On The Road

Pataky's picks for best cars on the road

There are plenty of technical things I could write about, but this month I decided to instead just focus on cars I like and like to work on.

Because I have been immersed in the automobile industry for most of my life, I look at cars differently than most people. I look at reliability first, then safety and finally comfort. I’ve learned over the years that comfort and reliability do not always go hand in hand.

In my eyes, Toyota and Honda are building the most reliable cars right now. The Honda Civic is probably one of the most dependable cars on the road, but for years it lacked in the comfort department – as did Toyota’s Corolla and Camry models.

As far as the Civic and Camry go, that changed around 2016. The new-generation Civic has gained more space in the interior, and Honda has added new trim levels and sports packages.

The Corolla has made big leaps as well. If you are looking for a solid small to midsize sedan, the 2016 and up Corolla and Civics are great choices. I also like the late-model Mazda 3, but the Toyota and Honda models still have a leg up.

The car line I have progressively seen make strides in safety is Subaru. While most manufacturers are making more safety features standard – back-up cameras, traction control and lane assist – it seems to me that Subarus hold up better in accidents.

The one new Subaru I really like is the Ascent. It is the big brother to the Legacy Outback and offers seating for seven. The third-row seats are a bit small, but an adult can still sit in them. The Ascent also has decent cargo space in the back.

The one thing I truly love about Subaru is that almost anyone is happy to own one. First-time drivers, college and high school students, young and middle-age professionals, older drivers, sport enthusiasts and families all love to drive this car.

As for the European cars, I’m still partial to BMW. While they are not the most economical cars to drive, I like the comfort, power and safety they provide. My family has a 2016 BMW X5 eDrive hybrid and a 2011 BMW X5 diesel. I have enjoyed both cars immensely, though I was sad to hear that BMW is no longer selling diesels in the U.S.

My favorite aspect of BMWs is how well their dash interface works. Everything you need is at your fingertips: pairing your phone, navigation, entertainment, lighting, car information, car settings and more. These things, plus the overall ease of driving, make the BMW X5 an especially exhilarating car to pilot.

Matt Pataky owns Sunnyvale Foreign Car Service, 15 Pioneer Way, Mountain View. For more information, call 960-6988, email [email protected] or visit sunnyvaleforeigncar.com.

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