By on May 22, 2007

ractingcarpot.jpgYou heeded our call. You nominated the cars you considered the best of the best. Without fear or favor, TTAC’s tenacious tribe of telic keyboard tappers selected twenty vehicles from your list of over a hundred superlative automobiles. You voted for 10 of them, creating our first annual Ten Best Automobiles. The voting was often extremely close, but the end result was never in doubt: a selection of ten automobiles that any self-respecting motorist would be proud to own, and delighted to drive. Ladies and gentlemen, raise your tea mugs as I present to you: TTAC’s Ten Best for 2007.

07rs4.jpg10. Audi RS-4
 
Last year, Audi’s never-say-die boffins said it: “DIE M3! DIE!” Tired of playing catch-up with the sine qua non of mid-sized sports sedans, Ingolstadt threw their high-tech parts bin at BMW’s uber-3. You like 300 horses through the rear wheels? Ja? How about a 4.2-liter engine cranking out 420hp, all-wheel drive, precise steering, ohmigod brakes and a [nearasdammit] racing suspension? All we can say is: who’s your Daddy? - RF   

 

9. Infiniti G35

g35.jpgFor years, Infiniti’s G Force have been the Rodney Dangerfield of automotive enthusiasts. “What's a Japanese sports sedan got to do to get a little respect around here?” they demanded. Wonder no more. Infiniti re-clad Nissan’s 350Z in a Savle Row dinner jacket and gave the G35 road manners aggressive enough to put a vicious little smile on the similarly “refreshed” 007. The smart-handling Infiniti G35 makes Lexus owners wonder what IS is, and forces 3-Series owners to check both their rear view mirrors and diminishing bank balances. - WM

   

07tsx.jpg8. Acura TSX
 
Acura's TSX is badge engineering done right. By never losing sight of Honda's racing pedigree or Acura's luxury aspirations, Acura’s engineers created a sublime sedan that has owners snick-snick-snickering with every swap of a cog. Purposeful design, aggressive good looks, inspired handling and excellent build quality make the Acura TSX a heady yet elegant brew. – MN

 

  

caymans.jpg

7. Porsche Cayman

Porsche’s mid-engined Boxster S is the world’s best driver’s car. That makes the Cayman S the world’s best driver’s car with a hard top and a sexier rear end. Fair enough. The roof offers safety advantages and extra-legal schmoozing. The fastback creates Porsche’s coolest car. If and when the Sultans of Stuttgart give their whipper-snapper more power, it will add “unassailably” to “best.” - RF

   

 

07_mx-5.jpg6. Mazda MX-5 

The MX-5 is America’s best value driver’s car. It’s all about finesse– and fun. Whether you’re a hard core enthusiast attacking an apex or a retiree enjoying a bit of drop top nostalgia, the still-svelte third gen Miata is the simplest, best handling, most fundamentally honest and joyful automobile made.  – SL

   

 

wrx-sti.jpg

5. Subaru WRX / STI

The WRX is a perfect blend of corner-carver and reliable runabout. The STI provides all-areas access to real world rally racing. Just like the 911, Subaru have continually improved both models’ power, ride and handling without softening their market focus. (The STi still has enough nasty plastic and teeth-chattering compromises to keep poseurs at bay.) The WRX is working class hero, while the STI is destined to end the decade as the benchmark for compact sports sedans. – MB/SL

 

07_mazda3.jpg4. Mazda Mazda3 / Mazdaspeed3

With loads o’ grunt, entertaining handling, mint-popping brakes, daily driver-compatible comfort and admirable frugality, the Mazda3 offers family-friendly fun to the financially fastidious F1 fantasist. The Mazdaspeed3 retains these virtues, kicks it up a notch, and eats the competition for lunch. - ES

