Editors Choice: Top Picks from 2015
As we say farewell to 2015 and we anxiously await the new vehicle announcements to be made at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, we asked automotive experts to reflect on their favorite vehicles of this year. Here are their top picks – unfiltered and unedited.
Consumer Guide Automotive
Now in its 3rd generation, the Honda Pilot continues to define what a good family-oriented crossover should be. Without compromising the ride and handling characteristics that someone familiar with the Honda lineup might expect, the Pilot offers excellent space utilization, top-notch cabin materials and assembly quality, and solid dollar value.
While, the new-for-2016 topline Elite allows the pilot to compete more directly with class competitors reaching into the near-luxury strata, a more-modestly equipped AWD Pilot can still be had for less than $33,000, and that's a great deal.
- Tom Appel, Publisher (@cgautomotive and @Car_Guy_Tom)
The redesigned Pilot excels in most every category – fuel economy, passenger/cargo versatility and driving character chief among them. It's outstandingly tractable for its size, and it's available with a host of useful, well-thought-out features. Other midsize SUVs may look ritzier inside, but few can match the Pilot for all-around quality and functionality.
- Damon Bell, Senior Auto Editor
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The new MX-5 is improved in pretty much every way over its predecessor, but the trademark Miata personality stays intact. Is there another vehicle that has been around as long as the Miata that has stayed as true to its original mission? I can't think of one.
- Damon Bell
Chicago Car Guy
2016 Shelby GT350/GT350R Mustang
I couldn't ask for more: a street-legal race car that I could drive out of a Ford dealer and go racing. With 526 HP, an engine red-line that I could wring-out to 8,250RPM, and track-prepared chassis, suspension, brakes and tires…this is heaven. What's 50 or 60 grand to spend for this much fun! Oh yes, now I will need a membership to Autobahn Country Club.
2016 Mazda CX-3
This all-new entry from Mazda is prefect for the young couple just getting started or the active life-style empty nester, as I am. It's subcompact size is great on the crowded streets of Chicago. The CX-3 is much to my liking with lots of style both in and out and it's lots of fun to drive. The outstanding fuel economy and the $19,960 base price make it hard to pass over.
- Larry Nutson, Editor (@1ChicagoCarGuy)
2016 Honda Civic
A perennial top seller, the Honda Civic received a significant redesign for 2016, and the results are impressive.
The 2016 Civic is fun to drive, thanks to its responsive steering, excellent ride quality and well-controlled body motions.
The Civic’s interior has a premium feel with plenty of passenger space, especially in the backseat.
What stands out most about the 2016 Civic is its value; the redesigned compact sedan starts around the same price as the outgoing model.
2016 Volvo XC90
The 2016 Volvo XC90 has raised the bar for luxury SUVs.
With an elegant exterior accented on some trims by what Volvo calls Thor’s Hammer LED headlights, this redesigned three-row SUV continues its stately design on this inside too. A center-mounted 9-inch touch-screen in the dash controls almost all of the SUV’s functions seamlessly. Thanks to a supercharger and turbocharger, the XC90’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes quick work of highway merging and the like.
Front- and second-row passengers will find comfortable leather seats. As with many three-row SUVs, the third row is best suited for shorter teens and tweens. The XC90 has standard four-zone climate control allowing passengers in all three rows to customize the airflow and temperature.
Volvo continues to be a standard bearer for safety, matching competitors common safety systems and adding collision avoidance and protection.
- Jennifer Newman, Managing Editor/News (@carsdotcom and @jennin72)
For more, check out Cars.com's "Best of 2016" nominees and its award page. The "Best of 2016" Award winners will be featured at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.
What was your favorite vehicle launch of the year? We want to hear from you! Tweet us @ChiAutoShow or comment below!
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