News Feature – Rob’s Top Five Drives from 2019:It was s Supra year

Starting price is $105,000 before destination fee and taxes.

Fourth – Jeep Gladiator 2020

The 2020 resurrection of the Jeep pickup realizes promises to follow predecessors from 1947-1992.

“First and foremost, it had to be a great pickup,” Jeep execs told me.

And the truck they built boasts best-in-class tow ratings of up to 3,469 kg (7,650 lb), up to 725 kg (1,600 lb) payload capacity, beefy Dana 44 axles and the biggest brakes in the segment. The cargo box features a three-position tailgate, under-rail bed lighting, an available 115-volt (400W) outlet and integrated tie-downs.

“But it has to be a great Jeep, as well,” they added.

Wrangler DNA includes round headlights, a seven-slot grille, the iconic CJ-heritage profile, trapezoidal wheel arches, convertible options and Trail Rated badging all round.

FCA’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 (285 hp, 260 lb/ft) with ESS is mated to a six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic and three four-wheel drive choices.

And a 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V-6 engine (260 hp, 442 lb/ft) will be added in 2020. MSRP from $47,245.

Third – Pleasure-Way Plateau-TS 2019

And now for something completely different…

Among the different-sized motorhomes we started exploring last year was this favourite – a Class B Pleasure-Way Plateau-TS model.

Building on the Mercedes-Benz 3500 Sprinter, complete with 3.0-litre BlueTEC diesel V6 (188 hp, 325 lb/ft) and dynamic techs, this Canadian-customized RV out of Saskatoon adds premium fittings and all the (compact) comforts of home – a galley with two-burner propane stove, fridge/freezer, microwave, TV, power-folding sofa/queen bed, shower/toilet and plenty of comfortable storage and accommodation for two.

Solar panels, Dual Eco-Ion 100 Ah lithium batteries and a generator allow for boondocking off the beaten path. Pleasure-Way has earned a revisit spot on our list of future rental choices or a potential purchase.

Starting price is $182,000.

Second – Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate 2019

Looking for a family vehicle this past year, we circled around SUV/crossover mixes of ability, utility, comfort and cargo room.

The Santa Fe ticked off all the right boxes, starting with Hyundai’s inclusive dollar-value content levels and culminating in the top-end equipment level of Ultimate trim.

When a price-reduced demo model in a lusted-for Lava Orange shade came available, we snapped it up and promptly put it to the test with a six week road trip to Seattle and back.

An optional 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder (235 hp, 260 lb/ft), provided passing punch and a 3,500 lb tow rating.

And 10,000 km passed easily with the civilities of driver-assist techs, a Smart Power liftgate, panoramic sunroof, heated/ventilated power seats, a head-up display, an eight-inch tablet-style touch-screen display with nav, Apple CarPlay, wireless cellphone charging and 630-watt 12-speaker Infiniti premium audio. One of the smartest choices we made this year.

Starting price is $45,199.

First – Toyota GR Supra 2020

Funny that my first place favourite is also the vehicle I spent the least time in.

I did just an hour during AJAC Car of the Year testing, pacing around the car, studying its curvaceous angles, and swanning about country roads before burning a few hot laps on the track at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport).

But I was instantly enamoured by this beauty.

Sure, the faithful who have been impatiently waiting for a new Supra from the Land of the Rising Sun might grouse about an incarnation that is as Japanese as a fraulein in a kimono, being Austrian-built with BMW Z4 underpinnings and a lot of other pieces from German parts bins.

But, as far as underpinnings go, a Z4 platform is a pretty good place to start from, the 50/50 weight distribution, low centre of gravity chassis enhanced by 3.0-litre power (335 hp, 365 lb/ft) channeled through rear-wheel drive.

The Supra is a viable coupe alternative to the Z4 roadster. And it is sexy, stylish and sticks to the track like snot on a screen door.

Now, let me just check those savings account numbers . . . .

Pricing starts from $64,990 not including destination fees and taxes.