JD Power

Highest quality cars, trucks, SUVs of 2020 according to JD Power

The Jaguar E-Pace is the only Jaguar model to make the list.

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

JD Power's annual initial quality survey has once again determined which vehicles reign supreme. The survey is considered highly influential when it comes to vehicle purchases.

The 34th annual survey was conducted by JD Power from February through May 2020. It assessed the performance of 2020 model year vehicles within 90 days after they were sold. Owners answered 223 questions and responses for over 87,272 vehicles were recorded.

The highest-rated vehicle of all is the Chevrolet Sonic.

Small Car: Chevrolet Sonic

2020 Chevrolet Sonic

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

All Chevrolet Sonics are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that delivers 138 horsepower. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard equipment on the base-level Sonic LS includes air-conditioning, a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth streaming for two devices, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and an available Wi-Fi hot spot.

Small Premium Car: Audi A3

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The 2020 Audi A3 is in its last year of the current generation but that doesn't mean it's a slouch. There's bee no major mechanical or technological changes for 2020 but Audi has shuffled the trim level offerings. It continues to deliver an engaging drive and balanced ride.

Compact Car: Kia Forte

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Completely redesigned last year with updated features and a fresh new look, the Kia Forte is powered by a 147 horsepower, 2.0-liter engine that is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission. The list of standard features includes air-conditioning, an 8.0-inch touch screen, a rearview camera with dynamic parking guide, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, forward collision avoidance, lane-departure warning, and driver attention warning.

Compact Premium Car: Genesis G70

Genesis G70 Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

The Genesis G70 is a true sports sedan. It is up for enthusiastic drives and doesn't mean being pushed a little. The car's cabin is well-appointed and the infotainment system is easy to use. Plus, it's far less pricey than its German rivals.

Compact Sporty Car (tie): Hyundai Veloster

2020 Hyundai Veloster Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

An all-new Hyundai Veloster rolled out last year with a refreshed design as well as other improvements. This sporty coupe continues to stand out with its unique three-door configuration: one door on the driver's side, two on the passenger side.

The base Veloster 2.0 is powered by a 147-horserpower engine and comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, a rear spoiler, a 6-speed manual transmission and 17-inch alloy wheels. Forward collision avoidance and lane-keeping assist are also standard.

Compact Sporty Car (tie): MINI Cooper

2020 MIIN Cooper

Photo courtesy of MINI

Americas can non longer get the MINI Cooper with a manual transmission but it continues to have a unique interior design and deliver an engaging drive experience. For 2020, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking became standard.

Midsize Car: Chevrolet Malibu

2020 Chevrolet Malibu Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Malibu hasn't been changed much over the last few years and Chevy recently ended production of the model. The car has a lot to like if you're in the market for a large, comfortable cruiser sedan.

Midsize Premium Car: Cadillac CT5

2020 Cadillac CT5 Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The CT5 is a fresh addition to the Cadillac lineup for the 2020 model year. It's stylish and sophisticated, delivering what buyers are most looking for - a comfortable and smooth ride. The car has a long list of standard and available features.

Midsize Sporty Car: Ford Mustang

2020 Ford Mustang Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The 2020 model year is all about fine tuning the Ford Mustang. Buyers can now opt for a High Performance or EcoBoost Handling package. There's also a new Shelby GT500 model that gets buyers a free track day at a NASCAR speedway with purchase. Now, all Mustangs come standard with FordPass Connect.

Upper Midsize Premium Car: Cadillac CT6

2020 Cadillac CT6 Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The Cadillac CT6 is a comfortable large sedan. It doesn't deliver the aggressive drive you can get from German luxury sedans but it is (nearly) as stylish and stable on the road. Cadillac recently discontinued the model.

Large Car: Nissan Maxima

2019 Nissan Maxima Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Maxima was recently refreshed but it has few changes for the 2020 model year. The automaker's suite of safety technology, Nissan Safety Shield 360, is now standard. Its V6 is plenty strong and accommodations are roomy and comfortable.

Large Premium Car: BMW 8 Series

2020 BMW 8 Series

Photo courtesy of BMW

The BMW 8 Series will cost you a pretty penny, but you do get to have the flagship BMW car in your driveway when the check clears. It delivers all the things you'd expect a BMW to - a strong engine lineup, refined interior, and a host of infotainment and safety technology.

