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Auto Sneak Preview 2016/2017: New Model Intros & Redesigns

2016 & 2017 Cars, SUVs, Pickups, Vans, Hybrids & Electrics

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Vehicles that arrive at U.S. dealerships in the near future provide an eclectic choice for the consumer, with one widespread theme: The class of 2016 and beyond shows automakers’ commitment to weight reduction.

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Those who want to go fast will find that the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro and the reborn Acura NSX will fill their need for speed.
Redesigned SUVs, such as the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan, focus on family matters—incrementally more interior space and improved fuel economy.

If you lean toward green, you’ll find diverse electric vehicles (EVs) coming to market in the Chevy Bolt EV and the Tesla Model X.

Pickup buyers aren’t ignored: For the 2016 model year, Toyota will bring a redesigned Tacoma to market, while Nissan will introduce a Titan that has a diesel engine. Meanwhile, Honda is poised to breathe much needed life into its Ridgeline.


The wait is over. Eleven years after the NSX last was produced, Acura will reintroduce this supercar, and from all indications, it will be worth the wait. Other than a nod to the original’s taillights, the 2016 NSX will be a thoroughly modern beast: This model not only has a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, but it also includes three electric motors. Honda Motor says the two electric direct-drive motors that are up front will improve traction and handling, while the rear direct-drive electric motor that’s between the engine and transmission will improve acceleration, braking and shifting. The car’s nine-speed dual-clutch (automated manual) transmission should make shifting gears a snap. The NSX retains its midengine design, and Honda Motor adds that the NSX’s body and internal frame will be made of aluminum and composite materials. The lightweight construction and engine location should result in nimble handling.
Arrives in showrooms: Late 2015
Cost: $150,000 (estimated)



The slimmed-down 2017 Q7 sheds 716 pounds from the previous version. That, Audi says, should produce up to 26 percent better fuel economy than the 2015 version, which has a combined city/highway fuel-economy rating of 18 mpg. Two engines will be available immediately: a 3.0-liter, 272-hp turbocharged direct-injection V6 diesel engine and a 3.0-liter, 333-hp V6 gasoline engine. Audi tells us that a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will be added in 2016. Second-row seats that are in the seven-passenger Q7 now can be moved to increase legroom 4.3 inches for either second-row or third-row passengers. The Q7 also will receive Audi’s new smartphone interface—you can connect an Apple iOS or Google Android smartphone to the Apple CarPlay or Google Android Auto mobile application, respectively. Either app will give you access to streaming music, navigation functions, missed call/appointment reminders and messaging functions on a dashboard-mounted screen.
Arrives in showrooms: Summer 2015
Cost: $50,000 (estimated)



The 2016 Cascada will be Buick’s first convertible in more than 25 years. Because of its 200-hp turbocharged engine and separate front and rear suspensions, we expect that the Cascada will be a smooth-driving, fun little cruiser. In a nod to Buick’s reputation for quiet rides, the Cascada’s roof is lined with fleece. General Motors says that will make for a quiet cabin for a convertible, although, as of press time, no decibel ratings were available. We saw a similar construction on the Bentley Continental convertible, and we found that it reduces wind noise. It’s unsurprising that trunk space would be limited in a convertible, so we appreciate that the Cascada’s rear seats fold flat. In that configuration, you’d have 26.5 cubic feet of cargo space, compared with a paltry 13.4 cubic feet of storage space when the seat is up and only 9.8 cubic feet of space when the roof is down and seat is up.
Arrives in showrooms: First quarter 2016
Price: $35,000 (estimated)



The 2016 CT6 will be Cadillac’s new flagship model. It continues the angular styling and vertical headlights and taillights of the brand’s ATS and CTS models. GM says the CT6 will be made of 11 different lightweight materials to achieve a weight that’s less than 3,700 pounds. (GM wouldn’t tell us how much less or specify the 11 different materials.) That weight is at least 77 pounds lighter than that of the 2015 Cadillac CTS sedan, and we believe that it will allow the CT6 to approach the CTS sedan’s laudable balance of ride quality and cornering capabilities, despite the CT6 being the longest Cadillac in the fleet at 204 inches. The standard engine on the CT6 is a 2.0-liter, 265-hp turbocharged four-cylinder model, which we found to be adequate in the CTS sedan. For even more power, and standard all-wheel drive, you can choose a new 3.0-liter, 400-hp twin-turbocharged V6 engine or a new version of Cadillac’s 3.6-liter V6. We like that the infrared sensors that are on the CT6’s grille will detect objects that emit heat, such as pedestrians or animals. Such detection will trigger warning flashes on the windshield and small pulses in the driver’s seat, so you can take action to avoid a collision.
Arrives in showrooms: Late 2015
Price: $75,000 (estimated)



