May 30 2014, 3:42pm CDT | by Forbes
With automakers already having largely renewed their fleets of mainstream sedans and small cars, a bevy of all-new and completely redesigned sports cars, luxury sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks take center stage for the 2015 model year.
One of the most prominent among next year’s top models, particularly in terms of its market presence, is the industry’s best selling vehicle of any type, the Ford F150 full-size pickup truck. Lighter in weight for the sake of fuel economy but still no lightweight in terms of its capabilities, Ford dealers have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new F150 following successive model years that saw revised pickups from Chevrolet, GMC, Ram and Toyota arrive to take advantage of renewed demand for big trucks.
For their part, Chevy and GMC are hoping to enliven the otherwise dormant midsize pickup segment with long overdue redesigned and reintroduced Colorado and Canyon models. GM hopes there are still enough buyers out there who want added vehicular versatility, but for whom a full-size pickup is otherwise too big, costly and gas guzzling. At the other end of the size spectrum, General Motors renews its fleet of large truck-based SUVs (the Cadillac Escalade/ESV, Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/XL) for the first time in eight years, just as sales in that long-deflated product segment begin to tick healthily upwards.
Still, there’s no hotter vehicles in the automotive business these days than compact crossover SUVs, which are attracting boatloads of buyers across a wide demographic swath. New crossovers for 2015 include the Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade, Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC and what should instantly become both its brand’s sales leader and most profitable model, the racy Porsche Macan.
Among more pulse-pounding models, one of the longest running vehicles in the business – the venerable Ford Mustang – gets a major makeover that brings the original “pony car” into the modern age (yes, with an independent rear suspension that finally replaces the car’s traditional solid rear axle). Chevrolet, meanwhile, takes last year’s redesigned Corvette to new heights of performance with the blazingly hot track-ready Z06 coupe and convertible. The newest sports car to reach U.S. dealerships comes from Italy, courtesy of Alfa-Romeo, who intends to regain a foothold in the U.S., starting with the low-slung 4C. Among true exotics, Porsche reaches for the high end of the market with its limited production mid-engined 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar.
New luxury models for 2015 include the compact Audi A3, which morphs from a sporty hatchback to an equally entertaining sedan; the Kia K900, which will test the upper limits of the brand in terms of both size and price; the Acura TLX, which replaces both the TL and TSX in the luxury division’s lineup; the Hyundai Genesis sedan, which undergoes a major redesign; and a sleek S-Class coupe that supplants the former CL-Class models in Mercedes-Benz showrooms.
Of course there are a number of more mundane, though no less worthy, models being introduced for the 2015 we aren’t featuring here, including redesigned versions of the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Fit, Hyundai Sonata, MINI Cooper Hardtop and the Subaru Legacy and Outback. Chief among the more “normal” cars being recast for ’15 that we are in fact highlighting is one that’s arguably the most improved model of the year, the midsize Chrysler 200 sedan; to our tastes it went from one of the segment’s ugly ducklings to a bona fide swan in one fell swoop.
We’re featuring what we feel are the most noteworthy new-model introductions for 2015 with full commentary in the accompanying slideshow.
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