Annual Awards – 2015

Annual Awards – 2015

Here's our top picks from this past calendar year!

As in previous years, we feel that a set of annual awards is the most effective way to commemorate the best of the best in the automotive industry. This year, we changed things up a little bit, and entered nominations in categories based on over fifty different factors. Our entire editorial team then voted on the nominees to declare official winners in each respective category. Winning manufacturers were also presented with physical award plaques this year. To clear up any confusion or misconceptions – in order for a vehicle to be eligible for an award, our team has to have tested the car between January 1 and December 31 of the 2015 calendar year.

Editor’s Note:

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you, the readers, for your continued support and fan love over the past year. 2015 was particularly special for us, with more growth than any previous year and a fresh new look for the site. I wish you all a happy holiday season and we look forward to sharing even more exciting content in 2016. Thanks again, everyone!

Adi Desai, Editor-in-Chief


Best Styling: 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupé

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

All new for the 2016 model year, Cadillac’s ATS-V packs one hell of a powertrain. But it’s the stunning lines of the Cadillac that captured our attention, and led it to triumph for this year’s Best Styling award. Its stunning LED lighting, the aggressive ground effects, and the meticulous attention to detail gone into designing this masterpiece is outstanding. The CTS-V was also shortlisted for this award, only going further to prove just how well recent Cadillacs stack up in the styling department. Runners-Up: Volvo XC90, Audi R8 V10 Spyder

Best Family/Road Trip Vehicle: 2015 Toyota Highlander

2015 Toyota Highlander XLE AWD

Each year, we do numerous road trips for both business and personal reasons. We attempt to put a variety of vehicles through the ringer in this regard, ranging from efficient compacts to full-size SUVs. Last redesigned for the 2014 model year, the current Toyota Highlander stood out as one of the best choices for the growing family, and a fantastic shuttle for a group of auto magazine staffers to stuff with camera gear for a weekend photoshoot up north. Its three-row seating, excellent driving dynamics and Toyota’s longstanding reputation for reliability pushed the Highlander into a unanimous win for this category. Runners-Up: Honda HR-V, Subaru Outback 

Best Sports Car (under $50,000): 2016 Mazda MX-5

2016 Mazda MX-5 GT

As the Internet says, the answer to most questions is “Miata”. This past year marked the debut of the all-new fourth-generation Mazda MX-5, one of the most involving and engaging cars to ever hail from Mazda. Our magazine has a long history with the MX-5 line, and we’ve made sure to review at least two MX-5s each year. The new model is lighter than ever, more agile than its predecessor, and packs a ton of new technology. The Volkswagen Golf R gets honorary mention for this category, as the voting had to go into a tiebreaker round. Runners-Up: Volkswagen Golf R, (2016) Chevrolet Camaro SS

Best Sports Car (over $50,000): 2015 Audi R8 V10 Spyder

2015 Audi R8 V10 Spyder

We know, we know. Our readers are going to give us hell for giving this award to a $200,000+ supercar – and it’s not even the all-new one! What the R8 Spyder represents is the end of an era. The 2015 model marks the end of the gated manual transmission, possibly one of the last in the world. The naturally aspirated V10 motor is also a unicorn, with most supercars moving towards forced-induction and plug-in hybrid setups. The pure driving experience this R8 brings is what makes it the most satisfying sports car over $50,000 we tested this year. Runners-Up: Lexus RC-F, BMW M6 Competition Coupé

Best Luxury Car: 2016 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé

2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always been the pinnacle of luxury motoring. It’s usually the leader in its segment, bringing many industry-first features to the market before anyone else does. This year, the all-new coupé brought impeccable opulence, oodles of technology, and a dynamic driving experience. Plus, the Swarovski headlamps didn’t hurt its nomination for this award. The new S550 Coupé is one of the best luxury cars of all time, and certainly our new favourite this year. Runners-Up: BMW 6-series Gran Coupé, Audi A6 TDI, Cadillac CTS4

Best Sports Sedan: 2016 Mercedes-Benz C63-S AMG

2016 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG S-Model

An award previously given to cars like the Audi S4 and the BMW M3, this is one of our favourite categories. This year, the competition was fierce, but the redesigned C63’s ferocious roar and superb styling (inside and out) put it onto the podium. Fuel economy be damned; this is one of the best new cars on the road today. The move from natural aspiration to a bi-turbo V8 was questioned by many, but we have determined that it was for the best. Power junkies need to experience this car for themselves; it’s just that good. Runners-Up: BMW 340i xDrive, SRT Charger Hellcat

