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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

  • HIGHS-High-tech cabin, S-class-inspired looks, punchy turbo four-cylinder powertrain.

  • LOWS-Flinty ride, vague steering feel, interior features are too reliant on touchscreens.

  • VERDICT-The redesigned C-class continues its tradition of offering high-end substance in an affordable and compact package.

Overview

Mercedes-Benz's entry-level sports sedan has been thoroughly redesigned for the 2022 model year but the C-class sticks with its winning formula of luxury and prestige at an affordable price. The modernization gives the C-class what it needs to better battle rivals such as the Audi A4BMW 3-series, and Genesis G70. The cabin is where we see the most modernization, as the C-class inherits styling elements and technology from the S-class sedan. Like the outgoing C-class, the 2022 model is built on a rear-drive platform, is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and offers all-wheel drive as an option. Handling is confident and the C-class can easily be hustled through twisty bits of road, but we've found the ride to be unforgiving over rough patches of pavement and the steering less communicative than the car's sports-sedan mission requires. Besides its dynamic shortcomings, the C-class continues the tradition of mimicking the style and substance of the flagship S-class sedan in a smaller, more affordable package.

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NEW RELEASE

2022 Acura RDX

  • HIGHS-Low starting price compared to rivals, athletic handling, generous standard features.

  • LOWS-Occasional transmission clumsiness, infotainment controller takes getting used to, sporty-looking A-Spec package is merely superficial.

  • VERDICT-The RDX is handsome and represents a good deal among compact luxury SUVs, but it lacks the cachet of its well-known luxury classmates.

Overview

Those seeking a compact SUV with a premium badge and an athletic chassis will find the 2022 Acura RDX fits that brief and doesn't require Porsche Macan or Mercedes-Benz GLC-class money. Sure, it's not as deluxe as those German nameplates—nor does it carry the same cachet among the one percent—but the RDX's turbocharged four-cylinder is perky enough for most drivers and its cabin as high-tech as higher-priced competitors. The complaints we have concern the RDX's less-than-luxurious cabin environs and a 10-speed automatic that is sometimes infuriatingly slow to downshift to spool up the turbo to its boiling point. Those issues aside, the RDX is a roomy, practical, fun-to-drive, and comprehensively equipped compact SUV that is largely satisfactory.

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NEW RELEASE

2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

  • HIGHS-Bellissimo looks, satisfying driving dynamics, V-6 power from a turbo-four.

  • LOWS-Lacks cabin space, small display in a widescreen world, higher starting price than newer competitors.

  • VERDICT-The Stelvio rolls into the highly-competitive compact-luxury segment wearing the best-looking outfit, but comes up short on offering the newest technology.

Overview

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio isn’t just a pretty face. Named after the tortuously serpentine Stelvio Pass in northern Italy—one of the country’s most revered driver’s roads—this compact luxury SUV has a chassis that sticks to curvy switchbacks like Pecorino Romano to spaghetti. Base Sprint models come with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is standard on all other trim levels—but every Stelvio gets a zesty 280-hp turbocharged four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic transmission. We recommend shopping the 505-hp Quadrifoglio model, reviewed separately, for a Stelvio that’ll light up your synapses. The standard model’s interior makes a good attempt at the luxury side of the business; however, its 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen is one of the smallest in a segment of more generously-sized offerings. A small-ish back seat and cargo area make the Stelvio a better choice for goers instead of stowers, but its iconic take on the traditional Alfa grille makes mistaking it for rival SUVs like the BMW X3 or Porsche Macan impossible.

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NEW RELEASE

2023 Audi SQ5 / SQ5 Sportback

  • HIGHS-Plentiful standard features, compliant ride, relatively fuel efficient.

  • LOWS-Compromised cargo area, handling lacks engaging sharpness, stodgy exterior styling.

  • VERDICT-The Audi SQ5 is the kinder, gentler hot-rod of the compact luxury SUV class, with less-fiery performance-and-handling than its more aggressive rivals.

