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Looking Ahead: Upcoming New Car Releases

The change over to the new model year is stepping up as manufacturers release a slew of updated and new models. Most of the new vehicles were previewed at major auto shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and New York, and soon we will see if all that anticipation was truly worth it. To that end, we’ve assembled a sample of the vehicles hitting the market between now and the end of the calendar year.

Scion iA and iM

Scion iA and iM
(Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.)

Scion is a Toyota sub-brand that’s geared toward young buyers. Over the past several years the brand has languished, but on Sept. 1 two new models went on sale.

The first model is the Scion iA, a four-door sedan. Its silhouette may be familiar to you as it was previously sold as the Mazda2. Mazda and Toyota partnered to provide this model for Scion.

The second model is the Scion iM, a five-door hatchback. Like the iA, the iM has a familiar shape to it as it is based on the Toyota Corolla. Both models retail for under $20,000 and are powered by four-cylinder engines paired with 6-speed manual gearboxes or available automatic transmissions.

Lotus Evora 400

Remember Lotus? The British sports car maker sat out the 2015 model year as it reworked its product line to comply with U.S. safety requirements. That move has paid off in a big way as the Lotus Evora 400 hits the market this fall. Powered by a 400-horsepower, supercharged 3.5-liter V6 engine, the Evora 400 is the fastest Lotus ever. It is still as light as it ever was, but more expensive: expect to pay upwards of $90,000 to obtain one.

2016 Chevrolet Line

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
(General Motors)

General Motors is pouring billions of dollars into Chevrolet, its strongest selling brand. That investment is yielding several new products including the next generation compact Cruze sedan, the midsize Malibu sedan, the plug-in electric Volt, and the Camaro performance coupe. In addition, the Chevrolet Silverado line receives a facelift.

New from the ground up, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu comes in larger and lighter than its predecessor. That means the most pressing issue with the previous generation model has been resolved, namely tight rear legroom. Indeed, Chevrolet added 3.6 inches between the wheels to give this midsize sedan more cabin room. A hybrid model returns and it is expected to get 48 mpg highway.

The Chevrolet Cruze officially goes on sale in early 2016, but you can order one before Christmas. The second-generation Cruze is larger, lighter and more efficient than the first-generation model. It will offer such features as wireless phone charging, heated rear seats and a new 1.4-liter turbocharged engine.

Since its return 2010, the Chevrolet Camaro has ascended to the top of the sports car segment. The sixth-generation model comes in lighter, stiffer and with three engine choices, including a first ever turbocharged four-cylinder motor. Each engine is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic transmission.

As for the Chevrolet Volt, it enters its second generation with room for five, a 420-mile range and an improved electric-only range of 53 miles. This model loses 100 pounds and receives a new 1.5-liter range extender generator and improved low-speed acceleration. It also maintains the $7,500 federal tax credit that makes owning an electric car more affordable.

Cadillac CT6

(General Motors)
(General Motors)

This December, Cadillac introduces a new, large sedan dubbed the CT6. The rear-wheel drive CT6 matches the BMW 7-Series short wheelbase in proportion and can be had with all-wheel drive. Though larger than the Cadillac CTS, the CT6 is 44 pounds lighter as Cadillac uses lightweight materials to shave weight. Numerous new technologies debut, including rear steering. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 is also new and will make at least 400 horsepower. The CT6 also ushers in a new naming convention for Cadillac, and the brand’s other models will gradually make the shift over the next several years.

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

Cadillac isn’t the only luxury brand with naming convention changes in mind. Mercedes-Benz has renamed the GLK-Class the GLC-Class and with it has released an all-new model. It is based on the platform underpinning the C-Class car line and shares it powertrains and drivetrains. The new model is roomier than the outgoing GLK and will also yield an AMG variant, but not until the 2017 model year.

Toyota Prius

The world’s most popular hybrid model will be formally introduced next week to media in Las Vegas. The new Prius’ styling has been leaked and its visage is similar to the Mirai, Toyota’s all-new fuel cell vehicle. Not much else is known about this fourth-generation, four-door hatchback, although rumors that it may approach 55 mpg may yet come true.

BMW 7-Series

(BMW of North America, LLC)
(BMW of North America, LLC)

Just as Cadillac offers a response to the BMW 7-Series, BMW brings out an all-new version of its much-heralded flagship sedan. Debuting this November, the 2016 7-Series makes greater use of carbon fiber in its body along with a steel and aluminum cage. That translates into a 300-pound weight loss. Four-corner air suspension is now standard and the iDrive system has been updated to provide improved touch-screen access. A plug-in hybrid variant also debuts.

Looking Further Out

Several new models won’t be in showrooms until after the first of the year. Thus, some will likely be 2017 model year vehicles, including the Ford F-150 Raptor, the Chrysler Town & Country, and the Jaguar XE.

Tesla’s new Model X crossover SUV, the Acura NSX hybrid super car, and both Bentley and Rolls-Royce SUVs are also coming. Last but not least, the Ford Focus RS, an all-new Nissan Frontier, a resurrected Honda Ridgeline, an updated Porsche Cayman GT4, the Audi R8, and new Infiniti models — a Q30 sedan and a QX30 SUV — are also in the mix. That makes for lots of exciting new products arriving in an ever changing industry.

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