Four years into its current model cycle, the 2019 Mazda CX-9 continues to offer buyers a sensuous design, wide array of advanced safety features, and a cabin that rivals many luxury brands. But interior space falls short of competitors, a hybrid variant isn't offered, while the kludgy infotainment system is frustrating and distracting.
The all-new 2019 Volvo XC40 arrives with a youthful design, Scandinavian-inspired interior, comfortable ride, and a competent turbo mated to a very good eight-speed automatic. But the design may be too quirky for some tastes, the back seat is tight for more than two, and although leather seats are standard, heating them is an extra-cost option.
The 2019 Kia Forte is all-new this year with Stinger-inspired styling cues, good fuel economy, and a number of standard active safety features. But performance from the single engine choice is only middling, the interior of the base model is low-buck, while the nameplate is no longer offered as a hatchback.
The 2019 Hyundai Kona continues the brand's notable value proposition by offering buyers competitive fuel economy, a class-above interior, an intuitive infotainment system and, for 2019, a range of advanced safety features that are standard on all trim levels. But it remains hampered by busy styling touches, a standard engine that offers only modest acceleration, and an interior that's on the small side for the segment.