Now that we’re solidly into 2014, automakers are teasing us with their 2015 model year vehicles, many of which should be available to the public by the end of December. It’s always fun to see how new models take shape, and so far, 2015 is setting up to be a good year for buyers in just about every category.
Truck enthusiasts have Ford’s (NYSE:F) new, aluminum F-150 and General Motors’ (NYSE:GM) Canyon and Colorado to look forward to, while the more performance-minded can look forward to the new Subaru WRX, or BMW M3 and M4. Those looking for a spot of leather and creature comforts, seek no further than Cadillac’s new ATS Coupe or Escalade, while the more practical and frugal can wait on Honda’s (NYSE:HMC) new Fit or Chrysler’s (FIATY.PK) new 200 sedan.
Here are ten new cars hitting American showrooms this year (or next), out of the several scheduled for release. It appears that it’ll be a solid year for luxury vehicles and crossovers, as well as fuel-efficient models that continue to push the envelope for lesser consumption.
1. Ford F-150
Ford’s F-150 is easily one of the most anticipated new vehicles for the 2015 model year, not just because it’s America’s perennial best-selling vehicle, but because Ford has flushed out considerable amounts of the F-150’s steel body and replaced it with high-strength aluminum alloy, making it lighter, better handling, more fuel efficient, and stretching each horsepower further. Its new module design also ensures that the F-150 will be easier to repair and take far less time — thus saving significant amounts of money over similar repairs being made to the previous generations.
2. Cadillac Escalade
It’s been a few years since Cadillac’s Escalade has gotten any real attention (the same could be said about the rest of GM’s large SUV lineup), but 2015 will change all of that. Aside from the drastically different look, the Escalade promises be better performing, more comfortable, more fuel efficient, and just as decadent as it has been in the past — perhaps even more so. Its interior is likely one of the most refined that we’ve seen from Cadillac in a number of years, with options for genuine wood trim, premium leather, and so on.
3. Chrysler 200
Chrysler’s 200 sedan — and its Sebring sibling — needed some desperate attention if the car was going to compete with, well, anyone. Fortunately, under its new Fiat ownership, the 200 has been given the breath of life it so badly needed, and the 200 once again has a fighting chance at regaining some needed market share in the small sedan segment. The new 200 boasts a far sleeker profile and form and looks far more in-place among the newer generations of sedans. The convertible won’t be seeing a 2015 model year, however, so you’ll have to spring for the conventional hardtop.
4. GMC Canyon
American manufacturers all but abandoned the small truck segment, but with the new GMC canyon and Chevy Colorado, GM is looking to even the score with Toyota’s reigning Tacoma pickup. The trucks will have two gasoline options — an inline four and a V6 — with a diesel option slated for 2016. The segment is aimed at some aggressive growth in the nearer future, with Honda teasing a new Ridgeline, VW toying with bringing its Amarok Stateside, and a new Nissan Frontier before long.
5. Honda Fit
Honda’s little Fit hatchback is among the favorites in its class and has established itself as one of the leading subcompacts on the market. However, it has been starting to age as models are wont to do, and therefore Honda is promising a brand new model for 2015, which may become of the most tech-laden competitors in the subcompact segment. It will offer more space than its predecessor, a new face, better aerodynamics, and a slew of other improvements.
6. Subaru WRX
Subaru’s new WRX has taken a lot of abuse from Subaru enthusiasts for not living up to the standards set by the company’s striking concept model, but underneath the skin, the 2015 WRX is promising to be Subaru’s best driver’s car yet. For the STI (pictured), the hallmark boxer engine churns out 305 horsepower to all four wheels, routed through an increasingly rare manual six-speed. Larger front and rear anti-roll bars provide 67 percent faster steering response, according to the company, and 16 percent less body roll thanks to tweaked suspension. Unfortunately, there won’t be a hatchback version this time around — perhaps the greatest complaint.
7. Porsche Macan
Porsche’s (POAHF.PK) Cayenne helped bring the brand from a niche sports car maker to a mainstream luxury company, and Porsche is aiming to build on that with its Macan crossover. At a shade under $50,000, it’ll be the most affordable Porsche available, but those looking for some extra oomph can check out the Macan Turbo S, which costs over $72,000 but generates a hearty 400 or so horsepower.
8. Lincoln MKC
Lincoln’s revival isn’t quite off the ground yet, and the MKC is coming along later this year to help give the brand some lift. The MKZ has been carrying most of Lincoln’s weight, but the growth prospects in the luxury crossover segment should help Lincoln pull its brand back from the brink. The MKC, which will feature a 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine at base and have the option of Ford’s new 2.3 liter EcoBoost that’s rated for 285 horsepower, is likely going to do very well in China when the brand launches there this Summer.
9. Audi Q3
Though it’s seen service in Europe for some time now, the Audi (VLKAY.PK) Q3 will be all-new to the U.S. when it debuts for 2015. The Q3 is intended to fill the gap for those looking for a small car like the A3 but need a bit more cabin room, and will go head-to-head with the forthcoming Mercedes GLA Class. Chances are the Q3 will be available with the same powertrains as the A3, so look for a 1.8 liter turbo, a 2.0 liter turbo, and possibly Audi/VW’s terrific 2.0 liter TDI diesel engine.
10. Cadillac ATS Coupe
Cadillac’s ATS has proven to be quite popular, and the brand is hoping to recreate the magic with two fewer doors. While many attempt to make coupes more flashy than the sedans on which they’re based, GM has taken a simple, crisp approach to the ATS Coupe, letting straight, angular lines and clean, vent- and duct-free sheet metal do the talking. The ATS Coupe will be available with a 2.0 liter four or a 3.6 liter V6, but it’s the ATS-V Coupe that we’re really interested in.