Getting to sample a number of vehicles in a short period of time over challenging roads is a good way to form some initial impressions, especially if it’s the first time behind the wheel. I had the opportunity to do that with a couple of vehicles as a participant in the Redline Rally in Colorado, where a small group of journalists drove seven vehicles up and over the Continental Divide from Denver to Durango. The vehicles include an Acura NSX, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Genesis G70, Honda Civic Type R, Nissan Altima, Subaru Forester and Toyota Supra. Here’s what I found:

2019 Acura NSX

,

The drive from the Denver airport to Red Rocks reminded me how easy the NSX is to drive in everyday situations. Most of the run was on freeways. With its low cowl and expansive windshield, the view forward puts the road in your lap. The hybrid nature of the powertrain provides smooth, seamless power at throttle tip-in. Like the original NSX, the newest iteration is docile in commuter mode, but comes alive when pushed hard. Its dual nature is both exotic and familiar. A supercar you can live with. Read more about the 2019 Acura NSX

2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia Q4

,

The Alfa Romeo has distinctive looks and is Exhibit A why handsome sport sedans should never become obsolete. While some may believe that all Italian cars should be red, the Giulia is both stunning and understated in Vesuvio Gray with satin finish wheels. The Alfa is fitted with supportive sport seats and a great sound from its Italian-bred 280-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine. The responsive steering and smooth, rapid shifts from its 8-speed automatic transmission make it a joy to drive. The Q4’s surefooted all-wheel drive made for quick, comfortable and calm motoring on mountain roads that went from sleet- and snow-covered to sunny and dry. Read more about the 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia

2019 Genesis G70

,

Not quite as expressive as the Alfa, the Genesis G70 still hits all the right notes when it comes to a great handling sports sedan. The G70 not only looks the part, with tightly tailored character lines and a bold grille, but delivers the goods when the road twists and turns. While it shares some of its mechanicals with the Kia Stinger, which is also no slouch when it comes to performance, I prefer the tidier package and more traditional 3-box construction of the G70. In addition to its good looks, solid handling and great power, the Genesis also has a handsome interior that features intuitive controls that allow you to remain focused on the road ahead. Read more about the 2019 Genesis G70

2019 Honda Civic Type R

,

A civilized pocket rocket is the best way to describe the 2019 Honda Civic Type R. While it has a wild rear wing and huge inlets that give it the most aggressive take on Honda’s quintessential hatchback, the Type R delivers its 306 horsepower in a linear and usable fashion despite being front- instead of all-wheel drive. Torque steer is minimal, and this hot hatch puts the power down seamlessly through its short-throw 6-speed manual. The aggressively bolstered sport seats keep you as firmly planted as the car is to the road. It’s a highly refined vehicle that has more in common with its distant NSX cousin than you’d think — both are easy and above all, fun to drive. Read more about the 2019 Honda Civic Type R

2019 Nissan Altima

,

Driving the Altima was a case of déjà vu. The model used in the Redline Rally was a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder all-wheel-drive version identical in color and specification to our new long-term Altima. And it was a great choice especially when the weather turned from early summer back to mid-winter in the higher reaches of the route. The Nissan may not have been the swiftest of the bunch, but it was one of the surest-footed thanks to its all-wheel-drive setup. And it’s roomy, comfortable and affordable — what’s not to like? Although I’m not a big fan of continuously variable transmissions, Nissan has continued to refine its version of this fuel-saving gearless box. Even though we were at altitude and climbing steep grades, there was little if any of the droning long associated with CVT technology. Read more about the 2019 Nissan Altima

2019 Subaru Forester

,

While the new Forester has been out for a bit, this was my first exposure to it and I came away favorably impressed, having a chance to not only drive, but ride in the second row, which I found quite accommodating. Best of all is the interior of the new model. Subaru has long built solid vehicles, but I’ve always felt that one of the keys to the brand’s affordability has been by skimping on the interior. Not so with the new Forester. The Touring model is particularly fetching thanks to its generous use of saddle brown leather on the interior. From behind the wheel, the seating position puts you in command of the road and the standard all-wheel drive is why Subaru seems to be the official car of the state of Colorado. If you buy a Forester there, you certainly won’t be alone. Read more about the 2019 Subaru Forester

2020 Toyota GR Supra

,

The all-new Supra has caused quite a stir and not just for its polarizing styling. To be sure, there’s plenty to look at from the outside of this two-seater, but the real deal can be found behind the wheel. Power is abundant from the turbocharged inline six — push down hard on the accelerator and you’ll believe the reports that more than the advertised 335 horsepower is being delivered to the rear wheels. The steering is sharp, the suspension well-tuned to match the sporting intent. The Supra is compact, quick and smile-inducing when driven in a spirited fashion. While some may bemoan the lack of a manual, the 8-speed paddle shift gearbox provides quick, positive shifts with the requisite throttle blips to make that point moot. The all-new Supra is big fun and its return to the Toyota lineup a welcome addition. Read more about the 2020 Toyota GR Supra

RELATED: 10 Best Features for Your Family Road Trip

 

Advertisement
New Car Spotlight

Advertisement

Advertisement
Free Dealer Price Quote

Get the best price and be more prepared with your free, no-obligation price quote