Top Car Trends That Made a Splash in 2016

Posted September 02 2016
by PenFed Team
Man and woman in car smiling

As we shift gears and ready ourselves for the fall and winter months ahead, let’s take a look at the top auto trends that made an impressive splash this year with consumers. Summer may be coming to a close, but there’s still plenty of time left to get behind the wheel of one of these cool, new 2016 models.

Trends That Impressed

New car buyers in 2016 steered straight for compact SUVs and crossovers, electric hybrids, and in-dash tech, making clear which auto trends they think are worth adding to their lives right now. At the same time, safety improvements such as automatic emergency braking systems are setting higher expectations for what new cars should offer under the hood.

The big story this year was the rise of the subcompact SUV and the crossover. What’s the difference between the two? An SUV is built on a truck chassis: built to carry drivers over rough terrain, carry larger loads, and accommodate hauling. A crossover, in contrast, is designed atop a car chassis to offer a more comfortable ride and better gas mileage. Either way, car buyers seem enamored, falling in love with models like Honda’s new HR-V.

The other big news is the battle heating up among 2017 electric vehicles (EVs), as new models with 200-mile ranges court consumers with lower, more affordable prices. The Ford Focus Electric, the Chevy Bolt EV, and the Tesla Model 3 will most likely duke it out for lead sales as EVs move into the mainstream market.

Finally, the smart technology you’ve grown used to on your mobile devices is now moving into your car: with Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto now available in select models from all the major manufacturers. Want the convenience now? Both systems are available via integration with aftermarket console units.

Under the hood, automatic emergency braking systems are much more widely available and may soon be standard. These systems employ cameras, radar, and sensors to anticipate trouble on the road, then alert you or activate the brakes automatically to help prevent or ameliorate a crash. In 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that auto safety regulations require automatic emergency braking systems on all new cars.

The Best Cars of 2016

Digital Trends named its Best Cars of 2016 awards earlier this summer. Among the winners are these models to watch:

Daily Driver: Honda Civic Coupe. It looks great, it offers smart utility, and it’s even a bit sporty. For everyday driving, you can’t beat a Honda Civic Coupe.

Alternative Energy: Chevrolet Volt. The Chevy Volt offers mainstream styling and a total range of up to 420 miles.

SUV: Volvo XC90. The Volvo SC90 might not be the first vehicle that comes to mind when people think about an SUV, but this model brings a touch of class to a popular vehicle category.

Luxury: Cadillac CT6. The Cadillac of luxury cars remains a Cadillac. Your example for 2016: the Cadillac CT6.

In-Car Tech: BMW 750i. Gesture controls and a removable tablet that controls every interior element make the BMW 750i hard to beat for tech-lovers.

Up-to-Date Financing Options

When you’re updating your vehicle, choose financing that keeps up with the times, too. Auto financing with PenFed puts you behind the wheel at competitive rates as low at 1.49% APR*. When you arrive at the new car showroom with PenFed financing in hand, dealers will want to up their game to seal a deal on a new car for you.

And if you’d rather bypass the whole showroom and dealer experience, use the PenFed Car Buying Service to make your purchase online. Search and sort cars by the features you’re looking for, then assure yourself you’re not overpaying for the car you want—it’s that simple.

*Rates and offers current as of September 1, 2016 and are subject to change.