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    When hatchback or small SUV practicality isn’t enough, shoppers can turn to small pickups like the Ford Maverick. After falling out of fashion for a while, these light-duty compact trucks are back to offer an affordable alternative for DIY-ers. The Maverick’s clever interior storage and a 4.5-foot bed offer versatility, while a standard hybrid powertrain vaults its EPA estimates to 37 combined mpg.

      Just because affordable sedans are primarily front-wheel-drive doesn’t mean all-wheel drive is unattainable. The 2022 Subaru Impreza is the least expensive way to get the all-weather assurance of all-wheel drive in a sedan or hatchback. With a comfortable, spacious cabin and intuitive technology, the Impreza treats passengers well.

        The line between a hatchback and SUV can sometimes be faint, and the front-wheel-drive-only Hyundai Venue is caught in between. Though it offers ground clearance comparable to other small SUVs, the Venue lacks all-wheel drive as an option. Still, with a price tag just north of $20,000, the Venue is among the cheapest ways to sneak into the most popular segment.

          Those who can’t stretch all the way to $20,000 but want a new, reliable and fuel-efficient vehicle should consider the 2022 Nissan Versa. Despite its small footprint, the Versa offers excellent passenger space and a roomy trunk. Driving aids like forward collision warning and lane departure warning come standard. Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats are ergonomically friendly, though a few of our editors found they lacked lumbar support.

            Want a more practical shape? The 2023 Kia Soul is one of a handful of inexpensive and well-reviewed hatchbacks on sale. With car-like handling and SUV-like interior dimensions, the Soul is broadly appealing. A standard 2.0-liter engine is peppy for around-town driving, though passing maneuvers require some forethought. The continuously variable transmission mimics automatic gear changes, eliminating the usual droning noise. Handling is on par with sportier competitors thanks to balanced steering and controlled body motions.

            Democrats are pushing their landmark climate and health care bill toward final congressional approval. The House is debating the legislation and approval over solid Republican opposition doesn't seem in doubt, five days after Senate passage. A final congressional OK Friday would hand President Joe Biden a back-from-the-dead triumph on his top domestic goals. Democrats hope that will energize voters going into November’s congressional elections. The package is much smaller than Biden's original environment and social legislation that failed in Congress last year. But it's Washington's biggest ever effort on climate change, curbs pharmaceutical prices and gives Democrats bragging rights to addressing long-held party goals.

            With inflation raging near its highest level in four decades, Congress is poised to approve President Joe Biden’s signature Inflation Reduction Act. Its title raises a tantalizing question: Will the measure actually do what it says? Economic analyses suggest that the answer is likely no — not anytime soon, anyway. The legislation, which is headed for final approval Friday and will then be signed into law, won’t directly address some of the main drivers of surging prices — from gas and food to rents and restaurant meals. Still, over time, the bill could save money for some Americans by lessening the cost of certain prescription drugs for the elderly, extending health insurance subsidies and reducing energy prices.

            Health officials say it is possible that hundreds of people in New York state have gotten polio and don’t know it. The pronouncement came Friday after they said the virus that causes the potentially deadly disease has been detected in New York City’s wastewater. Authorities say the presence of the virus in wastewater suggests that it is circulating locally. They are urging parents to get their children vaccinated. One person suffered paralysis weeks ago because of a polio infection north of the city. Most people infected with polio have no symptoms but can still give the virus to others for days or weeks.

            LGBTQ and health groups have denounced a new rule by Florida health officials set to take effect later this month to restrict Medicaid insurance coverage for gender dysphoria treatments for transgender people. Online records show the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration filed the new rule Aug. 1, and it is set to take effect Aug. 21. The state agency previously released a report stating that puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and sex reassignment surgery have not been proven safe or effective in treating gender dysphoria. Several LGBTQ groups issued a statement Thursday saying the AHCA is ignoring thousands of public comments and expert testimony by finalizing a discriminatory and medically unsound rule.

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            Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

            Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

            If you want a renter-friendly kitchen upgrade, using peel and stick tiles is a great way to change the look. TikTok creator @diydalia used a stone-look peel and stick and added some spackle to make it look more realistic.

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