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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept shows of the possible future of a V8 under the hood of a Jeep.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept model shows that the production model of a V8-powered Wrangler (and possibly Gladiator) is likely on the way - and that's straight from the people in the know at FCA.

Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts have been asking us for a Wrangler -8 and our new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept proves that we have the ability to make that happen," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. "From the recently introduced 29-mpg Wrangler EcoDiesel to our award-winning Jeep Gladiator, and the upcoming Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, Jeep is clearly listening to its customers. We are anxious to gauge their reaction to this new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, a vehicle that delivers an incredible and unmatched level of fun-to-drive performance and capability, on- and off-road."

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept The model is pretty standard for a modern Wrangler Rubicon - on the outside.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It's been a hot minute since there was a V8 under the hood of a Jeep. The last model to wear its power proudly was the 1981 Jeep CJ, which had a 5.0-liter V8 that delivered 125 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque.

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept is powered by a 6.4-liter (392-cubic-inch) HEMI V8 that delivers 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. That power gives the concept a zero to 60 mph time of less than five seconds.

Its engine is paired with a more robust version of the traditional eight-speed automatic, something that the HEMI in the Charger Scat Pack gets as well.

The parts roster includes Rubicon rock rails, steel bumpers with a Warn winch, and a steel belly pan. It also comes with Dana 44 axles, Selec-Track full-time two-speed transfer case (3.73 gear ratio), and Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle locking differentials. The SUV rides on custom 17-inch deadlock wheels that are wrapped in 37-inch mud-terrain tires.

The suspension of the typical Wrangler JL has been upgraded to include new aluminum, monotube Fox shocks, and two-mode exhaust, which is adjustable at the touch of a button.

The company has installed a factory Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit from Mopar.

All that equipment gives the model some impressive numbers. It has a water fording capability of 34 inches, 13.25 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 51.6 degrees, a breaker angle of 29.5 degrees, and a departure angle of 40.1 degrees. It's Trail Rated.

Jeep has given the concept a Granite Crystal paint job, bronze-colored tow hooks, badging, springs, shocks, and wheels. There's a heavy-duty raised hood, custom half doors, and Wrangler's Sky One-touch powertop.

The concepts interior features a Red Rock-colored leather bolstered seats with gold stitching, along with a performance steering wheel.

When will you see the production version of the V8? These things take time, but remember, the auto show circuit looks to pick up in earnest early next year, and we have the Wrangler 4xe to see first.

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Thought the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross just debuted in Thailand, it could be slated to come to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Let's face it, the Toyota CH-R was never really supposed to be a Toyota. The model, destined to be a Scion, had its life's direction altered when Scion closed up shop and parent company Toyota merged select members of its lineup with the Toyota line. For the last three years, the model has been doing its damnedest to escape the Scion mold, but hasn't. It remains the odd duck in the stable, not delivering the high-quality interior, good handling, and capability that earns the brand sufficient praise.

Enter: the Toyota Corolla Cross. Though its name doesn't quite invoke the feelings, of "Why? Whhhhhhyyyy?" that the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross moniker does, the Corolla Cross name is clearly a strategic move meant to capitalize on the one already worn by one of the best-selling cars of all time.

2021 Toyota Corolla Cross

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Marketed as "Corolla Meets SUV", the Corolla Cross looks like it executes at every level. It rides on the same TNGA platform as the Toyota Prius, Prius Prime, C-HR, and Corolla, and the Lexus UX. That architecture make the slightly longer and taller Corolla Cross spacious with class-leading cargo room for its class.

Though the model is undoubtedly going to be modified a smidge if it comes to America, Toyota has outlined its highlights as part of its launch in Thailand.

The Corolla Cross makes much of its looks from the RAV4, but it's a copy. It's a natural progression of the design language, the same way the Highlander is. Toyota notes that this design allows for an "impressive rearview".

A new torsion-beam suspension delivers a cushioned ride. Toyota notes that the Corolla Cross is easy to maneuver and has a tight turning circle.

Toyota is selling the front-wheel drive model with a traditional gasoline-powered engine setup and as a hybrid. These variants are similar to the Corolla and Lexus UX in the States.

The gasoline-powered model has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 140 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid model returns 122 total system horsepower. Both engines are paired with a CVT.

The interior has good headroom and wide door openings. These are similar characteristics to the modern Corolla.

Toyota has already trademarked the Corolla Cross name for the U.S. according to Car & Driver. The model, which would fill a slot in Toyota product plans that were leaked earlier this year, may be the vehicle set to be made at the end joint Mazda-Toyota plant that is under construction in Alabama. It would fill the gap between the C-HR and RAV4 in the Toyota lineup, and compete directly with the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona.

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