Few could argue that 2019 has been a fascinating year in the world of motoring – but what are your automotive highlights of 2019? We’d love for you to tell us in the comments section below this article, or via the CarGurus Facebook page. To get you started, below our writers have put forward their own automotive highlights of 2019, from pickups to Porsches.
Chris Knapman, Editor, CarGurus UK
Will time show that 2019 was the year the electric car broke through? There’s certainly been no shortage of new products using battery power, from the Porsche Taycan and latest Nissan Leaf to the impossible-to-ignore Tesla Cybertruck.
Combine these new cars with an improving charging infrastructure and you’d expect the tide of public opinion might start showing signs of softening towards EVs. That was certainly the case according to our own research, which revealed that the number of consumers who consider themselves as likely to own an EV in the next five years jumped to 26% in 2019, up from 15% in 2018. This is most likely just the start, too: Who would bet against that number having grown significantly by this time next year?
Back in the world of internal combustion, my honorable mention for 2019 must go to the latest generation of Porsche 911, the 992. Not only does it masterfully update the legendary 911 format for this hi-tech age with its fabulous interior and ultra-sleek exterior, but in terms of performance, the 992 moves even the basic, non-GT or Turbo models firmly into supercar territory. In fact, if I had to narrow down my automotive highlights of 2019 into just one, fleeting moment, it’d be the surreal three-point-something seconds it took our four-wheel drive, PDK-equipped 911 test car to fire from 0-62 mph.
Electric vehicles might be coming, but internal combustion is still more than capable of taking your breath away.
Megan Hennessey, Editor, CarGurus US
I’m struck by the number of performance wagons and SUVs we saw introduced in 2019. Fans of the Audi S4 Avant rejoiced when the German automaker revealed it was bringing its RS 6 Avant to North America. It packs a 4.0-liter V8 that makes 591 hp and 590 lb-ft, hits 60 mph in about 3 seconds, and reaches a top speed of 189 mph.
Just as exciting was the introduction of the RS Q8, a performance SUV packing the same power as the RS 6 Avant. We had a chance to take a closer look at the 2020 RS Q8 at the 2019 LA Auto Show, and it adds plenty of features aside from the engine, like 23-inch wheels and an RS-specific gloss-black grille.
And in the EV space, electric trucks took center stage: Bollinger brought us a production-ready version of its B2 electric truck, Tesla unveiled its unique Cybertruck, and Rivian gets closer to its production-ready model of the R1T. But are truck shoppers willing to make the switch from gas-powered to electric? It’s hard to say. In our yearly Truck Sentiment Survey, we found that 70% of shoppers were willing to switch brands, which is good news for these startup truckmakers. However, their high prices may keep shoppers away.
Steve Halloran, Editor, CarGurus US
With one colleague celebrating electric vehicles and another performance wagons and SUVs, I feel obliged to mention one 2019 highlight they didn’t: Ford’s live-streamed debut of the 2021 Mustang Mach-E just before the LA Auto Show. Ford’s decision to put the name and badge of its mighty Mustang on an electric crossover generated controversy, of course, but a pony-equipped vehicle with up to 300 miles of range, usable seating for 5, almost 60 cubic feet of cargo room, and a 0-to-60 time of less than 4 seconds sounds great to me.
But my 2019 highlights came from two automakers CarGurus has found compelling for years, Mazda and Subaru, in the form of strong new versions of proven models. The redesigned 2019 Mazda3 earned rave reviews from almost everyone who drove it, including George Kennedy, and the updated 2019 CX-5, which we sampled in the snow at the end of last year, also earned praise from a wide variety of reviewers.
A new version of our favorite Subaru model also arrived in 2019. We got a chance to drive the 2020 Subaru Outback back in September and enjoyed it quite a bit. The new edition of this wagon/crossover finally offers a turbocharged engine under its hood, which drivers living at high altitudes should particularly appreciate. Our recently published review of the 2020 Outback found it strong from functionality and cost-effectiveness standpoints, which we consider hallmarks of the Subaru brand.
Matt Smith, Editor, CarGurus US
This time of year, everyone’s talking about electrification and progress and the hot new thing. But as anyone with their eyes open can clearly see, 2019 was the year of the throwback.
First, Chevy resurrected the Blazer as a stylish, sharp, and sexy crossover complete with nearly $1,400 worth of 21-inch tires. Sure, the new 2019 Blazer had its detractors, namely those bemoaning its lack of off-road performance, but I, for one, welcome our new crossover overlords.
And it’s not as if 2019 didn’t bring us plenty of rugged capability, either. Carrying on with the throwback theme, both Ford and Jeep returned legendary truck nameplates to the market, with the 2019 Ranger and 2020 Gladiator.
Finally, the highlight of the year for this writer was the long-awaited return of the Toyota Supra. Partnering with BMW gave the new coupe a brilliant Bavarian heart and soul (or engine and chassis, for our more literal readers) to pair with its stunning exterior styling. Sure, the 2020 GR Supra’s interior might feel a bit familiar, and the lack of a manual transmission will cut it off some enthusiasts’ shopping lists, but it’s safe to say that no other car on CarGurus’ 2019 test-drive review roster received as much attention at gas stations, grocery stores, race tracks, or anywhere else we drove it.
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