus LS 500
One look at the new LS 500, and you realize what a snoozer the rather long-in-the-tooth last-gen car was. The new LS executes the spindle grille in the best possible way, with a front end that's stunning and larger than life. It's technological tour-de-force that comes in two trims. One is a hybrid (LS 500h) with a 3.5-liter V6 with 295 hp and two electric motors for a combined 354 hp; as well as a twin-turbo 3.4-liter V6 with 416. The interior is even more stunning than the exterior and uses new materials like textured glass and fabric to up the exclusivity factor.
16. 2018 Lincoln Navigator
The old Navigator is no more, and it's about time. Luxe brother to the Ford Expedition above, the far more upscale, far more dramatic total redesign is here, and it's about as luxurious as you can expect, with or without Matthew McConaughey. The big Lincoln flagship SUV gets far more dressed up inside and out, and the 450 hp output is up from last year, as is (unfortunately) the price from $63K to $72K. But, it's supposed to be worth the money for all the power, towing capacity, space, tech, and luxury that comes with it.
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17. 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Okay, so now that the Evo is gone, there's not much in the Mitsu lineup that's been thrilling. Though we don't expect the152-hp turbo 1.5-liter four-cylinder to be quick, by any means, we do want to see if the three diamond brand has improved on quality and design. Their venture into more crossovers is smart, but it remains to be seen if this model is the right way to kick things off.
18. 2018 Volkswagen Arteon
The Arteon might be a weird name, but the replacement for the poor-selling VW CC is almost here, and it's supposed to be quite good. Not only will it look way better, the driving experience and technology are purported to be superb. The five-door fastback/hatchback will get a turbocharged inline-four engine with 268 hp, coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and upper trim levels will get 4Motion All-Wheel Drive.