  


porsche_gt3.jpg3. Porsche 911

If you’ve got a list of “the 100 cars you must drive before you die” and an hour to live, go for the 911. Whether it’s maximum lateral G’s or vanishing point-and-shoot, Porsche’s “everyday” supercar offers terminal drivers terminal velocity. The steering’s perfect, the brakes breathtaking and the engine roar sublime. Each model up the food chain just gets faster and more capable. It’s a sports car to die for. - RF

 

corvette.jpg

2. Chevy Corvette / Z06

Fifty-four years post-partum and the Corvette’s just hitting its stride. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better combination of style, performance, handling and (yes) reliability for anything near the price. The endlessly rejuvenated Corvette shows what American automakers can do when the beancounters take a back seat to engineering excellence.  - FW

 

  

bmw_330i.jpg1. BMW 3-Series

The BMW 3-Series continues its reign as the driver’s car. Whether you’re helming the normally aspirated 328i, the twin-turbo 335i, or the [current] M3, Bavaria’s legendary in-line six invites its driver to unleash the powerplant’s silken shove. To needle kiss the redline and savor the compact mill’s sophisticated snarl is to experience mechanical perfection. The completeness of the 3-Series’ dynamic package– ride, handling and brakes– puts the Zen into zenith. In a world of reliable mediocrity, driving the 3-Series remains a peak experience. - RF

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

128 Comments on “TTAC’s Ten Best Automobiles 2007...”


  • avatar
    philbailey

    You all got that one right!

  • avatar

    No YOU all got that one right.

  • avatar
    AKM

    Voting for the 10 worst was definitely more fun!!
    The one thing about our results here is that many guys voted more for our dream rides than for cars we’ve driven regularly/own/…
    I limited myself to cars with which I had a direct experience with (at the very least riding shotgun).

  • avatar
    skor

    My pick is the Mazda 3, enough fun for the hoon in him, and enough practically for the soccer mom in her. Buy a Mazda 3 and starve a divorce lawyer.

  • avatar
    thalter

    5 Japanese, 4 German, and 1 American car. Sounds about right.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Great list…but I’m sad that both the TSX and Mazda3 made it and the GTI didn’t. But in the overall scheme of voting, that’s just picking nits.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    AKM: Of the cars on the list I’d say only four count as “dream cars” (the two Porsches, the RS4, and the Corvette). There’s three cars under $25k (the Mazda3, MX-5 and WRX). The TSX, G35, and 3-series can all be had for under $35k. I drove everything under $35k on the list except the MX-5 before I bought my TSX; that’s half the list right there.

    So, other readers: how many TBAGs have you driven? Are you a TBAG owner?

  • avatar
    kasumi

    Hope to be driving one of the TBAGs later this year (TSX or G35). Although this list is on the “sporty” side, it demonstrates the best cars are the most focussed and not trying to be everything to everyone, “its like a 911, but also seats 7.” Also, no SUVs on the list is saying something either about TTAC’s readership. More than anything, I hope it will convince Acura to bring over the TSX wagon (aka Yurp Accord Saloon)!

    K.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Interesting list…I also am suprised that the GTI did’nt make it, but the Mazda 3 did… very interesting list…six sedans, four two seat sports cars, wide price range.

    This was alot of fun, great idea. A perfect counterpoint to the TWATs.

  • avatar

    Brian E: I drove two of the TBAG’s (the G35 and the 335) and drove away in the BMW simply because it remains a more focused driver’s car. The twin-turbo I6 is simply the most tractable engine I have ever driven. And it was starting with a real deficit; I still think that Chris Bangle’s details are ruinous to otherwise elegant cars, and the dash design has moved away from the wonderful, driver-focused designs for which BMW is famous.

    The rest of the TBAG list is brilliant, although I’m not sure we needed two Porsches on the list, yet the 911 shows, like the Corvette, that the persistent refinement of a concept indeed brings excellence to the fore. Two Mazdas are evidence that these guys have their own focus; both the 3 and the MX-5 are superior values and genuinely enjoyable cars to drive.

