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Rallying 7 of the Latest New Cars Through the Colorado Rockies

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author photo by Chris O'Neill July 2019

Autotrader was recently invited to test several of the latest new cars on a 2-day drive from Denver International Airport to the historic mining town of Durango. Seven automakers took part, each of which brought along with it an exciting or interesting new vehicle from its 2019 lineup.

2019 Nissan Altima AWD

2019 Nissan Altima AWD

While it isn't as powerful as the more-expensive turbocharged model (which, oddly, is only available with front-wheel drive), I was glad that Nissan brought along an all-wheel drive-equipped Altima, although AWD makes virtually no difference in day-to-day driving on dry pavement. That said, knowing that all four wheels had traction at their disposal gave me some added peace of mind when I finally got behind the driver's seat of the Altima on day two of the event on a rainy, snowy mountaintop on the continental divide. One more thing -- the new Altima has USB-C ports. In the hyper-competitive midsize sedan segment, it's little things like this that set a vehicle apart. Find a Nissan Altima for sale

2019 Subaru Forester Touring

2019 Subaru Forester Touring

The Forester's strong points are its comfort and safety features. My favorite, and something not a lot of automakers offer, is a notification that pops up at traffic lights to let you know when the vehicle in front of you has moved, which helps any time you're caught not paying attention when the light turns green. Additionally, in the top-of-the-line Touring trim, the Forester had a charming brown leather interior along with a panoramic sunroof that allowed for a great view any time the drive took us through a tight canyon. Find a Subaru Forester for sale

2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia TI Sport AWD

2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia TI Sport AWD

The Giulia was the most surprising vehicle in the group. At first, I was a bit disappointed to see that it wasn't a more powerful Quadrifoglio, but the desire for more power quickly faded away as soon as I got behind the wheel. With extremely firm seats, a driving position that puts you right on top of the steering wheel, and big, mechanical column-mounted paddle shifters, the Giulia reacted with a sense of urgency that only an Italian car company would willfully engineer into a vehicle. Reliability and resale issues aside, the Giulia is a lot of fun, and offered perhaps the most visceral experience out of any vehicle in the group, and this is a group that included both an Acura NSX and a Toyota SupraFind an Alfa Romeo Giulia for sale

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T

2019 Genesis G70 3.3T

The G70 was a close second in terms of surprise and delight. While I didn't love the layout of the dashboard -- the angled center stack isolated the passenger a bit and made everyone feel a little claustrophobic -- there was very little else to criticize about this vehicle. Acceleration was strong, the power was always there, and material fit and finish was nearly on par with the Germans. It's remarkable to see a luxury brand like Genesis basically born out of thin air, and it's no wonder the G70 has received the awards it has in the short time it's been on sale. Let's just hope the dwindling midsize luxury sedan market stays afloat long enough to keep it relevant. Find a Genesis G70 for sale

2019 Honda Civic Type R

2019 Honda Civic Type R

With 306 horsepower, the Civic Type R is one of the most powerful FWD performance cars on the market. In my short time behind the wheel, I found it to be surprisingly livable, with a smooth shifter and quick, linear acceleration. Handling was dialed with minimal torque steer, and the interior is what you'd expect from Honda: sensible, quality design. I'm also glad that Honda opted to use the Civic hatchback's body style as the base for the Type R, because nothing goes together like practicality and performance. My favorite part about the Type R? The highly-bolstered bright red front seats and matching red seatbelts. Find a Honda Civic for sale

2019 Acura NSX

2019 Acura NSX

Clearly the NSX is something special and bespoke, and yet, it was familiar, as it shared both switchgear and it's clever, livable design with other products throughout the Honda and Acura lineup. As with any modern supercar, the NSX comes with drive modes for everything from leaving your neighborhood on a quiet Tuesday morning to ripping around the racetrack at high speeds. The NSX's hybrid motors are uniquely integrated, too. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 drives the rear wheels, while two electric motors drive the front -- there's no driveshaft running between the front and rear of the vehicle.

Unfortunately, I got behind the wheel of the NSX just outside the town of Ouray in the beginnings of what turned out to be a snowstorm. If you've ever driven the Million Dollar Highway (I highly recommend it if you haven't), you'll know that there isn't a lot of room for error, especially when traveling south (which puts you on the edge of a cliff). This meant I didn't get to push the NSX quite as much as I would have liked to, and I got out of the driver's seat only wanting more. Find an Acura NSX for sale

2020 Toyota Supra

2020 Toyota Supra

As far as the latest new cars go, there are few more interesting than the reincarnated Toyota Supra. Unfortunately, I wound up driving the new Supra through the worst of the snowstorm that started while I was behind the wheel of the NSX. Still, some takeaways. First, the Supra seems very much like a BMW product wearing a Toyota badge on the nose and tail. There's very little evidence of Toyota DNA in this thing. Either way, the fact that this car merely exists is still something worth getting excited over. Once behind the wheel, I found myself actually relieved that I wasn't surrounded by buttons and switchgear shared with the RAV4, as BMW's interiors are far and above nicer than Toyota's, and even Lexus' for that matter. In terms of actual driving, the Supra rips, with startling acceleration, sharp handling and an exhaust that crackles and pops when you let off the accelerator. Check out our official Supra review for more. Find a Toyota Supra for sale

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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.
Rallying 7 of the Latest New Cars Through the Colorado Rockies - Autotrader