6 for ‘16
All For A Reasonable Price
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – In this preview of 2016 cars, we could dazzle you with the $95K Cadillac CTS-V, the $242K Ferrari 488GTB, or the Rolls-Royce Dawn that could deliver an upper six figure blow to your checking account.
But what about those who are not one per centers who might find a new car they like on a lot, strike a deal with their financier, and drive home – all without auctioning off the microwave?
Since life as we know it could not exist without the micro, let’s focus on the lower end of the market where there are some very likeable rides.
If there is a more significant turnaround, other than the Chicago Cubs, it is GM’s Buick Division. Sales of its crossovers alone were up 28 percent last month and soon dealers will have a sharp looking convertible to lure more and younger customers in starting early next year. They will see the first Buick convertible offered in North America in a quarter century. The Cascada will be driven by a 1.6-liter turbo four rated at 200 horsepower with 206 lb-ft of torque and an overboost feature for a brief 221 lb-ft. A front suspension is said to reduce torque steer, the interior will seat four with a price expected to be start around $30K. These should be hot sellers and look for the neighbors to just materialize in your driveway when you drive one of these semi-luxury drop tops home.
We will learn much more about the redesigned Civic when it is formally unveiled on the 16th. But we can show you what it will probably look like in the form of the concept car revealed at the New York show. It is expected to offer a 2.0-liter four or a turbocharged 1.5 liter four with a CVT or a manual box. First out will be a sedan then a coupe with enthusiasts waiting for the Type R performance coupe that has received good reviews in Europe. Look for prices to start at $19K and change when the 2016 goes on sale in the fall.
At first blush you may not think the Optima fits in this budget flavored review of new cars. But consider a starting price of about $23K and change for a midsize sedan with oodles of standard features and it fits in rather nicely. The Optima gets a complete makeover for 2016 with a more upscale interior, improved ride and handling, and new top- of-the-line SXL trim. One can easily bet it will continue to be Kia’s top-selling vehicle for the fourth year in a row. There will be three engine choices and a new seven speed dual clutch automatic. A 14 speaker audio system should keep your ear wax vibrating when the ’16 Optima hits showrooms in November.
Casual observers will be hard pressed to find much difference in the exterior styling of the 2016 Camaro, and that is probably all right with the fans. Six powertrain combinations will give buyers something to mull over from a 2.0-liter 275 horsepower four on up to the 6.2-liter V8 with 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Each engine is available with a six-speed manual or eight speed automatic tranny. So what is new? Weight is said to be down by close to 200 pounds, it rides on a stiffer platform, with lots of interior customization available. It is also one mean looking coupe in SS form. FYI, the chassis comes from Cadillac and the car is two inches shorter and an inch lower. It fits into our bargain review with prices expected to start at about $25K
Small crossovers are hot items on the sales charts these days so Mazda has jumped in with the new CX-3. Based on the Mazda 2 it is shorter and lower than the CX-5 “yet designed to deliver all of the fun and technology of our larger models…” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO of North American operations. It is available with all-wheel drive, and is powered by a 2.0-liter 146 horsepower four with 146 lb-ft of torque. Prices will start in the low $20K range with three trim levels offered. You should know that the CX-3 topped five of its rivals in a recent comparison test in Car and Driver.
Okay, some may be upset that I included two Mazdas in this preview, but how could anyone with a few corpuscles of driver enthusiasm overlook this new sports car? There is simply nothing else on four wheels that can match the MX-5 on a winding rural road on a sunny day with the top down next to your significant other. Non car buffs will never believe that this savor of the sports car world starts at a mere $24,915. A 2.0-liter, 155 horsepower four makes it go along with 148 lb-ft of torque. The MX-5 is a bit faster than the outgoing model but with slightly better economy. A six speed manual transmission is standard along with LED headlights, USB audio input, Bluetooth phone an audio streaming, a leather wrapped shift knob and power door locks. A six speed automatic is also available. The three time levels, Sport, Club and Grand Touring carry over. I will have more on the new Miata, oops MX-5, later this month.