“The automotive world is rapidly changing. Consumer buying habits are evolving, new technologies are emerging, and as far as we know, a segment of the population doesn’t even want to own cars anymore. All of these factors add up to a wild automotive market, and some very interesting rides.”
After testing a total of 46 vehicles in 2016, one thing is clear: there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to haul an entire family, or break a lap record at your local track, there’s something for you. We pride in testing vehicles with a different scope than most publications. By that I mean that we test rides as a family, and not just as the car-obsessed guy that I am. You’ll be surprised how polarizing everyone’s opinions can be sometimes.
As a result, we referred to our trusty notepad, had a group discussion, and chose (as a family) our favorite rides of 2016. I must tell you, there are a few rides that I personally love that didn’t make the cut. Why? We simply couldn’t agree on them as a whole. But hey, that’s democracy, right? It’s very tough to choose five cars for five categories, plus one overall winner out of 46 total. Especially as we truly enjoy most of the stuff we get to drive. Nonetheless, decisions had to be made.
Before we reveal our favorite rides of 2016, I’d like to thank my wife Missi, and our daughters Nevaeh and Josephine. Their complaints, compliments and overall opinions are extremely valuable to our content. Oh, and not to mention the (literally) endless posing and acting for our videos and photo shoots. I’d also like to thank all the vehicle manufacturers that have supported us for over two years. Without them none of this would be possible, so thank you. Lastly, I’d like to thank you, our awesome readers.
Our Favorite Rides of 2016
The 2016 Honda Ridgeline. Trust me when I say that Honda really knocked it out of the park with this one. The frumpy looks of the previous generation are gone, and were replaced with sleek and sporty design elements. The driving experience is refined, and you can quickly forget you’re even driving a pickup truck. We explored all of its amazing qualities during a 1,000 mile family road trip to Niagara Falls. From the genius built-in trunk, to the Honda Sensing technology, and its incredible fuel-efficiency, the Honda Ridgeline is the truck we’d buy if we needed one. Runner up: Ram Rebel
Favorite Nonsense Ride
The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. I’ve had the pleasure of driving a few high-pedigree Italian, British and German sports cars. All of them awesome, and all of them relatively “practical” in one way or another. Not the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. With (barely) enough room for two, a “trunk” that’s actually a cubby hole for a backpack, and the lack of power steering, it’s useless alright. The one thing this Italian beauty excels at… is making you smile. Whether it’s from looking at it, driving it on a windy road, or picking up your kids from school in it, it’ll make you and others smile. Runner up: Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
The 2016 VW Beetle Dune. What can I say? Missi and the kids adore this little thing! If you ask me, a particular 707 horsepower American muscle car should head this category, but the family differed. The Volkswagen Beetle Dune is a charming little fellow, and as Missi stated on her review: “It’s more of a fashion accessory than it is a car.” She’s right, it looks cute, it drives well, and it’s iconic. What more could you want? Runner up: Dodge Challenger Hellcat
The 2016 Dodge Charger Scat Pack. Sexy. Mean. Practical. Hands down the coolest (and affordable) sedan in the market today. A 485 horsepower Hemi engine will make sure the kids are never late to school. And the Plum Crazy paint job will make sure they never go unnoticed. Dollar for dollar, this is the family sedan I’d buy given a $40k budget! Runner up: Kia Optima
The 2017 Volvo XC90 Inscription. I refer to it as “The Pinnacle of Family Transportation,” and I’m not exaggerating. It really is the best-looking SUV on the market. In addition, Volvo has gone above and beyond to provide moms and dads the best technology available to keep their families safe on the road. Seat belt sensors in all seven seats, a built-in booster seat, and an intuitive child-lock system make the Volvo XC90 the most family-friendly vehicle we’ve ever tested. At over $70 grand it’s not cheap, but it surely is the best! Runner up: Mazda CX-9
The Life is Poppin’ Favorite Vehicle of 2016
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. We clocked in a lot of miles in our test cars this year, in fact, over 23,000 total miles. We drove about 3,000 of those in two different trims of Chrysler Pacifica minivans, a “Touring L,” and a “Limited.” Each one offered different equipment, and therefore a different price point.
Why our favorite? The reasons are many. It’s the best minivan in existence because it was designed to exceed the needs of modern families. Need a gazillion USB chargers? You got them. Need to access the third row without removing a toddler’s car seat? You got it. Need to keep the kiddos quiet and entertained on a 1,200 mile road trip to Texas? You got that too, it’s called Uconnect Theater. Lastly, do you need to drive a minivan but not look like you’ve given up on life? Got it!
It’s stupidly good looking, it averaged 25 mpg on the highway (fully stuffed with crap), and it is a joy to drive. That’s why, I can happily say that the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is our favorite vehicle of 2016.