CarGurus’ 2015 Model-Year Heroes

XV Crosstrek Zoom

As more and more 2016 cars pour onto (and off of) dealership lots and our planet Earth approaches yet another successful revolution around the Sun, it’s time to wave farewell to the automotive Class of 2015. In 2014, BMW brought us the spaceship-like i8 and first showed us its new 2 and 4 Series coupes. Jaguar rolled onto the scene with its convertible F-TYPE, putting the rest of the sports-car world on notice, and Chevrolet responded with authority as it unveiled the C7 Corvette. But, if anything, 2015 brought even more excitement to the market. Dodge began selling 707-hp Hellcats, Jaguar put a roof on the F-Type, Volvo brought a stunning new wagon to the United States, and Jeep gave us a Renegade that is surprisingly good off-road.

Believe it or not, those cars barely scratch the surface. We’ve written hundreds of previews and reviews of 2015 cars, and now it’s time to look back and account for the successes of 2015. From the most fuel-efficient car to the best horsepower value, and from the car with the longest range on a single tank of gas to the car that generated the most interest on our site, here are our nine 2015 Model-Year Heroes.

2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Most Horsepower per Dollar
In a sport-coupe world fixated on high-end models from the likes of BMW and Porsche, or pony cars from Chevy and Ford, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe passes largely unnoticed. And yet many, including one of our own reviewers, have noted it for its power and performance. Also of note, however, is how the Genesis Coupe mas made our list of 2015 CarGurus Heroes: as the car offering the most horsepower per dollar. That’s right—given the Genesis Coupe’s MSRP and 348-hp V6, each of its single horsepowers comes at $90.97. As our reviewer pointed out, the Genesis Coupe hits a sort of “sweet spot” between lower-end coupes and models like the Dodge Challenger, so it’s not a huge surprise to see it offer respectable power at such a bargain.

2015 Honda Accord Hybrid

Longest Range on a Single Tank
One of our lists this year featured the dozen vehicles that can travel farthest on a single tank of gas. That list was, surprisingly, topped by a 2016 truck, but that’s because the new Ram 1500 offers a very efficient diesel engine and a monstrous 32-gallon tank. Following the Ram by a slim margin – three-quarters of a mile on a range of over 750, or 0.1% – was Honda’s 2015 Accord Hybrid Touring. Its EPA-estimated 50 mpg city/45 highway should put a beaming grin on the face of anyone who doesn’t like pit stops. And while our reviewer loved the performance of the non-hybrid 2015 Accord’s powertrain, she enjoyed its ride and handling even more, so covering those 750+ miles in an Accord Hybrid should be a thoroughly comfortable and enjoyable experience.

2015 Toyota Prius C

Most Fuel Efficient
The last couple years have been a crazy time for fuel types, and it doesn’t look like the the various fueling options will diminish in number any time soon. It has also been a turbulent year for certain types of diesel engines (TDI), of course, but, with efficient gas engines, a wide variety of clean diesel engines, hybrid gasoline-electric motors, pure-electric motors, and now even hydrogen fuel cells, chances are you can find the right fuel type for you. Every one of these types have varying levels of efficiency, but, if you’re looking to fill up with everyday gasoline, the Toyota Prius c will give you the best mpg. And are you at all surprised? It’s a Prius-branded compact hybrid that practically fits in your pocket. Its 53/46 mpg will save you a good amount of cash, but with 9.5 gallon fuel tank, expect to make a few more stops at the pump. Though it is the most efficient vehicle, the Prius c wasn’t quite a contender for our longest-range pick.

Most CarGurus YouTube Views
YouTube is admittedly a brand new platform for us, but in the few months that we have been building on our videos, we’ve put up a solid breadth of ‘15 models, enough to recognize which videos best capture our YouTube audience’s attention. Subarus seem to be especially popular, as the 2016 WRX outperforms everything else on our channel by a rather large margin. But as far the ‘15 models go, it’s safe to say that the ‘15 XV Crosstrek has gotten the most attention. And we can understand why. The Crosstrek (Subaru elected to drop the “XV” from the model name after the ‘15) is a fantastic, capable, and affordable crossover that fits equally well in the city street as it does on a mountain road. We’ll just let our reviewer explain why the Crosstrek is a favorite among this particular crowd. (And don’t forget to subscribe to CarGurus’ YouTube channel.)

2015 Mazda MAZDA3

Highest CarGurus Test Drive Score – Car
CarGurus’ Test Drive Reviews give each vehicle a 1-to-10 score on each of 6 aspects—Look and Feel, Performance, Form and Function, Technology, Safety, and Cost Effectiveness—which we then average to determine the vehicle’s Overall Score. Three of our top-5 2015 models by Overall Score got two perfect 10s, with the top two finishers each getting top marks for Technology and Safety and one of three tied-for-third vehicles acing Look and Feel and Safety. You’ll learn more about the 2015 that placed second below, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that one of our 3 third-place finishers and our winner share a brand name. That brand? Mazda, whose Mazda6 tied the Honda Civic and Jeep Grand Cherokee in third place and whose Mazda3 earned our top Overall Score for 2015. Like Mazda, we believe driving matters, and we encourage anyone in the market for a new compact or hatchback to test-drive a Mazda3.

