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American engineer and inventor Charles Kettering once said “Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.”

And so, as we are about to tear the leaf off 2015, what new ideas and progress does 2016 hold?

Some good, some bad no doubt, as Kettering himself learned. He invented the electric starter motor, which many of us still use every day; as well as leaded petrol, and well… we all know how that turned out.

With this in mind, the CarAdvice team have rattled the magic 8-ball and read the tea leaves to present our predictions for 2016…


Alborz Fallah
Founder

2016 will be the year…

pred-alborz

That Germans will continue to eat into the mainstream manufacturer offerings from the top while the seeds are planted for the Chinese to come at them from the bottom.

It will be five to ten years before we feel the full effect, but it will force the Japanese to review their attitudes on compliance and conservatism – forcing innovation alongside ‘kaizen’, the philosophy of continuous improvement.


Tony Crawford
Founder

2016 will be the year…

pred-tony

When ridesharing will have a considerable impact on how people will get from one destination to another – regardless of what city they might find themselves in.

The big two behemoths, Uber and Lyft, have paved the way for multiple new ridesharing startups like Sidecar and Carma to get into the game, though, there are many more slightly different models to this business, which are finding a niche play in this rapidly growing space. Ridejoy is one such model (with their own app) that effectively lists your spare seats on its website. You just share the ride expenses with whomever is in the car.

The service started in San Francisco but has spread to several other US cities. Even the car rental companies are getting in on the ridesharing act with the likes of Enterprise, who developed Zimride, which uses social media to connect people going to the same destinations. You simply create a Zimride profile and check out other people’s music taste and interests before you request a ride.

Shared EV fleets have also put their hat in the ring, with companies like the New Jersey-based Princeton Power Systems, recently unveiling a plug-in electric vehicle fleet complete with a network of charging stations. Expect this concept to catch on in highly congested cities like London.  

Uber is now officially (and legally) up and running in at least a couple of Australian states, and we expect all states to fall into line, given the taxi compensation package, which will be paid for by both Uber and taxi clients.


James Ward
Associate Publisher

2016 will be the year…

pred-james

Of the hacked car.

We’ve been subjected to the theoretical ‘hacking’ of the family car for years now, and in 2016 it will become a reality. No, it won’t be the T1000 and his miscreant band of geniuses pulling up a 3D model of a Ford Explorer on a conveniently branded Windows tablet to assume controls of neatly highlighted driveline systems… I predict that 2016 will bring the first ‘enforced crashing’ of a car’s ECU by way of a malevolent ‘over the air’ attack.

Seeking access to a particular variant of vehicle, mischievous hackers will intercept the communications protocol that supplies such convenient data as live traffic updates, and manage to render the car’s ECU fundamentally useless, resulting in a two-tonne mass of metal, plastic and rubber grinding to a complete halt.

Imagine too if this particular vehicle was sold in the tens of thousands worldwide, and what impact would result from a large number becoming ‘bricked’ overnight. Problems for the manufacturer, dealers, owners and other road users as cars would need to be transported to service centers to have their electronic brains replaced with a more secure version.

While it may sound a bit like dystopian popcorn sci-fi, we know this can be done in a controlled environment, so if manufacturers don’t ensure that electronic security is treated with the same importance as core engineering, we may see it make front page news.


Matt Campbell
Senior Editor

2016 will be the year…

pred-matt

Of smartphones dominating the car interior.

Sure, this trend has already started, but with CarPlay and Android set to make staying connected on the road even easier for thousands of new car buyers, these two hot items will be high on shopping lists as the systems roll out progressively in 2016.

Wireless phone charging pads will roll out more broadly, and Wi-Fi hotspots (using a tethered smartphone data allocation or built-in SIM) will increasingly be offered in more affordable cars to keep back-seaters happy, too.


Mike Costello
Senior Editor

2016 will be the year…

pred-mikec

That SUV sales overtake passenger cars.

Look, there’s every chance I’m calling this a year or two early, but it’s entirely possible that 2016 will be the first time in modern history that SUVs — whatever that increasingly generic term really denotes — outsell conventional passenger cars in Australia.

Here goes. If SUV sales in 2016 grow at 16 per cent and passenger cars shrink at 3 per cent as they each did this year, the baton will not quite be passed. But should that trend accelerate, it will mean cars such as the Mazda CX-5, Honda HR-V and Toyota Kluger will become the new default.

Paradigm shift? For a stat nerd like me, no doubt.


