We love mind-bendingly good rides. But let’s face it—what we put out and what you all love to read is probably polar opposite to the cars we’re actually shopping for. So we put together a practical guide for the Cool Material man in the market for a new car. We compiled the list using scoring data from our friends over at Car and Driver, Kelley Blue Book, Road and Track, and others, based on parameters that considered things like price, fuel efficiency, safety, power, and overall style.
Here are the 5 best new cars you can buy this year:
The Gas Sipper
If you’re looking for the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid automobile out there right now, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything that beats the 2016 Ford Fiesta. While it’s no GT500 or anything crazy, the turbocharged 1-liter 3-cylinder Fiesta is a true gas sipper. Baseline EPA-estimated MPG ratings on the ’16 Fiesta are 28 MPG city and 36 MPG highway, which certainly isn’t bad. But with the Fiesta’s optional EcoBoost Fuel Economy package, those estimates bump to 31 MPG city and a whopping 43 MPG highway, giving it an overall 36 MPG rating. With this package, the Fiesta comes with a 5-speed manual transmission, special wheels and tires, and even some minor aerodynamic improvements—which is nice, because it’s not necessarily an ugly car to look at to begin with. Link
Best Bang For Your Buck
Winner of Kelley Blue Book’s overall Best Buy Award 2016, the newly redesigned Honda Civic melds the best of everything—design, fuel efficiency, price, resale value, performance, and amenities—into one package. The 2016 models start below $20k, and come with a 2-liter 4-cylinder or a turbo’d 1.5-liter 4 cylinder, and come mated with a 6-speed manual transmissions or Honda’s now-famous CVT automatics. The Honda Civic consistently outrank other vehicles on KBB’s “5-Year Cost to Own Awards” in the compact car class, and even the base models are actually really fun to drive. Link
The Best Green Car
We really wanted to put a full electric car on this list (like Tesla’s yet-to-be-released Model 3), but we just couldn’t. We love the possibility of a full electric car, but the consumer market just isn’t there yet (sub-100 mile ranges are really hindering this class right now).
Instead, we settled on the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, a 202-horsepower electric/fuel hybrid that boasts an EPA-rated 39 MPG and incredible 83 MPGe. We appreciated the Audi’s roomy interior and sporty design, but more-than-appreciated its 150-horsepower turbo 4-cylinder and 102-horsepower electric motor (which also puts out an impressive 258 foot-pounds of torque!). With Audi’s awesome 6-speed dual-clutch automatic trans, the A3 e-tron is punchy, zippy, and exceptionally efficient. Plus, with a starting price tag of $38k, it’s also pretty affordable. Link
Some people just prefer a truck. Whether you’re a contractor or a weekend warrior, or even if you just like some extra bulk between you and the guy in front of you, a truck is ideal for certain circumstances. We put careful consideration into this category, as we didn’t want to select a full-size super-duty pickup truck that we feel many of our readers wouldn’t be interested in. Instead, we went with the best regular full-size pickup truck, and all fingers pointed to the Ford F150.
Ford’s F-series trucks are legendary, and the 2016 F-150 is no exception. Though offered with multiple drivetrains, if you’re looking for an all-around reliable workhorse, the 3.5-liter turbo V6 will tow anything you can throw at it, up to 12k pounds, and comes with a torquey, bulletproof 6-speed automatic. Every F-series truck now comes with an aluminum bed and body to keep things light and durable. Whether you’re looking for the Regular Cab, SuperCab, or even the SportCrew, we think the F-150 brings something to the table for everyone. Link
What’s a car list without at least one luxury option for those among us who can shell out the extra funmoney? We looked at the best luxury options under $50k, and for the money, we didn’t find anything that compared to Infiniti’s beautiful Q50 sedan. Stunning design, upscale features, and sporty handling, coupled with a twin-turbo 6-cylinder with a 400 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque clearly separates the Q50 from others in this class, Mercedes C-Class cars, the Lincoln MKZ, and even the sporty Audi A5 included. The rear wheel drive models start in the $48k region, and the quicker all wheel drive platform starts around $50k. Either way, we liken the Q50 to a car with more balls. Not gross hairy balls, but clean-shaven, beautiful, perfectly round balls. Y’know? Link