For the 10th straight year, TheWeeklyDriver.com is selecting its top vehicles of the year. In 2015, we included 12 vehicles instead of 10 on the end-of-the-year list. And we’re doing the same this year.
Honda has four cars on the list, the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Honda Fit and Honda Odyssey. Toyota is represented by the Toyota Avalon Hybrid and Toyota Sienna. Lexus also has two cars on the list, the Lexus IS 200t and the Lexus RC-F. Kia, Lincoln, Mazda and Scion are also represented.
As editor and publisher of TheWeeklyDriver.com since 2004, I reviewed 38 cars and trucks in 2016 model years during the 2016 calendar year. I also drove several other vehicles briefly at manufacturer preview days.
As in past years, TheWeeklyDriver.com waits until the end of the year to select our top vehicles. We think it’s good to have a year of perspective. Most of TheWeeklyDriver.com reviews occurred after weeklong test drives.
The criteria for TheWeeklyDriver.com’s Vehicles of the Year list is simple — value, safety, fuel efficiency, versatility, and comfort. We only select cars or trucks we’ve driven.
Like in previous years, I had the opportunity to drive some cars on extensive trips. In May, I reported on the Tour of California for the 11th straight year. My vehicle companion was a 2016 Hyundai Sonata 2.0, and I covered nearly 1,850 miles in about two weeks. The Sonata averaged 31.5 mpg for the trip, .5 mpg more than the car’s EPA estimate for average highway mileage.
In August, I drove round-trip for the second straight year from Sacramento, California, to Salt Lake City, Utah, to report on the Tour of Utah and the Outdoor Retailer Show. My vehicle: a 2016 Honda Civic.
I drove Interstate 50 on the outbound trip and Interstate 80 on the return trek and drove just shy of 2,000 miles in eight days. The Civic averaged just under 40 mpg for the trip, 1 mpg gallon less than the EPA freeway mpg estimate. During the outbound and inbound trips, I often drove long stretches at more than 80 mph and primarily with the air conditioning fully blasting.
The year also included several other highlights and usual automotive occurrences.
Bruce Aldrich (TahoeTruckeeOutdoor.com) and I attended the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. It had a new focus, automobility — autonomous vehicles to newfangled smart phone applications. Bruce and I also continued our several-year tradition of making new car review videos, and he contributed a good chunk of images to the site this year.
Friend Mike Kahn (mklibrary.com) also provided images to the site. For several years Mike has also been instrumental in the development and growth of TheWeeklyDriver.com.
As I’ve done on assignment for more than 30 years, I drove a half-dozen different vehicles round-trip from Sacramento to the Monterey Peninsula. There’s no better 3 1/2-hour drive to review a car or truck. There are fast-paced long straightaways on Interstate 5 and winding, narrow roads near the San Luis Reservoir on Highway 152 near Los Banos.
The year’s top vehicle list includes an entry level bargain, the 2016 Scion iA, the least expensive car on the list and priced at $16,470. The most expensive car on the list is the 2016 Lexus RC F. It’s priced at $77,905.
Volkswagen continued to run afoul of regulators in 2016 in a fiasco some observers call the biggest automotive fraud in history. The German manufacturer devised a scheme to fudge emission tests. The case has continued for two years, and about two weeks ago another massive fine was assessed. The civil lawsuits of the debacle haven’t started.
The bizarre case of the three-wheel Elio, a futuristic-looking vehicle touted by its inventor and marketing colleagues as revolutionizing the auto industry, has not been manufactured. Its original predicted price has increased $500. Jobs promised in Louisiana have not happened. Prototypes and various partnerships have been announced, but more than 60,000 interested buyers, who have all made deposits, are still waiting for their vehicles.
Paul Elio, founder and CEO of the manufacturer, has detailed the company’s loss of $123 million and has doubts the project will continue. The lingering dilemma attracted vast interest on TheWeeklyDriver.com.
This year, TheWeeklyDriver.com also had a new opportunity. We twice reviewed Bentley models. The handmade British vehicles are outrageously stunning pieces of automotive art. Alas, the Mulsanne and Bentayga models I reviewed were 2017 models. It’s likely, they’ll make next year’s top vehicle list.
Until then, thanks for visiting TheWeeklyDriver.com.
Here’s a synopsis of the 2016 top 12 vehicles of the year, the price as tested and links to the reviews. The entire decade of top vehicles from TheWeeklyDriver.com dating to 2007 is also listed.
Honda Accord (Sport), $27,500.00
The average price of a new car in the United States about $30,000. The Honda Accord Sport, inclusive of packages and destination charges, is slightly more than $27,000. It’s one of the smarter choices in the new car market.
