Some have been around forever, some not quite so, many will be around for decades, and quite a few undergo major modifications. That’s the auto industry for you. Here’s a peek at the noticeable changes in vehicles for 2019:
HONDA: The Insight is back, a hybrid that can fetch up to 55 mpg while base-priced at just $22,830, and it does look far better than its predecessor – almost a carbon copy of the Civic. Also making a return, after 16 years though, is the Passport slotted between the compact CR-V and the larger Pilot. It will get a sole standard 3.5-liter V6 with 280 horsepower, mated to a fresh nine-speed auto gearbox.
ACURA: With crossover vehicles in huge demand, Acura saw it fit to redesign the 2019 RDX inside and out. It now sits on a new platform, powertrain (2.0-liter inline-4-cylinder engine putting out 272 hp and a roomier and always expected tech-savvy cabin. Lest we forget, the 10-speed auto transmission. It also acquires Acura’s new touchpad user interface.GMC: Hardcore pickup owners, your poised ride is here. The Sierra 1500 pickup has been totally redesigned with an all-new 3.0-liter diesel 6-cylinder engine. It’s also larger, longer and lighter (360 pounds) than the previous version and comes in six engine/transmission combos. This utilitarian workhorse boasts not just generous cargo and tow capacity but also outstanding performance, marvelous ride and an upscale, gargantuan interior.
CHEVROLET: Amid tough competition in the pickup market comes an overhauled Silverado 1500 4WD with a wheelbase stretched by 3.9 and length by 1.6 inches. Rear seat legroom gets a 3-inch boost. And, the truck is lighter by 450 pounds from the previous model. And, it comes with a varied choice of power trains, abundant passenger room and incredible tow/haul capabilities. What more can a pickup shopper ask for in a work ride?
NISSAN: The Altima receives a major exterior and interior design change, two all-new engines and for the first time ever, an all-wheel-drive power train on a Nissan sedan in America. This for a ride that was introduced in 1993. Base-priced at $23,750, the Altima has proved to be a huge success story. For 2019, the Japanese carmaker has also refreshed the Maxima sedan and the Murano crossover.
JAGUAR: It’s stacking up awards by the dozens. That’s the all-electric I-PACE, which looks to directly compete with Tesla. Priced at $69,500, the SUV with a 90kWh battery delivers a range of about 230 miles on a full charge. Zero to 60 is achieved in just 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 124 mph. Not bad at all.
KIA: After a one-year hiatus, the restyled K900 returns with a 3.3-liter V-6 engine pumping 365 hp. The Korean carmaker’s rear-wheel-drive premium flagship boasts a cabin as top-notch and upscale as any of its German competitors. Also undergoing a styling change is the compact Forte, now longer by 3 inches, opening up plenty of room for occupants. Not only is the gas-sipper (EPA 34 mpg city) fun, lively and well-balanced, but also inexpensive at around $20,000.
HYUNDAI: Just so there is no confusion, the Santa Fe Sport model is out. From 2019 onward, all you have is a two-row, five-passenger Santa Fe offered in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive. And, it will be a while before the three-row Santa Fe XL hits the market. The Veloster hatchback 2.0-liter engine gains horsepower and a redesign. Joining the Hyundai lineup is an all-new Kona subcompact SUV with 1.6- and 2.0-liter engines.
CADILLAC: The all-new XT4 features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine putting out 237 hp while mated to a 9-speed auto gearbox. Available in front- and all-wheel drive, it’s priced just right starting at $35,790. That is economical and attractive for even an entry-level luxury SUV Caddy like the XT4.
FORD: After eight years, the Ranger is back! The midsize pickup will be offered in at least three trims and two body styles, but will share one power train: 2.3-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine developing 270 hp and coupled to a 10-speed gear box. Also revamped are the Edge SUV and the best-selling F-150 pickup.
LEXUS: Lexus has introduced the UX in the fastest-growing compact SUV segment. The urban-centric ride is available in two trims: the front-wheel-drive UX200 with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine (169 hp) or the AWD UX250h gas/electric hybrid with a 2.0-liter (181 hp). This Urban + X-over (crossover) is a purposeful vehicle with no compromises! Also, an F Sport joins the midsize ES sedan lineup.
SUBARU: Meet an all-new family hauler that has replaced the long-forgotten Tribeca. The aptly-named Ascent is equipped with a 2.4-liter horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine producing a healthy 260 hp. The seven-seater will definitely give the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Mazda CX-9 a run for the money. Subaru also has revamped its smaller Forester SUV.
LINCOLN: Remember the midsize luxury MKX? Well, it’s been replaced by the Nautilus with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine (245 hp) or the 2.7-liter turbo V-6 (335 hp), which was offered in the MKX. Gorgeous to the eye inside and out, the SUV boasts nippy acceleration and excellent handling.
RAM: The Ram 1500 pickup has gone through a major transformation. Sales are nationally up 9 percent, year-after-year basis. The pickup, now longer, wider and offering the largest cabin in the segment, is loaded with tech goodies. Engineers at the recent Miami Auto Show praised its enhanced fuel economy and tow/haul increase of 20 percent. They claim the Ram is a “no-compromise truck.” We agree.
TOYOTA: The best-selling car nameplate in the world gets a new hatchback with a 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder (168 hp). Millennials will dig the look and feel of this hip Corolla. Also totally restyled is the RAV4, though Toyota has retained the 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4-cylinder engine (205 hp). Off-roading is now a real possibility in this roomy and secure ride.
BMW: The 8 Series returns to the U.S. after two decades. Under the hood of the all-wheel-drive car resides a 4.4-liter TwinPower turbo V8 engine delivering an astounding 523 hp. Base price? Just $111,900! The BMX X3, X4 and X5 undergo noticeable alterations.
VW: A longer and bigger Arteon flagship sedan replaces the CC four-door coupe. The sleek-appearing car with a wide stance gets a 2.0-liter TSI engine (268 hp) while paired to an eight-speed auto gearbox. With an even bolder front fascia and upscale cabin, the Jetta becomes an even more attractive proposition for small-car buyers. Indeed, this compact sedan is a splendid combination of thrift (starting at $18,545), practicality and fun to drive.
BENZ: A Mercedes-Benz base-priced at just $30,000? Yes, readers, your dream has come true. The brand-new A-Class compact sedan is equipped with a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine and puts out just 188 hp. Also, the CLS 450 gets a design overhaul.
AUDI: The A6, A7 and A8 sedans have been restyled.
Published December 12, 2018