The Year's Most Impressive 3

In the final 2016 edition of Driver’s Notebook, here is a quartet of stellar cars in different classes that you should strongly consider.

It has been a great year for Driver’s Notebook covering the new models of 2016 and having the opportunity to test drive what is in store for 2017. Besides the fine models we already featured leading up to this end-of-the-year edition, here are four automobiles you should strongly consider ranging from a sporty convertible to one of the most accommodating SUVs for large families. Happy motoring!

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

This gorgeous convertible has been revered for its sleek styling, a very responsive SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine boasting 155 horsepower, and dynamic handling technology to make any errand an adventure. Although available in automatic, the strongly recommended six-speed manual transmission provides the true racing experience. The Miata’s hardcore following of fanatics is certainly justified.

Fuel Economy: 27 city/ 34 highway/ 30 combined

Base Price: $28,600; As Reviewed: $32,820

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2016 Honda Civic 1.5T 4D Touring

Hondas have been consistently reliable, high quality, and fuel efficient over the years, but this tenth-generation Civic adds one special element: all-new body styling with welcomed curves and a sportiness, unlike any past models. Add the spacious cabin, solid ride, a plethora of amenities, and the 1.5-liter DOHC heart pumping 174 horses while maintaining a combined 35 miles to the gallon, it’s a steal starting at $26,5000.

Fuel Economy: 31 city/42 highway/35 combined

Base Price: $26,500; As Reviewed: $27,335

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2016 Subaru Forrester 2.5i Premium

For those who want to go against the mainstream and still have an automobile that is roomy, practical a great value, and still fun to drive, look no further than the 2016 Subaru Forrester 2.5i Premium with AWD. The five-star safety rating with their signature EyeSight Driver-Assist System featuring pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control will also boost the confidence of owners behind the wheel of this impressive crossover.

Fuel Economy: 24 city/32 highway/ 27 combined

Base Price: $24,795; As Reviewed: $28,540

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Sneak Peek:

2017 Ford Explorer Platinum 4WD

Taking five adults and one child to Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the 2017 Ford Explorer with 4WD and 3.5-liter V6 ECOBOOST Engine met multi-terrain challenges with ease, while the Platinum trim added to the luxurious feel throughout the cabin. The all-new SYNC3 infotainment interface with an 8-inch touchscreen is more hi-tech, yet much easier to use than past Ford models, and the Explorer’s new styling will certainly turn heads. This is a winner for especially big families, providing comfort, numerous safety features, and state-of-the-art entertainment. The future looks bright for Ford.

Fuel Economy: 16 city/22 highway/ 18 combined

Base Price: $53,235; As Reviewed: $55,025

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