    It is interesting that this group of enthusiasts, who many believe heavily influence both the car companies and their neighbor’s choice of cars, arrives at a list which is devoid of the appliances which remain top sellers in the industry. In the end, when I rent a car and have a choice of appliances, I always request a Camry or Mazda6, and find both to be predictable and reasonably satisfying rides in their own right. I wouldn’t buy either car, but find both eminently superior to GM, Ford and Chrysler “competition”.

    The presence of each car on this list is a testament to the ability of these car manufacturers to deliver superior products; each in its way represents a high-water mark in the industry.

    And thanks, Robert, for an entertaining and illuminating site. A day without TTAC is just a little greyer.

  • avatar
    FunkyD

    The M3 and the Z06 are the ultimate TBAGs (Two Best Autos Going). One for finesse, one for muscle! My commute would never be boring again!

    The G35, while a wonderful car, is not designed for tall people as my 6’2″ frame was a tight fit. Want a sunroof? Fugheddaboudit!

    Kudos to the TTAC gang for keeping the # of FWD TBAGs to a minimum.

  • avatar
    ash78

    kasumi
    I totally agree on the TSX wagon, especially if they offer the Diesel. Right now, I just can’t imagine paying $30k for a naturally aspirated, 4-cyl, FWD small gas sedan. I drove it and just didn’t imagine wanting one more than a Jetta, GTI 4-door, or even Mazda3 (Acura dealer experience notwithstanding).

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    Perfect list, ending perfectly with the 3-Series on top as it should be. Good job. I know I should be saying good job to all of the readers and not the editors, so good job to all of you too.

  • avatar
    GT-R

    Great list!

    Now, lets compare it with Car and Drivers Top 10 and Automobiles All-Stars lists:

    There are the same 5 cars that show up on all 3:

    BMW 3-Series, Chevrolet Corvette, Infiniti G35, Mazda-3, & Porsche Cayman

    TBAG 2007

    Acura TSX
    Audi RS-4
    BMW 3-Series
    Chevrolet Corvette / Z06
    Infiniti G35
    Mazda MX-5
    Mazda Mazda-3 / Mazdaspeed-3
    Porsche Cayman
    Porsche 911
    Subaru WRX / STI

    Car and Driver Top 10 2007

    BMW 3-Series
    Chevrolet Corvette / Z06
    Chrysler 300C
    Honda Accord
    Honda Fit
    Infiniti G35
    Mazda MX-5
    Mazdaspeed-3
    Porsche Boxster / Cayman
    Volkswagen GTI

    Automobiles All-Stars 2007

    Aston Martin V8 Vantage
    BMW 3-Series
    Chevrolet Corvette / Z06
    Chrysler 300C
    Honda Ridgeline
    Infiniti G35
    Lotus Elise
    Mazda-3
    Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    Porsche Cayman

  • avatar
    AKM

    “# Brian E:
    May 22nd, 2007 at 8:38 am

    AKM: Of the cars on the list I’d say only four count as “dream cars” (the two Porsches, the RS4, and the Corvette). There’s three cars under $25k (the Mazda3, MX-5 and WRX). The TSX, G35, and 3-series can all be had for under $35k. I drove everything under $35k on the list except the MX-5 before I bought my TSX; that’s half the list right there.

    So, other readers: how many TBAGs have you driven? Are you a TBAG owner?”

    The cars you mention are the ones I was aiming at (although they seem without a doubt to be great cars).
    I test-drove the Mazda 3, and am mad that my wife does not like its looks, rode in a WRX (really too plasticky for me) and in a TSX (nice car). The 3-series (admittedly, the last gen) left me a bit underwhlemed (but I was a passenger and the driver was pretty sedate), I often drove the last gen G35: great car, but crappy interior. It’s been addressed in the new car, but it’s the exterior I find repulsive.

    I still miss seeing the GTI here, as few cars can attain its overall value and blend of sportiness and practicality.

