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The 10 Best Cars of 2019

Next year is looking already starting to look like a banner year for new cars, with several genuinely iconic models up for renewal, including the new BMW3 Series, the Toyota triumvirate of Corolla, RAV4, and Camry, Citroen’s C5 Aircross, new versions of the Renault Clio and Opel Corsa, and much more besides.

2019 could, should, also be the year when electric cars finally start to make significant inroads into sales, but that is as ever hugely dependent on factors outside of the control of the car makers, most notably the provision of reliable, fast, public charging points.

Take your time to go through our Top 10 Cars for 2019 list.

 

1 : Jaguar I-Pace – Top place for the cool electric cat

 

Price: From $70,000
On sale:  Early 2019
Best model: I-Pace SE

The I-Pace’s styling takes inspiration from both the practical F-Pace SUVand the low-slung F-Type sports car. Its narrow headlights, large square grille and sloping roofline all resemble the firm’s swoopy sports model while the angular brake lights and heavily contoured sides give it a more imposing, SUV-like presence.
The styling looks better every time we see it, it uses Jaguar’s best interior design in some time, and it’s genuinely, enormously, engagingly, fun to drive.

All I-Paces come with a beefy 90kWh battery pack and two electric motors driving all four wheels. These two motors work together to produce 400hp and will sprint the I-Pace from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds – that’s faster than a Porsche 911 Carrera sports car.

Downsides? The 300 miles range is a fiction (more like 240 miles, which is still pretty good) and we need further convincing on the quality front.

 

2: Audi E-Tron – Build quality shines through in latest electric SUV

 

Price: From $75,000
On sale: Early 2019
Best model: E-Tron 55 Quattro

Should the German really be ahead of the Jaguar? On the plus side, you’ve got Audi’s rock-solid build quality. Yet that has to be weighed against a styling that does its best to be as bland as possible. Audi achieved some major innovations with the new car, but decided to use the cookie-cutter styling of its Q5. It’s infuriating when you consider all it had to do was take the gorgeous Q8 as the template and hey presto, a winner all round.

There are other annoying features, like the fact all the unique electric car data features are buried inside the usual control systems. And the E-Tron’s other major talking point – cameras replacing wing mirrors – turns out to be a wasted effort, much more expensive yet far less useful than a regular mirror.

For all that, it packs an electric punch in terms of performance, while the low centre of gravity due to the battery under the floor means it handles much better than your regular crossover fare.

 

3: BMW 3 Series – Back on top of its game

 

Price: From $42,000
On sale: March 2019
Best model: TBC but probably a 320i

The new BMW 3 Series has returned to its core strengths after a few wobbles in recent generations. The styling could take some getting used to, while the motion control and voice activate systems are barely ready for Beta-testing never mind public use.

It is devilishly good to drive though, with ultra-sharp steering and chassis balance to burn. On top of which it manages to be roomier and more refined than the outgoing model. This could be the 3 Series with which to make the jump back to petrol-power, too. The new 320i and 330i have impressive Co2 figures, and there is a plugin hybrid model on the way.

 

4: Mercedes-Benz E-Class – The king of its class

 

Price: From $54,000
On sale:  Early 2019
Best model: E220d Estate AMG-Line

Still the most impressive luxury four-door saloon around, in spite of encroaching competition from Audi’s A6 and new Lexus ES, and with the spectre of the BMW 5 Series hovering constantly over its shoulder.

The E-Class really is a class act, though, from its gorgeous interior to its calm, assured, but still entertaining chassis. All but a handful are sold with diesel power, which perhaps isn’t in keeping with the zeitgeist, but there are more options – including plugin hybrids using both petrol and diesel power – on the way, which is good news. Sporting full-blooded AMG variants mainline lunacy for kicks, but it’s the useful, handsome estate that draws us in the most.

 

5: Lexus UX – A hybrid crossover that’s proper premium on the inside

 

Price: From $45,000
On sale: Febrary 2019
Best model: UX 250h in mid-spec Executive probably best

This Lexus has three things going for it: it’s a crossover, it’s a hybrid and it’s proper premium inside. That should be more than enough to lure a queue of punters outside dealerships these days.

Sure it has its flaws, notably in the back seat where legroom is on a par with a sports coupe: we certainly wouldn’t want to be stuck back there on a road trip around the ring of Kerry. But there are more than enough empty-nesters and young families that don’t regularly need adult legroom in the back.

While it’s based on the same underpinnings as the Prius, the crossover roots of this car is back to the Toyota C-HR, which is good in its own right but with a hybrid system that didn’t make the most of the chassis. Lexus has listened and opted for an all-new 2-litre petrol engine instead of the 1.8-litre in the hybrid Toyotas. It has none of the lag or whine that dents our fondness for the Toyota C-HR and makes us prefer the 1.2-litre petrol version of that car.

