The 2018 Lexus RX 350L, all-new to the lineup this year, offers a wide range of standard advanced safety features along with increased cargo space compared to the regular model and a standard third row – a feature not heretofore available. But fuel economy remains average, adding options can quickly boost the price, while its eye-catching design isn't for everyone.
A redesign last year gave Hyundai's best-selling sedan a more restrained look, while the 2018 Hyundai Elantra lineup comes with a new SEL model and shares a name – not a platform – with the new GT hatchback. Holding it back is a spartan base model, underwhelming performance, and a few cheap interior materials that detract from the model's overall goodness.
In a class dominated by the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the 2018 Lexus GS 350 has – through reliability, low ownership costs, and spectacular customer service – stolen a bit of the German's thunder. The latest iteration is market by flowing lines, supportive front seats, and handling prowess. A 2016 refresh added a much-needed spark, but rear seat knee room remains tight, the smaller gas engine lacks punch, the larger gas engine is hardly thrifty, while the infotainment interface is a nightmare to operate while moving.
We spend a week in the all-new 2018 Kia Rio – the smallest and least expensive offering from the Korean manufacturer – and come away appreciating its improved ride, quieter cabin, and cleaner lines. At the same time, the base model offers a dearth of power features, upper trims are pricey for the class, while passing at highway speeds requires some forethought.