GM is positioning the Bolt EV to carve out a niche among all-electric models. GM says the 2017 Bolt EV will have a range of 200 miles, which is nearer in range to the Tesla Model S than the Nissan Leaf, although it will be much closer in price to the latter. Unlike the Chevrolet Spark EV, the four-seat hatchback Bolt EV will be sold in all 50 states. (GM won’t confirm whether the Bolt EV’s existence would eliminate the Spark EV, as we suspect.) The Bolt EV will be the first model that uses GM’s new subcompact platform, that is, the basic components and frame. That should make for a highly maneuverable vehicle, based on the excellent turning radius of the Chevy Sonic and Buick Verano, which also share this platform. You’ll pay to go all-electric, however: The Bolt EV will have a price of $30,000 after a federal tax credit of $7,750. The similar-size, gasoline-powered Honda Fit starts at $15,650.
Arrives in showrooms: Late 2016
Price: $37,750 (before tax credit)



The sixth-generation Camaro barely resembles the fifth-generation muscle car, but that isn’t a bad thing. The 2016 version has a redesigned front grille and back end. Thanks to the redesign of the sporty car’s roof pillars, the sight lines are better than they are on the 2015 model. GM says the new version is based on the Alpha architecture that it uses for the Cadillac ATS and CTS. It also will have aluminum added to the frame, suspension and body panels. Consequently, the Camaro is about 200 pounds lighter than is its predecessor (as well as 2.3 inches shorter). The Alpha platform created two Cadillacs that perform well with excellent handling, so we don’t expect the 2016 Camaro to take a step back from the top-notch acceleration and handling of its predecessor. Three engines also will be available: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 275 hp, a V6 that generates 335 hp and, in the LT1 version, the same V8 engine that’s used in the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which has 455 hp. We expect the V8 muscle car will be one Camaro that you can hear coming but might not see going.
Arrives in showrooms: Late 2015
Cost: $25,000 (estimated)



Although the 2016 500X shares its platform with FCA USA’s Jeep Renegade, don’t go chasing waterfalls. The automaker says the 500X won’t be trail-rated like the Renegade is. The 500X still should be fun to drive, as long as you invest beyond the basics. The base “Pop” trim level of the compact crossover SUV has front-wheel drive and a 1.4-liter, 160-hp four-cylinder engine. The four other trim levels have all-wheel drive—a first for a Fiat in the United States—and a livelier 2.4-liter, 180-hp four-cylinder engine that we found performed better than does the base version. The base 500X has the six-speed transmission that’s available in other 500 models, which we found to be ordinary at best. Higher trim levels come with a nine-speed automatic transmission. FCA says that transmission is calibrated specifically for the 500X, and driving it shifted away any fears that we had about previous complaints of sluggish shifting.
Arrives in showrooms: Late summer 2015
Cost: $20,000



The Ridgeline is going through a metamorphosis, so much so that Honda shut down production of this pickup, so no 2015 Ridgeline was released. Details are scarce, but designs of the 2016 Ridgeline reveal a pickup bed that’s more conventional than is the previous models’ quirky, short design. We know that the 2016 Ridgeline will be available only as a four-door model, and, although Honda won’t comment, it’s likely that the Ridgeline will get the same 3.5-liter V6 engine that will power the 2016 Honda Pilot SUV, because the Ridgeline shares its bones and much of its manufacturing process with that model. Will the Ridgeline get Honda’s talked-about, yet-to-come turbocharged four-cylinder engine? Honda isn’t saying, but the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon give you the choice between a V6 and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and that would be welcome here. Because the Ridgeline has much in common with the lighter Pilot, we anticipate a lighter Ridgeline, which should translate to better fuel economy than the 2014 version has (15 mpg city/21 mpg highway) and improved handling. Because the Ridgeline doesn’t have hard-core towing capacity, any weight drop is unlikely to affect that capability.
Arrives in showrooms: Late 2016
Cost: $32,000 (estimated)



