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The cars we'd love to give Mom on Mother's Day

Mother's Day might not be about extravagant gifts this year, but you can still help her think about her next car.

2020 Kia Soul
The Kia Soul is charming and easy to love -- just like Mom!
Keiron Berndt/Roadshow

This story is part of Mother's Day Gift Guide. CNET editors round up the hottest gadgets for Mom this year.

We'd all love to surprise Mom with the car of her dreams, right? In this time of coronavirus woes, though, we don't really see too many folks -- even those flush with cash -- dropping big coin to earn brownie points with their parents. So consider this list to be something of a daydream catalog, or better yet, a set of vehicles that your matriarch might consider choosing from when it does come time for her to replace her ride.

These are our top picks for Mom, but they're hardly stereotypical mom-mobiles. They run the gamut from family-minded crossover SUVs to sports cars, and there's even a truck or two.

Daydream with us, won't you?

2020 Chevrolet Corvette 

Did your mom drag-race the family car back in the early 1960s, with bleach-blond hair and a cool pair of shades? Then she'll appreciate the latest Corvette. The new mid-engine platform makes for a stunning silhouette and crazy handling capabilities. The 6.2-liter small-block V8 pushes out as much as 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, so it's definitely for the thrill-seeking mom.   

Click here to read our 2020 Corvette review.

2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA45

If your mom loves technology and performance, drop an AMG in her driveway. Mercedes' new MBUX infotainment system is housed on a giant center screen, and Mom can use natural language for certain controls just by saying, "Hey, Mercedes." The CLA45's adaptive cruise control system automatically adjusts for speed limit changes and advanced lane-centering technology can take some of the stress out of her commute. But really, she'll love the CLA45 for what's under the hood: the most powerful four-cylinder production engine, with 382 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. 

Click here to read our 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA45 review.

2020 Volvo V60 

The Volvo V60 is a great choice for a mom who wants all the practicality of an SUV, but maybe not the size. Its available all-wheel-drive system and potent four-cylinder engine give it plenty of capability, and the wagon layout gives her plenty of capacity, too. And, being a Volvo, it's among the safest cars on the road. You want your mom to be safe, right?

Click here to read our 2020 Volvo V60 review.

2020 Honda Civic Si

If your mom likes to have a bit of fun without compromising reliability, the Honda Civic Si might just make her smile. She can row her own gears with the standard six-speed manual transmission, mated to a plucky turbocharged engine. A limited-slip differential is standard on the Si, helping to manage traction between the contact patches at the front wheels and there are adaptive dampers at all four corners. It's an easy sports car to love. And make sure Mom brings her phone along for the ride to take advantage of the standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Click here to read our 2020 Honda Civic Si review.

2020 Subaru Outback

The Outback is the go-to car for those who love the great outdoors. Moms who like hiking and camping can use the Subaru to take all their friends and gear off the beaten path. Taking advantage of the car's 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive, Mom isn't likely to get lost in the woods. The Outback serves as a perfectly comfortable on-road driver, too, with available features such as Subaru's EyeSight driver-assistance suite, which takes some of the stress from highway cruising while helping prevent accidents. 

Click here to read our 2020 Subaru Outback review.

2020 Mazda6

The sedan is not dead. The Mazda6 offers a fine balance of luxury and affordability with a well-appointed cabin and a sub-$40,000 sticker price for its top-of-the-line Signature model. An available 2.5-liter turbocharged engine produces 250 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, plenty for Mom to have a little bit of fun on the way home from work. The Mazda6 offers lots of storage space and the exterior is gorgeous to boot.

Click here to read our 2020 Mazda6 review.

2020 Volvo XC90

The XC90 is the soft-roader that put Volvo back on the map. With a minimalist, modern cabin and crisp exterior design, this handsome Swede will get the neighbors' tongues clacking. Thankfully, it's also nice to drive, with a sophisticated, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an available plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Click here to read our 2020 Volvo XC90 review.

2020 Toyota Highlander

The Highlander is all-new for 2020 and is a smart choice for moms who want flexibility. A roomy, stylish interior with three rows can fit the whole family, and there are plenty of storage cubbies to fit all the kids' stuff. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, the automaker's suite of active and passive protection tech, is standard on every Highlander. It includes stuff you hope you never need, like lane-departure mitigation and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, in addition to effort savers like full-speed adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams.

Click here to read our 2020 Toyota Highlander review.

2020 Kia Soul

If your mom likes frugal practicality but doesn't want to sacrifice style, give her the quirky Kia Soul. It's available with a choice of efficient four-cylinder engine options -- including a 1.6-liter turbo -- and its upright shape means there's plenty of room for passengers and cargo. A whole mess of advanced driving aids are available, too, making life a little easier behind the wheel. You can get adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and pedestrian detection.

Click here to read our 2020 Kia Soul review.

2020 Hyundai Kona EV

If your mom's been flirting with going electric, the Hyundai Kona EV is a great way to start. It's as spacious and comfortable as any other Kona, and definitely stands out in a crowd. Plus, with its EPA-estimated range of 258 miles, it means you won't have to plug it in all that often. And with 291 pound-feet of torque on tap from its electric powertrain, it's pretty zippy, too.

Click here to read our 2020 Hyundai Kona EV review.

2020 Jeep Gladiator

For the adventurous mom, may we present the Jeep Gladiator. We really dig on the Mojave trim, with its revised front suspension for a bit of an easier -- and faster -- ride across the rough stuff. Old-school moms will appreciate the standard manual transmission and there is plenty of utility here, too. The Mojave can handle 1,200 pounds of payload and tow up to 6,000 pounds with the automatic transmission. Also, the top comes off. Whose mom doesn't love some fun in the sun?

Click here to read our 2020 Jeep Gladiator review.

2020 GMC Sierra 

If your mom needs a truck geared toward towing and hauling, the GMC Sierra, with its six-way tailgate, is an excellent choice. A new 3.0-liter diesel engine can can tow a maximum of 9,100 pounds or haul 1,830 pounds of payload. Plus the Sierra has six cameras -- eight if you opt for the accessory cameras -- giving her no fewer than 15 views around the truck and trailer. The best bit of tech is GM's supercool transparent trailer feature, which stitches together the view from the rear accessory camera with the tailgate-mounted camera.

Click here to read our 2020 GMC Sierra review.

More Mother's Day coverage

First published May 2, 2019.