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.
Following a major re-design last year, the 2019 Mazda CX-5, the brand's best-selling vehicle four years running, adds a new turbo engine for two new trim levels, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability on select models, while continuing with class-above features at every price point. But it remains held back by an awkward infotainment interface, middling cargo volume, and a stiff ride with too much road and wind noise on models with larger wheels.
A modern interpretation of the classic British roadster, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata maintains the crown of "affordable and fun." This year, the lightest car in America gets an increase in horsepower that dials up the entertainment factor in what was already a spectacular two-seater. But the latest version remains hampered by a finicky infotainment system, while upper trims are a challenge to its value proposition.
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.