The second-generation Equus shows Hyundai Motor’s commitment to keeping itself in the luxury-vehicle conversation. (We still believe that the 2017 Equus will be more of an executive vehicle than an everyday car because of the way that it’s marketed, however.) Supporting that view are reports that Hyundai borrowed elements from the Genesis Sedan for the Equus. The Equus will be based on the same platform as the current Genesis Sedan is, which we lauded for its smooth ride. The Equus also will have the same 5.0-liter, 429-hp direct-injection V8 engine that we noted provides the Genesis Sedan with lively acceleration. Reports of a new eight-speed transmission weren’t confirmed by Hyundai as of press time, but if they’re a reality, you can expect smooth shifting and better fuel economy than the previous Equus delivers.
Arrives in showrooms: Spring 2016
Cost: $60,000 (estimated)



Those who believe that change is good will appreciate the 2016 Tucson. This compact SUV underwent a complete redesign—exterior, interior and engine. Two new engines will be available: a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the standard 2.0-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine. The turbo version generates 175 hp and is joined with a new seven-speed dual-clutch (automated manual) transmission. (The previous Tucson has a six-speed automatic transmission.) Because of the smaller engines, the new transmission and a drop in weight—Hyundai wouldn’t tell us how much—the Tucson is expected to improve by 1–5 mpg combined city/highway compared with the previous model, Hyundai says. The 2016 Tucson is nearly 3 inches longer than the previous version is, and the increased size is noticeable in the amount of cargo space, which expands by 5 cubic feet to an impressive 31 cubic feet.
Arrives in showrooms: Summer 2015
Cost: $26,000 (estimated)



Infiniti will enter the compact-SUV segment in a big way in 2016. Although, as of press time, the word “concept” still was attached to the 2017 QX30, this vehicle will go into production in the United States in 2016, according to Nissan Motor. The crossover SUV’s name likely will be confused with Infiniti’s entry-level Q30 sedan/hatchback, which was unveiled in 2013, but the similarities don’t stop there: The QX30 has the same muscular and aggressive architecture and design style as does the Q30. According to Nissan, the QX30 will be powered by the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s used in the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 and other Infiniti models, and that engine promises a nicely powered ride, because the vehicle’s weight should be comparable with that of the 2015 CLA250 (3,395 pounds). The interior of the concept has a lavish combination of leather and metal accents, and we hope that Infiniti doesn’t pull back too much of that, which frequently happens between concept to production.
Arrives in showrooms: Summer 2016
Cost: $30,000 (estimated)



Jaguar will introduce a BMW 3 Series competitor in the 2017 XE (pictured next page). According to Jaguar Land Rover, this compact sports sedan will be the lightest Jaguar that the company has produced, although no numbers were divulged as of press time. Its length is 1.4 inches longer than that of the BMW 3 Series (182.5 inches), and the XE is 1.5 inches wider. If you add in this Jag’s all-wheel drive and double-wishbone front suspension, then it adds up to superb handling. Electric power-steering assist (a first for Jaguar) promises precise steering. The XE should get up and go, too: Initially, the XE will have a 3.0-liter, 340-hp supercharged V6 engine. A new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will launch in 2016, first as a diesel and then as a gasoline version.
Arrives in showrooms: Spring 2016
Cost: $40,000 (estimated)



Get ready for a good-driving car to get even better. Jaguar says the 2016 XF has more aluminum than the previous model does. Consequently, the rear-wheel-drive version is 232 pounds lighter and the all-wheel-drive model is 265 pounds lighter than are the previous versions. We noted that the adjustable suspension and selectable driving modes benefit the ride and handling of previous versions of this sporty sedan; the weight loss should enhance that. A 3.0-liter, 340-hp supercharged V6 engine is now the standard engine, or you can choose a 3.0-liter, 380-hp supercharged V6 engine that’s shared with the Jaguar F-Type. The XF also added 2 inches in wheelbase. Jaguar touts this as improving a cramped backseat, but rear legroom increases only by 0.6 inches, knee room by only 0.9 inches and headroom by only 1.1 inches.
Arrives in showrooms: Late fall 2015
Cost: $50,000 (estimated)



Mazda will enter the expanding compact-crossover-SUV segment with a new vehicle that should remind people of Mazda’s existing CX-5. The 2016 CX-3 is 168.3 inches long and 69.5 inches wide; the CX-5 is 179.3 inches long and 72.4 inches wide. The CX-3 has Mazda’s familiar Skyactiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine—the same engine that’s found in the CX-5. Mazda’s Skyactiv six-speed automatic transmission also comes standard in the CX-3. Based on those similarities, we expect the CX-3 to drive like other Mazdas—providing you with a good feel for the road. Further enhancing Mazda’s reputation for first-rate handling, the CX-3 also has an updated all-wheel-drive system. What’s new is stability control and sensors that will allow the CX-3 to make necessary adjustments to differing road conditions, Mazda Motor says.
Arrives in showrooms: Fall 2015
Cost: $20,000 (estimated)



