For the fourth year, Cardealmore's editorial team, led by Editor-in-Chief Michelle Naranjo, has made their choices for the 2015 Cardealmore Car of the Year, Cardealmore Truck of the Year and individual segment winners. The results are the vehicles we have determined the best of the best and the most interesting options for car shoppers in 2015.
Combining decades of experience, every editor contributed 3 nominations for their top 3 choices within each category and then voted on the top 3 in each segment, resulting in the category winners. The overall Cardealmore Car of the Year and Cardealmore Truck of the Year were chosen because they received the highest votes within the two larger areas: cars and trucks. There were a few upstarts, some return winners from 2014, and a couple of surprises.
The overall winners this year signal a shift in the trend towards more choices than ever for buyers. Leaning a lot more green and compact than in previous years, the 2015 Cardealmore Car of the Year is the Volkswagen Golf in all of its iterations whether electric, diesel or the super sporty GTI. Making its way back to the Cardealmore Truck of the Year podium for 2015, the 2015 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel brings great mileage, incredible performance, and excellent interior features to a small but very competitive segment.
Read on to see more about this year’s winners and the runners up in each category.
2015 Cardealmore Car of the Year: 2015 Volkswagen Golf
One of the most versatile, practical, fun, and affordable options on dealer lots today is the 2015 Volkswagen Golf. Fun to drive, lighter and larger, the GSI has a much improved base engine, the e-Golf is a torque-y blast to drive, the TDI brings great diesel MPGs, the GTI is a hot hatch, and for the diehard VW fans out there, there’s the Golf R. Automatic post-collision braking, Bluetooth hands-free calling, and a touchscreen infotainment system are standard for every 2015 Golf, and all but the least expensive 1.8T Launch Edition model include Bluetooth streaming audio. All of that and with an IIHS a “Top Safety Pick” rating, there is no wonder why the VW Golf won the 2015 Cardealmore Car of the Year honors and swept both the Cardealmore Compact Car of the Year and Alternative Fuel categories.
See our 10 Reasons why the Volkswagen Golf is our 2015 Cardealmore Car of the Year, or read on for more award winners.
2015 Cardealmore Truck of the Year: 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
The 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel was the clear winner for 2015 Cardealmore Truck of the Year honors, as it swept voting by a handy margin. Spend some time behind the wheel of the 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and it's easy to understand why this truck had us in its thrall: with 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque on hand from a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, the pickup offers up to 9,200 lbs of towing capacity, and yet on the highway it returns a phenomenal 28-mpg. Combine that with the availability of one of the best interiors in its class, plus striking styling and hulking road presence, and you got the formula for the 2015 Cardealmore Truck of the Year.
See more on the 10 reasons we picked the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel as the 2015 Cardealmore Truck of the Year, or read on for the category winners.
2015 Cardealmore Compact Car of the Year: Volkswagen Golf
As mentioned, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf is now lighter, larger, and more fun to drive. Available with 2 doors or 4 doors and starting a bit under $18K, the hatchback can be had in an automatic or a manual, electric, gas, turbocharged, or R sporty versions. With estimated mileage of 25 in the city and 37 on the highway for the regular gas edition, the Golf is affordable to buy and affordable to drive.
The 2015 Honda Fit is the perfect subcompact hatchback for those who need a do-everything daily driver that's small without sacrificing practicality. In addition to its five-passenger capacity and modest footprint, thanks to its 'Magic Seat' feature the Honda Fit's interior can be configured to swallow up to 52.7 cubic feet of cargo, which is enough to challenge several larger crossovers. Under the hood, a 130 horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to either a six-speed manual or a continuously-variable automatic transmission provides respectable acceleration paired with up to 36-mpg in combined fuel mileage.
The 2015 Mazda3 has been a favorite with the Cardealmore team. Available as a sedan or the even better looking hatch, the Mazda3 starts under $17,000 and is backed by the brand's exclusive SKYACTIV technologies. the 2015 Mazda Mazda3 sedan can achieve EPA grades of up to 30 mpg city/41 mpg highway/34 mpg combined, and that's with an automatic transmission.
