Trucks and crossovers/SUVs continue to be some of the hottest-selling vehicles these days, and this trend will surely continue as gas prices remain pleasantly low. With that in mind, now is a great time to be a buyer if you’re in the market for a truck or a more family-friendly SUV, but if you’re able to hold off on your purchase decision, next year will have some promising new additions. From affordable to high-end, from track ready to trail ready and from high volume to limited production, this segment is incredibly diverse. Of the vehicles that have already been confirmed and/or expected, here are the top 10 trucks and SUVs to wait for in 2016, but more vehicles will surely be introduced during the coming auto show months.
Easily one of the most exciting new trucks that will hit the market in 2016 is the all-new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor. Introduced at the 2015 North American International Auto Show and going on sale in the fall of 2016, the new Raptor builds on the desert-running abilities of the current Raptor. The 2017 F-150 Raptor will be six inches wider than a standard F-150, and it will have an even beefier suspension with Fox Racing shocks that allow for almost a foot of suspension travel for the front axle and a foot of suspension travel for the rear axle. As exciting as this truck is going to be when it goes on sale in the fall of 2016, it will be interesting to see how performance enthusiasts react to the truck’s V-6-only engine lineup – even though Ford says this engine has more power and greater efficiency rated at 411 hp and 434 lb.-ft. of torque.
Before off-road enthusiasts get their crack at the all-new, next-gen Jeep Wrangler (expected in 2017), a totally different kind of Jeep will be hitting the scene next year as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk proves that this brand is equally capable on a racetrack as it is on an off-road course. Building on the successful Grand Cherokee SRT, the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk will be powered by a similar engine as the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. The big question remains how much power this supercharged Hemi V-8 will get as it sounds like the all-wheel-drive capability of the Grand Cherokee could result in Jeep backing off the Hellcat’s max 707-hp rating.
Almost 10 years after Mazda cut its teeth in the not-quite-minivan segment that is three-row crossovers, Mazda is finally ready to show that a replacement for the current CX-9 has been worth the wait. In recent years, Mazda has shown time and again its ability to reveal fun, sporty and stylish offerings regardless of the vehicle type, and the 2016 Mazda CX-9 is further proof. Utilizing the Mazda KODO design language and the Skyactiv suite of vehicle technologies, the 2016 Mazda CX-9 will be smarter, sportier, more efficient and more spacious than the current CX-9. Under the hood, the new 2016 Mazda CX-9 will be powered solely by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 250 hp and 310 lb.-ft. of torque.
Unveiled as a concept at the 2015 SEMA Show, Chevrolet announced that the 2016 Chevy Silverado 1500 Special Ops will be going on sale in the spring of 2016. Based on a 2016 Chevrolet 1500 Z71, the Special Ops model will stand out with a naval-inspired camo paint job called Razzle Dazzle as well as other unique touches such as the rocker panel guards, black 20-inch with off-road tires and LED lights both on the sport bar and mounted in the grille. The 2016 Chevy Silverado 1500 Special Ops will be produced in limited numbers with a portion of each truck’s proceeds going to support the Navy SEAL Museum in Ford Pierce, FL, although Chevrolet did not say how much this limited-edition truck will cost or exactly how much will be donated.
As much attention as the Tesla Model S has been getting since it went on sale, the upcoming Model X SUV is creating even more excitement for the California-based automaker. Tesla says that its all-electric three-row Model X will be the safest, fastest and most capable SUV ever when it goes on sale in the “latter half of 2016.” Some of the highlights include the trick Falcon Wing doors, the panoramic windshield and a 0-60 in as fast as 3.2 seconds. Pricing for the Tesla Model X is expected to start at $80,000 for the 70D model and closer to $150,000 for the P90D Performance All-Wheel Drive model.
After years of playing second fiddle in the luxury crossover segment, Cadillac is ready to get serious with the all-new 2017 Cadillac XT5. When it goes on sale in the spring of 2016, this five-passenger crossover will directly target the top-selling Lexus RX in terms of luxury, refinement and technology. The 2017 Cadillac XT5 also benefits from the latest in Cadillac’s styling department, and its 310-hp 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission are equally advanced.
Bentley might have something to say about Tesla’s claims to the Model X expected to be the fastest SUV ever when it launches the 2016 Bentley Bentayga. As the latest in a steady stream of ultra-luxury SUVs, the 2016 Bentley Bentayga combines the versatility – and even off-road prowess – of an SUV with the plush interior and high-performance of a Bentley. Under the hood, the Bentayga packs a 6.0-liter W-12 engine producing 600 hp and 663 lb.-ft. of torque to allow this big Bentley to accelerate from 0-60 mph in just four seconds. While that is slower than the Model X’s 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds, the Bentayga has a top speed of 187 mph (compared to the Model X’s 155 mph top speed), which should allow it to comfortably wear the “fastest SUV” claim.
Jaguar is another luxury brand stepping up to the crossover/SUV segment with the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace that goes on sale in the spring of 2016. The first-ever Jaguar crossover will be initially launch with two versions of the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 rated at 340 hp or 380 hp depending on the tuning, but later next year, the F-Pace 20d will be introduced with its 180-hp, 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder. With the diesel, the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace will have its lowest price point starting at $40,990, while the V-6 models will start at $42,390.
Following the launch of the 2016 Nissan Titan, Nissan will focus its attention on its other full-size vehicle: the 2016 Nissan Armada. Rather than sharing its platform with the Titan as the current Armada does, the 2016 Nissan Armada is likely to ride on the same chassis as the foreign-market Nissan Patrol and Infiniti QX80. The new Nissan Armada SUV is expected to go into production during the first half of 2016, and with that timeframe, there’s a good chance the full-size SUV could debut at the Chicago Auto Show – a truck-friendly show that Nissan has had a large presence at in recent years.
Bridging the gap between crossover and pickup truck, the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is based on the same platform as the Honda Pilot, yet it will to target mid-size trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma. Honda teased the 2017 Ridgeline with a BAJA race truck at SEMA, but it still hasn’t shown the full production design yet. The 2017 Honda Ridgeline will be revealed at the 2016 North American International Auto Show before hitting the streets sometime during the first half of 2016.
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