A car that forces the competition to head back to the drawing board does not come around often, especially when that competition happens to be Ferrari. Honda achieved such a feat back in 1991 when the original NSX was set loose in the supercar world. Not only did the NSX smack its contemporaries down in terms of performance and technological prowess, it also forced the Italians to make supercars with some semblance of reliability and manners.
Spend only a few moments in an original NSX, and its specialness is palpable. The lack of power steering is acutely noticeable at low speed as I roll over little cracks and dips in the road, while the sticky rubber chucks small rocks up into the wheel wells. A near 360-degree view is at my disposal with the bubble-like canopy, and the ground right in front of the nose is visible from my vantage point. This is what control feels like, and we haven't even gotten to the reverie-inducing VTEC noises getting piped right into our eardrums yet.
Honda will recall a total of 137,000 2019 CR-Vs worldwide for airbags that can suddenly and unexpectedly deploy. Out of that total, 118,598 were sold in the United States. The automaker says there have been six instances of the unwarranted airbag inflations leading to three injuries, but so far no reported crashes.
Apparently, metal burrs on the interior surface of the steering wheel are damaging a wiring harness and cable reels that are part of the car's supplemental restraint system. That can lead to an electrical short and overheating of the components, and ultimately the sudden inflation of an airbag.
The increasingly iconic Toyota 4Runner soldiers into its ninth year without a full redesign. A typical car or crossover is redesigned after six. Frankly, the 4Runner was never a bastion of modernity, as its truck-based structure and interior design result in comfort, refinement and efficiency compromises that always stood in contrast to similarly priced and sized crossovers. That's still the case with the 2019 Toyota 4Runner, but its interior design and technology have only fallen further behind the times, while its handling, noise and overall comfort are worse than what you'd get in a midsize crossover like the Honda Passport or Toyota's own Highlander. Its fuel economy is comparatively abysmal.
Now, if all of that makes you think twice about the 4Runner, we've done our job. It's certainly not the most rational SUV purchase, and it's smart to consider its many downsides. That said, we also love the 4Runner and understand why you might as well. It has character in spades, especially the ultra-rugged TRD Pro trim, and can go places none of those crossovers would dare. This is a serious off-roader, yet when compared to other such vehicles it's surprisingly comfortable and genuinely large inside. Few two-row SUVs — crossover or truck-based — can match its utility. Yes it's old and less refined than a crossover, but it's also not as crude as you'd expect, and there's also something to be said about simplicity.
The 2019 Lexus UX is the smallest and cheapest Lexus you can buy, and the UX 250h hybrid model just barely misses out being the most fuel efficient. As an entry into the Lexus brand, this subcompact crossover is generally an impressive effort, embodying the design, quality, features and driving experience we've come to expect – albeit with understandable cutbacks made to achieve its lower price.
However, the UX faces stiff competition. It has one of the smallest cabins in a segment not known for its spaciousness, and its Remote Touch tech interface constantly frustrates. And while fuel economy is exceptional for the segment, its acceleration is underwhelming regardless of whether you get the UX 250h or gas-only UX 200. Worse still, you can only get the latter with front-wheel drive. In other words, this is a car with distinct highs and lows.
In the compact car market, the Honda Civic has almost always been a benchmark, and there's a reason for that: it's consistently been really great. The 2019 Honda Civic is no exception. It has a large, airy interior with quality materials. The engines are smooth, powerful and economical. And it's nimble while also being comfortable. Not only that, but there's a Civic for just about any need with sedan, coupe or hatchback body styles — no other compact car offers such diversity. There are also trim levels and powertrains that range from frugal to exhilarating, yet all offer competitive pricing and impressive value. For these reasons and others we'll explain below, the Civic is still one of the best compact cars on the market.
The Sport trim has been added to the coupe and sedan models, but unlike the hatchback's Sport trim that gets a turbocharged engine, these Civics stick with the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The Sport coupe and sedan do get Honda's touchscreen infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto, unlike the Sport hatchback. This infotainment system now features physical shortcut buttons and a volume knob, but it retains the existing user interface. The gauges get red backlighting, the pedals are made of aluminum, the wheels are larger and it has a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A manual transmission is also now restricted to LX sedan, all Sport body styles, the Si and Type R. All other Civics get a CVT.
Overland Expo is about to start, and car makers are rolling out versions of their crossovers and trucks transformed into overlanding and expedition vehicles. Honda is joining in on the action with the 2019 Honda Passport and 2019 Honda Ridgeline. It collaborated with Honda aftermarket company Jsport, and the results are some rugged-looking camping machines.
Both trucks are similarly equipped, with a leveling kit that adds 1.5 inches of ground clearance, aftermarket 18-inch wheels shod in chunky all-terrain tires, and Jsport's own skid plates so in case you do try to clear something too tall. The Passport gets a little extra love in the form of a new Jsport rear spare tire carrier and some Baja Designs off-road lighting.
The new Acura NSX has struggled to move off dealer lots as of late, and Acura isn't being coy about adding incentives to its supercar. Motor Trend spotted an under-the-radar $20,000 discount, which is a substantial price slash on a car that starts at $159,300.
This incentive isn't actually listed or advertised anywhere on Acura's website, but Motor Trend's Intellichoice affiliate (ownership cost and value analysis site) managed to uncover the discount. If you bought a completely base NSX, the price could be as low as $139,300 now. That's before you do any other negotiations with your dealer to lower the price further.
The Nissan Rogue Sport crossover is small, attractive, and relatively cheap. Despite sharing a name with the larger Rogue, the Rogue Sport is a completely different vehicle. It's the least expensive vehicle in Nissan's portfolio with optional all-wheel drive. What it doesn't offer, despite its name, is a sporty driving experience, and it can get surprisingly pricey if a buyer isn't careful with options.
The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary edition made its debut a few months back at this year's Chicago Auto Show. The special model was limited to just 3,000 units worldwide, with just 500 heading to the U.S. Miata enthusiasts were so excited by the car that the entire allotment sold out within four hours. To help satisfy demand for this limited edition model, Mazda is allocating another 143 cars for the American market, bringing the total number of cars heading to the U.S. to 643. Note, Mazda is still only building 3,000 cars total.
The 30th Anniversary Miata is available as both a roadster and the retractable hardtop Miata RF. All of them will be painted Racing Orange and will be fitted with RAYS ZE40 17-inch forged alloy wheels, orange Brembo brake calipers and Recaro seats. The cars also come with a Bose audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The cars still retain the 2019 Miata's updated 2.0-liter inline-four making 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Cars equipped with the manual transmission get a limited-slip differential, Bilstein shocks and a front shock tower brace.