The Olympic Games Round 2: Performance

To be successful in the Olympic Games, and in the automotive industry, you must be able to run sprint and endurance races. Our second event tests vehicle performance and fuel efficiency. We’re rating our qualifying cars, trucks, and SUVs based on their ability to sprint 0-60, pull heavy weight, and run marathons without visiting the gas station.

Mid-size Cars


Gold-MedalGold: Honda Accord

Responsive, crisp, fuel-efficient, and fast. Those are only 4 of the many positive adjectives we could apply to driving the 2016 Honda Accord. The Accord produces the highest horsepower of the competition: 185 hp with the 2.4L 4-cylinder and 278 hp with the V6 engine. The 6-speed manual is a lot of fun, while the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is one of the best in class. This year, Honda updated the Accord’s steering and suspension, and it shows with predictable, refined, and natural driving characteristics.

Silver-MedalSilver: Nissan Altima

With brand new suspension, steering, and transmission tuning, the 2016 Nissan Altima is more agile, refined, and powerful than it was in 2015. The Altima achieves a top-of-class EPA estimated 27/39 mpg city/highway with the base 2.5L 4-cylinder engine. For those wanting maximum power, there’s a potent 270 hp 3.5L V6 available. The combination of power and efficiency in the Altima is hard to beat. The CVT is very well done, behaving like a traditional automatic. Altima drivers will enjoy sharp steering, poised handling, and a smooth ride.

Bronze-MedalBronze: Ford Fusion

While the 2016 Ford Fusion isn’t the most efficient in the class, it makes up for that by being one of the most fun-to-drive mid-size sedans on the market. There are 3 engines available, fitting the needs of almost any driver. The first is a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine producing 178 hp. Next up is a more efficient, yet still powerful 1.5L turbo 4-cylinder engine that produces 181 hp. The most powerful option is a 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine that produces 240 hp and 270 lb ft of torque. Handling is sporty and athletic across the lineup, and AWD is available in the SE trim and up.

Toyota Camry – Camry offers a pleasant ride, but isn’t the most powerful or efficient option
Chevrolet Malibu – The Malibu is quiet and refined, but only offers average power
Hyundai Sonata – Sonata barely missed the bronze, with top-notch fuel economy, but only adequate acceleration and power

Half-ton Trucks


Gold-MedalGold: Ford F-150

All-aluminum is the name of the game for the 2016 Ford F-150. After eliminating steel, the Ford lost almost 700 pounds. Maximum towing capacity for the F-150 is now up to a best-in-class 12,200 lbs, with a best-in-class payload of 3,270 lbs. With an estimated 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, the F-150 won’t guzzle gas either. A 3.5L V6 comes standard, but it’s often overshadowed by the efficient 2.7L V6 EcoBoost engine with stop/start technology. The 5.0L V8 engine produces 385 hp, touting the max payload mentioned above. The F-150 has set the bench mark extremely high.

Silver-MedalSilver: Ram 1500

Trucks buyers looking for power will love the 2016 RAM 1500. First in the engine lineup is a 3.6L V6 engine, producing around 305 hp. Next up, a big 5.7L V8 HEMI that produces 395 hp with a tow rating of up to 10,650 lbs. Finally, Ram offers a 3.0L turbodiesel V6 that produces 240 hp and 420 lb ft of torque. The 2016 Ram 1500 offers a comfortable ride that is one of the best among the competition.

Bronze-MedalBronze: Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 offers an impressive max towing capacity. If you want a big V8, try the 5.3L or 6.2L options. The 6.2L engine has the best-in-class power for a V8 engine, 420 hp. It can also tow up to 12,000 lbs. The base Silverado comes with a respectable 4.3L V6. Any way you slice it, the Silverado is a formidable truck.

Toyota Tundra – Offers bottom-of-class fuel economy, with subpar towing capacity
GMC Sierra – Same stats as the Chevrolet Silverado, at a slightly higher price

Mid-size SUVs


Gold-MedalGold: Jeep Grand Cherokee

The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is not only powerful, it can be equipped with some impressive off-road features. This SUV touts around 7,400 lbs of towing capacity, when properly equipped. With an EPA estimated 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is at the top of the class. Engine options include a 3.6L V6 that produces 295 hp, and a 5.7L Hemi V8 that produces 360 hp. The Grand Cherokee is one of the most flexible, capable SUVs on the market.

Silver-MedalSilver: Dodge Durango

As a cousin to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it’s no surprise to see the 2016 Dodge Durango on the podium. It’s a thirstier than the Grand Cherokee (2-3 mpg difference), but offers the same engines and towing capacity. The Durango is not only powerful, it has responsive handling and a smooth ride.

Bronze-MedalBronze: Honda Pilot

The 2016 Honda Pilot offers impressive power and decent towing capacity without a V8! The 3.5L V6 produces 280 hp and is paired with a 6 speed or 9 speed automatic. With a respectable EPA estimated 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, the 2016 Pilot offers luxurious ride and handling. It’s both fun and easy to drive.

Ford Explorer – Barely missed the bronze, with slightly above average power and fuel economy
Chevrolet Traverse – Suffers from below-average EPA estimated fuel economy
Kia Sorento – Base engine offers subpar power
Toyota Highlander – Offers plenty of power, but is less efficient than competitors

Next week we find out who takes home the gold for styling, stay tuned!