2015 Cardealmore Convertible of the Year: 2015 Ford Mustang
The arrival of the highly-anticipated 2015 Ford Mustang has not disappointed yet. As a convertible, the original pony car looks great and comes with some of the most advance technological developments in the history of muscle cars. Available with a V6 for under $30,000, the Premium edition 2.3-liter, 310 horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost can be had for under $35,000. While that is a lot of fun for the money, the 5.0L, 435 hp V8 will really get the wind moving through your hair for under $42,000.
2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition
Is it any surprise the that 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata is runner-up to our Cardealmore Convertible of the Year honors? Far from an 'always a bridesmaid' situation, the Mazda MX-5 Miata impresses with its pure staying power, as this car has routinely found itself at the top of the roadster list for 25 years. The secret is its lightweight design, mechanical simplicity, and the pure pleasure of its driving experience. 168 horsepower from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an available six-speed manual gearbox give all it needs to show off its impressive handling chops, and there's even a power retractable hardtop option for those who intend to enjoy the Mazda all year round.
How could we forget about our 2014 Cardealmore Car of the Year winner, the Jaguar F-Type? Still one of our all-time favorites, the 2015 Jaguar F-Type convertible starts under $70,000 for the base trim and while base sounds boring, there is nothing boring about the 3.0L 340 hp V6 that can really scoot.
2015 Cardealmore Sedan of the Year: 2015 Mazda6
Back once again with its second Cardealmore Sedan of the Year title in a row is the 2015 Mazda Mazda6. The Mazda6 didn’t deliver the turbodiesel engine we were all waiting for this year - we're still tingling in anticipation - but the car does offer the same combination of handling, style, and affordable pricing that had us in awe throughout the previous year.
Who is the Mazda6 aimed at? Mid-size shoppers who want to enjoy, not dread their daily commute, as this four-door family car proves that a mediocre driving experience is a crutch and not a requirement for inexpensive sedans. We also love the Mazda6's frugal 184 horsepower, 2.5-liter Skyactiv engine, which combines with the optional i-Eloop energy storage system to returns 32-mpg in combined driving - and how many other cars in its class offer the option of a six-speed manual transmission?
The all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata gave the Mazda6 a run for its money but couldn't quite snag Cardealmore Sedan of the Year honors. Still, there's a lot to like about this mid-size family sedan: specifically, the upgraded interior that came with this year's full redesign, the car's more mature looks, and its smoother ride. A new 1.6-liter, 177 horsepower four-cylinder turbo engine joins the line-up for 2015, too, alongside the Hyundai Sonata's carry-over 2.4-liter (185 horsepower) and 2.0-liter turbo (245 horsepower) four-cylinder engines. The 1.6-liter mill grants you 32-mpg combined, which is four miles per gallon better than the base Sonata motor.
Some mid-size sedans just seem to do everything well, and the 2015 Honda Accord is a case in point. Conservative, yet attractive styling, top-notch fuel efficiency (up to 36-mpg highway with the base 185 horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder), and great interior room are some of the Honda Accord's trademarks, but don't forget about its strong list of standard equipment and the availability of a 278 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine as an option. The Accord can also be had with the innovative LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system, which offers a video view of the lane beside you when you activate your turn signal.
2015 Cardealmore Luxury Car of the Year: 2015 Hyundai Genesis
Is there any better illustration of Hyundai's ascendance than the 2015 Hyundai Genesis winning 2015 Cardealmore Luxury Car of the Year honors? It's hard to think of a more deserving newcomer amongst premium cars this past year: this full-size sedan delivers rear-wheel drive dynamics (with the option of all-wheel drive), an available 420 horsepower from a 5.0-liter V-8, and the kind of buttoned-down handling and ride that are required to claim a spot at the executive sedan table.
The Hyundai Genesis also includes a top-notch interior and cutting-edge technology features, all at a price that dramatically undercuts direct competitors from Mercedes-Benz and BMW. If you think it's weird to see Hyundai's name beside its more illustrious German competitors, imagine how uncomfortable they must be in Bavaria.
