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The new engine option is a nice evolution, but only adds a small improvement to the already excellent 2017 Ford Escape. However, seemingly smaller tech changes, like the addition of Sync Connect, Android Auto, CarPlay and a few driver aid features, make a much larger impact.
Those who need the practicality of a compact crossover but don't want a drab-looking or drab-driving vehicle should put the RAV4 SE on their "must drive" list.
Buyers will have their choice between a more traditional hybrid setup and a brand-new plug-in hybrid variant.
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson has a lot to recommend it, just not in this trim.
The 2016 Ford Escape exhibits all the practicality of a small SUV and offers an excellent driving experience, with get-in-and-go ease. The new Sync 3 infotainment system responds as well as any tablet or smartphone, and its AppLink feature promises interesting future capabilities from third-party developers.
Chevrolet's popular Camaro pony car looks familiar, but is all-new and surprisingly modern under the skin.
Beneath a minor physical refresh, the 2016 Honda Accord gets a dashboard tech overhaul that is both simpler in operation and more feature rich than before.
Although boxy in styling, the 2016 Subaru Forester exhibits many practical characteristics, such as a roomy interior and decent fuel economy, then adds extras with its standard all-wheel-drive and adaptive cruise control, making it a good all-around car for non-aggressive drivers.
The 2016 Acura ILX undercuts other comparably-equipped premium cars in price, and while it offers some impressive cutting edge features, falls down in overall driving quality.
The midtier 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Road & Track is the Goldilocks of the available trim levels, blending a unique driving experience with excellent tech, comfort and value.
The 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid is the most engaging car in the Camry lineup, not due to performance driving characteristics but for the sheer cleverness of its hybrid drivetrain and excellent fuel economy, while its roomy sedan body and app integration give it modern all-around utility.
The new Optima also features a refined design and a new, mid-tier turbocharged 1.6-liter engine.
The 2015 Subaru BRZ is an outstanding sports coupe for drivers who value handling prowess over outright power, but for the money there are so many compelling alternatives.
The 2015 Toyota Camry features significant upgrades in connected cabin electronics and driver assistance features -- all worthwhile options -- but Toyota hasn't moved the needle on its gasoline engine options over the previous generation.
It is hard to imagine a better all-around vehicle for those who enjoy outdoor activities, as the 2015 Subaru Outback offers an easy driving experience for urban and rural environments, but the four-cylinder version will meet most needs.
A few quirks aside, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited has grown up and now boasts a broader appeal to go with its value, but some of the upstart spark has gone missing.
The 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata is an excellent driver's car that is best experienced without expensive bells and whistles. Skip the options and just enjoy the ride.
The 2014 Nissan Rogue comes out with many tech features not available among the competition and offers excellent utility for an economy crossover, but it could use further refinement, such as better integration for connected features.