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The 2018 holiday cars your loved ones will want most

If you want to give someone one of the best gifts ever, we've got great car ideas for you -- from cheap and practical to flashy and expensive.

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Roadshow staff
2019 Morgan 3 Wheeler
1 of 22 Morgan

Kyle Hyatt's pick: 2019 Morgan 3 Wheeler

It's arguably the least practical, most absurd vehicle you can give someone as a gift. But it's gorgeous, steeped in history and a hell of a drive by all accounts.

2019 Morgan 3 Wheeler
2 of 22 Morgan

Kyle Hyatt's pick: 2019 Morgan 3 Wheeler

With pricing that starts at around $45,000 before options in the US, you'd have to love the person you're buying this car for. But nothing else you can buy comes close to the Morgan in terms of outright charm. 

Its options list is long and varied, too, so you can configure your Mog to be as silly and ostentatious as you like.

2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance
3 of 22 Mike Cutler/Roadshow

Tim Stevens' pick: 2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance

If you want an automotive gift they're sure to love, how about the most anticipated car in history? With over 500,000 preorders in the US, there's a pretty good chance your recipient at least thought about plunking their $1,000 to get in line. And given Model 3s are in (reasonably) ready supply, now's your chance to make someone's day.

2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance Interior
4 of 22 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Tim Stevens' pick: 2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance

With 310 miles of range and access to the greatest high-speed charging network on the planet, the Model 3 is among a select group of EVs that are almost entirely without range anxiety. And the dual-motor Performance model offers supercar-besting acceleration that you can tap into any time you like. 

2019 Porsche 911 GT3
5 of 22 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Jon Wong's pick: 2019 Porsche 911 GT3

Want to show the car enthusiast in your life that you really love them? Poach the kids' college funds and get that special guy or gal a Porsche 911 GT3. The naturally aspirated boxer six-cylinder engine will stir souls with 500 ponies and a stratospheric 9,000-rpm redline. 

Best of all, it's once again available with a six-speed manual transmission. Sure, it'll put a $144,650 dent in the bank account to start and force the kids to work two or three jobs to get through school, but it'll be worth it.

2019 Porsche 911 GT3 Interior
6 of 22 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Jon Wong's pick: 2019 Porsche 911 GT3

While the GT3 is no slouch in a straight line, being capable of hitting 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds and covering the quarter-mile in 11.6 ticks, it's magic around a race track. 

Rear-axle steering, adaptive dampers, sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and high-downforce aero components combined with the responsive drivetrain make for one of the best sports car packages available today. On top of that, it's comfortable enough to drive around normally on a daily basis with the suspension set in Normal mode.

2019 Nissan Kicks
7 of 22 Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Manuel Carrillo III's pick: 2019 Nissan Kicks

The Nissan Kicks is a fun way to get a loved one something they adore at a price many gift-givers can afford. Maybe you're looking to get your son or daughter their first brand-new set of wheels. The holidays can be a great excuse for that. 

Out the door with all of Santa's toys -- fully loaded and including $995 for destination -- the Kicks will run you $22,830. (Note: 2018 model year pricing.) That's a small stocking of cash for all the features you get in the loaded Kicks SR with the Premium Package. 

2019 Nissan Kicks Interior
8 of 22 Nissan

Manuel Carrillo III's pick: 2019 Nissan Kicks

LED headlights complement the funky exterior, but inside is a bangin' holiday party with the eight-speaker Bose Personal Plus audio system controlled by a handsome seven-inch touchscreen that can run Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are even heated front seats to keep the driver's and their front passenger's shakin' rumps warm.

2019 Honda Civic Type R
9 of 22 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Andrew Krok's pick: 2019 Honda Civic Type R

If there's a Honda fanboy or fangirl in your life, there's no better gift than Honda's first Civic Type R in the US. With an MSRP of $35,700 before destination, it's right around the average transaction price for a new car in 2018, and considering its performance chops, that feels like an absolute bargain.

2019 Honda Civic Type R Interior
10 of 22 Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Andrew Krok's pick: 2019 Honda Civic Type R

It might lack the all-wheel drive of its major competitors, but that helps keep the price down, and its stout front-wheel-drive setup is nearly as safe in wintry climates. 

A whole host of good stuff comes standard, including navigation and LED headlights, although I'd recommend throwing a set of winter tires into the equation to help make it through the freeze without problems.

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata
11 of 22 Mazda

Steven Ewing's pick: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Lest we forget, the answer is always Miata. For driving enthusiasts, Mazda's little roadster is a beacon of behind-the-wheel enjoyment -- endlessly fun and flickable, and not so ridiculously powerful that you'd need a runway to really wring it out. 

The 2019 model gets a number of updates, including more power and improved gearing, making an already-fun car somehow even more enjoyable. It's easy to be smitten with the Miata.

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata
12 of 22 Mazda

Steven Ewing's pick: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda offers the Miata as a traditional soft-top roadster or in fancy-shmancy RF retractable hardtop guise. I know a lot of people prefer the look of the RF, but for me, make it the soft top -- chances are I'm never going to drive this thing with the roof on, anyway. 

