In every new vehicle’s lifespan between full redesigns, there is usually a refresh or what’s called a “midcycle update.” A refresh varies from minor design tweaks to new engines and improved in-car tech. It’s a way to keep a vehicle looking and feeling fresh after a few years on the market.
Knowing when these updates occur can net you a noticeably better vehicle. These models tend to come with new or more standard features. There’s also a decent chance that they are more reliable than the prior model years since the automaker has ironed out many of the issues found on earlier models. Edmunds experts selected five refreshed 2020 vehicles that savvy shoppers will want to look at.
2020 AUDI Q7
The Audi Q7 is Edmunds’ top-rated three-row midsize luxury SUV and has been on sale since 2017. For 2020, Audi gave the Q7 a new grille, redesigned bumpers and updated headlights. The interior now has a two-screen infotainment system and a new dashboard and center console.
While the two-screen setup looks great, some Edmunds editors found it cumbersome and overly complicated. Standard features now include three-zone automatic climate control and a panoramic moonroof. It’s also available with Audi’s latest driver aids. Audi has also replaced the Q7’s supercharged V6 with a more powerful turbocharged V6. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $55,795
2020 BMW 7 Series
The current version of BMW’s flagship sedan debuted in 2016. The refreshed 2020 7 Series gets updates to both the design and engines. The most notable styling change is a larger grille. It’s divisive but gives the 7 Series a distinct and bold design. It also receives redesigned LED headlights and taillights, hood, bumpers and front fenders.
The 7 Series is available with a variety of engines. A new turbocharged V8 makes 80 more horsepower than last year’s V8. There’s also an updated plug-in hybrid 7 Series that’s more powerful and can go 2 miles further on all-electric power than last year’s model.
While we like the current 7 Series, options add up quickly and can send the price well into the six-figure range. MSRP: $87,795
2020 GMC Acadia
GMC last redesigned its midsize SUV, the Acadia, for 2017. The 2020 update includes revised styling, new powertrains, more helpful technology features and an outdoorsy AT4 trim level.
The standard Acadia doesn’t look radically different from last year’s model. There are new LED headlights, a new grille, and new front and rear bumpers. Inside, the Acadia gets a redesigned center console with added storage space. The new AT4 trim provides a more rugged look with a black chrome grille plus special wheels and all-terrain tires.
Other changes include a new optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It slots between the underpowered base engine and the range-topping V6. It’s a good choice for getting a mix of pleasing power and fuel efficiency. MSRP: $30,995
2020 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is currently Edmunds’ top-ranked small SUV. Its combination of room, power, comfort and fuel efficiency is unmatched. Now, for 2020, the CR-V sports a refresh that includes more standard driver aids and a new hybrid powertrain.
It also comes with a new look for the grille, tinted taillights, dark-chrome exterior trim and LED foglights on all but the base trim. Inside, the CR-V packs a revised center console and an updated infotainment system, though even the new system’s graphics still look a little dated. Honda includes driver aids such as traffic-adaptive cruise control on all CR-V trims.
Additionally, Honda now offers a hybrid powertrain on the CR-V. Besides improved fuel efficiency ― the EPA estimates it gets 38 mpg in combined city/highway driving ― the CR-V Hybrid also makes more power than the standard CR-V. All-wheel drive is standard for the Hybrid, which is a boon for those who live in wet or snowy climates. MSRP: $26,170
2020 Nissan Titan
The second-generation Nissan Titan full-size pickup debuted for 2016. This 2020 refresh includes revised styling, new technology and driver aids, and an updated engine.
Visually, the 2020 Titan isn’t a huge departure from last year’s model. Inside there’s a redesigned center console for more storage space. We do wish, however, that Nissan would have spent some time updating the Titan’s otherwise lackluster interior.
The Titan gets updated in-car tech, including an optional 9-inch touchscreen infotainment display with crisper graphics. It also includes new features, including automatic emergency braking and traffic-adaptive cruise control, to help improve driver safety.
The Titan’s 5.6-liter V8 gets a slight power bump plus a new nine-speed automatic transmission that should be smoother-shifting than the old seven-speed. MSRP: $37,785
EDMUNDS SAYS: Knowing when an automaker will come out with an updated version of a vehicle you’re interested in can be an advantage. These refreshed models typically have new technology features, improved efficiency and updated styling.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds. Reese Counts is a vehicle test editor at Edmunds. Twitter: @rmcounts.