The UX offers a flavour of electric motoring at a price point in line with petrol and diesel rivals. That’s the lure. The high-end finish and the driving pleasure are what will get potential buyers to sign on the dotted line.

 

6: Mazda 6 – Revamped family saloon delivers satisfaction

 

Price: From $36,000
On sale:  Early 2019
Best model: Mazda 6 Tourer Executive SE Leather 2.2d 150hp

Freshly updated the Mazda 6 proves that a big family four-door saloon can still be one of the most satisfying cars around.
The new grille and lights add a rather surprising level of freshness to the otherwise familiar looks, while the few tweaks to the cabin lift what was already an impressive level of fit and finish.

A shame that the infotainment system is so old-fashioned but we’d be prepared to live with that because the 6 is so darned good to drive.

Sharp steering, a responsive chassis, and a comfortable ride quality remind you of what life was like before SUVs. The 2.2 diesel engine is best-sampled in 150hp form (don’t bother with the 180hp version) but the 2.0-litre petrol feels a touch flat.

 

7: Toyota Camry – Trust us, this sensible hybrid saloon is worth the wait

 

Price: From $45,000
On sale:  Early 2019
Best model: Not sure yet

After the demise of the slow-selling Avensis, Toyota will bring the Camry back to the UK next year. The new car will give fleet buyers a front-wheel-drive saloon option. It’s slightly larger than the Avensis and has a hybrid powertrain, so the new Camry is likely to cost a little more than its predecessor.

This time, it’s got a 2.5-litre, but it’s a hybrid, so Co2 emissions will be impressively low. It’s unfashionably big, saloon-shaped, and most definitely and defiantly not an SUV, which is one of the major reasons we like it so much. It’s no sports saloon, but it’s smooth, very comfortable, very refined, and should be decently economical.

It’s not cheap, but it’ll still be working, perfectly, when the universe is approaching its heat death in around 50-billion years’ time, so there’s that.

 

8: Ford Focus – Hugely impressive but lacking its usual sharpness

 

Price: From $25,000
On sale:  Early 2019
Best model: 1.5 TDCI Wagon ST-Line

It’s a little hard to know what to do with the new Focus. Taken from a purely objective perspective, it’s hugely impressive. Build quality has definitely taken a step up towards VW Golf levels (even if it’s not quite there yet) and for the first time since 2012, here’s a Focus with a properly roomy cabin (even if it continues to lack the vast boot of the MkII Focus).

Plus, the infotainment system (so important these days) is impressive and the 1.0-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engines are very good. And Ford had a rush of blood to the head and chopped the prices to a more palatable level just after the car was launched. So what’s the problem? The fun – by which we mean the steering sharpness – has gone. Go for the estate model; it has more sophisticated rear suspension and is sharper to drive.

 

9: BMW i8 – Setting the template for future supercars

 

Price: From $183,000
On sale:  Early 2019
Best model: i8 Coupe

Updated for 2019 with a bigger battery (which means you get the same 50km one-charge range, even though it’s now being tested on the tougher WLTP-based fuel economy and emissions tests) the BMW i8 remains, arguably, the coolest supercar around.

Of course, it’s not really a supercar. No car with a 230hp three-cylinder Mini Cooper engine can seriously be considered such, even if there’s two electric motors on board to help propel it to BMW M3-style pace, it’s still not what you’d call ‘proper’ quick. That said, it never feels slow, and the fake engine noise (projected to the outside as well as the inside to impress passers-by) is all but flawless at covering up the three-cylinder’s whirring. Plus, it does definitely count as a supercar in the attention grabbing stakes, with those concept car lines, and those ultra-cool doors. Roadster version is achingly cool, but not quite as sharp as the coupe to drive, and lacks any rear seats.

 

10: Lexus LC – Staggeringly pretty sports car with a compelling drive

 

Price: From $126,000
On sale:  Early 2019
Best model: LC500h Sport

Staggeringly pretty big coupe hides, under that dramatic skin, either cutting-edge hybrid tech, or an old-school non-turbo V8 engine that sounds like it’s fallen through a hole in time from the 1970s. Both make for an incredibly compelling GT experience, but it’s the looks of the LC that beguile you first.

While not everyone’s a fan of Lexus’s big-grille styling, it really works here and the LC’s slinky shape grabs almost as many admiring glances as any Ferrari would do.

Inside, it’s even better, with a truly gorgeous cabin whose build quality verges on the artisanal, and is only let down by a lack of rear-seat space and a fiddly infotainment setup. 500h Hybrid model is fast, almost silent, and still manages to be fun to drive.