Mercedes-Benz is billing its new midsize van as the most affordable Mercedes vehicle to be sold in the United States. That’s true: You won’t find another new Mercedes near to the 2016 Metris base model’s estimated $28,950 price. However, that’s for a commercial van. The passenger Metris will cost about $32,500. We suspect, based on our experience with other cargo vans that have passenger variations—we’re looking at you, Ford Transit Connect—that the passenger Metris will fall short of what consumers expect in a minivan. (We found that the similar Transit Connect Wagon rides like a cargo van that has seats in it.) Because the Metris is a Mercedes, however, we expect more luxury touches, such as a plusher interior, compared with other cargo vans. A four-cylinder gasoline engine that generates 208 hp powers the Metris, and a seven-speed automatic transmission that has stop-start technology should prove beneficial at the fuel pump, although no fuel- economy estimates were released.
Arrives in showrooms: October 2015
Cost: $28,950



Sales dropped for full-size sedans, but that didn’t stop Nissan from redesigning the Maxima for the 2016 model year. The next-generation Maxima has a 3.5-liter V6 engine. That’s the same size as what’s in the 2015 Maxima, but Nissan says at least 60 percent of the so-called VQ-series engine is new and specific for Maxima. The changes increase horsepower to 300 from 290 and will make the Maxima perform more like a “four-door sports car,” Nissan says. The automaker says fuel economy should improve to 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway in the 2016 model from 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway in the 2015 edition. Nissan tells us that the 2016 Maxima will have the same gearless continuously variable transmission as the Nissan Altima has—tweaked to replicate the range of a nine-speed transmission. If so, the 2016 Maxima should get into the correct gear quicker and provide stronger acceleration from a standing start than its predecessor does.
Arrives in showrooms: Late 2015
Cost: $32,410



For the 2016 model year, Nissan will introduce two redesigned versions of the Titan. The first on the market will be the half-ton, heavy-duty XD version. The most significant change: Diesel-engine legend Cummins will provide the powerplant for the Titan XD. The 5.0-liter turbocharged Cummins V8 engine produces 310 hp. This translates into a vehicle that has a maximum towing capacity of 12,000 pounds, which blows away the previous version’s 9,300-pound maximum. The Cummins engine and the Titan XD’s new interior and exterior could ratchet up the ultracompetitive full-size-pickup segment another notch, although typical consumers likely won’t need the XD’s full power. The lighter duty Titan is expected to have a gasoline-powered V6 or V8 engine. (The Titan XD will have the same V8 gasoline-engine option.)
Arrives in showrooms: Fourth quarter 2015
Cost: $45,000 (estimated)



The 2017 Panamera is lighter, longer and more powerful than is its first-generation predecessor, and that sedan already was a blast to drive. The 2017 Panamera will be the first production vehicle to receive a new manufacturing platform that Porsche designed for its front-engine luxury cars, and the automaker is reported to make extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminum to enhance performance. You’ll have the choice of a turbocharged V6 engine or a conventional V8 to pull it down the road. A reported weight reduction of about 200 pounds (Porsche wouldn’t confirm the drop as of press time) and the new engines lead us to expect superior handling, a sports-car-like performance and maximum power output. Porsche also is developing an electric motor for the Panamera, although a Panamera EV, which observers say could rival the Tesla Model S in performance, won’t be production-ready for at least another year, according to Porsche.
Arrives in showrooms: Mid-2016
Cost: $85,000 (estimated)



We don’t know whether Scion needed a four-door model, but it’s here in the form of the 2016 iA. That fact alone will make it feel fresh for Scion, but this model also includes new tech touches for the brand, such as a 7-inch touch screen and a low-speed collision warning system. Toyota Motor’s “youth” brand’s first sedan will be a fuel-sipper, thanks to its 1.5-liter, 106-hp four-cylinder engine. Toyota rates the engine’s estimated fuel economy at 42 mpg highway. We found that the Scion xB and Scion tC lacked pep, and the iA’s engine is even smaller than are the engines that are used in those vehicles. (The iA’s engine is slightly bigger than the engine that’s in the sloth-like Scion iQ.) Because the iA shares its platform with the Mazda2, it should produce a car that provides decent handling, like that model does.
Arrives in showrooms: Late fall 2015
Cost: $16,000 (estimated)



