Your 2016 Car Of The Year Awards

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2016’s been one hell of a ride – both figuratively (with the election and all), and literally. Since we’re not into politics, we’re here to talk about the latter. We’re here to introduce the best cars 2016 produced. Actually, we’re not going to do anything. We’re going to let the experts talk. Kevin Sintumuang, Basem Wasef, Robert Sorokanich, and Dennis Tang are just a few of the industry insiders we have with us that have put the 2016 line-up through its paces, testing out the latest automotive tech (inside the cabin and out), and are bringing you into the know on which ride is will either meet you need for speed, your thirst for off-road adventure, or the high standard you expect from a luxury automobile. It’s been a great year for Porsche, an even better one for Cadillac, and most surprising of all – it’s become a minivan’s market. If you’re still out on the road test-driving your potential new ride, then pull over a second and check out the best of 2016 that were awarded Best Of…
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American Speed

“The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport is the ‘Vette for the gentleman racer. It features the razor-sharp suspension, ultragrippy tires, and aggressive bodywork of the top-of-the-line Corvette Z06 but forgoes that car’s 650-horsepower supercharged engine in favor of the base model’s 460-hp V-8. Sound like a downgrade? It’s not—the Grand Sport is all about balance. It’s the kind of car that rewards precision driving, on the road and at the racetrack. And it’s no slouch, roaring to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, at a price that’s about $14,000 less than the $80,000 Corvette Z06.” – Robert Sorokanich
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Fast For 50K

“How much do you love this car, man?” A cyclist pulls up next to me at a red light. He’s practically hugging the BMW. I tell him that I’m test-driving it without getting the chance to say much more. But no need. He’s telling me about the M2. He’s read about it. “Zero to 60 in 4.4 seconds. But that’s probably an underestimate,” he says. “It’s got a cult following.” Isn’t that the truth. As the light turns green, he says, “Well, I hope you get to add it to your quiver!” If you want to be the kind of guy who has a phalanx of performance cars—#lifegoals, right?—this is the car to start with. It’s a somewhat-affordable, mean-looking-yet-sort-of-cute-in-a-bulldog-way, insanely fun sedan with the raw soul of a sports car that will have you saying when you pull up to the driveway, “Honey, it was only $52,695 and has legendary resale value” with a degree of confidence that implies you didn’t need to discuss pulling the trigger on the purchase. If it’s your second car, definitely opt for the brilliant six-speed manual, which you will rarely need to move past fourth gear—the 365-horsepower engine just zooms as if it were on telepathic command. The whole package is so balanced that you feel like someone threading a needle in super-slow-mo, and overtaking cars in light traffic seems possible—if you’re going to be that kind of guy. The M2 as a first car? Still consider the manual over the automatic paddle-shifted version. Its short throws are the easiest you’ll encounter. Besides, no one says that the next car in your quiver can’t be a Prius, right?” —Kevin Sintumuang
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A Car You Have To Apply To Own

“No matter how far you get in life, you can still be rejected trying to shell out $400,000 for a car. That’s the hard-knock lesson that was delivered to 6,500 would-be Steve McQueens this summer, when they begged for the privilege of paying a fortune to own the threequel to Ford’s legendary Ferrari-killing Le Mans racer. With just 500 earmarked for the first two years of production, the Blue Oval rolled out the velvet rope for only its most valued customers: According to GT, a full two thirds of those approved for this car already own one of its predecessors. And while the supercar gentry might have access to different spoils than you or I do, it doesn’t take an oligarch to understand the fervor over this new GT. It’s the definitive American supercar, a mid-engined thoroughbred with a blue-collar 600-hp Motor City heart. So while it may not be democratic, and it sure as hell ain’t egalitarian, it’s still the greatest speed machine America has ever produced. Stars and racing stripes forever.” – Dennis Tang
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Porsche Of The Year

