There’s nothing quite like the smell of a new car, crisp and fresh, not yet spoiled by fast food and dirty gym clothes. In 2016, the order of the day seems to be smaller engines with better fuel economy, greater horsepower, an eye toward green manufacturing, and technologies that used to be extra are now standard.
Ray Pignitor, senior sales associate with Dick Dyer Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, says Volvo has a new offering of the XC90, which is the brand’s largest SUV. “It has a 2.0-liter, super/turbo-charged four cylinder engine with more than 300 horsepower, so it will get excellent fuel mileage. The first few incoming XC90s will be loaded with all the features, then we’ll get to where customers can customize to just the things they want.”
At car shows and online, Mercedes is touting the Maybach S600. Ray believes few of those will sell in this market. “It’s a very specialized car. It’s optimized for being chauffeur driven and it’s in the $200,000 range.” Other than the Maybach, Ray says Mercedes is changing the designations of all of the sports utilities. “Currently, the ML is associated with the E-class line. In 2016, it will be known as the MLE.”
Mercedes is also adding a GLE to it’s 2016 line, which is a crossover four-door coupe. “It’s much sportier and will feature a more aerodynamic body, a 362HP twin-turbo-charged V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission.”
The Jim Hudson Auto Group represents several brands of classic cars, and each brand has something special and new planned for the fall. “Making more of an impact by making less of one” is a headline out of Lexus’ print catalogue. The manufacturer uses seat foam made from soybeans, carpeting in cargo areas made in part with sugarcane, and interior plastics engineered with sweet potatoes and corn — all of it designed to be environmentally friendly.
Nathan Duhovis of Jim Hudson Lexus says coming in 2016 is a newly designed ES. “It will feature a minor exterior and major interior change. We call it a mid-cycle refresh. The new Kentucky plant will open at the end of September. It will be the first Lexus ever made in the United States.”
At the end of September, the dealership will premiere a completely redesigned LX. In October, the all-new 2016 RX debuts. “The RX is our number one seller and the last generation change was in 2010. If you own an RX now, it’ll look completely different,” says Nathan.
The new RX will be ten inches longer, two inches wider and two inches taller, but will appear sleeker and smaller. “It’s a strong, bold vehicle,” Nathan says. “It will have a 300 hp engine as opposed to the current 270 hp and an eight-speed automatic transmission.”
The ES and RX will boast a global safety feature package which will include automatic high beam headlights, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation and prevention. All Lexuses are what is termed “Ultra Low Emission Vehicles” and all of their hybrid models are termed “Super Low Emission Vehicles.” “We leave a very small carbon footprint,” says Nathan.
Nate Ellison of Jim Hudson Toyota says the hottest new thing for 2016 is the Toyota Tacoma, a new generation design. “It’ll have a two-door access and four-door cab,” he says. In addition to the Tacoma, the Scion TC and the Rav-4 have been redesigned. “The Avalon will be new. I don’t know yet if it’s a total redesign or if it’s just getting a facelift,” Nate says. The Prius will get a facelift and include a plug-in and a lighter lithium ion battery that helps the car get in the upper 50-miles-per-gallon range.
Wayne DuBois of Jim Hudson Hyundai says 2016 will bring a completely remodeled Tucson with a new body style. A new Elantra, Columbia’s largest volume seller for the Hyundai brand is also coming in 2016. Both have the industry’s best 10-year/100,000-mile warranty. “The Elantra will have a crisp body line and sleek styling. Both will have a back-up camera, navigation, Bluetooth capability and BlueLink,” Wayne says.
The highlight of the new model Ford products is the F-150 Raptor according to Ronnie Pack of Jim Hudson Ford. It features best-in-class gas mileage and increased towing. “It will have the new aluminum body and will be a fantastic looking vehicle. Ford is also redesigning the Explorer again for 2016, and the Edge will have a new body style.” Backup cameras, navigation systems and Bluetooth come standard in all of Ford’s high-line models. For those approaching mid-life crisis stage, Ford will issue the first Shelby Mustang featuring horsepower in the 500-600 range as well as lowering kits. “The new GTs will be really impressive, too, if you’re looking for the wow factor,” Ronnie says.
Todd Fischer of Jim Hudson Buick/GMC/Cadillac says Cadillac will offer the CTSV, last sold in 2014. The newer model will be upgraded and exceed the old 556 hp. Cadillac will also come out with the ATSV, a 3.6 liter twin turbo that will be available in both a coupe and a sedan.
In addition, the brand will present the CT6 — Cadillac’s largest vehicle and a rear-wheel drive.
“The SRX gets completely redone in 2016 and will be made in Tennessee. All Cadillacs, Buicks and GMCs feature Wi-Fi through the OnStar system, making each vehicle a rolling hotspot.”
GMC will introduce a newly designed Terrain with its first makeover since 2010. Buick will bring out the Cascada, a mid-size, sporty convertible which premiered at the North American Auto Show.
Chris Burns of Honda of Columbia says coming new this June is the HR-V, an all-new line never before offered. “It’s a small SUV, smaller than our CR-V. It’ll be economical, well rounded, well equipped and priced under the CR-V, the Motor Trend SUV of the Year for 2015. We’re also getting a completely redesigned Honda Pilot,” he says. A popular model, the newer version will have bucket seats and multiple USB ports throughout for those who just can’t do without their devices.
