Like most of us, 2020 turned out fairly in another way than we would have anticipated again in January. By the tip of February, it was clear that COVID-19 was going to be a major problem as auto reveals and drive occasions began being cancelled en masse. But our native press fleets have remained in operation, and a calendar freed from journey has meant extra time to check vehicles right here at dwelling. Luckily, sitting in a automotive by one’s self meets the necessities for social distancing, and a automotive inside generally is a welcome change from spending all day on daily basis at dwelling.
All meaning we have managed to check drive a good quantity of recent autos regardless of the brand new realities. These are the highlights of a 12 months spent behind the wheel.
Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs
Just below half (15 out of 32) of the vehicles I reviewed this 12 months have been hybrids, plug-in hybrids, or battery electrical autos. I logged essentially the most miles in one of many extra unique hybrids on the checklist—the Acura NSX supercar. Ohio to Florida in three days stays a memorable journey, nevertheless it was arduous work. Runner-up can be the Toyota Venza that took us to Cooperstown, New York and again in a day. Unlike the NSX, the Venza had very snug seats and adaptive cruise management. This plush crossover was one among my surprising delights of the 12 months.
I did anticipate to be impressed by the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, and but it nonetheless shocked me. It was the one factor that actually stood out at this 12 months’s Chicago auto present, as the car delivered all that promise and extra on the highway. It’s good-looking, it is bought some helpful driver assists, and it actually does get 52mpg (4.5l/100km)—all for lower than $28,000.
Seven of the 32 vehicles we reviewed this 12 months have been BEVs. We’ll have extra to say concerning the Volkswagen ID.4 and Volvo XC40 Recharge sooner or later, for we spent lower than an hour with every. And anticipate a Ford Mustang Mach-E evaluation within the new 12 months—we simply scheduled per week in January with that electrical pony. The pandemic postponed the deliberate facelift for the Chevrolet Bolt EV. The Kia Niro EV is very competent, and one of many few BEVs to strategy Tesla in relation to vary effectivity. The Mini Cooper SE was a hoot to drive, the Polestar 2 impressed with an amazing inside, as did the Audi e-tron Sportback, though at a worth that is one other rung up the ladder.
Money no object, nevertheless, I’d have the Porsche Cayenne Coupé Turbo S E-Hybrid. And I by no means thought I’d see myself typing these phrases. Yes, it is a huge SUV, and sure, I’m the form of annoying author who by no means stops telling you the reader how a lot he dislikes huge SUVs. But the Cayenne Coupé’s energy to weight ratio means it does not really feel like a giant SUV to drive. Its battery pack is sufficiently big to cowl most of my regular journeys. And that houndstooth inside is likely to be my favourite of all of the vehicles I’ve pushed this 12 months.