In the Rearview: All of 2016
Welcome to this special edition of In the Rearview, where instead of looking back over the last week, we looked back over the last 52, picking out some of the biggest and best automotive news of 2016.
I Heard ‘Biggest’ and ‘Best’: So check out Chevy’s sweet lineup of SUVs and crossovers
We begin with some of the stories of tragedy, hardship, and shame to come out in the last year–we lost Toyota’s youth-oriented brand Scion, which had started out as one of the cool kids but gradually became more like the school’s resident police officer (seen by the kids but really only liked by some of the parents). From there, since we were discussing loss, we talked about those models which were lost or discontinued in the past year, whether due to repackaging, overpricing, low sales volume, or just plain old being a bad car.
Then, the car market in Europe faced some serious worry when Brexit swept through and cut the manufacturing plants in the UK off from the sweet free trade agreement with the rest of Europe, so until a new trade treaty is written and signed, automakers who have interests in the country (which are quite a few) have to live with the uncertainty before ultimately deciding whether to take their interests elsewhere.
Speaking of elsewhere, that brought us to Mitsubishi being cheaters on their efficiency ratings by overinflating their car tires on the dyno, ultimately leading to fines and being bought by Nissan, with whom they seem to have a bright future.
However, this video wasn’t here to bum everybody out with all this grim news, so I pointed out that 2016 was also the first year to bring an affordable, long-range electric car to the market, with the Chevy Bolt hitting dealerships in December with an MSRP of just under $30,000 after incentives and over 200 miles of range. Its closest competitor, the Tesla Model 3, will not be out for some time yet, but still was able to clinch hundreds of thousands of preorders.
Looks Like Success: I mean, just look at the new Chevy Silverado 1500
This past year also held the return of the BBC’s Top Gear after Jeremy Clarkson’s punch-related leaving from the show with Richard Hammond and James May, where the trio were replaced by 6 hosts. The enthusiastic premier of the new Top Gear was subsequently crapped on from all sides until the end of the season, when top host Chris Evans left and Matt LeBlanc took the wheel. Meanwhile, the older trio weren’t just sitting on their hands–they teamed up with Amazon to create a new car show called The Grand Tour which was good, then bad, then good again.
In another story of rediscovery, Obama’s historic trip to Cuba also triggered another kind of history–the showing of Cuba’s wealth of historic cars, which were kept on the road with much effort since Fidel Castro banned foreign car imports.
And finally, I wanted to close with a more local story, where we found a hoax Limp Bizkit concert supposedly set on April 20th at the Sunoco Station on Keowee Street in Dayton. Since that is pretty much where we are, our own Patrick Grieve was able to hang out in the parking lot, bother people, and seriously meet Lewis Black. Seriously. I am super jealous.
Overall, 2016 was a mixed bag of gas prices dropping, average car size growing, sales slowing (although still good), automakers cheating, new cars innovating, electric cars advancing, car shows flailing, and weird stuff happening. So, on the whole, eeeeeeh.