The 7 Best Cars for 2020 : Hard to choose the car of the Year

Best cars for 2020 : How do you pick the right Car of the Year when so many cars are so good? You can choose the car you’d drive if you had Wall Street money (Flash: Porsche 911 Named Car of the Year Again).

You can award the vehicle that drives over boulders (Flash: Jeep Gladiator Honored). You can call on your must-be-Motown roots (Flash: Corvette Wins Car of the Year Again), especially this year when the Corvette is a legit choice. But in the hands of others, that mindset also gave us the Chevrolet Vega, the Mustang II, the Chevrolet Citation, and the second coming of the Ford Thunderbird in 2002.

What about us? At The Verge Club 99, we’re looking for a highly competent car that is forward-looking on technology, safety, and driver assists: a car that has still-desirable features and tech when it comes off lease and goes to the next owner at three our four years of age. Seventy percent of cars sold each year are previously owned.

As for criteria, we have no price cap; some pubs say no more than 2.5X the average new car price, which average price in November was $38,400 according to KBB.com, excluding incentives, but we’d expect a lot more technology in a $100,000 car than a $25,000 car.

Our preference is the car be available to buyers by the beginning of the year, not vaporware. Plus, it should be fun to drive on top of the technical merits. Here’s the The Verge Club’s best Cars for 2020.

7/ Subaru Forester : Solid, Safe, On and Off Paved Roads

The Subaru Forester compact SUV: Different from the rest, and better.
The Subaru Forester compact SUV: Different from the rest, and better.

The fifth-generation Subaru Forester that debuted in 2019 remains true to its roots: rugged, reliable, standard all-wheel-drive, and easily cleaned inside and out with a fire hose (first remove the golden lab), or so the faithful claimed, except now the rubber floor mats are carpet. And there’s a lot of safety, standard, via Subaru EyeSight, a system using stereoscopic cameras.

For 2020, lane centering assist comes standard, in addition to full-range adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning/mitigation braking. DriverFocus tracks head movement and sounds an alert if you appear distracted; usually, it’s right.

Compared with our top ten Mazda CX-5, the Forester occupants sit more upright and have more legroom, and there’s more cargo room in back. The CX-5 is more fun to drive, while the Forester’s higher ground clearance make it better off-paved roads.

The Mazda, even with the non-turbo four, is quicker, while the Forester easily gets fuel economy in the 30s. Both are great in the snow, especially on winter tires.

6/ Hyundai Sonata is one of the best cars for 2020

Seen-it-all journos give the 2020 Car of the Year Hyundai Sonata the thumbs up.
Seen-it-all journos give the 2020 Car of the Year Hyundai Sonata the thumbs up.

In yet another Year of the SUV, where seven in 10 sales go to SUVs, crossovers, and pickups, the best new vehicle is a sedan: the 2020, eighth-generation Hyundai Sonata. Really. Sonata. Only once you have a) seen how good-looking the 2020 model is, b) gone through the list of standard safety technology and c) driven the Sonata can you fully understand the very neat trick Hyundai pulled off.

For starters, the following Hyundai SmartSense driver-assist features below are standard on all four trim lines of every 2020 Sonata (and the last is standard on the trims above SE that account for 85-90 percent of Sonata sales):

  • Stop and go adaptive cruise control (Hyundai’s term: “advanced smart cruise control”)
  • Forward collision warning, auto emergency braking, pedestrian detection (“forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection”)
  • Auto high beams (“automatic high beam assist”)
  • Lane keep assist (steers the car back from the lane edges)
  • Lane centering assist (“lane follow assist”)
  • Driver drowsiness detection (“driver attention warning”)
  • Dynamic backing guidelines for the (federally mandated) rearview camera.

This is every bit of driver assistance tech you’d expect on any 2020 car, even high-end cars.

Hyundai Blind Spot View Monitor (BVM) shows what’s in your blind spot (also beeps, flashes).

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