The 2018 model-year is bringing with it an array of new cars, trucks and crossover — with an emphasis on SUVs that matches up with the broad shift in the U.S. market away from traditional sedans and coupes.
All told, buyers can choose from close to 100 different completely new and updated 2018 models, a daunting challenge to those who might not know where to start. So, TheDetroitBureau.com is weighing in with 15 of our favorite picks for the new model-year. These are vehicles that offer stand-out styling, impressive performance, unexpected levels of standard features and the latest in high-tech infotainment and safety gear.
The list includes an assortment of domestic, European and Asian models. And after you read through you’ll understand why we think these 15 are the hottest new cars, trucks and crossovers for 2018.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio: You know you’ve done something right when your first-ever SUV is named one of three finalists for North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. The Stelvio comes as close as any ute now on the road in terms of delivering sports sedan-like performance and handling. That’s no surprise considering it shares many key components with the widely hailed new Alfa Giulia four-door. Stelvio launches with a 280 hp turbo-four coupled to a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. But it will soon be joined by the Quadrifoglio edition expected to bump that up to somewhere around 500 hp and, the maker claims, will make it the world’s fastest SUV. (Alfa claims Stelvio Quadrifoglio is fastest sport ute. Click Here for the story.)
Audi Q5: All-new A5, all-new assembly plant. Audi is all-in with the new, midsize crossover, the 2018 A5 a visual standout in a sea of sameness. The new ute delivers more room, more hardware and better performance, using a turbo-four linked to all four wheels to launch from 0 to 60 in just under six seconds. The all-glass instrumentation replaces traditional gauges with the Audi Virtual Cockpit and there’s a new touchscreen to complement the familiar Audi MMI control knob. It can recognize handwriting on the controller’s touchpad. Add a range of the latest advanced safety systems like blind-spot monitoring and emergency auto-braking. (Click Here for TDB.com’s first drive in the Q5)
Chevrolet Traverse: Visually, you’ll immediately recognize the 2018 Chevy ute, though it’s a little more stylishly wind-swept. Then again, step inside and you’re in for some big surprises, especially with the all-new Traverse High Country edition. The range-topper adds some decidedly up-market accents, including plenty of leather, power-fold rear seats, an upgraded audio system and more. Base models get a reasonably peppy 255 hp turbo-four, though the Traverse High Country comes standard with a 310 hp V-6 driving all four wheels. (For more about the Chevy Traverse, Click Here.)
Ford Expedition: Ford has long been a dominant player in the midsize and large SUV segment but it let its full-size Expedition age ungracefully. Now, it’s back in new – and lighter – form, sharing the same underpinnings as the latest, aluminum-intensive F-Series pickup. The 2018 Ford Expedition is more stylish, more powerful, and loaded with more high-tech gear, including the latest Sync 3 infotainment system and onboard WiFi. There’s also an array of advanced driver assistance systems like blind-spot monitoring and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking. (Ford goes off-road with new Expedition. Click Here for the story.)
Ford Mustang: Ford turned a lot of heads when it launched a redesigned version of its classic pony car for its 50th anniversary. But the 2018 turns this beauty into a beast. There’ve been any number of improvements made to the three engine packages, especially the Mustang GT’s new $6,500 Performance Pack Level 2 which is designed to move performance and handling to levels exceeded only by the latest Mustang GT350. But this is more than just a straight-line sled. The modified MagneRide suspension will keep the GT planted in corners like a supercar going for five times its price. (Click Here for details about the fastest Mustang ever.)
Honda Accord: Honda has found some impressive ways to upgrade its best-selling model, the Accord, for 2018. The midsize sedan is more than just a light makeover, getting an all-new four-door body – the coupe dropped for 2018 – riding on an all-new platform. There’s lots more room, as well as plenty of new features designed to give the ’18 Accord a class-above feeling. Even the base model now gets some luxury touches, such as LED low-beam headlamps. The new Accord is offered with a choice of two turbo four-cylinder engines, as well as the latest iteration of its hybrid drivetrain. (Click Here for a review of the all-new 2018 Honda Accord.)
Honda Odyssey: Reports of the demise of the minivan segment have been greatly exaggerated, or so Mark Twain might say. Chrysler hit a home run last year with the new Pacifica. Now, it’s Honda’s turn at bat and the Japanese automaker has hit its own one out of the park with the roomy, stylish and incredibly capable new 2018 Odyssey. It’s get a flexible seating system that makes it easy to get in and out or load cargo. There’s an array of new technologies, including a camera for parents to watch over kids – and an intercom to tell them to behave. Lots of infotainment gear, however, should keep the kids happy and behaved. (Check out our first drive in the 2018 Honda Odyssey. Click Here.)
