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Test Drive: Old & New

One of the odd qualities of the human psyche is our attraction to both the old and familiar and the new and novel. Just like we’re equally drawn to opposite ends of the spectrum in the automotive world.

Test Drive: Honda CR-V

(Photo: Honda)

If there’s a small SUV model that feels like it’s been around forever, it would be the Honda CR-V.

There’s a reason for this compact crossover’s longevity – namely the way it just seems to do everything well. This fifth-generation version now sports a turbocharged 1.5-liter, four-cylinder under the hood, an engine that gives it lively performance. Better still, it does so while delivering above-average Environmental Protection Agency fuel-economy numbers.

The nicely tuned suspension does a good job of smoothing out bumps and handling winding roads with grace and composure. The brakes feel strong, although the automatic emergency braking tends to overreact.

Perhaps the CR-V’s strongest suit is its spacious interior, with generous room for four grown-ups and plenty of places to stash odds and ends.

Keeping things fresh is the debut of the CR-V Hybrid – EPA rated at 40 mpg city and 35 mpg highway – making the CR-V at once both novel and familiar.

Test Drive: Kia Seltos

As the all-new kid on the increasingly crowded crossover SUV block, you might think it’d be hard to stand out. And yet, the Kia Seltos manages to do just that.

Built on the same underpinnings as the funkier Soul, the subcompact Seltos has a notable advantage over its sibling. Namely an available all-wheel-drive system designed mainly for bad weather.

The standard 146 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine should suit most buyers, but those who find it underwhelming can opt for the 175 horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter like that propelling the top SX model I tested. On the road it gives the Seltos more than enough acceleration for confident passing and freeway merging.

Inside, the Seltos offers a surprisingly adult-friendly back seat as well as a good-size cargo hold.

Figure in a long list of advanced safety features and the Seltos stands out as an attractive choice in a jam-packed segment.

Looking for a new ride? Check out more car reviews at AAA.com/TestDrive.

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