Overview

Performance luxury SUVs like the 2023 Audi SQ5 and SQ5 Sportback provide an easy way to celebrate your car enthusiast roots when your lifestyle evolves to include the traditional trappings of adulthood. Essentially a hot-rodded version of the regular Q5 SUV, the SQ5 wears a snazzier wardrobe and packs a turbocharged V-6 engine under hood that makes a stout 354 horsepower. Its suspension has been tweaked for sportier handling, but rivals such as the BMW X3 MPorsche Macan, and Mercedes-AMG GLC-class all push this performance SUV formula farther with sharper handling and punchier acceleration. If your goal is to enjoy a twisty road while keeping the kiddies asleep in the back, though, the soft-riding SQ5 is probably the one to have. Inside, Audi aims for maximum impact with a host of technology and luxury features, including an available digital gauge display, rich leather, and popular driver-assistance features.

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2022 Ram 1500 TRX

  • HIGHS-Hits 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, can be jumped or comfortably driven sedately, has a luxury-grade cabin.

  • LOWS-Daunting to maneuver in tight spaces, disgraceful in terms of fuel economy, can we get a rear-drive mode or model?

  • VERDICT-The 702-hp Ram 1500 TRX is a badass behemoth that makes every other full-size truck look like kids' toys.

Overview

Most monster trucks are confined to arenas and closed courses, but the 2022 Ram 1500 TRX is one that can be unleashed on public roads. Essentially the regular Ram 1500 on steroids, the juiced-up TRX is dramatically wider and has a supercharged V-8 that generates 702 horsepower. Sure, there are mightier Hellcat-powered models, but no other stock pickup sounds like it ate a band of demons while sailing to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The 450-hp Ford F-150 Raptor is the TRX's only real challenger, but it's not a fair fight until the 700-plus-hp Raptor R arrives. Even then it'll have to contend with the Ram's ridiculously luxurious interior and remarkable on-road manners, which helped it earn a 10Best award and a place on our Editors' Choice list. Living with the 2022 Ram TRX isn't all Monster Jam-worthy antics, though, because maneuvering in traffic or parking lots can cause anxiety and frequent fuel fill-ups will become a routine. Then again, no one ever said owning a monster is easy.

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TRENDING CAR REVIEWS

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2023 Porsche Macan

Overview

Porsche's SUV lineup began with the mid-size Cayenne, but the compact Macan delivers a heartier helping of the brand's sporting ethos while still offering more space for people and cargo than a sports car. A turbocharged four-cylinder is standard but the mid-range S and top-spec GTS are equipped with significantly more powerful twin-turbo V-6 engines. Handling is crisp and all Macan models provide a joyful driving demeanor that even the most hardened SUV detractors will appreciate. This is why it's one of our favorite crossovers. Rivals such as the BMW X3 or Genesis GV70 offer more luxury equipment as standard, but the Macan stands alone as an upscale, compact SUV that satisfies its driver first and fulfills its other missions second.

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2022 Mercedes-AMG GLC-Class

Overview

It may share a platform with the Benz-branded model, but the 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLC-class is a beast in its own right, with a trio of powerful engine choices. The entry-level GLC43 comes with a 385-hp twin-turbo V-6, but those who want even more power can opt for the GLC63 or GLC63 S, both of which are powered by a twin-turbo V-8 with either 469 or 503 horsepower. To match its blistering acceleration performance, the GLC-class delivers sharp handling, but the compromise is a ride that's nowhere near as smooth as the regular GLC300 offers. But the cabin is just as refined, and a host of modern infotainment and comfort features will make luxury buyers feel right at home. The GLC-class has impressed us so much that we gave it an Editors' Choice award for 2022.

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Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

What We Think: Practical, comfortable, graceful, and undeniably handsome, the plug-in 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has family transportation down pat and is one of the best hybrid minivans sold today. Its refined road manners make the Pacifica Hybrid a pleasure to drive, whether you're logging interstate road-trip miles or simply shuttling kids to the high school football game. Cargo capacity is vast, though the Hybrid loses the versatile fold-in-the-floor second-row seats of its gas-only counterpart. In return, however, the Hybrid benefits from 32 miles of all-electric driving range, per the EPA.

