The good news is these capabilities can be had across a broad price spectrum and with a wide array of comfort and convenience features. The Dodge Durango combines sturdy construction with comfort and a premium look and feel at a relatively affordable price point.
While it isn’t one of the more capable machines off-road, Durango offers up to 7,400 pounds of towing capacity. Standard features include Arizona automatic climate control, heated exterior mirrors, and a touchscreen interface.
Jeep’s Wrangler has a pedigree going all the way back to the 1940s when it was developed for the U.S. military to use during World War II. Standard features include cruise control, front and rear tow hooks, fog lights, and a removable top.
Range Rover heartily embraces the British luxury car dictum of grace and applies it to an offloaded. Further, none offer the style and craftsmanship of the Range Rover’s interior accommodations.
Features include an electronic locking rear differential, hill-start assist and hill-descent control, a set of rugged 16-inch alloy wheels and off-road tires, along with Einstein shock absorbers and strategically placed protective skid plates. Power output ranges up to 520 horsepower with the top of the line Cayenne Turbo.
Toyota’s 4Runner is another mainstream mid-size SUV remaining close to its roots as a capable off-road machine. One of but a few remaining SUVs to utilize body-on-frame construction for serious off-road capability, Toyota’s 4Runer is the real deal.
Another entry in the luxury 4×4 category, the Toyota Land Cruiser is outfitted with an outstanding array of comfort and convenience features. Further, the interior is upholstered in fine leather while the Land Cruiser manages to deliver both a comfortable ride on pavement and demonically capable off-road prowess.
Land Cruiser also features a locking center differential, five-speed crawl control, and Off-Road Turn Assist. Like its Porsche Cayenne cousin (the two were co-developed on the same platform), The VW Tuareg delivers outstanding comfort on the street, while also possessing the ability to slog through mud, crawl over rocks, and traverse any sort of terrain at which you choose to aim it.
The big VW’s main selling point is its sleek styling but, unlike the Art eon’s CC predecessor, that doesn’t come at the cost of interior space. A comfortable ride and quiet interior gives the Art eon a more upscale feel than other Volkswagen models, with more space and content than you would get in a similarly-priced car from a traditional luxury brand.
Volvo was so committed to making the S60 sporty, in fact, that it made the sedan the template for its future performance plug-in hybrids. The Honda Accord has always been the default midsize sedan for many buyers, but the current generation really earns that popularity.
The Honda Sensing suite of safety features and an Apple CarPlay / Android Auto -compatible infotainment system give the Accord strong tech credentials as well. The Mazda 3 proves that driving an affordable, efficient compact car doesn’t have to feel like punishment.
Mazda continues to prioritize driving dynamics and style, without ignoring fundamentals like utility, reliability, and safety. Available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback, the Mazda 3 looks better than any humble economy car has any right to, with a design that looks like it could have been penned at Alfa Romeo.
The Leaf Plus costs more, but it has a 60 kWh pack that boosts range to a maximum 226 miles, as well as more horsepower and torque than the base car. Unlike its predecessors, the latest generation of Mercedes compact car truly feels like one of the German luxury automaker’s traditional models.
The A-Class sedan gets tech from bigger and more expensive cars, including the latest MBUX infotainment system. It features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a voice assistant that responds to the prompt “Hey Mercedes.” The A-Class also gets the expansive dashboard screen previously seen on the E-Class and S-Class.
Speed junkies will likely step up to the John Cooper Works GP performance model, which launched in 2020 with 301hp. If the basic Hardtop doesn’t work for you, Mini also offers a convertible and the Club man wagon, as well as the Countryman crossover.
Gas mileage is this hybrid’s raisin d’Eyre, and it delivers with a maximum 56 mpg combined. The addition of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and optional all- wheel drive have helped broaden the Prius’ appeal since the current generation launched as a 2016 model.
By taking an ordinary Golf and adding some spice, VW created the recipe for the modern hot hatchback. It’s good on gas, especially for a performance-oriented model, and its hatchback configuration allows it to comfortably carry four adults or haul bulky items by simply folding down the rear seats.
Chevy set the standard for mass market electric cars when it launched the Bolt EV. A 2020-model-year update gave the Bolt EV 259 miles of range, which is high for the price point.
Stephen Einstein/Digital TrendsAvailable in standard sedan or GT hatchback form, Hyundai’s Mantra doesn’t have the name recognition of the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. The basic platform strikes a good balance between handling fun and ride quality and, in GT N-Line form, you get a 201-hp turbocharged engine that makes this Hyundai legitimately sporty.
Add in Hyundai’s excellent reputation for reliability and strong warranty coverage, and you get a great value. Steering feedback is accurate, making it a joy to drive on the track and a dream to hewn on windy back roads.
The current-generation Civic is fun to drive even without the Type R’s fire-breathing engine, and doesn’t have the tinniness that used to plague economy cars. The Type R also inherits the base Civic’s practical five-door hatchback body and creature comforts, albeit wrapped in polarizing styling.
The upgraded drive train does an excellent job keeping the TAX neutral in corners. A competitive price point, excellent fuel economy, and unfailing reliability make it a worthy alternative to some of the more expensive cars in our test.
The Versa is slightly smaller than the Nissan Altima but has similar styling, so it has a more distinctive look than your typical subcompact sedan. The Nero is ideal for long rides thanks to its comfy interior with increased headroom, and it also features plenty of cargo space.
I never had a problem with the rear end swinging out in my 2005 Sedan DE Villa. Bob, if is just a matter of getting traction to start moving from a standstill your reasoning would be correct.
Mismatching tires will confuse these systems and can lead to all sorts of handling problems on dry, wet, and snow covered roads. Saving a few bucks on 2 tires puts your new car at risk, as well as you and any passengers.
If your winter driving consists of a few miles to the grocery store, and you never get up over 35 mph you might not have any problems. At 70 mph on a thruway or interstate your car could be all over the road in an emergency maneuver.
Stability control can clamp down on ONE front brake to keep that from happening. In addition to the steering and direction changes the others mentioned, with ABS if the front tires start to slip the ABS will interfere with their application, lengthening stopping distance.
I learned the hard way back in my twenties on icy roads. I spent an entire winter with my rear end of my Jetty swinging all over since I ran basically summer tires on rear and winter tires on the front.
Four matched tires in capabilities whether winter or all-season is critical for safe driving in slippery conditions. Edit: Four matched tires in capabilities whether winter or all-season is critical for safe driving in ALL conditions.
I realize winter is almost upon us, and everyone is thinking slick snow and ice, but this statement is true for summer, spring and fall, too. Bscar July 6, 2016, 1:54am #11It’ll be a bit more expensive to start, but get those tires mounted on separate rims.
Sometimes it is actually cheaper or not much more to get rims/winters in smaller size vs buying the tires that fit your snazzy 18" or whatever rims they have on the vehicle. On a side note Cadillac’s are likely harder to find used rims/winter tires that fit.
However, I purchased three sets over the years of lightly used winter tires/rims from folks on a Subaru forum in the summer.