Both in the natural world and the modern, man-made one, evolution is the key to survival. Such a fact is especially true in the business of making automobiles.

The world of cars have a rich history of innovation, trailblazers, and game-changers. Any car maker worth its salt knows to make significant efforts to contribute to the industry’s development. To do otherwise is to get left behind.

This is the reason why cars in the market today show off more feats of power and sophistication than those that come before them. We have compiled a list of such notable cars for the selective buyer looking to own the next phase of automobile evolution.

Mazda CX-5

The creation of Mazda’s  CX-5 compact crossover touts the company’s emphasis on refinement. Designed under Mazda’s KODO: ‘Soul of Motion’ philosophy, the impressive build of the CX-5 aims to “embody the dynamic beauty of life”. The exterior design is based on the idea of ‘refined toughness’, while the interior layout and details adhere to a human-centered approach in line with the jinba-ittai principle, the Japanese concept of unity between a horse and its rider.

The sophisticated design and the advanced systems accompanying Mazda’s proprietary SKYACTIV engine aims to elevate the driving experience for both driver and passengers alike. The premium compact crossover is equipped with G-Vectoring Control (GVC), the first system to enhance driving feel and improve passenger riding experience under the new SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS technologies.

The CX-5’s predictive i-ACTIV all-wheel drive attempts to build on this through the monitoring of driving conditions, from outside temperature to throttle input and braking patterns. It then preemptively and seamlessly optimizes torque distribution to help curb traction loss. The car also boasts of features like the i-STOP Idle Stop System, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive LED Headlamps, and the interior MZD Connect, which works with smartphones to provide a comprehensive, hands-free, and voice-activated connectivity system.

Honda HR-V

Honda’s new 2018 HR-V comes with the modern sporty styling cues and advanced technology features that are to be expected from the company’s subcompact crossover SUV line. The HR-V aims to give customers a stylish and capable crossover with Honda’s distinctive flexible utility and convenience elements.

For 2018, the HR-V introduces new exterior styling cues that aim to give the vehicle a signature yet familiar Honda front fascia and a functional yet futuristic styling. The design of which complements the new 17-inch Sport Black Alloy Wheels that serve to give an aggressive physicality to the car’s presence on the road.

Within the car’s interior are features like the new 7-inch Touch Screen System, equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for intuitive smartphone connectivity, and the high center console which projects a sports car-like feel to the driver and passenger.

Beneath the hood, Honda’s established 1.8 Liter SOHC i-VTEC engine produces a maximum power of 142 ps at 6,500 rpm and 17.5 kg-m of torque at 4,300 rpm. Mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) developed based on Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology, the engine and transmission provide responsive performance, acceleration and improved fuel efficiency. Meanwhile, Honda’s Eco Assist System, which consists of the ECON mode and Eco-Coaching Ambient Light, helps encourage fuel-efficient driving.

Suzuki Ciaz

Suzuki’s entry into the compact car segment aims to attain a blend of sportiness with elegance. Aiming to please drivers who believe that ‘good enough isn’t good enough’, the sedan is designed to incorporate stylish elements that add a touch of sophistication, while its lean yet expansive body creates an air of exclusivity. In addition to this, the interior of the Ciaz brings a new dimension to the crafted exterior design. The high-quality instrument panel and upholstery, a wide range of advanced feature and amenity aim to elevate the driver and passengers’ travelling comfort and convenience.

The Ciaz features Suzuki’s refined K14B engine, which further builds on the car’s aerodynamic and lightweight body. The suspension is tuned to optimize responsive and assured handling while providing superior ride comfort. The combination of the suspension and rigid body provides a perfect fit that enhances driving stability and NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) performance.

 Suzuki claims that the new Ciaz is made for those who are driven to excel. Inspired by the ever-evolving expectations of sedan buyers, the Ciaz is developed to be what the company believes what an “Authentic Sedan” should be, an ideal which combines a roomy comfortable cabin and a great driving performance with excellent fuel efficiency. All of these come with a stylish design that will inspire pride of ownership.

Hyundai Ioniq

With the hybrid Ioniq, Hyundai is taking the next step towards evolution through technology. Along with the benefits of being a hybrid-powered car, the Ioniq takes things to a new level with thoughtful amenities, advanced safety features and ingenious design. Safety features like the car’s Available Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection can help warn and guide drivers through a potential collision, while the Available Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert provides audible and visual alerts if a vehicle is detected in the driver’s blind spot.

Technology inside the Ioniq is also decidedly more personal. With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, drivers can put their smartphone apps right on Ioniq’s touchscreen, giving them information and entertainment via a familiar interface. The car also features wireless device charging for compatible smartphones.

Furthermore, the design of the Ioniq is rooted in the eco-friendly nature of the hybrid car. From the bio-fabrics to the recycled plastics used to create the headliner, carpeting and door trim, even the interior of the Ioniq shows off an eco-conscious side. Interior surfaces and textures are the result of the inventive use of eco-friendly materials. Sugar cane accounts for 25% of the raw materials used in the interior’s soft-touch door trim panels. While recycled plastic combined with powdered wood and volcanic stone reduces the weight of some interior plastics up to 20%. — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran