It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a car, truck, SUV or motorcycle. Each one is inherently full of compromises. Safety or speed, efficiency or comfort, style or capability — the needs of passenger vehicles are governed by opposing forces. The year’s best new motorcycles and cars were chosen because they blend those qualities in ways that play up their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses. They push transportation into the future. They combine the abilities of multiple vehicles into a single package. They reestablish future generations’ love of legacy brands. And above all else, they’re machines we’d be proud to park in our driveways.
Products are listed alphabetically.
Competition in the electric vehicle world is heating up, and it was Audi that delivered the first EV with a truly premium experience and high-end build quality, even if the E-Tron’s 204-mile range doesn’t compete with EVs from other makers (like Tesla and Jaguar). Still, the crossover is exceptionally well-engineered, delivering its own brand of sporty performance. It moves the ball forward — for customers, for parent company VW and for the world we live in.
Powertrain: Dual asynchronous electric motors; all-wheel-drive
Torque: 490 lb-ft
Bentley Continental GT V8
When a car costs as much as a house, it has to work hard to justify its price tag. The Bentley Continental GT makes the job look easy. Slide into the leather-laden cabin, fire up the twin-turbo eight-cylinder engine, and the Conti takes off like a shot, hitting 60 miles per hour just four seconds into its run up to 198 mph (all while weighing two and a half tons with you onboard).
Powertrain: Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8; eight-speed dual-clutch automatic; all-wheel-drive
Torque: 568 lb-ft
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Shared electric scooters lead hard lives — which means good companies build them tough. Bird’s first conveyance built for purchase, the One, has tubeless wheels to prevent flats and a steel-reinforced aluminum chassis that’s four times tougher than its shared brethren. GPS and Bluetooth connectivity lets you use your phone to lock and track your scooter. Plus, you can score deals on Bird’s network of public scooters when you’re away from your personal wheels.
Range: 30 miles on a charge
Charging Time: 4–6 hours
Top Speed: 18 mph
• Look Out E-Bikes, This Scooter Wants to Replace You
Indian FTR 1200
Indian’s FTR 1200, its first all-new bike in half a decade, may be based off the brand’s modern FTR750 racer, but it draws the most inspiration from the Minnesota company’s rich history in flat track racing. A clean-sheet design meant engineers could start from scratch, and they optimized airflow into the potent V-twin by placing the airbox directly above the engine where the fuel tank would go. The effect? A lower center of gravity for superior agility.
Powertrain: 1203cc V-twin
Torque: 87 lb-ft
Americans love pickup trucks, and Americans love Jeep Wranglers. So rather than attempt to build a new truck from the ground up, Jeep’s product planners and engineers chose to keep it simple, taking the four-door Wrangler — specifically, the all-new, more-refined JL generation — stretching out the wheelbase and affixing a metal box to the end of it. You can snag a well-equipped one for around $45,000; onsidering you’re scoring an off-roader, a five-seat family car, a convertible and a pickup truck in one for that price, it’s hard to see that as anything but the deal of the year.
Powertrain: 3.6-liter V6 or 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6; six-speed manual transmission; four-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 285 (gasoline); 260 (diesel
Torque: 260 (gasoline), 440 (diesel)
New versions of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class come around less frequently than new popes. So when this year’s Gelandewagen arrived, it did so with roughly as much fanfare. For all the commotion, it takes a keen eye to tell the new “G-Wagen” from the old, at least from the outside; no such trouble occurs once you open the door, as the new G-Class finally boasts an interior worthy of a six-figure price tag. The AMG-tuned G63 version also cracks off mind-bending acceleration times without sacrificing the off-road ability that lets the G-Class be mentioned in the same breath as Land Rover and Jeep.
Powertrain: 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8; nine-speed automatic; four-wheel-drive
Torque: 627 lb-ft
Porsche 911 Carrera S and 4S
Today’s 911 is many things the original was not. The cabin is decidedly high-tech, replete with touchscreens and a toggle-switch shifter. The extra-wide rear houses a turbocharged version of the traditional flat-six, mated to a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. (Porsche even says a hybrid 911 is in the works.) Change is the only constant here — well, that and round headlights. Perhaps that’s why every new version of the 911 keeps Porsche at the head of the sports car pack.
Powertrain: Twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six; eight-speed dual-clutch automatic; rear- or all-wheel-drive
Torque: 390 lb-ft
Ram 2500 and 3500
Heavy-duty pickups have become big business but maximum capability is only half the equation; today’s buyers want the same comforts they’ve gotten used to in other vehicles. In top-trim form, both the 2500 and 3500 are as tech-packed and comfortable as a luxury sedan. That’s not to say they can’t pull weight: the giant Ram 3500 cranks out 1,000 pound-feet of torque, giving it enough towing capacity to pull a small herd of elephants.
Powertrain: 6.4-liter V8 or 6.7-liter turbodiesel inline-six; six- or eight-speed automatic transmission; two- or four-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 410 (gas), 370–410 (diesel)
Torque: 429 lb-ft (gas), 850–1,000 lb-ft (diesel)
• The 2019 Ram Power Wagon Is the Most Capable Pickup You Can Buy
Toyota GR Supra
Building a sports car is an expensive proposition, especially if you want it to be good. To create the fifth-generation Supra, Toyota got by like Ringo Star, with a little help from its friends: the folks at BMW. The spec sheet may have far more in common with the rides of the Bavarian Motor Works than with anything alongside it in the Toyota showroom, but that’s a feature, not a bug. With the fifth-generation Supra, Toyota chose not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good — and it delivered a great car as a result.
Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six; eight-speed automatic; rear-wheel-drive
Torque: 365 pound-feet
Zero SR/F Electric Motorcycle
When an electric bike promises cost savings, environmental friendliness and one-of-a-kind thrills, you pay attention. Zero Motorcycles has been at this game for 13 years, outlasting fly-by-night competitors and even impacting Harley-Davidson, which just rolled out its first electric model, the LiveWire. The Zero SR/F flies contrary to the hallmarks of classic motorcycling: there’s no engine to purr, no gears to shift, no neutral to pop it into at a light. But any doubts whoosh away the moment you twist the throttle; try going from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than two seconds. Green means go, baby.
Range: 161 miles in town; 99 on the highway at 55 mph; 82 on the highway at 70 mph
Torque: 140 lb-ft
• The All-New Zero Will Be the Most Modern Motorcycle On the Market
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