    I guess my original point was just to open a friendly debate on the value of not separating cars into categories. The asnwer could well be: “because otherwise we’d look like Edmunds”…

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    FunkyD:

    Then again, with the RWD nominees that some of us had a cow with (Crown Vic, Mustang), wrong-wheel drive isn’t such a bad thing after all.

    In the end, the TBAG process worked fine. Looks like a worthy list despite my not having driven a single winner.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    # thalter:
    May 22nd, 2007 at 8:22 am

    5 Japanese, 4 German, and 1 American car. Sounds about right.

    When I read that, I couldn’t for the life of me remember which car was American. I actually had to scroll back up. I know I’m just repeating what’s been said a billion times on this site, but sheezsh!: the Corvette is so far off the domestic radar that it needs to be its own brand.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    Grouping cars by category and only picking one car per category led me to nominate a lot of cars that did not make the final list. Have to say the group that made the list overall are more fun cars.

    HOWEVER…I still don’t think the 3 Series as a group of 11 models should have been nominated and definitely think the 3 Series should not have made the final list. As a whole, the 3 Series is over-priced and is not as good as the G35 which made the list or the Audi A4 which did not make the list. The 335i deserves to be on the list, the rest of the 3 Series does not.

  • avatar
    Axel

    Hooray for performance cars! That’s a very nice list. Now excuse me while I buy something practical, affordable, and fuel efficient (although the WRX and the Mazda3 come close to the “I would buy one” mark).

  • avatar
    Blunozer

    Minor Issues:

    1/ Where the hell is the Jeep Wrangler?

    2/ The Cayman? Really? The Boxster and 911 I could at least understand, but the Cayman? Nothing says “I wish I could afford a 911!” like a Cayman.

    3/ Too many sport sedans overlapping the same price brackets. 3-Series, G35, TSX, RS4… Yes, I get the appeal, but c’mon, pick ONE and move on.

    4/ Same can be said about the WRX and the Mazdaspeed 3. Two cars in direct compitition with other. I like ‘em both two, but I’d only drive one of them home.

    5/ Good to see both the MX-5 and ‘Vette on the list. Both have seen flash-in-the-pan competitors come and go, but prevail by staying true to their original purpose.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    Blunozer: Nothing says “I wish I could afford a 911!” like a Cayman.

    I dunno about that…price being equal, I’d buy the Cayman. If someone offered me a Cayman or a 911 as a prize (major award), I’d pick the 911, sell it, buy the Cayman and spend the rest on gas and tires and $500 oil changes.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    NICKNICK: For a major award, I’d have to go for the leg lamp. There’s nothing quite like the sight of electric sex gleaming in the window.

  • avatar

    How on earth did the Crown Vic not make the list ;-)

  • avatar
    CellMan

    Disappointed that the Fit and Wrangler didn’t make the list, as they are the best in their segment and truly represent with purity, the purpose that they were built for.

    Nevertheless, as enthusiasts, petrolheads, and pistonheads, this list is great. Are you guys going to put out a press release or something? You really should, elevate the stature of TTAC and give kudos to those manufacturers showing them that we do love them and they can produced excellence.

    Well done!

  • avatar
    Bob Peters

    That’s one solid list!

    Good job everyone, our taste in cars is top notch.

    I’m a bit surprised the Accord didn’t make it, it seemed so popular during the nominations phase.

  • avatar
    ronin

    After all this chatter about FWD vs RWD vs AWD… I guess that is just a minor detail. It looks like a car can be among the best whatever the wheel-drive, which is probably as it should be.

  • avatar
    labrat

    I won’t dispute anything on the list. I will, however point out that I’m slightly bored with the concept of top-ten new car lists. As GT-R pointed out, there’s 50% overlap between the T-BAGS, the Automobile All-Stars, and the C & D 10Best. The same cars keep winning, which maybe they should.

    I think that TTAC should do a 10 best of all time and a 10 worst of all time (I’ll leave the clever acronyms to you creative types). I mean cars that had features that were so horrendous as to provoke outright laughter from readers of this sight. Or maybe cars that had advanced features thirty years before they actually caught on. With the diverse knowledge and passion of the readers on this sight, I’m sure we could dig up all sorts of interesting vehicles, both good and bad. Think history lesson and entertainment combined.