Mercedes-Benz is really finding its stride and with the introduction of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, the German automaker is showing off its refined side while flashing high performance and jaw-dropping technological baubles. Whether it is the S550 Coupe or the S63 AMG Coupe, this car will make you realize that there are things you never thought you’d have to have in a car before.
Though each company vociferously denies it, Hyundai and Kia are somewhat intertwined. With the uber luxe Hyundai Equus out there battling Benzes and Bimmers, it was just a matter of time until Kia brought forth a Teutonic flagship fighter of its own. And so, for the 2015 model year, Kia introduces the Kia K900, marking its move to position a product within the rarefied ranks of the top models wearing stars, rings, and roundels. Kia’s first-ever V8 debuts in the K900—producing 420 horsepower and 376 ft-lbs of torque from 5.0 liters of displacement. Also offered is a V6 engine for the K900—a 3.8-liter V6 tuned to produce 311 horsepower and 293ft-lbs of torque. This Kia will turn heads and leave onlookers asking, “What is that?”
2015 Cardealmore Sports Car of the Year: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa Romeo is back, and it's already winning over the hearts and minds of our editors here at Cardealmore with its opening American salvo, the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C. Recipient of the 2015 Cardealmore Sports Car of the Year award, there hasn't been a single one of us who hasn't been wowed by the mid-engine Alfa Romeo 4C's outstanding handling and eye-searing styling. Then there's the sound of its 1.75-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder screaming right behind our heads on its way to grinding out 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Does anyone else offer a carbon fiber tub for under $60k? The short answer is 'no,' but the longer answer is that we're convinced the Alfa Romeo 4C is on its way to becoming a modern classic.
2015 BMW i8
The BMW i8 is a sports car, yes, but it is quite different from its counterparts in this category because it is a pug-in hybrid sports car. Probably one of the most true to BMW design DNA models produced in recent years, the i8 is an elegant grand touring coupé that can top 160 mph but even if you had the $135,000.00 needed to buy this beauty, it is sold out in the US through 2015.
2015 Ford Mustang
The 2015 Ford Mustang lived up to the year-long hype that surrounded its unveiling at the New York Auto Show this past spring, and it did so by breaking free with tradition to present the most technologically-advanced version of the pony car to date. A fully-independent rear suspension now sits underneath the completely redesigned Ford Mustang, and it also gains the option of a 2.3-liter, 310 horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost engine as a frugal high performance alternative to its base V6. Don't forget the Mustang GT's 435 horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 and its neighbor-baiting rumble, for while the muscle car might have branched out from its roots it still stays true to its heritage as an affordable sports car.
2015 Cardealmore Alternative Fuel Car of the Year: 2015 Volkswagen Golf
Is it any surprise that the 2015 Volkswagen Golf took 2015 Cardealmore Alternative Fuel Car of the Year honors? Not really, when you consider that not only does the Volkswagen Golf TDI provide a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder that returns 31-mpg in city driving and 43-mpg on the highway, but there's also a new all-electric version of the compact hatchback in the mix for the current model year.
The Volkswagen e-Golf is the first battery-powered offering from the German automaker to reach American shores, and its 115 horsepower electric motor is buttressed by 90 miles of range on a single charge. Even better: the e-Golf maintains much of the gasoline edition's handling, comfort, and practicality, meaning that you don't have to make too many sacrifices to enjoy going green with this zero-emissions vehicle.
Building a flagship sports car is always a risky proposition, but deciding that this same vehicle is going to fly a hybrid flag is taking an even greater chance. We're glad that the engineers and designers at BMW held their ground when penciling the 2015 BMW i8, as this futuristically-styled hybrid electric coupe is unlike anything else in its class. A rear-mounted 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gas engine works together with an electric motor that works the front axle in the BMW i8, and together they produce 357 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque - enough output to launch the car to 60-mph in 4.4 seconds, or ghost along in EV mode for up to 22 miles.
The 2015 Fiat 500e is a 4 seater compact hatch that is an electric vehicle with personality. The Italian cutie is as sporty looking as it drives. The Fiat’s front-drive powertrain uses an 83 kWh electric motor capable of generating the equivalent of 111 horsepower and 147 ft-lbs of torque. Standard equipment includes keyless entry, a pair of heated front seats and heated exterior mirrors, an automatic climate control system, Bluetooth, a full complement of power accessories, a trip computer, parking sensors, navigation, and a leather wrapped steering wheel.
