6 Most Desirable American Cars
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Back in the days of the space program, astronauts used to drive Corvettes. That’s how sexy, modern and powerful they were. The latest generation of Corvette is still sexy, modern and powerful. It’s also the best car to wear the badge, with handling that can excite without being downright scary. Putting at least 455 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque from a 6.2-liter V8 through the rear wheels of a two-seater car with a lightweight fiberglass body might have been asking for trouble, but Chevrolet’s engineers have made the ’Vette poised, progressive and predictable. The steering is as sharp as the exhaust note is spine-tingling. This all adds up to something of a bargain in the high-performance arena. Although we’re undoubtedly in the crossover era, it’s great to have a world-class sports car that’s home grown.
2015 Ford Mustang
The 2015 Mustang is the first of a new generation, although the Mustang name and aura goes back to the mid-1960s, when it gave rise to the pony car, a uniquely American craze. Then Steve McQueen’s dark green fastback happened, followed by high-power Shelby cars. With that kind of heritage, it’s no wonder the Mustang has been in continuous production for 50 years, despite an extended middle period of frankly dismal efforts. Older models had a live rear axle, this new one has an independent rear suspension for a more comfortable ride. Coupe or convertible, this is the most advanced Mustang yet. Naturally, there’s a V8 version, but don’t ignore the four-cylinder turbo option.
2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
Hell, yes. The regular Challenger is pretty good, a fully paid-up member of the muscle car club. But this SRT Hellcat version with a supercharger strapped to a 6.2-liter V8 for 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque is bordering on insane. Insanely good. It sprints from standstill to 60 mph in around three seconds and has a top speed of 199 mph. It starts off fast, gets even quicker and has to be experienced to be believed. But it’s something the driver will never forget. It’s also super-responsive to throttle inputs and can even get around corners well, a quality not always associated with American cars.
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
There’s something about a Jeep: ruggedness, off-road talent, heritage. But as great as a Wrangler is at tackling the rocky Rubicon Trail, it’s more of a weekend chariot than an everyday family vehicle. That’s where the Grand Cherokee, the company’s flagship SUV, comes in. It can still wade through a creek and mess around with mud, but does it with comfort and refinement. It can also tow up to 6,200 pounds. Standard equipment includes all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Diesel power, air suspension and an off-road options package are also available.
2016 Cadillac CTS-V
This is how desirable the new CTS-V sedan is: it doesn't go on sale until later in 2015. But Cadillac really knocked it out of the proverbial park with its retiring second-generation CTS. It is/was a credible rival to the all-conquering BMW 5 Series and the sportiest V version could go toe-to-toe with the glorious M5. Wearing regular factory tires, it completed the north loop of the famed Nürburgring circuit in just under eight minutes, which counts as an away win. So when the 2016 model launches with the same 640-hp, supercharged V8 as the Corvette Z06, it will be one of the most powerful sport sedans, with even more muscle than some supercars, plus agility to match.
2015 Tesla Model S
No other car, from any country, is anything like this: a full-size, all-electric, luxury sedan. It looks like something any designer would be proud to have on his resume, has a range of 265 miles (with the 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack), drives like a winner, scores well in consumer-related tests, and has a spacious, classy, high-tech interior. This is one of the best cars America has to offer and apologies for using the cliched “game changer” term, but really. It’s built in Silicon Valley, so it’s as tech-savvy as cars get, like a huge gadget on wheels. And who doesn’t love a good gadget?