Small SUV: Kia Soul

2020 Kia Soul Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Soul is all new for the 2020 model year featuring fresh styling and an array of new features. Even as the Soul retains its iconic shape, it receives a modern look with slim headlights, LED daytime running lights and boomerang-shaped taillights that frame the rear window.

Available in multiple trim levels, the Soul's entry-level LX comes with cloth seat trim, a trip computer, a 7.0-inch color touchscreen display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity, one USB outlet, a split-folding rear seat and 16-inch steel wheels.

Small Premium SUV: Jaguar E-Pace

Jaguar E-PACE Corsica

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

The Jaguar E-Pace is the little brother of the highly-regarded F-Pace. The model isn't as powerful as the F-Pace, but it has a good amount of cargo space and is agile. Adults may feel crowded in the back seat, but that's par for the course in this size vehicle.

Compact SUV: Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai sells a lot of Tucsons. The compact SUV, which competes against the Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4 is well-regarded as a high-quality model. Though its current generation began in 2015 and the model is gearing up for a redesign, it still delivers a comfortable ride and easy-to-use infotainment system in addition to inoffensive looks.

Compact Premium SUV: Cadillac XT4

2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport Photo courtesy of Cadillac​

The Cadillac XT4 is a subcompact size SUV that gives buyers a high-quality interior for a steep price. The XT4 is comfortable and plush with refined aesthetics in the top grade. The SUV is most noted for its large cargo area and spacious legroom for second-row passengers.

Midsize SUV: Nissan Murano

2020 Nissan Murano

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Murano is geared toward empty nesters who don't want to sacrifice comfort or power, but don't want to drive a sedan any longer. The SUV got no major changes for the 2020 model year.

Midsize Premium SUV: Lexus GX

2020 Lexus GX

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The Lexus GX Is a throwback to the way SUVs used to be. Still, it's a competent off-roader that provides plenty of comfort for its occupants. Lexus has upgraded the model in recent years to make it more luxurious.

Upper Midsize SUV: Kia Sorento

2020 Kia Sorento Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Sorento is about due for a makeover but that hasn't stopped buyers from liking the one dealerships are currently offering for sale. The three-row SUV competes with the Kia Telluride but it has less rugged styling and a more crossover-like body. Still, it comes loaded with a good amount of safety features and tech in its most premium grades.

Upper Midsize Premium SUV: BMW X6

2020 BMW X6

Photo courtesy of BMW

The BMW X6 was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. It continues to be offered with potent engines, a refined interior, comfortable seats, and a long list of technology as is typical for the model.

Large SUV: Nissan Armada

2019 Nissan Armada

​Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Armada is gearing up for a redesign but continues to offer comfortable accommodations, good towing capacity, and a strong engine. The SUV's lackluster fuel efficiency and poor cargo space are two major drawbacks.

Large Premium SUV: Cadillac Escalade

2020 Cadillac Escalade

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

A new generation of the Cadillac Escalade will be launched for the 2021 model year but the 2020 hasn't worn out its welcome quite yet. The SUV has a strong engine lineup, plenty of capability, and a well-equipped interior. Buyers can choose to opt for the traditional or extended wheelbase edition.

Minivan: Kia Sedona

2020 Kia Sorento Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Like the Escalade and Sorento, the Kia Sedona will be all-new in 2021. The 2020 model delivers the same comfortable accommodations buyers have come to expect, as well as a good infotainment system and a connected drive.

Midsize Pickup Truck: Ford Ranger

2020 Ford Ranger

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford Ranger made a big splash when it was re-introduced, giving American buyers a smaller Ford truck to spend their money on yet again. Though it wasn't a completely new truck when it made its U.S. debut, Ford engineers had significantly modified the model for North American customizers, making it plenty off-road capable and a viable daily driver.

Large Light-Duty Pickup Truck: Toyota Tundra

2020 Toyota Tundra

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

There's a redesigned Toyota Tundra on the horizon but that hasn't stopped Toyotafrom selling a significant number of current model year Tundras. The model has a dated interior and is fuel inefficient, but it's comfortable and has a long list of standard and available features.

Large Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck: Ford Super Duty

2020 Ford Super Duty

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford Super Duty is one of the most capable pickup trucks you can buy. Don't let its rugged exterior fool you. The truck's cabin is well-appointed and full of many of the latest tech features, including those you'd find on a typical SUV.

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Buying guide

How to buy a modified car: Three tips

This is a clean modified truck, but they don't all end up this way.

