Saleswise, last year may not have been a spectacular one for the auto industry, which was hampered from speeding ahead due to a host of roadblocks. But in terms of vehicles, 2016 was a delightful year, with automakers offering the latest technologies as well as attractive pricing, making it a wonderful year for shoppers.
Saleswise, last year may not have been a spectacular one for the auto industry, which was hampered from speeding ahead due to a host of roadblocks.
But in terms of vehicles, 2016 was a delightful year, with automakers offering the latest technologies as well as attractive pricing, making it a wonderful year for shoppers.
Here, then, are 10 of the most impressive vehicles I drove last year across all segments of the market.
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine Momentum
Volvo has always been a leader in large SUVs and the latest XC90 PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) is again a runaway winner. Packed with loads of technologies giving it excellent performance, safety and comfort, the XC90 also comes with a high level of user-friendliness and detailed settings you can play with all day. If I had to pick a winner this year, it would most certainly be the XC90.
Mercedes-Benz S 500 Coupe AMG Premium
Yes, Mercedes-Benz is synonymous with luxury, and this S 500 Coupe is clear proof of that. The car oozes mature and elegant design both inside and out, and provides occupants with a highly comfortable ride thanks to its air suspension. The 4.7-litre twin-turbo V8 unleashes 455bhp and a whopping 700Nm of torque, propelling you from 0-100km/h in under 5 seconds.
BMW 330e M Sport
Now here’s a vehicle that proves PHEVs don’t have to be boring. The 2.0-litre turbo engine is mated to an electric motor and jointly develops 252bhp and 420Nm. The result? Sportscar performance accompanied by the ability to run purely on electric power for 20km. Don’t hold your breath, but the fuel economy of the 330e is claimed to be 41.7km/litre!
Honda Civic RS
The new Civic comes with the latest automotive trends including a downsized 1.5-litre turbocharged engine with CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), sporty suspension and Gundam-inspired design. The car is larger than its predecessor, boasting plenty of cabin space plus convenient features such as remote engine start.
Last year, Civic’s arch rival also got a downsized 1.5-litre engine with a turbocharger. The Focus is a joy to drive, offering great dynamics and build quality. There is also an abundance of technologies including self-parking, autonomous emergency braking and Sync 3 for iPhone CarPlay and Android Auto.
Okay it’s ageing, but the sharp CX-5 has been given additional equipment that freshens up this sporty crossover. The latest features from the new i-ActiveSense package include Active LED headlights, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Smart City Brake Support, Driver Attention Alert, Advanced Blind Sport Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Hands down, the Everest is the best PPV (Pickup Passenger Vehicle) in the market right now, offering great performance and quality you’d expect from luxury SUVs. The top 3.2-litre model also features the latest safety package similar to the CX-5, plus Active Cancellation to keep cabin noise down.
Mazda MX-5 2.0
Every MX-5 is fun to drive, and although the new models might not be as raw as the original, it is more human-friendly, with extra interior space and surprisingly easy handling even at the limits. Styling is of course another highlight, with Mazda’s eye-catching KODO design overflowing from this convertible.
Honda Accord Hybrid
The Accord is already a good car, but the hybrid version is even better. With a fuel economy that competes with that of eco-cars – no kidding – the Accord Hybrid helps you save plenty on fuel bills while maintaining a high level of luxury sought for in an executive/family car.
Toyota Camry 2.0G Extremo
The Camry line-up consists of many trim levels and engine choices, and this model is the latest addition. The Camry 2.0G Extremo comes with added features normally found in higher trim levels, such as an aerodynamic body kit, sporty 17-inch wheels with 215/55 tyres, an upgraded infotainment system, navigation and a rear-view camera with guidance.