“Porsche fanboys are a sensitive bunch, prone to fits of fluster when the brand’s sacred cows are slaughtered in the name of progress. The latest threat to their sanity is the 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster, a disruptive newcomer whose subtly tweaked bodywork cloaks an engine that subtracts two cylinders and adds a turbocharger. Purists are likely to dismiss the new Boxster’s 2.0- and 2.5-liter powerplants, the first four-bangers from Zuffenhausen in more than two decades. (See one of the original 718’s in the black-and-white photo below.) Their concerns are entirely comprehensible; after all, when was the last time a $69,450 German sports car shared its engine layout and displacement with a Subaru? Sidestep the small-engine stigma and the Boxster’s creds are compelling: 35 units more horsepower (for up to 350), gobs more torque, and a 4.4-second sprint to 60 mph. Coupled with its featherlike weight, these factors enable a fully loaded 2.5-liter-engined S model to reach 60 as quickly as the mighty V-12-powered Mercedes-AMG S65 coupe. It not only attains an autobahn-worthy 177 mph but also enables you to go farther between fill-ups courtesy of a bump in fuel economy. There’s more to an exceptional sports car than numbers, and the old, naturally aspirated Boxster endeared itself to enthusiasts with its free-flowing exhaust note, a mellifluous wail so gloriously singsongy it induced goose bumps. The new soundtrack is neither shy nor retiring (especially when spec’d with the optional Sport Exhaust package, which cranks up the bass-heavy thrum at the touch of a button). But the voluptuous song of its predecessor is gone, which will undoubtedly trigger wailing among diehards. On the flip side, the retuned suspension enables the 718 to glide over twisting tarmac like a sidewinder, absorbing bumps while pivoting around its center axis. That sense of delightful maneuverability is aided by crisp steering that broadcasts a clear indication of where the tires meet the road.You can love to hate the idea of a spendy open-air sled with a downsized engine, but the new Boxster shines where it really counts: on jagged mountain passes where man and machine commune. The third-gen 718 has transmogrified from an innocuously cute convertible into a seriously potent yet—given its tiny engine—oddly paradoxical performance weapon. Porsche is on a mission to advance the Boxster lineup into the 21st century while meeting tightening emissions standards, and this particular solution may irk the ears of its most ardent critics. But the 718 satisfies where it matters the most: the seat of the pants.” – Basem Wasef
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Reviving An American Legend

“While Cadillac is busy forging a new period in the history of its luxury sedans, Lincoln wants you to recall its 1960s heyday. That’s right: Lincoln is reviving the Continental. Best known as either the car Oddjob had crushed in the James Bond movie Goldfinger or, more ominously, President John F. Kennedy’s last ride, the Continental of the 1960s placed Lincoln at the pinnacle of car design. After a decade of fruitless self-reflection, Lincoln is striving for greatness once again. This big-body four-door isn’t overtly retro, but touches such as the prominent polished grille and substantial chrome interior trim definitely nod to the brand’s Mad Men period. But if the Continental is to compete with Cadillac (and Mercedes and BMW and Audi and all the rest), it’s got to pack some serious tech. Lincoln patented outrageous front seats for the new Continental, adjustable 30 different ways, and the car is powered by one of three V-6 engines, the hottest of which is a 400-horsepower twin-turbo with all-wheel drive. At about $46,555 to start, could this be the car that makes Lincoln relevant again? We’ll have to wait and see whether a resurrected name from its history books can do that, but the future looks shiny.” —Robert Sorokanich
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New Tradition Of American Luxury