Bring a Trailer

Modified cars are a mixed bag. Sometimes, they're incredibly well built and better than the original, but too many times they're only partially finished or end up being rushed as their owners get late-project anxiety. Whatever the case, buying a modified car can be a stressful process if you haven't done your homework ahead of time. The good news is that you can get a good deal on a reasonably well sorted project or modified car, but you'll need to be careful. Looking at used Lexus LXs earlier today, it became clear that there are as many modified vehicles for sale as there are clean examples.

This LX got me thinking about the breakdown between buying a rig and building one. The modifications made by this Lexus' seller are almost exactly what I would do if I were building a light overlanding rig. What could go wrong? I'm still on the fence about the Lexus, but the three topics below will help you make the right decision on buying a modified car.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Even if the mods are well done, you'll want to have the vehicle inspected before you buy.Bring a Trailer

Understand your personal taste

I mentioned the LX470 and how the owner's updates were pretty close to what I'd do with the truck. That's an exception to the rule, because 90 percent of the time I walking away from a sales listing because of modifications, rather than the other way around. If you're hoping to find a tastefully modified car that matches your exact tastes, you could be waiting a while. If you're hoping to sell a modified car, the same is true in reverse. Finding a buyer for your extremely personalized project car may not be the easiest thing you've ever done.

2004 Lexus LX 470 It's a good idea to seek out vehicles in solid shape, regardless of mods.Bring a Trailer

Be aware of condition and quality

This Lexus looks to be well maintained and in good shape. It also doesn't hurt that the LX is one of the most reliable vehicles built by one of the world's most quality-conscious automakers. Even so, it's hard to know what you're getting with this, or any other, modified vehicle. There's a little rust in this image, but the lift kit, wheels, and bumper mods all look good. However, even if the truck looked brand-new, you'd want to get a pre-purchase inspection. An independent mechanic can tell you if there are potential issues that are unrelated to mods, and you'll want to be sure that any modifications are installed properly.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Some mods are more useful than others.Bring a Trailer

Keep an eye on the price

Most people are reasonable when it comes to selling their modified cars, but there are hundreds of "I know what I got" memes on the internet for a reason. Some sellers want to recover every penny of the money they spent customizing their cars. They're convinced that the mods drastically increased the car's value and can't understand why the customized car isn't as attractive to you as it is to them. Tread lightly and be careful not to insult the owner, but it's your job to work toward a reasonable, fair price.

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New AWD performance car

The Subaru WRX is all-new for 2022

The new WRX's body cladding is already stirring up controversy.

Subaru

The Subaru WRX is a rally-bred performance car that offers a unique mix of rowdy all-wheel drive fun, a value price, and youthful styling. The car is long overdue for an update, though, and Subaru is doing just that for the 2022 model year. The fifth-generation WRX is all-new, and features a more powerful engine, along with several go-fast upgrades.

2022 Subaru WRX Both a manual and an automatic transmission will be offered.Subaru

A new GT trim joins the WRX lineup for 2022. It features a new automatic transmission, adaptive dampers, and drive mode selections. With various customization options available to the driver, the system offers up to 430 different settings combinations. The GT's interior adds Recaro seats wrapped in Ultrasuede with red stitching. The GT also gets exclusive 18-inch wheels.

Though still a Boxer engine, the 2022 WRX's powerplant is new and more powerful than before. It delivers 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, as well as a broader torque curve. Subaru says that the larger engine plus an electronically controlled turbo wastegate and air bypass valves improve responsiveness and acceleration.

2022 Subaru WRX A larger 11.6-inch infotainment screen is on board. Subaru

All WRX models come with Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel drive system and active torque vectoring, which can shift power to individual wheels that need the most traction. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but a new Subaru Performance Transmission is available, which features faster shifts and other features to improve performance.

The 2022 WRX also gets a tech upgrade that brings a large 11.6-inch tablet-style touchscreen. It runs Subaru Starlink infotainment, handles HVAC and vehicle controls, and offers split-screen functionality for two apps to run simultaneously. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and HD radio. An upgraded version of the system also offers navigation with three years of free map updates.

2022 Subaru WRX Subaru will offer a new GT trim with upgraded suspension and finishes.Subaru

As it has done with many of its other vehicles, Subaru is equipping every WRX with its EyeSight suite of advanced driver aids. The packge includes lane departure prevention, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and more. A new available automatic emergency steering system works with the car's pre-collision braking feature to help avoid collisions at speeds under 50 mph.

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