10 of the Best New Car Debuts of 2015

Justin Sullivan Getty Image

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

2015 was a monumental and productive year for new cars. Sales were strong, and the balance of power was shifted as automakers carved out their new niches. Lexus got its design on, Ford found its performance voice, and Nissan is getting back in the truck game.

There were so many incredible debuts in 2015, in fact, that it would probably take all of 2016 to rank and finagle them to get to a lineup that was truly comprehensive — we even left concepts out (look for that in another post). Therefore, a lot was left out, but the following is what we thought were the best new car debuts from this year. We based our decisions not only on the car itself, but what it means for the brand and the splash it made upon its release. If you disagree, head over to our Facebook page to inform us of how wrong we were. We tried; we really did.

1. 2017 Ford GT

All-NewFordGT_06_HR

Source: Ford

Modernized but traditional, the new GT will be making a return to Le Mans in 2016 to take on the establishment. Will history repeat itself? USA! USA!

2. 2016 Tesla Model X

model_x_1 (1)

Source: Tesla

The Model X is the bridge to Tesla’s future. The Model S sedan, though popular, only has certain appeal due to its price point and limited capabilities. Though the X is no cheaper, it features more family-friendly perks like flexible seating and tow capabilities to hold the market over until the Model 3 is introduced next year.

3. 2017 Toyota Prius

Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Toyota took a big gamble on the new Prius — the world’s best-selling hybrid — and too few give the automaker credit for taking a risk on a polarizing design. Had it stayed conservative, we’d be here talking about how boring it looks.

The 2017 Toyota Prius is ugly. But many, many people won’t care.

4. 2017 Volvo S90

Source: Volvo

Source: Volvo

With the new S90 sedan, Volvo becomes the ’90s teen movie girl who took her glasses off and got sexy.

5. 2016 Ford Focus RS

FocusRS-NYSkyline-02-HR

Source: Ford

A 350 horsepower, all-wheel drive hatchback with drift mode for under $40,000? Where do we sign?

6. 2016 Mazda Miata

2016_MX-5_Mazda_Miata_3

Source: Mazda

Mazda’s MX-5 has aged like a fine wine, something that the Italians at Fiat would know something about.

2016 Miata is best Miata.

7. 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350/R

The All-new Shelby GT350 Mustang

Source: Ford

American muscle using the same flat-crank tech that Ferrari uses. Better than the Chevrolet Z/28 ever was, and cheaper too. Yeah, we said it.

8. 2016 Cadillac XT5

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Source: Cadillac

Somehow, Cadillac can’t keep the frumpy SRX in stock now. So imagine what this’ll do.

9. 2017 Acura NSX

Source: Acura

Source: Acura

Took ‘em long enough, but damn, is it impressive. Three electric motors, 573 horsepower, a Ferrari-beating $156,000 price tag, and Acura’s penchant for reliability might make you seriously question your geographic allegiances in the $150,000+ space.

10. 2017 Lincoln Continental

Source: Lincoln

Source: Lincoln

Plush, long, and controversial, the new Lincoln Continental will either be Lincoln’s comeback or its last stand. We’ve only seen the concept so far, but it looked awfully production-ready.

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