With 2015 coming to a close, we’d like to look at the cars we’ve driven to see which one is truly the best. Now, all the cars we’ve tested are good and we’ve had a memorable time in each one, but these five have stood out in our minds as the Best of the Best.
Enjoy our The Auto Reporter’s Best Car of the Year Awards!
- Nissan Rogue
This sporty little SUV offered great comfort and an amazingly enjoyable drive on the way to Mount Rainier. The 2016 Nissan Rogue handled the curves of Paradise Road more like a sedan than an SUV, taking ques from the Z-family, though with more legroom in the rear seats and more practicality…everywhere.
With plenty of creature comforts and seats that heated well enough to keep us warm with the windows down in the mountain tops, the 2016 Nissan Rogue is a sure bet for a good deal.
We tailgated in the sunlight and had a quiet drive back in the dark, but the real treat was driving the 2016 Nissan Rogue around the ups and downs, curves and straights, of Paradise Road in the Mount Rainier National Park!
- 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited
I’ve been able to test drive three Hyundai Sonatas and it was the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid that impressed me the most. On top of a 500-mile hybrid range, it offered Apple CarPlay and Google’s AndroidAuto standard, had some amazingly comfortable seats, and was extremely inexpensive compared to the level of tech and treatments you got in return.
It was also sporty. The 193 horsepower from the gasoline direct injection engine is more than enough to make you smile when combined with the instant torque of an electric motor. The EV motor is good for the environment and the super safe interior is good for you and your passengers.
So it’s luxuriant, sporty, and safe… And that’s why it climbed its way to number 4 in our Top Five of 2015!
- 2016 Buick Regal GS
The ads were right: These are not your grandma’s Buick. These are Buicks that sport turbos and D steering wheels and all-wheel drive and performance tires… and freaking Brembo brakes! This is the 2016 Buick Regal GS.
With the same kind of luxury and comfort that you’d expect from Buick, but with modernization and renovations for a younger crowd, the 2016 Buick Regal GS is my kind of Buick. This 259 horsepower beast isn’t a Buick, it’s a track monster in Buick clothing. (Note to Buick: If I had another try at it, I’d love to take this to Pacific Raceways!).
We enjoyed this monster so much that we can’t wait to see how the 2017 improves upon this already great vehicle.
- 2016 Mazda MX-5 “Miata” Club Edition
There’s only one reason I’ve put the 2016 Mazda MX-5 at number 2 instead of number 1: I knew it would be amazing. And it didn’t disappoint. The 2016 Mazda MX-5 is a great successor to the NC Miata and is a true throwback to the NA Miata that started it all. The MX-5 Club Edition we drove had a manual transmission attached to the standard 2.0L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine producing 155 horsepower. The perfectly geeky, perfect 50/50 weight distribution was great on Chuckanut Drive near Bellingham.
It wasn’t just good for the challenges of a tight curvy road, it was up for the longer drives and cruises that two-seaters roadsters were made for. We took it to Eastern Washington and enjoyed a great top down evening drive with nothing but us and the sun… Then the sun set and it was just the wind, the road, the car and me (as I ignored my passenger for deer watch).
My time in the 2016 Mazda MX-5 really made me want to purchase one and, as soon as my ‘Miata Fund’ jar is full of Benjamins, I’ll head right into my local dealership and pick one up brand new.
- 2016 Acura TLX
I loved driving the 2016 Acura TLX. It had the best balance of sportiness and luxury out of all the cars we drove this year. The dual clutch transmission was amazingly quick in shifts through the corners of our drive with the likes of Aston Martins and Porsches, while the intelligent all-wheel drive kept the car planted in the corners. The 3.5L V6 kept up with those other cars, yet the Acura did it with 290 horsepower (much less than the others).
I chose the 2016 Acura TLX as the car of the year because it’s ability surprised me, along with the others who were as sceptic of my spirited-class choice that fateful day. I chose it because it just did exactly what I wanted it to, went exactly where I wanted it to, and – after a hard day’s drive – I put away pleased with the performance.
For that, the 2016 Acura TLX wins The Auto Reporter’s 2016 Car of the Year Award. Congratulations to Acura and their amazing 2016 TLX!!