In choosing the finalists for our Car of the Year, our team took into consideration the design, performance, and overall packaging of the cars.
As a publication with a decidedly tech and business focus, we often zeroed in on those factors. Of the numerous vehicles sampled by Business Insider this year, six made it to the finals: two sedans, two crossover SUVs, and two sports cars.
Volvo's all-new XC90 luxury crossover SUV emerged victorious as Business Insider's 2015 Car of the Year. The Volvo's eye-pleasing design, luxury appointments, outstanding tech features, and compelling business story pushed the XC90 over to the top by a narrow margin.
The other five finalists are terrific automobiles in their own right. In alphabetical order, here are the five runners-up for Business Insider's 2015 Car of the Year Award:
The Audi S3 is one of the high-performance variants of Audi's compact A3 sedan. Starting at $42,000, the S3 is priced to compete at the heart of the sports-sedan market.
Power for the S3 comes from an impressive 2.0-liter, 292-horsepower turbocharged, inline 4-cylinder engine that shared with Volkswagen's Golf R. According to Audi, the S3 is good for a zero-to-60 mph sprint in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.
The S3's interior is an exercise in minimalist chic. It's stylish, simple, and incredibly well put together, featuring fine leather and elegant metals.
The S3's Audi infotainment system is one of the best in the business in terms of performance and functionality.
To drive, the S3 is part German luxury sedan and party road-going rally racer. Both sides of its personality mesh seamlessly with each other, making it one of the best sports sedans on the market today.
The 2016 BMW 7-Series is one of the impressive BMW's we've ever driven — and it's by far the best 7-Series the company has ever built. The new 7 offers customers the exhilarating driving experience one has come to expect from BMW.
Power comes from a 4.4-liter, 445-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8 engine capable of propelling the big Bimmer to 60 mph from a standstill in an impressive 4.3 seconds.
But what really makes the new 7 Series stand out is its truly impressive level of onboard technology. This includes a gesture-controlled infotainment system, pinch-and-zoom navigation maps, and an augmented reality surround-view camera.
The rear seat passengers are treated to tons of tech, as well. This includes a pair of seat-back-mounted infotainment screens and a detachable Samsung control tablet.
The sedan also comes with BMW's new touchscreen key fob, which monitors everything from how much gas is left in the tank to whether the lights are off.
The Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 is a game changer for the Italian sports-car maker. Lambos are known for their larger-than-life personalities and difficult-to-live-with idiosyncrasies.
But the Huracán is a significant departure from that ethos. This small Lambo is refined. Its styling is very attractive, but also rather restrained compared to its ancestors. It's the first truly dignified modern Lambo, rather than just a crazy paint job and a massive, stonking engine.
But don't get us wrong. The words "refined" and "subdued" are relative. Deep down inside, the Huracán is still a raging bull.
Power for the Lamborghini comes from a 5.2-liter, 602-horsepower, V10 engine that makes one hell of a sweet sound! It barks, burbs, burbles, backfires, and roars like an animal.
Inside, the Huracán's interior is stylish but functional. Check out the red fighter-jet-style cover over the engine start button!
The 2016 675LT is the latest supercar from the automotive arm of McLaren Technology Group. And it's a technological marvel.
The car is constructed out of carbon fiber. Its brakes are carbon ceramic. Its exhaust system is titanium. Its computer-controlled suspension is one of the most sophisticated ever installed on a production car, and the McLaren traction-control software is among the most advanced in the business.
Tucked behind the driver is a 666-horsepower, 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine similar to the unit found in McLaren's million-dollar P1 hybrid hypercar. The engine's roots can be traced to a Le Mans endurance racing motor used during the late 1990s.
The interior of the McLaren is all business. Everything is designed for simplicity and ease of use at any speed.
Finally, regardless of whether you like the flashy green paint job or not, you have to admit it's one ferociously cool-looking car.
The Tesla Model X is the SUV the automotive public has waited years to see. In late September, the electric crossover was finally launched. And it was well worth the wait!
In P90D trim with Ludicrous Mode, the Model X is the fastest-accelerating SUV in the world with a Tesla-claimed zero-to-60 mph time of just 3.2 seconds and a range of 250 miles.
The car is loaded with all the tech we expected to see from Tesla, including automatic doors, Autopilot, and even a "bioweapon defense mode" air-filtration system.
But the Tesla's most impressive feature is its pair of "Falcon Wing" doors. They automatically open and are equipped with a variety of sensors, including sonar that can assess the car's surroundings. The amount of space an open door occupies is dictated by the amount of space surrounding the car.
We were blown away by the Model X in the limited amount of time we had with the car. The Tesla was certainly one of the most important cars to arrive in 2015. But we couldn't put it through an extensive test, so we couldn't choose it as our winner.