Make mine a mid-level Club model in Ceramic Metallic, and I'll smile 'til the cows come home.

2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
13 of 22 Jeep

Emme Hall's pick: 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

If your holiday pal is the adventuresome sort, it's tough to find anything more ready for the back country than the Wrangler Rubicon. New for 2018, the Wrangler Rubicon has all the off-road goodies one could ever want: There's front and rear axle lockers, a two-speed transfer case, sway bar disconnect, rock rails and a set of meaty 33-inch BF Goodrich KO2 tires. 

Plus, it's the only off-road SUV that can go topless and doorless and windshield-less if that's your jam. Just make sure the recipient is worthy of the Jeep. You'll be spending more than $50,000 for a fully-loaded four-door Rubicon.

2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Interior
14 of 22 Jeep

Emme Hall's pick: 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Opt for the six-speed manual transmission and your loved one will get a killer 84.1:1 crawl ratio, perfect for getting up and over those rocks in Moab. An optional 2.0-liter turbo engine features a mild-hybrid system and produces more torque than the standard 3.6-liter V6, but both powerplants offer strong acceleration and stop-start technology. 

The standard seven-inch touchscreen running the Uconnect infotainment system also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigation and an 8.4-inch touchscreen can be added for $1,595.

2019 Genesis G70 Sport
15 of 22 Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Antuan Goodwin's pick: 2019 Genesis G70

Take everything great about our 2018 Roadshow Shift Award-winning Vehicle of the Year -- the Kia Stinger -- and sharpen it up a bit. That's the 2019 Genesis G70's formula. 

It features the same 365 horsepower twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 as the Kia Stinger GT, but here -- with 100 fewer pounds to carry around -- the powertrain feels more responsive in dynamic and daily driving situations. Meanwhile, the shorter wheelbase improves the sedan's nimbleness when cornering.

2019 Genesis G70 Sport Interior
16 of 22 Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Antuan Goodwin's pick: 2019 Genesis G70

Styling is subjective, but the G70 is a handsome and well-proportioned sport sedan. Inside, it features a premium cabin that balances luxury and economy in a way that few brands can. 

The Genesis boasts most of the features that we like to see in a luxury sedan -- BlueLink infotainment with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus a full suite of driver-aid tech -- but it's easy enough to understand and afford.

2019 Audi A5 Sportback Quattro
17 of 22 Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Chris Paukert's pick: 2019 Audi A5/S5 Sportback

Looking for something like an A4, C-Class or 3 Series, but want it a little bit more utile, technical and a whole lot more stylish? Audi's got you covered. The 2019 A5 Sportback, and its more athletic S5 Sportback sibling, are fabulous partners for both winding roads and everyday life. 

They pack Audi's class-leading interior tech and excellent build quality with a stylish body offering surprising hatchback utility that shades any comparable sedan. 

2019 Audi A5 Sportback Quattro Interior
18 of 22 Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Chris Paukert's pick: 2019 Audi A5/S5 Sportback

The 2018 A5 Sportback starts at $42,600 (plus delivery), and 2019 model-year pricing should be similar when released. With a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine giving 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, it's plenty quick, reaching 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
If you can swing it and want more performance, the sportier S5's turbo V6 delivers 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and features sharper handling in exchange for a starting price of $54,400 (plus delivery). I'm not sure there's a more well-rounded car at this price in any vehicle segment.

2019 Subaru Impreza
19 of 22 Subaru

Robert Weber's pick: 2019 Subaru Impreza

The ultimate gift for this holiday season is one that will keep the family safe when seeing the relatives. Starting at less than $19,000, the puppy-loving Subaru Impreza is the perfect gift.

2019 Subaru Impreza Interior
20 of 22 Subaru

Robert Weber's pick: 2019 Subaru Impreza

All-wheel drive comes standard, as does great fuel efficiency at 28 miles per gallon city and 38 mpg highway. Coupled with Subaru's reputation for having some of the safest cars in the business, you'd be hard pressed to find a better new-car deal.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe
21 of 22 Mercedes-Benz

Jake Holmes' pick: 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Ah, the C-Class. It's an outstanding vehicle whether you buy the sedan, coupe or convertible -- and whether you go with the C300 or the meaty AMG C63. 

From just $41,400 (before destination) you can gift someone a car that's luxurious, tech-laden and delightful to drive. The C-Class was heavily refreshed for 2019, but a 2018 model would still make a nice holiday gift.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interior
22 of 22 Mercedes-Benz

Jake Holmes' pick: 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

My pick would be the AMG C43 coupe. Aggressive two-door styling works well with a 362-horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine, all-wheel drive and various AMG suspension upgrades. 

The C-Class family as a whole, however, does nearly everything well, from luxury-car plushness through sporty-car vigor to modern-car technology. Which is why you deserve a C-Class if you're on the Nice List this year.

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