2015 is coming to a close and consumers have been busy shopping online for their next vehicle. Google has a list of the ten most searched cars, trucks and SUVs. Interestingly, the mix consists of five crossovers, three trucks, a sedan and a sports coupe. Chevrolet is the most predominant of the top ten with three entries. Upon viewing Google’s list of most popular searched vehicles of 2015, it’s easy to see why crossovers have surpassed sedans as the biggest selling category.
#10 – Hyundai Tucson
Considered as the most improved redesigned crossover, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson is also one our favorites of the year. Now into its third generation, the 2016 Tucson is a compact crossover that is larger, more powerful, more efficient and better equipped than its predecessor. Basically, the new Tucson seems to offer everything we’ve come to appreciate from the value-packed Hyundai brand. A 164-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is offered in the base-level SE model and a 175-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder comes standard with the Eco, Sport and Limited trims. The incredibly smooth shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission helps to deliver up to 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The interior design is competently clear. It’s a simple, no-nonsense design that makes everything easy to reach, use and find. After a close look at the 2016 Tucson, we understand why it made onto Google’s top 10 list of trending vehicles.
#9 – Lexus NX
The NX 200t is the first Lexus to vehicle to be outfitted with a turbocharged gasoline engine in the U.S. market. This new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is all-new for Japan’s biggest luxury automaker and will ultimately migrate to other models in the line-up. Lexus’ new twin scroll turbo design has a focus on reduced friction, efficiency-optimized turbine blades, and a reduction in noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). This attention on reduced NVH is apparent when one stands outside the car while it runs. The engine is nearly silent. The engine revs smoothly, and turbo lag is not apparent. In normal starting and cruising, one never hears or feels any “turbo sensation.” There is no dead spot at low RPMs. Most importantly, the engine does not jump to life at 2500 rpm in the way that many poorly designed turbocharged engines do. Rather, it feels like a small in-line 6-cylinder.
#8 – Chevrolet Colorado
The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax diesel is finally here and is the reason why Chevy’s mid-size truck squeaked onto the top 10 list of trending vehicles. Now the fastest selling truck in America can be optioned with a 2.8-liter turbo diesel engine that produces gorilla-strength 369 lb-ft of torque. The 2.8L Duramax is mated to the same six-speed Hydra-matic transmission paired with Chevy’s gasoline powered 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.6-liter V6 engines. The 2016 Colorado diesel 2WD gets an EPA estimated 22 mpg city, 31 highway and 25 mpg combined. The 4WD model offers an EPA estimated 23 mpg combined that breaks down to 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Two new features add control and confidence to the Colorado diesel: smart diesel exhaust braking and an integrated trailer brake controller. Smart diesel exhaust braking enhances vehicle control and reduces brake wear by reducing the need for braking on downgrades. The integrated trailer brake controller works with the antilock brake system to provide immediate and measured brake force, eliminating the need for an aftermarket trailer brake controller.
#7 – Jeep Renegade
The Renegade — with optional 4-wheel drive and a 5-mode terrain management system — marks Jeep’s foray into the emerging subcompact SUV segment. Coming from the Jeep family, the Renegade has some big shoes to fill when it comes to off-road capability. The Trailhawk and Limited models are the four-wheel drive versions of the Renegade and come standard with an 180 horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and 9-speed gearbox. Tiny on the outside, surprisingly spacious inside. The best thing about a vehicle that’s shaped like a box on the outside is that it will, almost without exception, be shaped like a box inside. Regardless of its square-ish dimensions, the Renegade has quickly become a top seller in its category in the United States.
#6 – Fiat 500X
The 2016 Fiat 500X fits into the compact crossover category and loosely resembles a 4×4. To this end, the 500X shares not only its platform with the Jeep Renegade, but also the four-wheel drive system and nine-speed automatic transmission. Cabin design is possibly the best Fiat has ever produced, and you can sense there’s been real attention paid to the ergonomics and design. The base configuration of the Fiat 500X is 138 horsepower 1.4-liter turbo driving the front wheels. The butch-version has the 2.4-liter four-cylinder developing 180 horsepower mated to a nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
#5 – Honda HR-V
The 2016 Honda HR-V is the newest Honda to compete with cars like the Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and the upcoming Mazda CX-3. These small and cute crossovers are all the rage these days and the Honda HR-V is one of the best of the breed offering value, fuel efficiency in a practical crossover SUV that is easy to drive and smartly packaged with the right mix of features.
#4 2016 Chevrolet Camaro
GM redesigned the 10th generation Camaro on a new platform, trimmed some weight, made it more agile around corners, and added a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood. It still has a poor outward visibility and a claustrophobic cabin, but the Camaro delivers high on the fun scale and is a fast car to drive.
#3 2016 Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma gets its first major update in a decade. At its core, the frame has been enhanced with more high- and ultrahigh-strength steel, making it three times stronger than the former chassis. All-new body panels give the Tacoma a beefier look that is actually 12 percent more aerodynamic than its predecessor. The base engine is still a 159 horsepower 2.7-liter four cylinder, but for 2016, a new 278 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 replaces the Tacoma’s old 4.0-liter V6. Toyota says the new six-speed automatic and manual transmissions are more efficient and deliver more torque to the wheels than the outgoing 4.0-liter and five-speed auto.
#2 – 2016 Chevrolet Silverado
The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado has been refreshed with a new front end and a new 8-speed transmission available on the mid- and high-level trims. The modernized face is offered with LED headlights, along with LED running lights, turn signals, and rear taillights. In this TFLTruck first drive video Roman gets to know the new face of Chevy pickup trucks along with some drive time behind the wheel.
#1 – 2016 Chevrolet Malibu
The ninth generation Malibu was ushered in with the 2016 model year. Now it is longer, leaner and much better looking than the outgoing model. GM wanted to break the Malibu out of its rental car stigma and really make it competitive in its segment. Offered with no less than three different powertrain options, a long list of tech and safety features, and a modern interior that is really comfortable, the 2016 Chevy Malibu pulls no punches.