Best SUV/Crossover: 2016 Volvo XC90 T6

2015 Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription

The outgoing Volvo XC90 was one of the oldest designs still on the road without a major redesign, but it had still aged beautifully. The elegance behind the Volvo brand is not to be taken lightly – these are some of the most underrated vehicles in the world. The new XC90 redefines what the premium SUV/crossover represents to North Americans, with new luxury features, the latest in safety innovation, and of course, good looks. This award was another unanimous win, and we can’t wait to sample the forthcoming T8 plug-in hybrid. Runners-Up: Ford Explorer, Mazda CX-3

Best Truck: 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

2015 Ram 1500 Big Horn

It’s not uncommon for the same award to be given to the same truck twice, but the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the prime example of light truck perfection. The refreshed 2016 Silverado/Sierra are pretty darn good, but we won’t be conducting in-depth reviews until the new year. The Ram EcoDiesel provides excellent fuel mileage, a classy interior, and great towing capacity. It’s still the only vehicle in its segment to offer a diesel motor, and the Italian-sourced engine is very good. Runners-Up: GMC Canyon/Chevrolet Colorado, Ford F-150

Best Eco Car: 2015 Tesla Model S P85D

2015 Tesla Model S P85D

First things first; the Model S P85D (succeeded as the P90D) costs well over $100,000. That’s not necessarily “economical”, but the Tesla brand, brainchild of Elon Musk, is undoubtedly the future of the electric vehicle. They’ve managed to pull off ease-of-use of technology that existing automakers could only have dreamt of. This car is sensational in every sense of the word, and we have yet to meet someone who isn’t very impressed by the feats accomplished by Tesla. “Insane Mode” and AutoPilot are only the tip of the iceberg that is Tesla’s development. Runners-Up: Chevrolet Spark EV, BMW i3 

Best New Technology:  2016 Audi TT-S (Virtual Cockpit)

2016 Audi TT-S

2015 was a year that marked new technology innovations across the board. BMW brought out a 7-series that can park itself, Mercedes-Benz implemented Swarovski into the headlights of the S-Class, Tesla brought us their AutoPilot feature. However, the one we really wanted to try out was the one that integrated existing infotainment and connectivity features in a way that can be used by the everyman. Audi’s new TT and TT-S introduced the Virtual Cockpit, a full connectivity suite within the instrument cluster, and it took us by surprise. This represents the latest in Audi’s MMI technology, and one of the easiest systems to use. Runners-Up: Tesla (AutoPilot), Volkswagen (Lineup-wide Android/Apple CarPlay)

Biggest Surprise: 2016 Toyota Yaris Sedan

2016 Toyota Yaris Sedan

The Toyota Yaris Sedan is the car that took our team most by surprise this year. We knew before getting into it that it was a rebadged and massaged Mazda2 sedan, but we didn’t know just how delightful its driving dynamics would be. A consensus through our entire team, we concluded that the personality that this little Toyota packs is superior to that of every single other subcompact available in North America today. There’s simply no reason for a subcompact to be this much fun to drive. Runners-Up: Nissan Micra S, Lincoln MKC

Best Motorcycle: 2015 BMW S1000RR

2015 BMW S1000RR

This riding season, we legitimately rode the best of the best in the motorcycle industry. Few things are more satisfying than riding a Ducati 1299 Panigale S through the foothills beyond Los Angeles, or doing a track day with the new Yamaha R1. However, it was BMW’s refreshed S1000RR that won our hearts at the end of the day. This is a bike that packs the perfect combination of refinement, style, and raw power. On top of it all, it’s actually manageable on a daily basis for those who commute on their bikes. Runners-Up: Suzuki GSX-S1000, Ducati 1299 Panigale S

Overall Favourite: 2016 BMW 340i xDrive

2016 BMW 340i xDrive

The BMW 340i is only a LCI (BMW speak for mid-cycle refresh), but the facelift has fixed every single one of the problems we found with the outgoing car. It goes back to basics with regards to natural steering feel, excellent suspension geometry and a slick new engine. It’s important to note that this is the third year in a row that a 3-series has won this award with us, and this isn’t a coincidence. This is a car that will only continue to improve, striving for perfection in the sports sedan segment. Any of us would be proud to welcome it into our personal garages. Runners-Up: Cadillac ATS-V, Volvo XC90

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