Five-door vehicles are popular among the “tuner” crowd, and the 2016 iM hatchback will aim to attract that buyer, according to Toyota. The iM shares a platform with the Scion tC, so it should handle well, as we found the tC to do. The iM, however, should trump the tC in ride comfort, because the new model has a double-wishbone suspension, which the tC lacks. The 60/40 fold-down rear seats that are in the iM present cargo flexibility. A gearless continuously variable transmission will be an option, and Toyota tells us that this gearbox differs from other such transmissions, because it’s sport-tuned. Consequently, Toyota says, its transmission will have a quicker shift response than those versions do. According to automotive textbook author James Halderman, because the driver can switch between normal, sport or manual modes, the iM should have more-responsive shifting, compared with the “rubber-band effect” that some drivers notice on CVT-equipped vehicles as vehicle speed slowly catches up to engine speed.
Arrives in showrooms: Fourth quarter 2015
Cost: $20,000 (estimated)



“Game-changer” is an overused term, but it might be appropriate here: The 2016 Model X will be the industry’s first electric SUV that has a range of more than 100 miles. In fact, the Model X will have an alleged 225 miles of electric range when it arrives on the scene. The Model X could set the bar for future competitors—Audi and Porsche already announced plans to introduce electric SUVs to rival the Model X. The seven-passenger Model X is based on the same platform as is the Model S, and, like its sibling, the Model X includes dual-motor all-wheel drive. We drove the Model S and anticipate that the Model X will be as quick off the line and display as impressive of a ride. However, based on the design that we saw, we expect that only the second row of the Model X will be comfortable for adults, because the sloping roof design likely will limit headroom in the third row.
Arrives in showrooms: Fourth quarter 2015
Cost: $70,000 (estimated before tax credit)



Because the competition in the midsize-pickup segment tightened, Toyota did more than just give the 2016 Tacoma interior and exterior makeovers. It also replaced the previous 4.0-liter, 236-hp V6 engine with a 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 engine. The existing 2.7-liter, 159-hp four-cylinder engine—adequate for casual use—still is available. Toyota hasn’t released horsepower figures for the new V6 engine, but it says it has direct and port fuel injection and uses the same technology that’s found in the Toyota FR-S and Subaru BRZ sports cars. Consequently, the 2016 Tacoma will be more powerful than the previous version is, Toyota says. The new V6 also uses Atkinson-cycle technology—typically found in hybrid engines—which optimizes fuel efficiency by changing the compression in the cylinders. You’ll appreciate that the transmission on the base model also is upgraded to a six-speed automatic from a dated four-speed automatic. A six-speed manual transmission will be available to go with the V6 engine. No fuel-economy estimates were released as of press time, but we believe that the Tacoma stands to be a fuel-economy star among midsize pickups.
Arrives in showrooms: Fall 2015
Cost: $21,000 (estimated)



The Tiguan needs life breathed into it: For the 2017 model year, it’ll get it. A complete redesign is in order as Volkswagen aims for a bigger slice of the compact-crossover-SUV market. A notable change will be the addition of a third-row seating option, which is a first for the Tiguan. Although the 2017 Tiguan will be 10 inches longer and an unspecified number of inches wider than the previous model is, we expect that it will handle significantly better than its predecessor does. The 2017 Tiguan will be based on the same chassis that’s used in the highly regarded Volkswagen Golf, which we found to have taut handling. Furthermore, it’s lighter than its predecessor, although Volkswagen didn’t say how much at press time. Volkswagen confirms that a diesel engine will be an option in the Tiguan, and if the engine is anything like the TDI engine in the Touareg, then the diesel Tiguan could deliver the best fuel economy among compact crossover SUVs.
Arrives in showrooms: Fall 2016
Cost: $26,000 (estimated)



Volvo will take the S80 sedan and increase its size to create the 2017 S90. Details are scarce, but reports that the S90 is longer and wider than is the S80, which will be discontinued, suggest that the S90 is primed to take on the Audi A6 and the BMW 5 Series. The S90 shares the same platform as does Volvo’s newer SUV, the XC90, which has impressive handling and a comfortable suspension. Speculation is that Volvo will offer a choice of engines: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine, a diesel option and a hybrid version, although Volvo wouldn’t confirm those reports. The hybrid engine that’s in the XC90 churns out 400 hp, so we only can hope for that to be an option. Styling for the S90 also is improved over the S80, which we found to be bland. We particularly like the grille and the distinctive, elegant look of Volvo’s new T-shape “Hammer of Thor” LED headlights.
Arrives in showrooms: Fall 2016
Cost: $50,000 (estimated)

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