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

 
 

Subaru Motorsports takes center stage in the newest season of "Launch Control".

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The award-winning "Launch Control" documentary series will return December 2 for its eighth season. The show will air on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video.

Season 8 of "Launch Control" picks up where Season 7 left off. The Subaru team has just won the rally and rallycross championships but the future of the team is uncertain.

The program, which has been chronicling the Subaru Motorsports teams since 2013, documents the challenging 2020 season of the driving sports, which included a new rally driver lineup, a shortened and delayed season due to COVID-19, and the return of ace driver Scott Speed following a season-ending back injury in 2019.

Season 8: "Launch Control"

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

"Launch Control" will also include a two-part sneak peek at the one-off WRX STI build that Subaru worked with Vermont SportsCar to create for the next installment of the "Gymkhana" franchise, where Subaru driving star Travis Pastrana will take over the feature roll from Ken Block.

New episodes documenting the stage rally season will release every other Wednesday through December and January, with the two-part Gymkhana STI build special arriving in February.

"'Launch Control' has always been an unflinching look at the reality of running a top-level motorsports program," said William Stokes, Motorsports Manager for Subaru of America. "This year brought more challenges than anyone expected, but we're a rally team, and in rally we press on regardless. As tough as this season was, we're thrilled to bring the series back—especially for the fans who couldn't come to events in 2020, who we've missed most of all."

The program is a production of Formula Photographic and Bowes Media with the support of Subaru of America.

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Little Sesame's Volkswagen Bus allows the restaurant's chefs to travel the country in search of new flavors.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Holiday shoppers this year, once again, have shopping small on the mind. For some businesses, their idea of small is smaller than most. From a hummus shop to a coffee shop, to a mobile bookstore, many small business owners rely on vintage Volkswagen products to help their businesses run.

Little Sesame

Little Sesame Volkswagen Bus

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In 2015, chefs Nick Wiseman and Ronen Tenne opened their hummus shop in Washington, D.C. They didn't just want another restaurant, they wanted to create a different way of doing business than they'd experienced in some of the New York City area kitchens they'd cooked in over the years. They wanted travel.

In order to inspire new flavors , Wiseman and Tenne hop into their robin's egg blue 1978 Volkswagen Bus and explore the country. Their current Bowl of the Week brings in autumn and wintertime flavors with ingredients like maple roasted winter squash, pomegranate molasses, crispy chickpeas, za'ata, and herbs.

The restaurant, with locations in the Golden Triangle and Chinatown, is currently open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offer catering and meal kits as well as online ordering for pickup and delivery.

Dom's Coffee

In Farmington Valley, Connecticut, a European-style coffee shop sits on a strip of real estate next to buildings similar to what you'd find in nearly anyone's hometown - a car dealership and a church. The brick-and-mortar shop was opened by Andrius Plankis and Asta Plankiene in May 2015, two years after the couple emigrated to the U.S. from Lithuania.

In addition to their shop, they run a fully-equipped mobile espresso bar out of the back of a Volkswagen Atlas R-Line. Their specialty is artistically crafted drinks including espressos, affogatos, specialty lattes, cold brews, and hot chocolates.

The Cincy Book Bus

The Cincy Book Bus

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

After retiring from 25 years of teaching, Melanie Moore decided it was time to pursue her dream: opening a bookstore. But she didn't just want to own the shop around the corner, she wanted to have a business that would work to get books into the hands of children that need them the most. Just as she was about to sign a lease for a storefront, she got cold feet.

Inspired by a novel centered around a fictional, female horse-drawn carriage bookseller, Moore decided to launch the Cincy Book Bus – a mobile bookstore – out of the bed of her husband's teal 1962 Volkswagen Transporter. The van holds about 150 books, and Moore regularly rotates titles to cater to her audiences.

Moore dedicates her profits to stocking classroom libraries.

While these three businesses are small, three large corporations (including Nike) were founded from humble beginnings thanks in no small part to their Volkswagens. Click here to read their stories.

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