Each year, automakers treat the world to plenty of all-new models and 2015 was no exception.
AutoGuide.com got behind the wheel of hundreds of new cars this past year, giving car shoppers the opportunity to get an up close and personal look before scheduling a test drive. As the year came to a close, we also had the chance to check out some exciting rides heading into 2016 model year including the all-new Honda Civic, Chevrolet Camaro and Toyota Prius.
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Let’s take a look back at 2015 and see what were the most popular reviews you clicked and commented on on AutoGuide.com.
We started off the year by taking the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 for a spin, and what a spin it was. Our Road Test Editor Mike Schlee summed it up best on the Corvette Z06 saying, “It’s stupid fast and the capabilities of this machine are ridiculous.” There were very few things we could find wrong about the iconic sports car, but we did love its power, brakes, grip and price. The Corvette Z06 is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine with 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque and starts from $79,990.
Honda did a lot of work this year and another model it introduced was the 2016 Honda Pilot, priced from $30,875. With a 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood providing 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, we loved its much quieter cabin, new safety features, cabin and cargo room as well as being the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid model in its class. To improve on the popular Pilot, the Japanese automaker put it on a diet, shaving nearly 300 pounds off its curb weight. It also replaced the aged five-speed transmission with a six-speed unit, while high-spec models get a nine-speed automatic.
For the past few years, Kia has made significant strides in the marketplace and the Korean automaker continued with a strong 2015. The all-new 2016 Kia Optima is available with three different engines with pricing starting from $22,675. Shoppers can choose from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque, a 1.6-liter turbo-four mill with 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, or a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 245 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. We praised the Optima’s quiet interior, slick styling, smooth driving dynamics and technology-packed packages, while we preferred to have seen a more exciting interior and more power.
The Acura ILX has had a bumpy start ever since it was introduced, but the automaker has been quick to make changes. Intent on fixing some of the issues of the original ILX, Acura made numerous changes for the 2016 model year with revised front and rear styling, multi-LED headlights and a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 201 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. The powerplant is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and pricing for the entry-level luxury sedan starts from $28,820. So what did we like about the updated Acura ILX? For starters, we enjoyed that the standard engine wasn’t so underpowered anymore and came away impressed with the performance of the dual-clutch transmission. In addition, the 2016 Acura ILX gets improved fuel economy returning 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Still, the ILX doesn’t feel particularly powerful and can be pricey once options are added on. We found that it also still needs more headroom to compete in the segment.
Sedans and sports cars weren’t the only segments that saw noticeable new additions this year. The pickup market got plenty of new entries with our 2016 Toyota Tacoma review proving quite popular. Available with either a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque or a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 hp and 256 lb-ft of torque, we came away impressed with the new Tacoma’s improved fuel economy, overhauled interior and transmission performance. The Tacoma features a six-speed automatic or manual, while the four-cylinder-equipped models can be had with a five-speed manual. Pricing on the 2016 Toyota Tacoma starts from $24,200 and our biggest complaints were seating position and rear seat space.
One pickup that really impressed the crowd this year was the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Diesel, earning AutoGuide.com‘s Reader’s Choice Truck of the Year award. Sporting a 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel engine with 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, the Colorado Diesel returns 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with two-wheel drive, while the four-wheel-drive model is good for 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Priced from $33,520, we were impressed with the Colorado Diesel’s torque, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) as well as its integrated trailer brake. We did notice a slight turbo lag in terms of performance and weren’t too thrilled with its low ground clearance.
Not everyone is thrilled at the idea of a four-cylinder Ford Mustang, but the EcoBoost variant has proved to be a worthy addition to the sports car’s lineup. Under the hood is a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 310 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy is respectable with 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, but arguably the most attractive aspect of the EcoBoost Mustang is its $26,125 price tag. Despite the fact that it’s not a naturally aspirated V6 or V8 under the hood, we loved the Mustang’s engine power, handling, looks and price, while we gave thumbs down to its fake engine sound and rear seat space.
Admittedly, the 2015 Jeep Renegade is an interesting addition to the brand’s lineup, having built its reputation on off-road ruggedness. It’s a baby Jeep model and shoppers likely had the same question we had when it was first introduced: can it really go off-road? Available with either a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 160 hp or a 2.4-liter with 180 hp, the Renegade is available from $18,990. After putting it through its paces, we came away finding the Renegade to be great on pavement and reasonably capable off-road, and it had plenty of interior space and a low starting price. We found the “My Sky” sunroof a tad silly and its driving position slightly awkward.
Cadillac brought the thunder this year, with a new CTS-V packing a wicked 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine with 640 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the CTS-V returns 14 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, but we think fuel economy might be the last thing on your mind if you’re eyeing the CTS-V. Priced from $92,580, the CTS-V isn’t exactly affordable, but you get quite a lot for your money. We fell in love with the supercharger whine under the hood while the CTS-V’s driving dynamics, premium interior and incredible power left us wanting more seat time. Minor complaints on the Cadillac CTS-V include its low-resolution backup camera, confusing CUE infotainment system and driving position.
And our most popular review of the year? Well, that honor goes to the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V. The American automaker made a lot of noise when the car first debuted and did the only thing it could when it came to letting us review it: put it on the track. The 2016 Cadillac ATS-V is the smallest and lightest V model ever, sporting a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 engine with 464 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque. Transmission options include an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual, while pricing starts from $61,460 for the sedan and $63,660 for the coupe. Yes, the ATS-V essentially targets the BMW M3 and M4 models in the marketplace, offering an engaging and responsive driving experience. We also loved its exhilarating exhaust note and outright performance while we yearned for a more desirable color palette. The rear seats are a tad cramped in the coupe and we just couldn’t look past its outdated gauges.