Each year we log thousands of miles in the newest luxury and performance cars, trucks, and SUVs. Many are brilliant pieces of comfort and engineering, and some fall shy of the mark.
Part of the task of choosing our Best Car To Buy is figuring out which vehicles don't make the cut. We start by only looking at vehicles new or significantly updated each year, which narrows the field to those we need to consider against established benchmarks.
Then we make the tougher cuts. Luxury and performance marques build most of the finest vehicles on the planet. A car or SUV that might be considered excellent in its segment just might not stack up against other feats of automotive brilliance that came out this year.
Then we eliminate vehicles unavailable for road tests by our editors prior to December 1, 2015, and unavailable for purchase by April 30, 2016. That left the Tesla Model X off the list this year. Similarly, the Cadillac CT6 hasn't been made available for test drives, and it will be on sale before our drop dead date. That means we can't consider it this year or next, unfortunately.
Let's take a quick look at each of the vehicles that didn't make our finalist list this year. Please be aware that just because a car or SUV is on this list doesn't mean we wouldn't recommend it. It just means it doesn't move the needle as much as the finalists do.
2016 Audi TT: The newest sports coupe and convertible to wear the TT badge have some nifty technology, but the recipe's still mostly the same
2016 BMW 7 Series: As the line topper, the new 7 Series has top-notch luxury and loads of new technology, but the look has changed very little
2016 BMW X1: A new-front-drive-based platform gives the X1 more crossover credibility without sacrificing sportiness
2016 Cadillac CT6: Cadillac's new flagship promises sporty dynamics thanks to a lightweight platform
2016 Jaguar XF: The new XF may be made of aluminum, but this mid-size sedan is no lightweight.
2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport: The Discovery Sport's few compromises come in its price tag, its tiny third-row seat, and its turbo four noises
2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR: Racetrack performance in a large SUV feels odd, but the SVR still offers plenty of comfort
2016 Lexus RX: A bold new look may be too much for some traditional Lexus buyers, but the luxury is still there
2016 Lincoln MKX: A gilded version of the Ford Edge, the MKX just isn't special enough for our award or most luxury buyers
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC: The GLC takes great leaps forward in looks and luxury over the GLK
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe: Nobody needs a crossover "coupe," but this Mercedes is loaded with luxury
2016 Mercedes-Maybach 600: Look out Bentley and Rolls-Royce because the Mercedes-Maybach offers unmatched comfort
2016 Volvo XC90: The XC90 takes its place among German competitors as one of the finest luxury SUVs
We'll release our list of Best Car To Buy 2016 nominees next week. And on January 4, you'll find out the winners of our Best Car To Buy awards for Motor Authority as well as The Car Connection and Green Car Reports--and the winners of our Driver's Choice awards, too.