Despite General Motors’ massive list of recalls, the U.S. auto industry is thriving amongst record sales and incredible new models.
Over the past 5 years, we’ve seen some incredible vehicles come out of the big 3 (Ford, GM, and Chrysler Group), including the newly redesigned Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, which have taken on the Ford Mustang to bring the muscle car war back from the dead.
But beyond muscle cars, we’ve seen Detroit (and a billion-dollar startup in Silicon Valley) transform to meet the demands of an evolving car market. For a glimpse into the future of American cars, here are four of the best models to look forward to in the 2016 model year.
2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
Photo by Tuner Tom. License: CC BY-SA 4.0.
Affectionately named the Camaro Z/28 killer, the GT350 is the Mustang we all wished Ford would make. And they did just that.
With 550 estimated horsepower, this track-focused monster is expected to be lighter than the latest Z/28 (even without extras like air conditioning), which could give it an advantage over the Z/28.
Expected to be arriving in the spring of 2015, the GT350 vs. the Camaro Z/28 will be one of the best car comparisons in many years.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro
While I just finished talking about why the GT350 is probably going to be better than its rival Camaro, the sixth gen, redesigned 2016 Camaro is going to be a decent competitor on paper to the current 2015 Mustang models.
A rumored twin-turbo V6 engine option (the same featured in the Cadillac XTS Vsport) will be rolled out to challenge the new turbocharged Mustang Ecoboost. And with the GT500 and Hellcat having fun at the very top of the muscle car food chain, car enthusiasts are expected a new beastly Camaro to be unveiled sometime in 2015.
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan
When you think of a four-door Cadillac, you probably think of grandpa’s old DeVille. It’s hard to get that image out of your head, even up against the upcoming 2016 CTS-V sedan, which boasts a supercharged 6.2L V8 that puts out 640hp.
GM has thrown out the grandpa cars of the 90s and brought the heat to compete with its German luxury rivals, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi. But the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V, with a mind-numbing top speed of 201 mph and 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds, plans to blaze past its premium competition with refined looks and raw American performance.
2016 Ford Focus RS
What used to be a purely European hot hatchback made by an American car company is now seeing a release in the U.S. as well starting in 2016. I’m of course talking about the 2016 Ford RS!
While the Focus ST and Fiesta ST have satisfied hatchback lovers for a few years now, the RS will deliver more power to match the Golf R and WRX STi (which unfortunately no longer offers a hatchback model).
So while Ford is waging war on GM with its Shelby GT350, it will also be trying to absolutely dominate the niche performance hatchback market in 2015/2016.
2016 Tesla Model X
While I’ve been on a roll of cars with big V8s and turbocharged offerings, it’s now time to talk about those guys in Silicon Valley making electric cars. Or as they liked to be called: “Tesla Motors.”
Already praised as the most innovative car company in the U.S. today, Tesla is looking to create an SUV to further fund its campaign to make an affordable electric car. This SUV, dubbed the “Model X” will appeal to the growing crossover segment of car buyers, who want small, yet spacious and economical vehicles.
With a price estimated around $70,000, it might be out of reach for the average car buyer, but those shopping for a premium SUV will likely be looking at Tesla in the coming years.