“What car should I buy?” It’s a question consumers ask themselves every day, but what would technical director Frank Markus drive? Keep reading for the answer, and see other editors’ picks here.
What? I gotta buy a new car now? I just “bought” an SUV (2019 Chevrolet Blazer AWD Premier), and my two-car household rule is to keep each vehicle for eight years, buying a new one every four so there’s only ever one payment. But fine, we’ll pretend my better half’s Smart ForTwo suffers a breakdown I can’t fix, forcing us to junk it now that our local Benz dealers have pretty much forsaken the brand. We will, however, need to limp that Smart (or use Lyft) for a few more months until the 2020 Cadillac CT4 arrives on the scene.
Mike’s two cars prior to the Smart were an Infiniti G20 and an Acura TSX, so the CT4 puts him right back in the compact luxury segment he briefly detoured out of. We’ve both been fans of Cadillac’s Art & Science aesthetic ever since it first appeared on the 1999 Evoq concept car. Mike looked long and hard at the first-gen CTS but chose the TSX because its interior was vastly nicer. Cadillac has upped its interior game substantially since then, and even the user interface is coming around to perfectly acceptable status nowadays.
We’ll be opting for the tried-n-true base 2.0-liter turbo-four and ten-speed automatic, not the zoomy V-Series. The base engine propels the much bigger CT6 adequately, so in a CT4 it should feel like an absolute g-sled—at least by comparison with a ForTwo. (I’m also a little skeptical of how smooth and refined that crazy-big 2.7-liter turbocharged truck motor is going to feel in the CT4 V-Series.) Should we opt for all-wheel drive? Michigan winters are plenty snowy, but our corner of the lower peninsula is flat enough that I’m going to spend a fraction of the likely $2,000 AWD option price on a dedicated set of winter tires and wheels I can swap on and off as necessary. The budget will see a likely 1-mpg highway fuel savings, and Mike might even detect marginally improved steering feel with rear-wheel drive.
An option we’re hoping makes the order sheet by the time the CT4 bows this fall: Super Cruise. It’s confirmed for the V-Series cars, so it seems likely Cadillac will at least offer it on the up-level base cars, as well. Having fallen in love with the early beta version of Tesla Autopilot, I’m eager to get more experience with GM’s fully fledged riff on that idea. Speaking of Elon-tech, the swift and stylish comparison-test-winning Tesla Model 3 for $42,900 (base rear-drive with the optional white-leather interior) would be a great candidate vehicle for Mike. Its range is sufficient to manage all the round-trip journeys he typically makes, and our garage is wired for EV charging. But having already tired of the 56-minute drive to Ann Arbor for Smart service, there’s no selling him on a 3-hour drive to our nearest Tesla dealer in Cleveland (Michigan’s dealer franchise laws still prevent Tesla from setting up shop in the mitten state).
If circumstances dictate that we buy before the CT4 is available (or if pricing proves too dear), either of MotorTrend’s last two Car of the Year winners would also serve our household needs with distinction. A base Alfa Romeo Giulia outfitted with all driver-assist features and a sunroof would cost us $43,990 including current regional incentives and would more strongly appeal to Mike’s aesthetic sensibilities. A $40,895 Genesis G70 2.0 with the Elite trim would make me a bit more comfortable on the things-gone-wrong front during the post-warranty end of our eight-year ownership window. Of course, the way things are going, I’m probably going to be telling you about yet another new vehicle I’d buy WAY sooner than eight years from now…
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