At the close of the calendar year, it's time to take a look at the models that moved us beyond, well, just simply moving us. There are good cars in every segment, and while there are many standouts that deserve a spot on this list, the cars that follow are the ones that had us looking back and wishing for more seat time.
The Bentley Bentayga impresses not just with its opulence of furnishings and abundance of power, but also with its smart tech, from its interior infotainment to available advanced driver assistance features. It might not truly be the "world's first luxury SUV," but at first glance, it's got every right to vie for the title of world's finest.
The 2014 BMW i3 looks and feels like the compact car of the future, but its high price tag will be a huge sticking point for thrifty small-EV drivers. (Note: It's a 2014 because the review came all the way from last January.)
BMW's 7 Series has long straddled a very fine line between a luxo-barge and a driver's car, and with this sixth generation, it does so with more poise than ever before. The 2016 BMW 7 Series is a luxury cruiser par excellence, yet with the touch of a button becomes a capable, if not quite captivating, driver's machine.
You need a special car to challenge icons like BMW's M3, but Cadillac's new sports sedan is up to the task. With 464 horsepower and a starting price just over $60,000, the ATS-V offers more power for less money than Bavaria's best, and has everything else it needs to be a proper contender.
With great new styling, a wide variety of available tech and safety features out the wazoo, the Malibu is an excellent car for families, or for anyone looking for a sensible ride that doesn't shout, "I was rented from Avis!"
The Ford F-150 continues to evolve and refine itself with new aluminum construction, a smart EcoBoost engine and luxurious amenities. Your best bet is the 2016 model, though, which packs Ford's new Sync 3 infotainment system.
Our overall impression was that the 2016 Civic will make for an easy driver, something you can jump in and go for a quick trip to the store, the daily commute and even longer weekend trips. Even better, that suspension, with a multilink architecture at the rear wheels, felt like an extremely good foundation for the upcoming Si and Type-R versions.
Simply put, the XF fairly radiated that it's a confidence-inspiring sport sedan on both road and track. Like its XE kid brother, the XF will have a genuine shot at being the most engaging and best-handling car in its class, with quick turn-in and a surprising amount of feel.
Small in stature and a tad light on utility, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 hustles to the front of its burgeoning segment on the strength of its looks, dynamics, interior polish and technology.
The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a playful and perfectly balanced roadster that delivers more smiles per hour than many more powerful, more expensive sports cars.
The 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S is an extraordinary car both in looks and performance, a rewarding high-level sport driver and a bargain compared to its predecessor, but its connected cabin electronics are often frustrating.
With its stunning looks, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe sets a new bar for driving comfort, yet can also handle twisty roads with confidence and power. While it carves a path toward the self-driving car of the future, its Internet features let it down.
If you're looking for a sports car, the extra power and better handling will excite. If you're looking for a touring car, the greater comfort, intelligence and economy will compel. And, if you're looking for something that hits that sweet spot right in the middle, you're going to have a hard time doing much better.
With ridiculous acceleration, the 2015 Tesla Model S P85D serves as an excellent example of the potential for electric cars and boasts updates that make it compare well feature-for-feature with competitive luxury cars, but most buyers should consider the Model S 85D, trading acceleration for longer range.
The 2016 Volvo XC90 takes aim at German luxury and hits its mark with well thought-out Sensus Connect tech, clever amenities and Swedish style.
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI continues to improve without straying too far from the blueprint that makes the original hot hatchback so great.