Spring brings a new crop of cars, including the Acura NSX and Honda Ridgeline
Availability: Spring, 2016
The outlook: An Acura NSX supercar will finally return to the lineup more than a decade after the original went out of production. Like its predecessor, the new NSX will be midengine, but instead of being powered by a naturally aspirated V-6, it packs a twin-turbocharged hybrid V-6 engine bolted to a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission. Electric motors drive the front wheels, meaning Acura's new supercar is also all-wheel-drive.
The outlook: BMW builds on the success of the 1 Series M Coupe and brings us the all-new M2, a rip-snorting good time on the track or on the street. A six-speed manual gearbox with rev-matching is standard, but don't worry purists...you can turn it off and heel-toe shift like the pro that you are. At $2,900, shifting by paddles is a pricey option, but with a lightning fast seven-speed, double-clutch transmission, it's a respectable choice.
The outlook: Cadillac launches an all-out assault to reclaim its luxury reputation, leading the charge with the all-new XT5 crossover SUV. As with its sedans, Cadillac clearly has BMW in its sights, and the XT5 makes its competitive play with agile handling and innovative tech, including a rearview mirror that is actually a camera-video display.
The outlook: Chrysler revived the Pacifica name from an earlier crossover/wagon model, applying it to what used to be the Town and Country minivan. The name change is appropriate, as this minivan has been completely reengineered and shows a stylish new exterior design. The Pacifica will also be the first minivan to come out with a hybrid drivetrain, achieving substantially better fuel economy than the competition.
The outlook: The new Civic sedan proved an impressive update to Honda's bread-and-butter car, so the coupe version should be equally as good. Dropping the two rear doors and opting for a more tapered roofline gives the coupe a sporty look, however, engine and transmission combinations remain the same as on the sedan. That is somewhat of a disappointment, as a manual transmission is only available on the base model with its two-liter engine, and not with the more powerful turbocharged 1.5-liter engine.
The outlook: Honda is ditching the polarizing styling of the original Ridgeline, and instead is rolling out an all-new generation that actually looks like a regular truck. Power will come from a 3.5-liter V-6, which connects to a six-speed automatic transmission, and will be offered in either front- or all-wheel drive. Innovative features like the dual-action lift gate and in-bed trunk return, while a rear 400-watt AC power outlet and a 540-watt in-bed audio system are available to make the Ridgeline an ideal base for a tailgate party.
The outlook: Jaguar releases its most affordable car, a compact sedan with a premium feel and content. This little Jag goes up against the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, bringing to the fray aluminum construction that gives it a light and stiff driving character. The XE lets you bring a little British panache to a company parking lot filled with German marques.
The outlook: Porsche's latest 911 Turbo looks to put some daylight in between itself and the standard 911 Carrera, which for the first time ever also boasts turbocharged power. In uplevel S trim, its 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six realizes 580 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. With standard all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the Turbo balances grand-touring luxury with supercar-killing performance.
The outlook: The 2016 CX-9 has gotten a facelift courtesy of Mazda's KODO-Soul of Motion design aethetic. The result is a more sophisticated looking crossover, but it's what's under the hood that has us all hot and bothered. The seven-seat CX-9 will come with a 2.5-liter turbocharged SkyActiv engine, which promises to be 20 percent more fuel efficient than the outgoing model. Opt for the all-wheel drive model and you've got yourself a pretty zippy family hauler.
The outlook: With its 2017 E-Class, Mercedes-Benz can lay claim to the title of World's Most Advanced Sedan with a straight face. That's because it's loaded with never-seen-before active safety tech, along with plenty of creature comforts and industry-leading semi-autonomous capability. In fact, some of the tech Benz is trying to bring to the US is so advanced that it's still working with the government to earn approval to offer it.