Curt Dupriez
Comparisons Editor

2016 will be the year…

pred-curt

That active safety will be spread wider in quantity across the motoring landscape yet spread thinner in quality and usefulness.

The marketing frontline will continue to spin the more-is-better-is-safer pitch, and while there’s no evidence to support it I sincerely hope someone somewhere strives to improve the tuning of their systems to better suit real-world Australian conditions.

Sadly, I fear that the pervasiveness of electronic Band-Aid compensating for vehicle and driver shortcomings will only become more widespread in 2016. So it’s only natural that the measure of their effectiveness and the merit of their inclusion come under closer critical scrutiny in the coming year.


David Zalstein 
Journalist

2016 will be the year…

pred-dave

If 2015 was the year of the wagon, I’m tipping 2016 will be the year of the hot-hatch.

What is known and what is rumoured remains an eclectic mix, but on the horizon for sure are the Peugeot 308 GTi – due to launch locally in February – and the hopefully slightly mental Ford Focus RS, due to follow several months later.

There’s also the long-awaited next-generation Renault Megane RS, the much reported Ford Fiesta RS, a Toyota Yaris hot-hatch to better link the Japanese brand with its WRC rally return, and the already-spied Holden/Opel Astra GSi.

We should also finally see Hyundai’s first road-going ‘N’-branded performance product – likely to be i30 based – and perhaps a new turbocharged Suzuki Swift Sport (powered by the turbo 1.4-litre found in the now-confirmed-for-Australia Suzuki Vitara Turbo). On the wish list? Maybe even a Mazda 2 or Mazda 3 MPS – just for kicks.


Mike Stevens
Producer & News Editor

2016 will be the year…

pred-mikes

That infotainment joined the 21st century.

More and more carmakers are seeing that the modern consumer expects the power and features of their $1000 mobile phones to be a theme mirrored in the cabin of their $20,000 car. 

A number of vehicles now boast advanced infotainment and connectivity, and compatibility with platforms like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is picking up steam. Likewise, reversing cameras are becoming increasingly common. These systems are often restricted to options lists and higher-end trim grades, however, and a number of brands are still peddling low-end packages that must make it hard for some to resist a glance at the shiny and fast phones that should be well away from hand. 

Watch for infotainment to become the new power windows and climate control in 2016. 


Paul Maric
Senior Road Tester

2016 will be the year…

pred-paul

Of the hypercar. Bugatti will unleash the Chiron and if the Veyron is anything to go by — the rest of the hypercar world will attempt to follow suit.

Having driven the Veyron in 2008, it’s hard to image how the company will ever manage to improve on what is one of the most ballistic cars on the road


Tegan Lawson
Lifestyle Editor

2016 will be the year…

pred-tegan

Of the battle for interior supremacy.

Over the past couple of years we’ve seen some interesting fabrics, materials and sophisticated designs on the drawing boards of many manufacturers. Sure, some will be a little too futuristic or still a couple of years away but I’m tipping we’ll be seeing an influx of architecturally designed interior layouts, artistically inspired trims and colours, the inclusion of more technologically advanced materials and fabrics, and quirky, gimmicky elements.

Think wetsuit-like material, fabric treated to reduce heat absorption, mud-splatters instead of a redline, floating dash designs… excited to see what 2016 will bring.


Trent Nikolic
Senior Editor

2016 will be the year…

pred-trent

We will start to see the rolling out of digital radio in cheaper vehicles. It’s a great service that works well and you shouldn’t have to part with six figures just to access it.

Hopefully we start to see digital radio across a more broad range of vehicles in 2016.


Tim Beismann
New Cars Editor

2016 will be the year…

pred-tim

Of the plug-in hybrid.

The number of range-extenders available in Australia will more than double in 2016, and it will be the luxury brands leading the, err, charge. The BMW i3 and i8 models will be joined by the 330e and the X5 xDrive40e in the second quarter of the year, around the same time as Mercedes-Benz flicks the switch on the C-Class, S-Class and GLE Plug-In Hybrid trio. German rival Audi will follow towards the end of 2016 with the Q7 e-tron, though not before the Volvo XC90 T8 arrives in either Q2 or Q3.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV will get a facelift to match the rest of the range around the middle of the year, and there’s a small chance Hyundai’s new Ioniq could get a power socket to join the regular hybrid version that’s due in the third quarter.

With diesel increasingly on the nose (thanks to Volkswagen) and electric power cooler than ever (thanks to Tesla), 2016 could be the year plug-in hybrids start to get traction on local roads.


 

What do you think the future holds? Let us know what you think will be the big trends, features or outcomes of 2016.




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