American cars have come a long way in the past five to ten years. Cars that used to be avoided due to poor quality or uninspired design language are now challenging perennial favorites and the status quo. Here are Cartelligent’s top ten most popular cars from American manufacturers.
10. GMC Yukon
Why we love it: Redesigned for the ’15 model year, the GMC Yukon and its corporate siblings, the Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, and Cadillac Escalade have had GM’s full-size SUV plant in Arlington, TX running 24/7 to churn out these highly improved haulers. Still based on a truck platform, the Yukon, the Suburban-sized Yukon XL and top trim level Denali offer tons of cargo space, seating for up to 8, and a soft, quiet interior. A standard 350 horsepower V8 powers the Yukon and XL version, while a 6.2L 420hp V8 powers the upscale Denali trim. Gone are the plasticky interiors of the previous generation, and GMC’s Intellilink Infotainment system is one of the easiest to use on the market. New for 2016 is integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which gives the burly GMC a leg up on its competition.
9. Chevrolet Suburban
Why we love it: Let’s keep on gushing about GM’s full-sized SUVs. While the more upmarket GMC Yukon XL shares most of its bones with the Suburban, the big Chevy will never be outsold by its sibling. The Suburban can be equipped similarly to the Yukon into near-luxury territory; it offers more “everyman” options like the Z71 Off-Road and Max Trailering packages. OnStar Wi-Fi, CarPlay and Android Auto are available on the Suburban as well.
8. Ford Escape
Why we love it: The Ford Escape is one of the best-selling compact SUVs on the market. The Escape combines a car-like ride with tons of available tech. Exclusive-in-class features like self-parallel and perpendicular parking, and an available class topping 240hp EcoBoost engine make the Escape hard to beat. All new for 2017 (available Spring ’16), the new models sport the simpler and lightning-quick Blackberry-based Sync 3 OS, as well as more upmarket safety features like adaptive cruise control and active lane keep assist.
7. Ford Fusion
Why we love it: In a crowded and excellent mid-sized sedan category, the Fusion remains in the conversation for the best in class. Its Aston Martin inspired front design language and wide array of models ensure there’s a Fusion for everyone. There are three 4-cylinder engines to choose from in addition to Hybrid and Plug-in Energi models. There’s even all-wheel-drive available, which only one other entry in the segment can say. Like the Escape, the Fusion is loaded with tech and will sport Sync 3 for ’16.
6. Chevrolet Volt
Why we love it: We cannot express how much the second generation Volt has improved over its original counterpart. Styling is better, comfort and ergonomics have improved, as well as efficiency. With a boosted 53 miles of all-electric range, Volt owners will seldom dip into their gasoline reserves. If they do during those longer trips, its 1.5 liter gasoline engine now makes 42 mpg and takes regular grade gas (instead of the premium required by previous model). Like most GM models for ’16, the Volt offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi supplied by OnStar. No other plug-in can say that.
5. Ford F-150
Why we love it: You don’t get to be the best-selling vehicle in America for 32 years without doing something right. That’s right, best-selling vehicle, not just truck. For the 13th generation of the F-150, the body sheds up to 700 pounds by using aluminum atop its steel frame, and has changed the game by doubling down on 4 and 6 cylinder engines rather than higher displacement V8s. Although a traditional V8 is still available, the two EcoBoost models are more powerful and more efficient. Tech like 360 degree cameras, Dynamic Hitch Assist, Active Park Assist, and plethora of others separate the Ford from the rest of the pack.
4. Jeep Cherokee
Why we love it: Jeep broke the mold when it debuted the Cherokee. While many hardcore Jeep fans were confused about the new futuristic look and prefer the old boxy previous generations, this Cherokee is absolutely a hit. Based on the Dodge Dart car platform, the on-road handling of the Cherokee is worlds better than yesteryear. Available comforts like voice texting and cooled seats abound, and for those who like taking the road less traveled, an off-road ready Trailhawk model is available.
3. Jeep Wrangler
Why we love it: How can you not love the Wrangler? It’s unapologetically rough and tough, and likes it that way. They’ve come a long way, but are still made to be driven over rocks and through streams. Few vehicles lend people the freedom you can experience with a Jeep Wrangler, especially after removing the roof. Available in either a traditional 2-door or larger 4-door Unlimited and still available with a 6-speed manual transmission, there’s a Wrangler for everyone.
2. Ford Explorer
Why we love it: The Explorer has come so far, that it has become a strong option not only to buyers in the full-sized SUV segment, but also to those who once only considered luxury brands like Acura, Audi, and BMW. Refreshed and re-styled for 2016, the Explorer offers almost any feature one can think of and does so in an attractive package bolstered by impressive powertrain options. While more reasonably-priced trims are still the volume seller for Ford, the new upscale Platinum trim with quilted leather, authentic wood, and premium price tag positions it to go up against the best that luxury brands have to offer.
1. Jeep Grand Cherokee
Why we love it: The third Jeep on our list was saved for last—or best should we say? Our most popular American model is still flying off the shelf, and there’s no doubt why. Nothing quite comes close to the way a Jeep feels, and with the Grand Cherokee, it’s a good thing. Jeep’s flagship does everything well—from its intuitive UConnect system, comfort, and highly capable 4WD systems, to its muscular appearance, and range of unique trim levels and appearance packages. Our clients can’t get enough!