Honda Civic, $27,335.00
Fuel efficiency to engineering to driving fun to overall value, the 2016 Honda Civic may be the best new car on the road today.
Honda Fit, $21,885.00
Until its recent disastrous revelation of diesel emissions violations, The Weekly Driver believed the Volkswagen Jetta TDI was the best car money could buy for $25,000. The 2016 Honda Fit, fully equipped at less than $22,000, is now at the top of the best value perch.
Honda Odyssey, $34,355.00
The 2016 Honda Odyssey (or any other year’s model) is one of the few vehicles on the market geared toward families or other people-moving driving segments that’s just fine for a family of two or a single owner. It’s likely the most versatile vehicle in the industry.
Kia Optima, $36,615.00
If there’s a challenger to the dominance of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, it’s the 2016 Kia Optima. Or, at least it should be.
Lexus IS 200t (F Sport), $46,650.00
A handsome, well-appointed entry-level luxury sedan with a sports car feel. It maneuvers well in city traffic and is appreciably quiet on the freeway. It provides good competition for the well-entrenched BMW 3 series.
Lexus RC F, $77,905.00
Even non-sports car enthusiasts admire this car. And when that occurs, it only re-confirms what enthusiasts already know. The 2016 Lexus RC F is a fine automobile.
Lincoln MKX, $58,740.00
The Lincoln’s power is complemented by a quiet ride and a well-designed, handsome two-tone interior constructed with high-end materials, including leather seats. Add it all up and the MKX is a refined comfort zone on wheels.
The midsize sedan segment is chock-full of great cars, the Honda Accord to the relative newcomer Kia Optima. The 2016 Mazda joins that group near or at the top of the list.
Scion iA $16,470.00
The 2016 Scion iA may not find a niche in a marketplace stuffed with respectable and mass-selling choices from most manufacturers. But if value, a substantial list of standard features and superior gas mileage is important, the sub-compact is a worthy choice.
Toyota Avalon (Hybrid), $43,285.00
With its European styling, impressive driving qualities and equally impressive gas mileage, the 2016 Toyota Avalon is a fine choice in the large sedan segment, hybrid or otherwise.
Toyota Sienna, $49,300.00.
Minivans are people movers, soccer teams to families on vacations. But the Toyota Sienna gives pause. It’s a good choice for smaller families, even for families of one, whose lifestyles may include hauling bicycles, home project supplies or stuff acquired at garage sales.
Here’s the yearly list of TheWeeklyDriver.com’s top-10 cars since 2007:
Honda Accord (Sport), Honda Civic, Honda Fit, Honda Odyssey, Kia Optima, Lexus IS200t, Lexus RC F, Lincoln MKX, Mazda6, Scion iA, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, Toyota Sienna
Buick Lacrosse, Chrysler 200, Ford F150, Ford Mustang, Honda Accord Hybrid, Honda Civic, Hyundai Genesis, Hyundai Sonata, Kia K-900, Lexus ES350, Subaru Outback, Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet SS, Ford Focus, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Accord, Honda Accord Hybrid, Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Equus, Kia Cadenza, Volkswagen Jetta, TDI. Special Mention: Rolls Royce Wraith.
Acura ILX, Audi Allroad, BMW 750 Li, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Santa Fe, Infiniti IPL, Mazda3, Volkswagen Beetle.
Acura MDX, Acura TSX, Audi A7, Honda Odyssey, Honda (Civic) Natural Gas, Hyundai Sonata, Infiniti G37 IPL, Kia Optima Hybrid, Lexus ES350, Nissan Maxima.
Acura TSX, Buick Regal, Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda 2, Suzuki Kizashi, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Sienna, Volvo S60.
Audi A5, Chevrolet Camaro, Fort Transit Connect, Honda Crosstour, Infiniti G37, Lexus LS 460, Mini Mayfair (Special Edition), Subaru Forester, Suzuki SX4, Volkswagen Golf.
Acura TSX, Audi A3, BMW 335d, Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Fit, Infiniti G37, Lexus GS450h, Lexus IS350, Nissan Versa, Toyota Corolla.
Audi A4, Audi A8 W12, BMW 128i, Cadillac CTS, Honda Accord, Honda Civic (Hybrid), Honda Fit, Kia Amanti, Mini-Cooper Clubman, Nissan Altima.
Cadillac CTS, Honda CR-V, Honda Fit, Honda Ridgeline, Hyundai Elantra, Lincoln MKZ, Mini-Cooper, Saab 9-3, Saturn Aura, Volkswagen EOS.
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