2015 Cardealmore Crossover of the Year: 2015 Subaru Outback
The 2015 Outback is redesigned, equipped with a more fuel-efficient engine, a new Active Torque Split all-wheel-drive system, and a standard continuously variable transmission and offers new infotainment systems, an upgraded suite of EyeSight safety technologies, and a new Rear Vehicle Detection system. The crossover SUV’s revised steering, braking, and suspension components deliver improved driving dynamics. Larger and more comfortable, the Outback’s interior is more refined and the lineup includes 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, and 3.6R Limited models. The 2015 Subaru Outback is definitely a crossover that needs to be driven.
One would be forgiven for assuming that the 2015 Porsche Macan has given the German brand a license to print money. After the success of the mid-size Cayenne, it seemed natural for Porsche to try its hand at a compact SUV, and the result has been equally impressive. Sitting on a highly modified version of the 911 sports coupe's platform, the Porsche Macan offers great handling, standard all-wheel drive, respectable utility, and a comfortable daily character regardless of whether it's ordered with its 'base' 340 horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 (Macan S) or the turbocharged 3.6-liter mill that produces 400 horsepower in the Macan Turbo.
2015 BMW 328d Sports Wagon
Who says family cars have to ride eight inches off of the ground to boast outstanding utility? The 2015 BMW 328d Sports Wagon offers the same confident handling and comfort as its 3 Series sedan sibling, but it grafts on 53 cubic feet of total cargo space with the rear seats folded forward, making it every inch the match of a compact crossover. Fuel mileage for the BMW 328d Sports Wagon is also excellent, as its 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder offers up 180 horsepower, 280 lb-ft of torque, and 35-mpg in combined driving. All-wheel drive is optional with the hauler, too, which is perfect for those who have to deal with harsh winter weather.
2015 Cardealmore Pick Up Truck of the Year: 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
The 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel's dominance over several all-new entries in the segment is impressive - but was there ever really any doubt that the over 2015 Cardealmore Truck of the Year wouldn't also win the 2015 Cardealmore Pickup Truck of the Year award as well? Staying power is important for any vehicle, and the EcoDiesel's 420 lb-ft of torque, 28-mpg on the highway, and great towing and hauling capabilities helped it fend off rivals from Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Toyota to handily win its category.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel also goes to show that taking a risk - in this case, the use of a turbodiesel drivetrain in a light truck platform - can often pay off big-time for automakers willing to stray from the status quo. Two years later, the industry is still playing catch-up in trying to bring another turbodiesel pickup to market. When they do, the Ram will be waiting.
With its brand new, all-aluminum body, and its array of engine choices (some EcoBoosted, some not), there was a feeling earlier this year that the 2015 Ford F-150 would revolutionize the full-size truck segment. That didn't happen - the F-150 was good, but not a game-changer. Still, there's a lot to like about this latest iteration of the most popular pickup in America, especially its much-lighter platform, improved fuel efficiency, and the introduction of a new 2.7-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 that offers 325 horsepower at a modest price. There's very little reason to think that the F-150 won't enjoy similar sales success for 2015.
2015 Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon
The newest twins from the GM family are the much anticipated 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and the 2015 GMC Canyon. After a 3 year hiatus, the midsize Colorado and Canyon pick ups return with a bevy of technology, interior refinements, and options to make any city dweller who wants a truck for Ikea runs comfortable and capable.
2015 Cardealmore SUV of the Year: 2015 GMC Yukon
In a world where traditional sport-utility vehicles are thin on the ground, the 2015 GMC Yukon wins 2015 Cardealmore SUV of the Year honors by embodying perhaps the greatest evolution to date of the original SUV concept. The GMC Yukon is big, burly, and powerful, especially when ordered with its 420 horsepower, Denali-exclusive 6.2-liter V-8, and it also offers exceptional towing (up to 8,500 lbs) and of course optional four-wheel drive. Inside, the Yukon provides seating for as many as nine passengers across three rows, along with a maximum of 121.1 cubic feet of total cargo space when ordered in extended-wheelbase Yukon XL trim, and Denali models bundle in a class-exclusive magnetic ride suspension system that helps to disguise much of the vehicle's weight and size.
