Here in New England, autumn holds a special place in our hearts. Be it the changing leaves and cooler temperatures, the knowledge that bitter cold and long nights are just around the corner, or the New England Patriots’ triumphant march toward the playoffs, the fall season brings with it a sense of comfort. Timed perfectly with the season’s capstone in America’s northeast corner, Thanksgiving manages to wrap up this autumnal attitude and outlook, bringing together families for a yearly reflection (and plenty of slumber-inducing turkey).
We have plenty to be thankful for here at CarGurus. Our little company is growing, we’re reaching new audiences, and we have a beautiful new home here in Cambridge, MA. Beyond our own successes, however, the auto industry has provided plenty for us, and other enthusiasts, to be thankful for. From groundbreaking advancements in technology and efficiency to pure mechanical innovation, 2015 has been an incredible year for gearheads. Without further ado, here are the five new cars that make us most thankful.
Next year, perhaps, we’ll be writing about the coolest minivan on the market, with falcon doors, ludicrous speed, and bioweapon defense, but until the Model X hits the road, we’re going to stay with the upstart company’s best-known commodity. The Tesla Model S has been a revelation since it started appearing on roads in 2011, but in 2015, Tesla gave us self-driving cars. Sort of. Thanks to an over-the-air software update, Model S owners woke up this fall to find their cars now equipped with Autopilot. When engaged, the cars can steer themselves, change lanes, and adjust speed with no input from the driver. There have and will be hiccups, but we’re thankful Tesla has succeeded in bringing this coveted technology to consumers, and we’re starting to wonder why other cars can’t do it, too.
To quote Omar Little from “The Wire,” “Come at the king, you best not miss.” When a competitor rolls in and stakes its claim to a segment completely dominated by one model, the defending champ can either roll over or double down. In 2015, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon arrived on the scene, intent on stealing market share from Toyota, and in 2016, Toyota opted to increase its own efforts. Now, shoppers looking for a midsize pickup truck can choose between two great GM options and a brand new 2016 Toyota Tacoma, which we found to be very impressive.
It’s not every day that you hear people comparing billion-dollar companies with children in a sandbox, but thanks to pony cars, we’ve done just that. Dodge, Chevrolet, and Ford have battled for the muscle-car crown for over 40 years, and while Dodge may have the horsepower edge with its Charger and Challenger Hellcats, and Chevrolet may be riding high on the Camaro’s recent success, Ford can still breathe easy, thanks to the intoxicating roar of the 2016 Shelby GT350‘s 5.2-liter flat-plane V8. Made famous by the likes of Ferrari, nothing sounds quite like a flat-plane V8, and we’re thankful Ford is bringing it to the masses.
Efficiency is a necessity in the auto market, no matter how the GT350 makes you feel. Cars like the Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt all take a slightly different approach to solving the fossil-fuel crisis, but the green car we’re most thankful for this year is the BMW i3. It’s a stylish new take on EVs, and while it’s expensive, it introduces forward-thinking materials like carbon fiber and aluminum. For years, hybrids and EVs have been thought of as compromises—they deliver great efficiency at the expense of style and/or performance—but thankfully, the i3 succeeds in bucking that trend.
Automakers’ ongoing innovation makes shoppers want more and more features available (and preferably standard) on their cars. While rear-view cameras, 9-speed transmissions, rear cross-traffic alerts, and active cruise control are nice features for your compact crossover, sometimes we crave simplicity instead. Thankfully, the Mazda MX-5 Miata exists. While Miata has always been the answer, the 2016 model boils the winning recipe down to its roots. Lighter and smaller than predecessors, the Miata is all about driving. With a 6-speed manual transmission and smooth power delivered to the rear wheels, it succeeds in all aspects of this purist philosophy.
What cars are you thankful for this year?
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Used Tesla Model S
Used Toyota Tacoma
Used Chevrolet Colorado
Used GMC Canyon
Used Dodge Charger
Used Dodge Challenger
Used Chevrolet Camaro
Used Ford Shelby GT350
Used Toyota Prius
Used Nissan Leaf
Used Chevrolet Volt
Used BMW i3
Used Mazda MX-5 Miata