Chris says the Civic and Accord will come with significant upgrades in 2016, but the factory has not released a comprehensive list just yet of what those will be. Regardless, the Accord remains both a local and nationwide bestseller. Honda’s SUV, however, is giving it a run for its money. “Technically we sell more Accords than CR-Vs, but the Accord sales volume stays pretty steady. On the CR-Vs, we’re seeing a 20 to 30 percent increase each month.” He adds that, in general, Hondas are perennially one of the least expensive cars to maintain.
Anyone looking to buy a new Land Rover, Range Rover or Jaguar should go see Lucan Breedlove at Jaguar Land Rover Columbia. “We’re launching the F-type, the follow up to the E-type which defined Jaguar,” Lucan says. “Jaguar said, ‘Let’s start with the old car, find out what made it successful and build on that with new technology,’ and they did. They built a great car.”
The F-type has won countless automotive awards. “It’s the one sports car you can buy that does everything extremely well,” Lucan says. “Going forward, everything we offer will have DNA from the F-type.”
The F-types are built with aluminum, which means a light-weight rigid frame and better gas mileage. It also allows the driver to dial in a suspension that works for the terrain. The new XF will compete in the five-series class, which includes the BMW 5-Series, the Mercedes E-Class and the Audi S5.
In 2016, Range Rover will offer the new Discovery Sport, which will compete in the SUV market. It will bring a new class of automobile. “It’s a sport activity vehicle. It’s the first we’ve built and the first of its kind,” Lucan says. “Any vehicle that says Land Rover is capable. Off-roading is just one of the things it must do. Again, it’s performance without compromise.”
In the past few years, Kia has become a popular and top-selling brand. While 2016 will indeed boast new and upgraded offerings, as of springtime only the new Sorento, Kia’s most popular cross-over, has made it to market. “They refined the engine, added a transmission cooler and increased the towing capacity. This is a 3.3-liter, V-6. The EX model, which is the mid-level model, is now available with turbo,” says Derrick Davis of JT’s Kia.
Kia’s best-selling model in Columbia is the Optima, which has surpassed the popular Soul in terms of sales volume. The Optima competes in the luxury sedan market. “People compare it to a BMW and some Lexus models,” Derrick says. “We have a lot of people who say they mistake an Optima for a BMW until they see the emblems on the cars. Of course, the BMW is built for performance, but the Optima handles just as well for a fraction of the cost.”
Derrick pointed out one of the coolest features of all of the 2016 models will be the surround-view monitor. “When you put the car in reverse, on your navigation screen will appear a satellite, or top down, view of your car. They will also offer advanced smart cruise control, which gauges the distance between you and another car. It will slow you down if necessary and then speed you back up when it’s clear.”
If Cadillac was the status symbol for previous generations, for baby-boomers BMW seems to be the de facto “I’ve made it” car. Who hasn’t seen the smile-inducing Katie Couric/Bryant Gumble iCar commercial? Nate Cartwright of BMW of Columbia says the i3 and i8 have been out for about a year already. “It was actually the green car of the year. It’s a born electric car. It’s not a hybrid, it’s fully electric. It does have an 80cc motor that powers a 1.8-gallon fuel tank, but that motor produces electricity to push back to the battery. Even that is only offered in an extended range vehicle.”
New in 2016 is a two series, which comes in a coupe and a convertible. “It comes in a 228 and an M235,” Nate says. The two series creates a new class. “The four and six series comes in a coupe, grand coupe and convertible. Then we have the three, five and seven series, which are our sedans,” Nate explains.
While the three series remains the highest-volume selling car in Columbia, Nate says the X5, X4, X3 and X1 — the SUV series — have done extremely well here. “I think a lot of that is because people here want to support the Spartanburg plant where these, other than the X1, are manufactured.”
BMW will also offer new in 2016 a six series grand coupe, the B6 Alpina. “Later down the road, we’ll also have a new seven series, redesigned from the ground up,” Nate says.
The McDaniels Auto Group sells Acura, Mazda, Porsche, Subaru and Volkswagen in the Midlands. “Porsche is breaking the rules again with the upcoming 911 variants GT3 RS, Targa 4 GTS and the new Cayman GT4. Porsche also brings the new generation of Cayenne, GTS and Cayenne S Turbo,” says Tracey McDaniels-Miller of McDaniels Porsche.
For 2016, the re-designed, more powerful Acura ILX features a distinctive, windswept exterior design that is both sporty and sophisticated. The high-quality, well-appointed interior is spacious and stylish. It offers a number of convenient features, including a standard keyless access with smart entry and pushbutton start, along with Pandora interface and SMS text message function for easy connectivity.
Acura also continues its MDX line. “The 2016 MDX not only establishes itself as one of the most advanced vehicles in its class, but it does so with a level of rich and sophisticated style few vehicles can match,” says Chris Ray of McDaniels Acura. “It features AcuraWatch Plus technologies like the available Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist System.”
If it’s time for a new or additional car, buyers should take a look at what the new model year will bring. Chances are they will find something sleeker, greener, crisper and more aerodynamic than ever before.