“Imagine a Cadillac and what do you see? A chrome-festooned kitsch-mobile from the 1950s? A pro baller’s glitzy SUV? The automaker is keen to leave both images behind, and the all-new CT6 represents a confident step in a new direction for American luxury. The largest sedan in Cadillac’s lineup, the CT6 has an elegant and restrained design—something that couldn’t be said of many recent Caddys. Thankfully, it’s not trying to be a German-style sports sedan (a role played by the smaller CTS-V, a 640-horsepower four-door fire-breather that can hit 200 mph). Instead, the CT6 favors a luxury that’s airy, not gaudy. It’s the kind of car you could spend all day driving, combining a silent, smooth ride with the light-footed handling of a much smaller car. Technology options abound, such as a slew of cameras, which give you a 360 degree view while parking, and a truly opulent Bose Panaray sound system with 34 (!) speakers. The base model, powered by a 265-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder capable of an excellent 31 mpg, starts at $55,000; top-end examples, with a 404-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 and all the options, can top $90,000. It’s not a retro throwback, nor is it a copycat of a German or Japanese luxury offering. It’s a Cadillac for the 21st century, finally, and one that’s working to bring the brand into the future.” —Robert Sorokanich
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Most Hyped

“In a year when what does and doesn’t get made in America has become a presidential flashpoint, who would’ve thought that it’d be Japan, our free-trade nemesis of the Reagan era, that would be building its state-of-the-art supercar here? It’s been nine whole years since Honda announced the follow-up to its now-25-year-old supercar, an all-time icon in its own right, and times have changed since the ’90s. Whereas the classic NSX (most famously driven by Mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction) was a lightweight, nimble go-kart for the road, the new one is both heftier and astronomically more powerful, full of the best that 2016 has to offer. Originally conceived in 2007 with a V-10 engine, the production NSX now packs a turbocharged V-6 and an electric motor in each front wheel, allowing the car to provide instant torque to whichever wheel its computer chooses—the first such system we’ve seen in the sub-million-dollar category. All the hybrid bits and digital assists help this sled hit 60 mph in three seconds flat, yet despite all this progressive tech, the NSX isn’t produced in Japan or Silicon Valley but rather in the industrial swing-state town of Marysville, Ohio.” —Dennis Tang
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Truck You Really Want

“America loves pickup trucks; they’re as macho as cowboy boots. But just like wearing snakeskins and spurs to the coffee shop, driving a full-size truck that you never use for truck stuff makes you look like a poseur. Honda’s answer is the 2017 Ridgeline. It’s built like a car—lighter and lower than a truck, and it has a luxury sedan’s quiet ride and smooth handling. And this roomy five-seater gets an untrucklike 26 mpg. Plus, the $29,475 pickup is replete with unconventional innovations, such as the optional waterproof speakers in the bed, perfect for your next tailgate. While you can haul 1,500 pounds and tow a 5,000-pound trailer, it’s all the truck the average suburban family will ever need, with none of the drawbacks of a thirsty full-size pickup.” —Robert Sorokanich
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Loving The Minivan

“If you have kids (emphasis on the plural), as the second child begins to crawl and the stuff she needs merely to survive, let alone be happy, on a trip to the grandparents seems to require its own set of luggage—which your firstborn already has . . . you should have anticipated this—you come to a realization: What did I get myself into? Followed by: Man, do I really need a minivan? And then, finally, when the existential despair sinks in like a Go-Gurt stain: #!%* me. Other options exist, of course. The SUV can do the job for many a family, and you can feel better about your new state of domesticity under the shield of a car that was intended to do rough-and-tumble things beyond your Costco run. But that seems to be a bigger cliché than the minivan parent these days. Our hang-ups about minivans are really hang-ups about being perceived as a “family man” or a parent who cares about his children—and that’s not really progressive, is it? What does move things forward is the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. Not through faux-SUV styling but by being pleasantly, surprisingly refined. There’s the panoramic moonroof. The lie-flat, stowaway seats. The noise-canceling speakers. The adaptable cruise control. The built-in vacuum cleaner. In coming months, there will even be a plug-in hybrid version with an estimated 30-mile all-electric range. Will the Pacifica abolish minivan shaming? The ability to modify the societal insecurities of dedicated parents is a lot to ask of a car. But it sets an example by fully embracing what it is, no justification necessary. Although the V-6, when it needs to, can show off a surprising bit of tire-squelching giddyap just in case you need to be reminded: This is fun.” – Kevin Sintumuang
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