Hey Santa, bring us one of these new cars in ’16 – USA TODAY
Expect plenty of goodies under the tree if you’re shopping for a new car in 2016.
From luxury cars to compacts, minivans to SUVs, automakers from around the world have visions of sugar plums, market share and profits dancing in their heads.
Look for advances in technology, comfort, connectivity and safety, as well as new styling statements. You can see many of these future stars at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
If you’ve been good, one of these could be in your future.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
This sport sedan’s stupendous engine output looks more like a typographical error than a line on a spec sheet. Try 505 horsepower from a 2.9-liter V-6.
That Ferrari-engineered engine and racing inspired lightweight construction are the Giulia’s calling cards as the compact sport sedan tries to reestablish Alfa Romeo as a leading luxury brand. The interior promises Formula 1-style materials and features.
The new A4 is likely to be Audi’s best-selling model. It’s key to shifting the conversation about the brand from cheating on emissions tests to style, technology and performance. This sleek sedan has its work cut out for it, and not just because it competes with great cars like the BMW 3-series, Mercedes C-class and Cadillac ATS. Euro-spec versions of the car are up to 246 pounds lighter than the current model.
Buick Envision and LaCrosse
This is a big year for General Motors’ Buick division. The upscale brand probably has its best lineup ever, but it still struggles with the image of building old cars for old people.
The sleek Envision compact SUV could change that and win Buick a new generation of customers. It will also be interesting to see how the first Chinese-built car from a Detroit automakers fares in the U.S. market. Smaller than the more truck-like GMC Terrain that’ll be sold alongside it, the Envision comes billed as ready to deliver style, comfort, features and handling that compete with compact European luxury SUVs like the Audi Q3 and BMW Z1.
The LaCrosse full-size sedan is more like traditional Buicks, but its style and features could draw a few new customers while also catering to the brand’s longtime loyalists.
The LaCrosse and Envision should both go on sale this summer.
Sleek and lightweight, the new Cruze is significantly lighter than the outgoing model. That should lead to improved fuel economy, performance and handling. The styling builds on the looks of Chevy’s larger Malibu and Impala sedans. It’s a radical departure from the attractive but conservative looks of the first Cruze,
The Cruze will offer an all-new — and legal — diesel engine that could help Chevrolet cash in on Volkswagen’s emissions scandal.
Cadillac CT6 and XT5
The CT6 luxury sedan will generate headlines, but the XT5 midsize crossover SUV will be the star of the salesroom for Cadillac.
The CT6 will bristle with style and technology as Cadillac challenges luxury sedans like the Audi A8, BMW 750i and Mercedes S550. It promises to new levels of near-autonomous driving, power, luxury, and a plug-in hybrid model.
Despite all that, the CT6 will sell in small numbers, because it’s challenging established leaders in a high-price, low selling part of the market.
The XT5, on the other hand, could be the star of Cadillac’s sales reports. It looks good, and promises more room, better fuel economy and higher performance than the SRX it replaces. It will compete with five-passenger SUVs like the Lexus RX, Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
New versions of Fiat Chrysler’s signature minivan have consistently introduced new features no one had thought of before. That’s the challenge for this new model, which will also offer a plug-in hybrid model. Fiat Chrysler plans to drop the T&C’s Dodge branded stable mate, the Grand Caravan, which makes this van even more important to the company’s future.
Interior room and features, fuel economy and safety will be key to the new minivan’s success.
Honda hopes for a second chance to make a first impression with the new version of its Ridgeline midsize pickup, which debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The outgoing Ridgeline had some interesting features, but a high price, odd looks and limited capability scotched its appeal. The market midsize pickups is hot on the strength of new entries. Honda would love to cash in.
Hyundai Elantra and Genesis G90
One of the most intriguing cars debuting in 2016, the G90 will be the flagship for Hyundai’s new Genesis luxury brand. It replaces the slow-selling Equus. Hyundai has high hopes for the Genesis brand, which it expects to challenge established luxury marques like Audi, Cadillac and Lexus. To succeed, the G90 will have to be a massive improvement from the Equus.
Hyundai will also introduce a new version of its Elantra compact. The sedan’s styling is less flamboyant than its predecessor. Features will include seven air bags, adaptive cruise control, a turbocharged 128-horsepower, 1.4-liter engine and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The stakes are high for the as-yet unnamed and unseen compact Jeep that will replace the unsuccessful Compass and Patriot models. Will its styling borrow from traditional Jeeps? Will its off-road ability persuade the hard-core Jeepers who pass judgment on every new model from the brand? Will Fiat Chrysler build it in the U.S. or import it?
Jeep sales have risen like a rocket for the last several years. The new compact SUV could assure that growth will continue for years more and offset struggles by other Fiat Chrysler brands.
Lincoln’s big new sedan is loaded with presence, resetting the brand’s design strategy in a classy new direction. The luxurious interior promises comfort and room. Power will come from a 400-horsepower turbocharged 3-liter V-6.
The Continental could be the first step on Lincoln’s long journey back to credibility versus global luxury brands like Audi, Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes.
Making its global debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, Mercedes’ new midsize luxury sedan will be a showcase of technology, luxury and style. It will feature new controls and gauges likely to proliferate across Mercedes’ lineup.
The E-class and Cadillac CT6 are engaged in a race to see which new luxury sedan can come the closest to delivering actual autonomous driving.
The new Clubman is bigger than any Mini before it. A true compact, the car is vital to the brand’s plan to boost sales by broadening its model line and winning new customers, including some families. At 168.3 inches long, the Clubman hatchback is 0.8 inch bigger than a Volkswagen Golf. Engines include a 134-horsepower 1.5-liter three-cylinder and 189-horsepower 2.0-liter, both turbocharged.
Subaru is a phenomenon. The brand grew throughout the Great Recession and continues to win new fans. The Outstanding new versions of Outback and Legacy that debuted in 2015 primed it for further growth. The bold styling of the Impreza concept Subaru unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show in November suggests another hit could be in the works.
Volkswagen three-row crossover SUV
Volkswagen has needed a six- to eight-passenger SUV to compete with vehicles like the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander for years. The model coming from the company’s Chattanooga, Tenn., assembly plant could help VW appeal to family buyers. VW has to change the conversation from its years of cheating on U.S. emissions tests first, though. The bland looks of the brand’s Cross Blue SUV concept suggests that will be a challenge for the new SUV.
The XC90 SUV made Volvo the hot brand of the day after years in obscurity. If this full-size luxury sedan impresses buyers with the same style, technology and innovation that made the XC90 an unexpected hit, Volvo could be primed for years of growth.