I drove quite a few new vehicles last year, and most of them actually surpassed my expectations. A couple of them were disappointments, but for the first time in a while, more of them were darn good rides. It seems the auto manufacturers are paying attention to what we want.
For instance, the Jeep Wrangler Hard Rock Edition was an absolute blast. It’s getting harder to find a standard transmission, but the Hard Rock gives you that option. The one I drove was the original two-door version, which is just more Jeeplike than the four-door. I only got it for a week, but I liked it so much, I just about slept in that thing.
Another very nice SUV was the 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser, and its even more luxurious cousin, the Lexus LX570. They’re both built on the same impressive platform, and despite all the cushy bells and whistles, they’re built to tackle the most rugged terrain. Granted, with a base price of more than $75,000, you probably won’t see many of these off the pavement, but if you slapped some mud-and-snows on those wheels, they’d go anywhere.
On the truck side, 2015 was an exciting year. Ford rolled out its newly redesigned F-150, and with the aluminum body, this thing is a beast. It’s lighter than it’s ever been, but it has even more horsepower, which means it is able to tow and carry more, but still give you better fuel economy than any previous model.
Ram rolled out its Rebel package, which is a great off-road setup, with a reasonably friendly price tag. And at the very end of the year, Nissan introduced its Titan XD, though I haven’t had a chance to drive it yet.
It was a good year for trucks and SUVs. I hope 2016 is even better.