Driver Notebook’s Triple Play

2019 Subaru Ascent Limited

Naming Subaru’s all-new large SUV the “Ascent” justly reflects the automaker’s progression. For up to eight passengers, there’s a plethora of standard features including 60/40-split folding seats in the two back rows, a rearview camera, tri-zone automatic climate control, a quartet of USB ports, a power rear gate, multiple smartphone integration, all-wheel drive on 20-inch alloys, and high-speed LTE WiFi, while towing up to 5,000 pounds. A $2,950 upgrade brings a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system; signature STARLINK multimedia connectivity; and a panoramic power moonroof for optimal stargazing during camping trips with the entire family and then some.

Price: $38,995 (Limited); $42,920 with all options.

For more information, visit


2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Quad Cab 4×2

This reigning 2019 North American Truck of the Year is simply a stunner. Reviewed with the muscle-flexing 5.7-liter V8 HEMI engine packing 395 horses; sedan-like handling; a captivating 12-inch touchscreen display; premium leather-trimmed bucket seats; and technology upgrades including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto confirm the accolades. With seven trims available—the Tradesman, HFE, Big Horn, Longhorn, Limited, Rebel, and this Laramie model—the Ram 1500 leaves virtually nothing to be desired.

Price: $39,495 (Base price); $54.480 with various package upgrades.

For more information, visit


2019 Optima SX Turbo

When it comes to a stylish sedan with power and value, the KIA Optima SX Turbo effortlessly fits the bill. Already hosting a gracious roster of techy capabilities and safety features coming standard, it’s this particular trim’s turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder heart with six-speed transmission peaking 245 horsepower raising the ante. Complementing the welcomed augmentations to the headlights, taillights, and 18-inch alloy wheels, the tester’s “Titanium Silver” paint and SX Red Color Package perfectly embraced its racing theme.

Price: $31,900 for the SX Turbo edition

For more information, visit