Kia Stinger: Many may things of Kia products as “cheap and cheerful,” but the Korean carmaker has been delivering a lot of surprises in recent years – while also surging to the top of the quality charts. The new Stinger, Kia’s first true sports coupe, is already doing a lot to change the brand’s image. Stinger is sleek, sexy and a lot of fun to drive, especially when equipped with a 365-horsepower twin-turbo V-6. Even with a full array of standard and optional features it’s a bargain – and the first Kia to give serious challenge to sporty European luxury alternatives. (Click Here for a ride in the Stinger GT.)
Lexus LC: What started out as a concept car has been transformed into one of the most eagerly awaited production cars for 2018. The Lexus LC boasts the most striking styling ever offered by Toyota’s high-line brand, and this 2+2 delivers on what its looks promise. The 2018 Lexus LC500 is offered with a high-revving 471 horsepower V-8, while buyers also can opt for a more efficient 3.5-liter V-6 hybrid. For those who think of a Lexus as the boring car your accountant drives, the new LC500 (and hybrid 500h) will quickly change your perceptions. (Lexus finds SEMA inspiration in Marvel Studios offering. Click Here for more.)
Lincoln Navigator: Like the Ford Expedition, the Lincoln Navigator was long neglected. In fact, parent Ford gave serious thought to dropping it entirely. Wiser minds prevailed and the Navigator is back in all-new form. The look is familiar, if more modern, adapting styling cues from the rest of the Lincoln line-up, including the flagship Continental’s distinctive grille. It’s loaded with all the luxury features one might expect, from the 30-way power front seats to the optional 20-speaker Revel audio system. The 2018 Navigator opts for a new EcoBoost V-6 but still delivers great performance, cargo and towing capacity. (Click Here to see the new Navigator.)
Range Rover Velar: British maker Land Rover was one of the first to blend luxury features into a rugged, go-anywhere SUV with its original Range Rover line. That’s now expanded into a family of high-line utes, including the Evoque, Sport and, for 2018, the new Range Rover Velar. Starting at just under $50,000, it has pretty much all the luxury accoutrements one might expect of a traditional, high-line sedan, as well as the ability to traverse rocky trails and ford fast-moving streams – especially with the optional air suspension. The new Velar is being offered with a choice of three engines, including a high-mileage diesel and a supercharged, 380 hp V-6. (To see more about the Velar, Click Here.)
Subaru Crosstrek: Subaru started building crossover-utility vehicles when they weren’t cool yet, and early models like the Outback helped earn it a solid reputation and loyal following. Now, the Japanese maker is back with an all-new version of its compact Crosstrek and those familiar with the old model could be in for some big surprises. It’s more attractive and more feature laden, including the latest version of Subaru’s EyeSight suite of safety technologies. The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is primarily a “soft-roader,” but it boasts ground clearance that will let it manage some moderately challenging trails – or snow-choked roads. (Read about our first drive in the Crosstrek, Click Here.)
Toyota Camry: Let’s face it, Toyota products have traditionally won acclaim for their appliance-like quality and reliability. So, can the Japanese automaker also deliver a midsize sedan that pegs the needle on the “passion” scale? That was the goal as it set out to design the complete 2018 Camry makeover, and while the styling of the sedan may be controversial, it is clearly no longer a plain vanilla four-door. The new sedan is longer, lower, wider, roomier. It clearly moves up a few notches in terms of fun-to-drive performance and handling, as well. And there are plenty of new features, including auto-braking and an advanced infotainment system.
Volkswagen Atlas: VW has been slow to pick up on the SUV sales boom, but it’s aiming to make up for lost time by launching both a new – and larger, more upmarket – version of its old Tiguan, and the completely new 2018 Atlas. The German maker’s first three-row, seven-passenger model seems to be perfectly positioned for U.S. buyers who want a family hauler but who wouldn’t be caught dead in a minivan. It offers easy-access rear seating, as well as plenty of infotainment technology and next-generation advanced driver assistance systems. The VW Atlas is available with both four and six-cylinder drivetrain options, as well as front or all-wheel-drive.
Volvo XC60: Bigger is better? Not always? Think as the XC60 as the new-and-improved, downsized take on the Swedish marque’s award-winning XC90 sport-utility vehicle. The design is anything but boxy, and likely to surprise those who haven’t kept up with all the changes Volvo products have gone through in recent years. That said, the company hasn’t backed away from its traditional focus on safety, and the 2018 XC60 offers an array of new, and sometimes groundbreaking technologies. The latter includes Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which will guide you back into your lane if you mistakenly start to make a pass into oncoming traffic.