Buying Guides

4 Great Turbocharged Vehicles for 2019

Power, efficiency and that whooshing sound

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

A couple of decades ago, it was hard to find a lot of turbocharged cars since most of them were sports cars and not very mainstream. Times have changed because turbocharging is quite literally everywhere in the auto industry. Much of the impetus comes from increasingly stringent governmental fuel efficiency standards. Carmakers want to increase mileage without robbing their cars of power. Turbocharging allows vehicles to get power bumps while enjoying efficiency gains. Here are four of our choices for great turbocharged vehicles this year, ranging from the practical to the trackable.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature

  • PROS: New turbo engine gives the CX-5 the power it really needs, interior and exterior style are some of the best in any crossover, excellent safety ratings, handling and steering that make it feel truly sporty
  • CONS: Infotainment screen could use more visual punch, could use some paddle shifters.

The CX-5 has been great since it was first introduced in 2014. Now in its second-gen iteration, the CX-5 is one of the best small crossovers for sale today by virtue of the fact that it's impeccably styled inside and out and now has 227 horsepower from its turbocharged engine. This changes the game from a great crossover into one that's the best crossover driving experience at this price. It also finally gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a host of safety features, an ergonomically brilliant interior, and superb crash test scores.

2019 Audi RS 3


for the lead footed

  • PROS: Supercars speeds, excellent Audi interior always pleases, track-worthy handling, compact aggression done perfectly.
  • CONS: Cramped, can get noisy, pricey when optioned out.

If it's daily drivability you want coupled with ability to roast just about anyone at a stoplight, look no further. The RS 3 is a Euro-spec performance sedan that we can now get here. The turbocharged 2.5-liter four is a little monster of an engine with 400 horses. 0-60 comes in an astounding 3.5 seconds, besting cars that cost twice as much. It comes standard with quattro all-wheel drive, an adaptive suspension setup, faux-suede shifter and the flat-bottom race-style steering wheel, brushed aluminum trim, and front sport bucket seats with heat and leather.

2019 Volkswagen Golf R


for hot hatch lovers

  • PROS: Civilized but still thrilling levels of power, four-wheels traction, awesome brakes, superb interior is sophisticated and sporty, practical for everyday driving.
  • CONS: Minor turbo lag, manual is much slower than the dual-clutch automatic, small back seat, much pricier than the still fun GTI.

If you're a grown adult but still want hatchback fun without looking like a millennial, the R is the hatch for you. It's styled with class but still delivers 288 horsepower of raucous fun. Take the R into a turn, and it handles it with immense poise. Take it to the grocery store, and you can load it up to your heart's content. The small amounts of turbo lag are no big deal, and it spools up with authority. Throw in a beautiful digital gauge cluster, a sizeable 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone auto climate control, and a 12-way power adjustable driver's seat as standard equipment, and you're set to take on your commute with speed, style, and comfort.

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T AWD


for grown-up adrenaline junkies

  • PROS: Original sports sedan styling, truly excellent interior bests the Germans, turbo V6 is a thrill that matches the car's remarkable handling and steering, manual transmission and AWD are available, easy and attractive tech.
  • CONS: Back seat is small-ish, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder could use more power.

The Germans and Japanese should be nervous because the first wholly Genesis automobile is a sports sedan to contend with. With the control, finesse, and steering that was lacking in the last Bimmer 3-Series, the G70 is a marvel to drive without giving up luxury and refinement. Not only is it just about perfectly proportioned, it doesn't look like a copy of anything. The 3.3T delivers a healthy 365 horses and can even get a drift mode setting with AWD that sends more power to the rear for huge amounts of fun. It's the sports sedan that you've been waiting for, minus the pretense.

Why turbocharging matters

  • It forces air into the engine for more power.
  • A car's efficiency can improve thanks to smaller displacement.
  • The turbo whine can sound pretty cool.