    Also, with significantly high fuel mileage requirements an almost certainty, how about a top 10 wish list of fuel efficient vehicles for the next 10 years. You know, the ones the carmakers say they can’t build. They must be practical enough to sell in large numbers, and the types of vehicles the readership oh TTAC would drive. Maybe someone from the car companies will be reading.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    re: Brian E / May 22nd, 2007 at 8:38 am
    “So…how many TBAGs have you driven? Are you a TBAG owner?”

    i’m a 58-years-old art director, recently retired [not entirely of my own choosing] and i now realize that i will never own the lamborghini gallardo i still lust for. i voted for six of the ten finalists and i’ve test-driven three of them recently: the bmw, the cayman and the 911.

    and as of last friday afternoon, i am the totally delighted owner of a brand new cayman.

    re: Blunozer / May 22nd, 2007 at 10:20 am
    “Nothing says ‘I wish I could afford a 911!’ like a Cayman.”

    that’s your opinion, but it’s certainly not mine.

    i owned a vintage 911 for eleven years. and i could have bought a new 911 last friday. but for my purposes, i actually prefer the cayman.

    i chose it because i found it much more fun to drive; and because it was less expensive to purchase; and because it will be less expensive to maintain; and because it gets better gas mileage; and because the aesthetics of it’s exterior design define it as something new and different when compared to the excessive, overly luxurious and venerable carerra.

    [and for the time being at least, i\'m keeping the boxster i bought new back in 1997, too]

    they are truly wonderful automobiles, but at this point in my life, i have no need nor desire for another 911 porsche.

  • avatar
    bascho

    Disappointed that the Mustang didn’t make the list. This is a car that is true to it’s roots. It’s a muscle car…..the only one left at this point in time. Also dissapointed the Wrangler didn’t make it.

    I guess I voted based on what vehicle was the best in it’s market segment. Hard to see how a G35 and 3-series BMW can both be best in the $30K+ sporty 4-door sedan segment….oh well.

  • avatar
    maxxm

    It’s interesting that #10 says “die, top-of-the-line #1“! At least they keep their focus on the real competition.

  • avatar

    These are all nice cars and no doubt worthy, but I’d trade any one of them for a Quattroporte :)

  • avatar
    ret

    To Blunozer:

    “3/ Too many sport sedans overlapping the same price brackets. 3-Series, G35, TSX, RS4… Yes, I get the appeal, but c’mon, pick ONE and move on.”

    Gotta comment on this one…

    First, an Audi RS4 is about twice the price of the rest of that list.

    Second, The BMW is much more expensive for not much more car than the G35. And that’s kind of the point of the Infiniti making it onto the list ;-)

    Last, the TSX, though even less expensive than the G35, is a COMPLETELY different kind of beast. It’s less focused than the other two, is FWD, and can run mid 30s on gas mileage if driven conservatively. And it’ll never break…

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

    Interesting that as I read this list, the three least expensive cars (3, MX5, and WRX) were the ones Id actually prefer to own and operate over any reasonable period of time.

  • avatar
    Infamous Dr. X

    Ole

    You said it, broseph!

    Also, chalk me up as another Wrangler “why didn’t we make the list?!?!” whiner…ah, there’s always next year.

    I was glad to see a number of affordable-by-regular-people vehicles on the list – Mazda3, TSX, MX-5, Subaru. Pretty cool list, overall.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    Re: blunozer 10:20 and philipwitak’s 11:22 comments.

    There is hardly a car on that list that qualifies as sensible (and I say this as a 911 C4 driver). It took quite a while to convince my wife that my C4 was transportation in the same way a sailboat is. Why not just pick your boat/car and enjoy it? Any one of the TBAGs in my garage would put a smile on my face. Philip – I’ve had a Cayman S as a loaner and it is better in every way than my elderly C4, except in the sound department, but I guess that some aftermarket doodads would fix that.

