10 Cars To Watch at the 10th Annual Erie Auto Show

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The Erie Auto Show hits the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie, Pennsylvania today, and runs through Sunday, February 5. There are 10 vehicles not to miss when you visit this year:

Subcompact Car: Honda Fit

It’s not that the 2017 Honda Fit has been vastly updated for 2017, but it’s a vehicle that just works so well, it’s one you’ll definitely want on your radar. With the notable exception of the gimmicky tablet-like infotainment screen, it’s nearly a perfect automobile. Our BestRide of 2016 evaluations singled it out: “It’s not as zippy as the Hondas of a decade or so ago, and its infotainment system isn’t the best, but overall the Fit delivers much of what small-hatchback buyers want.”

Compact Car: Mazda3

The Mazda3 is simply where it’s at in the compact car segment, if the joy of driving an automobile is something you’re interested in. This segment has been littered with dull cars for so long that when something comes along as fun to drive as the Mazda3, it’s well worth your time to see. Our BestRide of 2016 evaluations called it “the clear winner if your commute includes as many corners and offramps as it does straight stretches of highway.”

Midsize Car: Hyundai Sonata

The midsize segment is just getting hammered thanks to the popularity of crossover SUVs, but that’s good news for you if you still enjoy driving a sedan. There are great options and good opportunities for discount pricing. One of our favorites this year was the Hyundai Sonata, which we singled out for “plenty of cargo room, a comfortable interior, and an intuitive infotainment system.”

Large Car: Kia Cadenza

Whether or not there’s a Kia Cadenza at the show — there wasn’t one at the New England International Auto Show — be sure to see one if you’re in the market for a large luxury car. It’s the best deal going in that segment, and the V-8 is one of the sweetest in the business. Earlier this year, we called it an “amazingly impressive car at a nicely affordable price.”

Subcompact Crossover SUV: Mazda CX-3

Like the Mazda3 in the compact car segment, the Mazda CX-3 is the one entry in the class that delivers as much driving fun as it does utility. The cargo area is smaller than others in this class, but you’ll still be able to haul a whole family’s worth of groceries from the Giant Eagle. We called out its “surprisingly low starting price of $19,960,” and the fact that it “drives more like a car than an SUV with ample power and a striking design.”

Compact Crossover SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

The choices in this vehicle class are all over the map, and so were the editors at BestRide, who all chose a different vehicle when asked for their favorite this year. The one that stands out, though, is the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. We called it “a screaming bargain,” and “the perfect size, with plenty of knee room for the driver and a large second row.” We noted that the 2.0L-Turbo engine is “a gem.”

Compact/Midsize Pickup: Honda Ridgeline

As schizophrenic as we were about the compact crossover SUV class, we were completely unanimous on the compact/midsize pickup offerings for this year: The Honda Ridgeline won hands down. It’s not the truck for you if you regularly haul a Bobcat or plow snow, but it’s the most comfortable vehicle in this class if you’re driving a pickup daily, and “the in-bed audio system along with power outlets and a built-in trunk that doubles as a cooler make this the ultimate tailgating vehicle.”

Full-Size Pickup: Ford F-250

The Ford Super Duty line of trucks is all new for 2017, switching over to aluminum bodies the way the F-150 did in 2015. What’s earth-shattering, though, is the Powerstroke diesel, with a jaw-dropping 925-lb.ft. of torque. It has the capacity to haul just about anything you could think of towing, and even in the lower trims is pretty well loaded with equipment. We said “the Powerstroke diesel pegs the price at over $51,000, but the 925-lb.ft. of available torque is an adequate salve to your scalded checking account.”

Luxury Sedan: Genesis G80

We were nearly unanimous with our choice for luxury sedan. You may remember Genesis as a model in Hyundai’s lineup, but last year it became its own brand, sort of the Hyundai version of Lexus. The G80 truly shows how far Hyundai has come over the last few years. It’s a spectacular automobile that should be on everyone’s mid-luxury shopping list. “It’s everything [you] want a true luxury car to be, at half the price of the European competitors,” we wrote.

Sporty Car: Ford Focus RS

All kinds of cars have come along that attempt to capture some of World Rally’s spirit, but the new Ford Focus RS really does it. It’s a hot rod in sheep’s clothing, that has the goods “to compete with full-blown rally cars, while providing occupants with effective climate control, satellite navigation and a killer sound system.”

The Erie Auto Show kicks off today, February 2, 2017 and runs through Sunday, February 5.  Hours at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie, Pennsylvania are:

Thurs. 12-8pm

Fri. 12-8pm

Sat. 10am-8pm

Sun. 10am-3pm

For more information, visit the Erie Auto Show website.

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Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at BestRide.com.