Kia Niro EV

Kia Niro EV front

Practical, powerful, and efficient, the Niro EV is easy to like although the current charging rate from commonly found charging stations means there’s still some pre-planning necessary – especially for longer trips away from a guaranteed charging spot. With an unlimited range of near guilt-free power, the Niro EV is a pretty fun runabout, while its crossover styling cues and an interior with physical buttons and knobs make it feel instantly familiar.

But before stepping into the land of power plugs and kWh, here are ten EV-specific characteristics that are worth knowing: 

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2020 Chevrolet Equinox AWD Premier 2.0T

Chevrolet Equinox Exterior

The Chevrolet Equinox competes in the same segment as the venerable Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 where high-quality designs, materials, and assembly are expected. Its strong sales might indicate that Chevrolet has landed a home run, however, taking a closer look shows that there are a lot of opportunities for improvement.

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2020 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring

Honda Civic Hatchback side exterior

The Civic constantly reminds me of how good of a car it is. Not only is it available in many different flavors – coupe, sedan, and hatchback form with regular, sporty, and super sporty performances, but its the quick-reacting chassis, ergonomically friendly controls, and a plethora of storage cubbies are what make the Civic a very easy car to enjoy.

However, its aging design and the continued onslaught of newer competition have revealed several blemishes in its armor and some of those shortcomings are noticeable during everyday use. But are they significant enough to ruin the charm of this Hatchback Sport Touring model?

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2020 Kia Soul GT-Line

The Kia Soul pulls at my emotions, going back and forth between being impressed by the design and creativity though disappointed in many areas where I wish Kia had gone a step or two further with the concept and level of refinement. These areas include drivetrain, packaging and interior material quality. That being said, I have developed a soft spot for this character of a car. Its unique cuboid shape, never-ending acceleration, advanced tech, and ability to comfortably perform commuting and carpool duties outweigh the downsides… mostly.

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2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road

This RAV4 TRD Off-Road model has rally-car charisma in the way that it feels light on its feet while soaking up the noise from the dirt road underneath. Its skills are unique among the TRD line-up and they also extend their benefits into many everyday driving situations such as traversing highways that have seen better days, navigating side streets littered with potholes, or navigating through tight parking lots. The TRD Off-Road has plenty of value-added performance (as its steep price tag indicates) and has been transformed from a best-selling RAV4 into a truly unique and adventurous vehicle.

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2020 Acura MDX

Acura continues to hit a home run with the MDX, and this A-Spec trim adds a touch of sport without losing the everyday performance that’s won it a slew of awards for being a Best Buy1, among the safest vehicles 2, and among the most American-made vehicles3. Even with all of that goodness, the newer competitions’ designs highlight a few areas in need of improvement, however, the MDX is unlikely to leave one disappointed.

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2020 GMC Acadia AT4

The 2020 GMC Acadia receives minor updates as it enters the second half of its life cycle and with the new year, comes the AT4 trim level. This off-road themed trim is mechanical the same as the other Acadia trims, however, all benefit from a much-improved improved transmission that affords better fuel economy and a casual rapid acceleration.   

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2020 Toyota Yaris

First off, the 2019 Toyota Yaris is a legitimate car. It may seem silly to state, but the decades of rental econoboxes have really tainted the small car image. The small Toyota hatchback can easily handle the daily demands of American life, from navigating tight parking, providing entertainment during the endless rush hour traffic, and even hauling a week’s worth of groceries or a trip to Home Depot. But is there enough charm in its minimalistic approach to put aside preconceived notions and ask the question of why not?

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2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Known simply as the GTI, the small hatchback has earned an unyielding following. After spending time with the GTI, the power and refinement somehow made up for the quality shortcomings and I looked forward to every drive – even if it was during a brief snowstorm. 

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2019 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL

When it came time to redesign the Tiguan, VW’s image of the North American-market guided the design and specifications. It went from being one of the shortest five-seaters in the segment to be one of the longest – even allowing for an optional third row. The Tiguan seems to have traded in its enthusiasm for curves to become a natural highway cruiser.  

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