As we wrote about recently, 2017 is shaping up to be a great year for cars. Unfortunately, it’s not 2017 yet, and we have to get through the 2016 model year in order to get there. That’s not the end of the world, of course. There are several great cars coming this year that we will all enjoy lusting after.
The fourth-generation Mazda Miata, for example, is finally landing for the 2016 model year, and it’s shaping up to be quite a doozy. It won’t blow your socks off with its straight-line acceleration, but it has attention-grabbing good looks like never before, and as we found out when we took one for a quick spin, it’s a hoot to drive.
Acura is also bringing back the fabled NSX to take on Ferrari again. The rumor is that Acura benchmarked the new NSX against the 458 Italia to beat it in every measurable category except for the number of fires started on board. It’s been a long wait, but you can expect the new NSX to be one seriously hot hybrid when it debuts this year.
The problem is, though, only a few companies have a significant number of new models launching this year. With that fact in mind, it leads us to wonder where all the new cars are for 2016.
First, let’s give credit where credit is due. General Motors and Toyota are both doing some serious work to shore up their lineups.
GM has several brands to play around with, but it still deserves credit for the number of new models it’s introducing. Buick is getting a convertible, Cadillac is getting an all-new flagship sedan and two V-Series versions of existing sedans, and Chevrolet is getting a total of five new models. One of the new Chevrolets is the new Camaro, which should make for some incredibly fun competition with the Ford Mustang.
Toyota, meanwhile, is launching a new Tacoma, the hydrogen-powered Mirai, a hybrid version of the RAV4, two new Scions, a redesigned Lexus RX, and a high-performance version of its GS sports sedan.
Other than that, though, the rest of the car companies are keeping their new cars to a minimum for 2016. Some of those cars are very important to the brands they represent, and a lot of them are pretty exciting, but anyone looking for boatloads of new cars over the next year will be severely disappointed.
As far as exciting cars go, the list is pretty long. Not counting what’s already been mentioned, Audi has a new TT, Honda has a new Civic, Ford has the Mustang GT350, Nissan has the new Titan, and Volvo has the XC90. A few other cars, like the new Ford Explorer, represent a lot of potential sales for their respective companies even if they aren’t the most exciting.
Interestingly, it appears the freshest model from Fiat-Chrysler for 2016 is the Fiat 500X, a vehicle that’s based on the Jeep Renegade but is way cuter.
It would be easy to criticize FCA for its lack of new products, but you also have to remember that 2015 was an exceptionally good year for cars. While there were quite a few new models worth talking about, you can’t forget that both the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger were offered with option of a 707-horsepower Hellcat version. The Dodge Challenger Hellcat might not be the most practical car on the market, but it can certainly do better burnouts than a Prius.
It appears, then, that the U.S. auto market is caught in an interesting place for the 2016 model year. There were some incredibly cool cars introduced last year, and there will be a lot more cars introduced in the next few years, but for now, there are only a few companies introducing more than a few new models.
The good news is, many of the cars that are going on sale for 2016 are really awesome. They might not be as awesome as the Hellcat twins, but you can’t argue that a year with a new Acura NSX, a new Mazda Miata, and a new high-performance Mustang isn’t going to be a great year.
It would be great to see a few more models in the lineup for 2016, but it’s better to have a few truly-exciting vehicles to lust after than a multitude of dull commuter vehicles.