Make no mistake about it, GM's commitment to EV's is based entirely on CAFE standards. Sell one Bolt for a loss and get a credit of 295 equivalent MPG. This allows you to sell 20 gas-guzzling SUVs with a profit margin of well over $10,000 apiece.
Don't get me wrong, the Bolt may be a good car and well-engineered, and the first EV to sell at a good price point AND have good range and quality (the Mitsubishi EV is sort of crappy and the electric Hamster is nice, but only goes 85 miles on a charge).
This is the sort of "car of the year" pick that leaves you scratching your head.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro: Someone at Motor Trend has been reading my blog and apparently reflecting on the horrific choices they have made over the years. I think they got together and said, "Gee, when we picked muscle cars back in the 1960's, those seemed to be good choices, let's go back to that!" So years after the "new" Camaro and Mustang debuted, they select the 2016 Camaro as car of the year. This is not a bad choice, but again one of those "what took so long?" deals, as the car has been out in various forms for a number of years now (as the new Camaro) and is a pretty decent car. Meanwhile, more obvious choices, like the new "retro" Mustang and the 707 horsepower (!!!) "Hellcat" Challenger go unmentioned. Not even the base Challenger makes the list.
What should be commended about all three "muscle" cars from the US (Mustang, Challenger, Camaro) is that even in "base" trim, they offer engines that crank out 300 HP and get 30 mpg on the highway - and are far safer and handler better than their original 1960's version. As Jay Leno noted, in his review of the "Tantrum" Challenger, a Ford Focus of today could probably beat the original Hemi Challenger from the 1960's. Automotive technology has progressed so much in 40 years. High time Motor Trend noticed it.
So, I have to say, finally in 2016, they made a good choice. I said the same thing in 2015, however, and that later turned out to backfire in a big way. So, if you work at GM, be very, very nervous. The Motor Trend curse is upon you!
Like Nissan's Altima CVT). But VW? Unless you consider a diesel engine to be "way out there" nothing really has changed in this model in the last two decades. Why car of the year now? It just makes no sense to me.
UPDATE: NOVEMBER 2015. Well, the curse is still in effect. After being named "Car of the Year" VW now faces criminal and civil liability for programming its diesel models to pass emissions, even though they pollute far more than they should. Massive recalls and overhauls of many cars may be required. Some are saying that affected cars may have to be bought-back and crushed. Billions of dollars in costs, legal damages and lost sales. The curse doesn't get worse than this! Even GM fared better with the Vega!
UPDATE November 2015: After being called "the best car we've ever driven" by Consumer Reports, the car fell fast from grace, now being listed as "not recommended" due to numerous - get this - electrical problems (in an electric car, no less). Falling oil prices and cheap gas make the car an even harder sell based on economics, at least for the time being. Too bad, too, such a nice car! But cursed by Motor Trend! (Update, 2016: The Koch Brothers have made it their goal in life to kill the Tesla. Meanwhile, Tesla struggles with State governments who want to protect the corrupt dealership networks and prevent Tesla from selling directly to the public. Stay tuned, this could be another Tucker kind of deal!).
UPDATE November 2015: See my comments above regarding the diesel fiasco. Cursed again!
UPDATE November 2015: The Volt has not been a big seller, and a new model is slated for 2016. Some are calling electric or hybrid cars like the Volt "compliance cars" designed to groom the company's image and comply with Federal mandates to build EVs. Whatever the case, GM only sells a few thousand a year. Not a real game-changer, like the Prius.