Probably one of the sharpest updates in recent memory, the newly redesigned 2015 Nissan Murano is a head-turner. By keeping the 2015 Nissan Murano in a two-row configuration despite its size, designers were able to create a premium space that perfectly complements the futuristic exterior appearance of the vehicle with a best-in-class mark for interior volume. The new Murano Safety includes measures such as an Around View camera system, moving object detection, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and predictive forward collision warning (with emergency braking).
What a difference a heart transplant can make: swapping in the Blue Oval's 3.5-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 for the Ford Expedition's aging 5.4-liter V-8 has revitalized this full-size SUV. With 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque now on tap the Ford Expedition finally feels like it can get out of its own way, which is an added bonus on top of its 9,200 lbs of towing capacity and standard eight passenger seating. The Expedition's independent rear suspension system is joined by an adjustable suspension system for 2015 to help improve handling, and a new Platinum trim level joins the order sheet to add extra luxury to the daily drive
2015 Cardealmore Luxury SUV of the Year: 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
The 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport takes home the 2015 Cardealmore Luxury SUV of the Year hardware in another impressive display of staying power. In its second year post-redesign, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport still sways our editors with its combination of performance (340 horsepower, supercharged V-6 or up-to-500 horsepower supercharged V8), incredible off-road capability (via standard four-wheel drive with available low-range gearing and the Terrain Response system), and prodigious comfort in all driving situations. The Range Rover Sport also offers the option of seven-passenger seating, making it the only three-row luxury 'ute in the Range Rover family. If you're looking for a do-it-all, high-class SUV, it's hard to do better than the 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade's complete redesign sees it move away from the gaudiness of years past and assume a classier, though still extroverted character. Magnetic ride control and a 420 horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine are standard with the Cadillac Escalade, and the eight-passenger SUV sees its cabin materials dramatically improved to the point where it feels on par with several of its pricier European rivals. 8,300 lbs of towing capacity and 94.2 cubic feet of cargo space (more is available in the XL model) help to make the Cadillac a very practical luxury option, if you can stomach the monthly fuel bill.
Small beginnings can have important ripple effects down the line, and the compact 2015 Lincoln MKC SUV might just be the harbinger of change at the erstwhile premium brand. More than just a Ford Escape with a different badge, the Lincoln MKC features dramatically different sheet metal and interior design compared to its FoMoCo platform-mate, along with the availability of an exclusive 285 horsepower, 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. Comfortable and composed on the road, and providing the option of four-wheel drive, the MKC is a worthy entry-level family choice for those seeking luxury transportation.
2015 Cardealmore Van/Minivan of the Year: 2015 Kia Sedona
Showing that they aren’t going to slow down the Kia determination to create class-winning vehicles, the 2015 Cardealmore minivan of the year is the all new for 2015, Kia Sedona. Just freshly redesigned, the 7-passenger family hauler is elegant inside and out and is affordable, starting under $26K.
The 2015 Toyota Sienna is a perennial favorite on the minivan scene, what with its eight-passenger capacity, its strong reputation for reliability, and the availability of a substantial amount of luxury when ordered in Limited trim. If you opt for a seven-passenger version of the Toyota Sienna you'll get unique second-row accommodations with foot rests and fore-and-aft sliding capability that helps to access the up-to-150 cubic feet of total cargo space lurking under the van's roof. A 266 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 is standard with the Sienna, and it remains the only minivan on the market to offer all-wheel drive on the options sheet.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter adds four-wheel drive to its repertoire for the current model year, along with a fresh 2.0-liter, 161 horsepower turbodiesel four-cylinder engine that joins the standard 188 horsepower, 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 that has been the van's mainstay for years. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is offered with a longer list of active safety features than one might expect from a cargo-oriented van (although passenger models can be ordered), and when found in high-roof trim the Sprinter can haul up to 547 cubic feet of gear (along with 5,485 lbs of payload for the 3500 edition).