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Cheers and Jeers for 2016

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2016 was a year that almost everyone wants to forget.

The election season that seemed to go on forever ended with the surprising election of a thin-skinned accused sexual predator demagogue and reality TV host to be 45th President of the United States.  This extremely unpopular candidate had nearly 3 million fewer votes than the almost equally unpopular runner up.

The Zika virus hysteria hit a fevered pitch. The Pokemon Go fad came and went.  Transgender people using bathrooms consistent with their identities seemingly became the most important topic for legislatures across the country.  The Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando was the deadliest mass-shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history, with 49 people killed.  The Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland, California, was the deadliest building fire in the U.S. in 13 years.  There were terrorist attacks around the world, including in Syria, Brussels, Nice, and Turkey. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones were recalled twice and continued to catch fire and be banned from airplanes.

Prominent passings include David Bowie, Prince, Muhammed Ali, Antonin Scalia, Nancy Reagan, Morley Safer, John Glenn, Arnold Palmer, and Fidel Castro.  At the end of the year, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and her mom Debbie Reynolds passed on.

In automotive news, U.S. sales continued at a near historically high rate.  Genesis was launched as Hyundai’s luxury brand instead of just being Hyundai models.  There was a Volkswagen settlement for about 450,000 TDI owners and regulators valued at almost $15 billion.  Google branded their autonomous driving program Waymo, and discussions with Honda were announced.  FCA already had a working relationship with them and plans for 100 autonomous Pacificas.  Various automakers became involved with ride-hailing companies.  Toyota's subbrand, Scion, went away, with three of the four models continuing as Toyotas.  Traditional sedans continue to fall out of favor as the crossover market seems to have no letting up.  Miniature CUVs are the new big small things.  Cadillac and and Ford are looking at scaling back their car plans to focus more on crossovers.

Big topics on the C&G boards were the Chevy Bolt, the direction of Cadillac, and pushrods or overhead cams for the Corvette.  The site got a major software update (thanks, Drew!).

Unfortunately, I have had precious little time to spend on the C&G boards because life has been busy with work and parental responsibilities.  But here are some of the highlights and lowlights I have been able to gather in the last year for all things automotive for the 15th Annual Edition of Cheers and Jeers:

Cheers to the Chevrolet Bolt as the Best New Production Vehicle.  The 239 mile range is game-changing for an affordable EV.  The packaging and build quality are good.  However, Jeers for the lumpy styling and mediocre aerodynamics.



Cheers to the Lincoln Motor Company for having the Continental be a ray of light, with promising sales numbers so far, better than the Cadillac CT6.  The styling is a little too frumpy, but it’s a nice attempt at a serious luxury car.

Cheers to FCA for introducing the Best Minivan with the class-leading Pacifica, including the Hybrid variant.  The unremarkable sales numbers are not necessarily indicative of how much improved it is over the previous Town & Country, though the quality-challenged Dodge Grand Caravan remains available as a budget buy.

Jeers to FCA for their Dead Brand Walking, Dodge.  It was 2009 when Ram was separated from Dodge.  This year the Dodge Dart (and sister Chrysler 200) were killed off to free up factory space to build more profitable SUVs and pickups.  The future of Dodge is questionable as the Viper just died, Durango is slated for demise, and the Grand Caravan, while continuing for now, will not be replaced.  The aging Charger, Challenger, and Journey are still slated to get Fiat and Alfa-based replacements, but with the Chrysler brand down to the 300 and Pacifica only, it makes you wonder whether the Dodge models will be folded into the Chrysler brand.

Jeers to FCA for the dishonest inflated sales reporting.  There was immense pressure to keep the increasing sales streak alive, but when they couldn’t, they faked it.


Cheers to Volvo for Good Design.  Despite being wholly owned by Geely, the current batch of vehicles remains largely true to its roots with its Swedish focus on safety and stylish lines in a Scandinavian way.  The new S90 and last year’s XC90 are cutting edge, practical, and desirable.

Cheers to Elon Musk for his Marketing Genius and convincing 400,000 people to put down refundable $1,000 deposits on the upcoming Model 3.  Tesla got its share of bad news over the year with its semi-autonomous Autopilot contributing to the fatal crash of a Model S by mistaking the side of a big rig for the sky and quality glitches over its new Model X.

Cheers to Buick for producing the Best Concept Car, the stunning Alpha-based Avista, though it unfortunately will not see production because there are not enough coupe buyers to support it and the Camaro.  A new Riviera would still be a nice flagship for Buick, which has embraced becoming primarily a SUV brand, not unlike Acura.  Honorable mention goes to the Cadillac Escala, which was willing to break with some traditional styling elements but comes off looking a little generic.



Cheers to Mazda for building jewel-like, fun-to-drive cars that Honda used to build.  Mazda sales are down slightly, but they will look at going upscale and not try to be all things to all people.

Cheers to Honda for Best Determination with giving it another go with the Ridgeline pickup.  The looks are entirely conventional and boring compared to the old model.  It drives very much like a Honda Pilot with an open back, not like a really serious truck, but it still fulfills the needs of many people.  If only GM had done a Lambda pickup or a new generation of Avalanche.

Cheers to William Maley for his new car reviews and dfelt for keeping us abreast on the alternative propulsion news with some excellent reading.

Wishing all a safe, prosperous, and Happy New Year!

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Yay!! Here it is.....


And thank you......it's just not a year ending here without this!


And of course I agree with most all of them....8)

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Awesome review of the Year BOBO, Thank you for all you have done and best wishes to you and your family for the new year.

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Thanks again Bobo.  I look forward to this every year.  Sorry I've been so busy I didn't get to read it until now.

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