US: all the hot launches of 2016 (Part 1) image

Sales are booming, with pickups, SUVs and crossovers at the forefront and profits are on the rise like never before. And when the good times roll, model year cars become hotter than ever.

As we leave behind us the scorching summer and prepare for the autumn, the automakers are like our children going to school – they’re brimming with anticipation and have made outstanding preparations – in this case the 2016 model year cars. And because the autumn is like the start of an entirely new year for carmakers, we’re expecting only good things to happen across dealer lots all over the country.

The 2016 model year changeover will not only come with its usual foray of new and refreshed autos, but also carries forward certain important technologies – the list being headed by the massive addition of the Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto infotainment systems, sitting next to the latest crop of semi-driverless features that promise hands free driving under certain conditions. When it comes to cars and light trucks, every customer will find something to be satisfied with, form the smallest – second generation Smart ForTwo to the BMW 7 Series flagship, supercars or Bentley’s first ever ultra-luxury SUV, the Bentayga. We have come up with a brimming list of the most important models to headline the upcoming 12 months:

Acura. The Japanese make has hit a roadblock in launching its hotly anticipated NSX hybrid supercar but all things considered a delay until next spring is not something we can’t live with. Expect exemplary off the line power thanks to the interesting 3-motor hybrid architecture and fuel economy that should be seen in other segments, not the supercar sector.

Alfa Romeo will jump blindfolded into the global recovery plan Fiat Chrysler has designed for the iconic Italian brand and all hinges on the very first product stemming from the turnaround strategy – Giulia, a sedan that will have to fight off the German triumvirate: BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Audi is here to stay in the US, with sales jumping way faster than its luxury counterparts and now threatening to reach out for the podium. After setting the pace with the Q7 large SUV, the brand will now deliver a new generation to its best-seller – the A4.

Bentley – a British ultra-luxury marquee under German control will come with its first ever sport utility vehicle, the Bentayga. So, expect all sorts of outrages, including surprisingly good off-road performance.

BMW has interesting things coming to the US these 12 months to come and the natural headline is the all-new generation of the 7 Series flagship, packed with the latest technology available and wrapped in an evolutionary design.

Buick will try out the convertible market this year thanks to the Opel-sourced Cascada. This will be the make’s first attempt to reconcile with the segment since the easily-forgotten Reatta that left the stage back in 1990.

Cadillac has lots of promising models for this model year and has been hard at work devising a sales recovery strategy. The first product to spearhead the brand’s complete makeover is the CT6 sedan, acting (for now) as the brand’s flagship product. Then again, consumers might be more interested in the XT5 crossover that is replacing the top-selling SRX.

Chevrolet will not come to market with a product or two. Instead it delivers an entire range: the new generations of the compact Cruze and midsize Malibu sedans. The next generation of the top selling Camaro muscle car. A diesel version for the Colorado pickup. And the second generation of the plug-in hybrid Volt.

Chrysler was the brand that claims it invented the modern minivan and hopes now to reinvent the segment after it delivers the new generation Chrysler Town & Country.

Fiat has been a Cinderella of the US market ever since its reintroduction as another brand in the FCA US stable but it could transform into the storybook princess thanks to the introduction of the new 500X crossover and the revival of the 124 Spider, a convertible sharing DNA with the world renowned Mazda MX-5 Miata.