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Love at First Sight: 5 New Cars That Offer More Than Just Good Looks

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author photo by Doug DeMuro February 2016

Valentine's Day is coming up, and that got us thinking about new cars, which is probably why we don't have a Valentine. Specifically, we started thinking about how cars look, and we realized something: Most attractive cars are also fatally flawed. Think about it: Most beautiful cars are either too expensive to buy, too impractical to own or too questionably reliable to drive for a long period of time.

So are there any cars out there that offer more than just good looks? Cars with beauty and brains, if you will? We think there's plenty of options, and we've listed a few examples. Yes, every new model on our list is attractive, but that's not all. Each one also touts a few other benefits that ensures your attraction is less "puppy love" and more "long-term relationship."

Chevrolet Malibu

The recently redesigned Chevrolet Malibu proves that a midsize family sedan can still be gorgeous. Featuring bold new styling with sharp lines and sporty creases, the Malibu offers an almost sports-car-like design -- one that stands out far beyond most traditional midsize sedans. But the Malibu isn't all about its looks. The midsize sedan offers a fuel-efficient hybrid variant, along with an impressive array of equipment that includes a self-parking system, a heated steering wheel, a wide range of safety gadgets, heated and ventilated front seats and leather upholstery. Best of all, it's surprisingly affordable. The Malibu starts at around $22,500 with shipping, while the upscale Premier model is $31,800 including destination. Those figures are highly competitive with rivals, proving that you don't have to spend a fortune for a standout design.

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Lexus RC

The Lexus RC offers a bold, handsome look that stands out from virtually every Lexus made before it. In addition to a sleek coupe body style, it also offers a long hood to indicate a big engine, an aggressive front end and attractive character lines down both sides, all of which help to distinguish it from most other new cars. Regardless of your opinion, the beautiful and bold RC is a looker. But unlike many coupe rivals, the RC has a trick up its sleeve. It also touts excellent reliability, boasting traditionally strong Lexus durability and long-term dependability. Plus, despite the RC's exotic-car looks, it's supported by a dealership network that means finding parts and service will be much easier than for example, an Aston owner. That means the RC is both striking and low maintenance -- a good combination. And prices are surprisingly reasonable. The RC's base price of $41,000 with shipping undercuts the BMW 4 Series by around $2,000.

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Lincoln MKC

If you're in the market for a luxury crossover, you'll find some models with strange styling (such as the Lexus NX) and some with a more simple, traditional look (such as the Mercedes GLC). But the recently released Lincoln MKC offers an especially attractive design, touting excellent proportions that help it stand out in the crowded compact-luxury-crossover segment. And yet, the MKC has more to offer than just its good looks. It's also highly practical, touting a roomy, comfortable interior, a wide array of modern gadgets and efficient engines that return up to 20 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. With prices starting at a reasonable $34,100 with shipping, we suspect the MKC is one crossover you'll still like even after you've grown accustomed to its good looks.

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Porsche Cayman

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The Porsche Cayman is a handsome coupe that offers the obvious benefits you'd expect from a Porsche: sleek styling, excellent performance and tremendous handling and cornering capabilities. You might be surprised to learn, however, that the Cayman can be a practical sports car, too. Yes, it only has two seats -- but the two trunks give it ample cargo space for most road trips. We also like its reasonable pricing (it starts from just $53,600 with shipping, which is affordable for a Porsche) and strong reliability, as Porsche tends to earn great reliability scores from J.D. Power and other experts. Even fuel economy is reasonable, as the Cayman returns up to 20 mpg city/30 mpg hwy. Simply put, the Cayman proves that a Porsche is about a lot more than good looks.

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Volvo XC90

There's no doubt that the new Volvo XC90 offers gorgeous looks, as it boasts near-perfect proportions for an SUV, much like its predecessor did. But the XC90 has a seemingly unending list of excellent traits to back up those good looks, ranging from a highly comfortable interior to an impressive infotainment system (with an amazing 12-inch touchscreen) and even a bold new engine that combines excellent power (316 horsepower) with a surprisingly impressive 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. There's even a plug-in hybrid version that offers lightning-fast acceleration and a fully electric range of around 17 miles. Although these benefits might have you thinking the XC90 is one of the most expensive luxury SUVs on the market, it's actually the opposite. The XC90's $44,900 base price actually undercuts popular rivals such as the BMW X5 ($55,700 and up) and Mercedes GLE ($52,100 and up).

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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