2015 Ford F-150

Highest CarGurus Test Drive Score – Truck
When our esteemed reviewers evaluate a new car, they look not just at the basic criteria laid out in the reviews (performance, safety, look and feel, et cetera), but also how it compares to other models in its class. A 2015 Jaguar XF, for instance, may deliver outstanding performance and value, but it falls behind cars like the Volvo S60 in safety and technology, and its build materials don’t really stand out either. In this respect—how a vehicle stands up to the field—the Ford F-150 excels. The 2015 Chevy Silverado 1500—arguably Ford’s most formidable competitor—delivers either a 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter V8 engine, but with a 3.5-liter ecoboost V6, the Ford matched the Silverado’s around-town power while also providing superior fuel economy. And beyond its next-level engine, Ford introduced new aluminum construction and impressive safety features, enough to earn the F-150 our highest scoring Test Drive Review of any truck this year.

2015 Audi Allroad

Most Inquiries Submitted on CarGurus.com
Along with writing articles about cars, we’re hard at work building CarGurus into the best resource in the world for car research and shopping. Folks looking for a new car can head to our website, where we will show them as many listings for new and used cars as possible, complete with our Instant Market Value price analysis. Maybe it was due to our outstanding review of the truck, but more inquiries were submitted for new and used F-150s than any other vehicle on CarGurus. As the Ford has evolved into a more modern, fuel-efficient pickup, it was able to squeak past the venerable Jeep Wrangler in the standings. Wranglers have always drawn an impassioned following, and are almost routinely the leading inquiry-receiver on CarGurus—but the excitement surrounding the F-150 and its aluminum frame signaled that perhaps it’s time for Jeep to take steps towards modernizing its go-anywhere overlander.

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder

Most Stunning New Car Design
After some intense debate and deliberation, we have found what we consider to be the ‘15 model year’s most beautiful design. There was a lot of competition from a wide variety of body styles and market segments, from the relatively affordable to one of the most expensive production cars on the market. The winner of this close race was none other than the stunning Porsche 918 Spyder. This hybrid hypercar with almost a million dollar price tag is unmistakably a Porsche product, reminiscent of the mid-2000s Carrera GT, but with a low, swooping front-end and more defined indents flanking the seats. In addition to being a visual work of art, the 918 Spyder is an engineering marvel. Using a hybrid electric drive system, the 918 uses EV principles to bring out the best in a performance hypercar. The instant torque of the electric motors get the 918 moving quickly, and, when combined with its V8 mid-rear engine, it can move with a startlingly impressive 887 hp. It’s amazing to see all of this performance and technology wrapped up in such a beautiful, quintessentially Porsche package.

2015_ford_mustang-pic-5668176875309183715-640x480

The Car That Re-Wrote the Future
We had some trouble deciding on exactly what criteria we’d use when nominating the most significant model of 2015. Are we thinking about driving experience? Or how about price point? Surely we’d want to take style and popularity into account? “Significance” can be a tough concept to pin down, and we wanted to keep the category from getting too abstract.

In the end, however, we were able to agree on the Ford Mustang, for basically all of the reasons listed above. The Mustang, now over 50 years old, has been on a definite rise since its fifth generation brought a needed (retro) styling boost in 2005, and especially since the 5.0-liter V8 returned to availability in 2011. Then, 2015 saw the introduction of the sixth-generation Mustang, which essentially took the Mustang’s gathering momentum and propelled it even farther forward. The steering and handling sharpened up, thanks in part to a new independent rear suspension that replaced the previous rear-beam axle setup, and the Mustang’s incorporated technology, such as the MyFord infotainment system, became a whole lot more robust. The Mustang remains a very affordable muscle-car option as well, and has finally become a global model, already proving extremely popular in Europe and in the U.K. (where CarGurus recently launched). Back home, on our U.S. site, the Mustang has generated the sixth-most leads of any model.

Essentially, the 2015 Mustang has been a demonstration in resiliency (again, the model itself is old, as models go these days), and in the kind of significant improvement from one generation to the next that we like to see from automakers—and it’s nice to see this sort of thing coming from Detroit. Now that the next-gen Mustang is well-established with its 2016 iteration, we’ll see how well it holds its ground in the escalating muscle-car war.

What 2015 cars do you think are particularly heroic?

–Chase Hammond, John Harrington, Matt Smith, and Steve Halloran

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Used Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Used Honda Accord Hybrid
Used Toyota Prius c
Used Subaru XV Crosstrek
Used Mazda Mazda3
Used Ford F-150
Porsche 918 Spyder
Used Ford Mustang

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