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CarGurus: Our Automotive Highlights of 2019 – The CarGurus Blog


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.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

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.

2020 Mazda3

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.

2020 Subaru Outback

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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2019 LA Auto Show: Six Star Cars – The CarGurus Blog


With the 2019 LA Auto Show just a week away, now’s the perfect time to take a quick look at some of the new models set to be unveiled in the LA Convention Center. Below we’ve listed a half-dozen of our favorites, plus be sure to visit the CarGurus Facebook page and CarGurus YouTube channel during the LA Show press days on November 20th and 21st for updates.

Without further ado, here are six cars that have already piqued our interest.

Mach-E badge

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Two things tell you all you need to know about the faith Ford has in its all-new and all-electric SUV. First, there’s the name—because you don’t call something a Mustang without also inviting intense scrutiny about its heritage, positioning, and performance. Mustang it is, though, albeit with an added “Mach-E” for good measure.

Second is the fact that Ford’s opening press surrounding the car hasn’t detailed its drivetrain or performance, but simply informed customers that it’ll be taking pre-orders (via a deposit) the moment the official unveil ends on November 18. Now that’s confidence.

Among the options for those pre-ordering a car will be to go for a lavish First Edition model, although Ford stresses that “timing will be critical” for anybody looking to secure a vehicle in this spec. Whatever Mustang Mach-E takes your fancy, it’s hard not to think that with the right styling and performance, this could be one of the hottest cars to go on sale in 2020.

Audi RS badge

Audi RS Q8

It is unlikely anybody could come away from a drive in Audi’s Q8 and think that what it really needs is more power. However, the imminent arrival of the RS Q8 will provide precisely that, courtesy of Audi Sport’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. With what is likely to be around 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, the RS Q8 is expected to get from 0-62 mph in just 3.8 seconds and has already lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:42:2. That—because we know you’re wondering—is a record for a production SUV.

The RS Q8 will be joined in LA by Audi’s latest RS 6 Avant, which is making its debut on US soil along with its five-door coupe sibling, the RS 7. Powered by the same V8 as the RS Q8, the RS 6 can get from 0-62 mph in just 3.6 seconds. Having never been offered in the US before, it’ll be interesting to see if Audi’s muscular estate is as well-received here as it has been with European buyers.

Porsche 911 Manual

The debut of an old-fashioned manual transmission in a car that’s already been for sale for almost a year would not be normally deemed newsworthy. But when the car in question is a Porsche 911, things are a little different. To a non-car person the surprise would grow further upon learning that by gaining a manual, the latest 992-generation 911 becomes slower rather than faster; for that, thank the fact that Porsche’s dual-clutch automatics now change gear so quickly it’s simply not possible to match them when you throw human limbs into the equation. As a guide, Porsche is quoting a 0-60 time of around 4.0 seconds for the 992 Carrera S manual versus 3.3 for the PDK automatic.

However, speed is not everything in a performance car. What some buyers also crave is the tactile interaction that a manual offers, whether it’s the weighty feel of the clutch pedal, the precise throw of the shifter, or the joy of a perfectly executed heel-toe downshift. And these are precisely the people Porsche is targeting with the installation of its 7-speed manual in the Carrera S and Carrera 4S versions of the 992. Rumour is these cars—and that gearbox—will be on the stand in LA. Watch this space.

Bollinger B1 and B2

Slab-sided and right-angle rich, Bollinger’s built-in-Detroit, all-electric, all-aluminum, all-black LA Auto Show debuts look less sleek than any other vehicles expected to hit the show floor. The B1 “sport utility truck” promises all-wheel drive, 10 inches of wheel travel, 15 inches of ground clearance, and a 200-mile range despite its 5,000-pound curb weight. With 614 horsepower, 668 pound-feet of torque, and a list of removable parts and off-roading angles reminiscent of the Jeep Wrangler’s, we can’t help but be intrigued.

The longer B2 electric pickup truck shares the B1’s powertrain, weight, range, and most of its removable parts, not to mention its full-length central pass-through, which in the B2’s case will accommodate cargo up to 16 feet long. Each of these trucks features air conditioning and 10 110-volt outlets (we can’t help but wonder how those will impact range). At $125,000 each, these vehicles aren’t intended for the masses, which is probably fine for now, as Bollinger hasn’t found a production partner yet.

MINI Cooper John Cooper Works GP and SE

Featuring enough airflow-managing scoops and bulges to shame Ford’s buttressed GT in addition to a huge rear wing/spoiler, the third-generation MINI John Cooper Works GP aims to whet appetites for a limited-edition 3,000-unit high-performance 2020 model. The GP concept and its 301-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder recently lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in under 8 minutes, making it the fastest MINI model ever produced. It should reach US showrooms in mid-2020 at a price of $45,750, including an $850 destination fee.

MINI’s stand will also feature the new MINI Cooper SE, an all-new EV based on the MINI Hardtop 2-door launched in 2014. The SE’s electric motor supplies 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft to the front wheels, getting the car from 0 to 60 in 6.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 93 mph. A full charge will be possible in as little as 4 hours at home, and charging to 80% can happen as quickly as 35 minutes at a public charging station. The SE should reach dealers in March 2020 at an MSRP of $30,750, including a similar $850 destination fee.

Volkswagen ID. Space Vizzion Concept

Volkswagen’s fleet of ID. concept cars will welcome its seventh member at the Petersen Auto Museum November 19th with the world debut of the ID. Space Vizzion crossover concept. VW describes this new vehicle as combining the aerodynamics of a gran turismo with the spaciousness of an SUV in a zero-emissions car with a range of up to 300 miles.

Looking like a very long, low, streamlined station wagon, the ID. Space Vizzion, unlike the earlier ID. Vizzion, features a steering wheel and a very large but horizontal digital control panel on the dashboard. Using sustainable interior materials, the cabin features AppleSkin, a vegan alternative to leather that’s made with leftovers from apple-juice production. Volkswagen plans to release a production version in late 2021, with different versions available in North America, Europe, and China.

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