  • Car and Driver rating: 9.5/10

  • EPA-combined fuel economy: 82 mpge

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Volvo V60 T8 Recharge Polestar Engineered

What We Think: Wagon enthusiasts will want to take a gander at the 2022 Volvo V60 Recharge Polestar Engineered model that boasts a plug-in-hybrid powertrain with 455 horsepower, 22 miles of EPA-rated electric driving range, and the ability to hit 60 mph in a manufacturer-estimated 4.3 seconds. Selecting the Extended Range option pushes the wagon's electric driving range up to 40 miles but adds 0.1 second to its 60-mph time. Sure, the V60 Recharge Polestar Engineered's ride is a tad stiff, but with so few wagons on the market, it's a small pain we're willing to accept. Plus, the V60 Recharge Polestar Engineered simply looks stunning, inside and out.

  • Car and Driver rating: 8.5/10

  • EPA-combined fuel economy: 74 mpge (Recharge w/ Extended Range); 69 mpge (Recharge)

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CAR CARE TIPS

4 waxes to give your car the shine it deserves

We always mean well when it comes to waxing our cars diligently. Prolonging the life of and improving the shine of your paint is something all car enthusiasts desire. Admittedly though, sometimes it gets done, and sometimes it doesn’t. Make this the summer it does.

Picking out the right wax for the job is always practice in decision paralysis at the auto parts store, unless you already have a go-to pick. Even then, car care technology marches on, so the next best thing might be a bit better than the last. All waxes try to accomplish similar goals, but some tend to do it better than others; which type do you trust for your paint? Here are a few to explore:​

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Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

This wax from Chemical Guys is said to go on like “butter.” It uses a Carnauba blend but is supposed to be easier to work with than traditional Carnauba waxes while giving the deep gloss shine of paste wax. Both UVA and UVB sun rays are protected from, and you can use it for near anything on the exterior of the car.

Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

You can’t get much easier than liquid wax. Simply pour it onto the bodywork and start to buff it in. This option from Meguiar’s is from their Ultimate Series and will even allow you to wax your car in direct sunlight. It uses a synthetic polymer blend said to last longer than the average liquid wax.

Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

For long-term protection, Turtle Wax has its Hard Shell paste wax on offer. An extremely affordable choice compared to many other premium options, it’s hard to go wrong with an old standby like Turtle Wax.

Zymöl Carbon Wax

If you have a medium or dark colored car, then Zymöl carbon wax was made specifically for you. Zymöl says it creates the wax with a combination of Florida and Brazilian yellow Carnauba to achieve the optimal protection for dark paint. There’s nothing cheap about it, but Zymöl has stood the test of time.

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2022 Genesis GV70

Overview

Based on the excellent G70 sports sedan, the 2022 Genesis GV70 compact-luxury SUV provides similar driving enjoyment with a higher seating position and extra cargo room. Engine choices will include a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6; all-wheel drive is standard and all GV70 models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It employs the usual Genesis model of pumping even base models full with luxury features, making the GV70 a value player in the crowded compact-luxury SUV market and earning it an Editors' Choice award. Save for a few ergonomic critiques, we found the GV70's cabin to be comfortable and well-made, although rear-seat passengers may wish you'd sprung for the larger and more spacious GV80 SUV.

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2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Overview

Most SUVs aren't machines that pull at our heartstrings, but the 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio isn't most SUVs. It's a high-riding, Italian-bred heartthrob with a 505-hp twin-turbo V-6 and a soundtrack that stirs the soul like a power ballad. Engage its sportiest drive-mode setting, grip its delicate steering wheel, and prepare to be thoroughly entertained. Whether its charging in a straight line, knifing through a corner, or screeching to a halt, the Stelvio QF feels more like a sports sedan than the compact luxury crossover it is; we like it so much we gave it an Editors' Choice award. While its ride height and bulbous rear hatch can't hide its true identity, Alfa Romeo makes it look beautiful. Despite a small back seat and the brand's spotty reliability record—and the fact the Giulia Quadrifoglio sedan is lighter, lower, and at least as visceral—the 2022 Stelvio QF does what few SUVs can: deliver a truly dramatic driving experience.

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