  • avatar
    brapoza

    funkyD

    The G35, while a wonderful car, is not designed for tall people as my 6′2″ frame was a tight fit. Want a sunroof? Fugheddaboudit!

    I’m 6’2″, 240 lbs and I’m driving my second G35 (03 & 05) with sunroof. What’s more, my 35 year old, 6’6″, 235 lbs, son drives the car when I am away on business and has never complained about the head room. Perhaps I have the extended cab edition.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Motorheads like cars with excellent driving dynamics. Hmmm, no big surprises on this list. Of course the list says almost nothing of interest to the other 95% of the vehicle buying population.

  • avatar
    synthetic

    With the TSX making this fantastic list, I hope Honda realizes what a great thing they’ve got going here and build upon it by extending its life, adding drivetrain options and keeping it stuck to its roots.

    This car has great potential to become a 30-40 year franchise. It’s defines practicality in every single way possible and still manages to stick to a 3-series’ tail on ramps.

    It gets a proven 36mpg on the highway. Costs next to nothing to maintain(it’s a Honda built in Japan! how much better can it get?) and maintains the highest resale value among all cars in its class(Car and Driver)

    It was recently announced as Edmund’s “MOST WANTED” Luxury sports sedan of 2006.

    The aftermarket scene for this car(like other compact Honda cars) is just insane. You could practically build a TSX from the ground-up using aftermarket parts. If you like modding cars, the TSX leaves little to be desired.

    Honda has become the true master of manual transmissions. There is no car in the world that can match TSX’s 6-speed tranny. This thing is out of this world.

    Thank you Honda for a fantastic vehicle. Just don’t ruin it. Please please don’t ruin it.

  • avatar
    rprellwitz

    Brian E asked “So, other readers: how many TBAGs have you driven? Are you a TBAG owner?”

    I am a TBAG owner – RS4
    previous vehicle E46 – M3 so thats #10 & #1

    TBAG’s I have driven
    911 (C4S & Turbo) (thrashing a friends car is just sooooo much fun!)

    Subaru WRX / STI Fantastic car…not the RS4 but would be the daily driver of choice on a more constrained budget

    Mazda MX-5 – This car is wonderful to drive – Fun!

    Chevy Corvette – All that fantastic V8 power and drop dead looks….now if the interiour were actually different than the cobalt….

  • avatar

    I find it very interesting and in our favor that while C/D and Automobile include the Chrysler 300C, we leave it off.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    As was noted previously, there are two Mazdas on the list. At least in recent years, Mazda has produced cars that have received rave reviews from most, if not all, of the print media. Why is it that Mazda still only maintains a relatively small share of the market? Is it that Camry/Accord drivers don’t even bother trying a Mazda6? (Edgett: Unless it is the base model 4 cylinder, a Mazda6 is definitely sportier than a Camry). Why do the Civic and Corolla outsell the Mazda3 many times over? Having driven both a Corolla and a Mazda3, the Mazda3 wins hands down for fun, feel, and practicallity. Even more improtantly why would someone buy a Cobalt instead of a Mazda3? Are they that much cheaper?

  • avatar
    paradigm_shift

    I’m disappointed that the GTI didn’t make it, I test drove the DSG and it’s sublime. Head and shoulders above any other auto. I drive a Subie 2.5 RS and would go with the GTI over the STI because of that transmission, comfort, refinement and enough real world performance to make daily commutes fun instead of punishing.

  • avatar
    Drew


    QUOTE: Disappointed that the Fit and Wrangler didn’t make the list, as they are the best in their segment and truly represent with purity, the purpose that they were built for.

    QUOTE: I won’t dispute anything on the list. I will, however point out that I’m slightly bored with the concept of top-ten new car lists. As GT-R pointed out, there’s 50% overlap between the T-BAGS, the Automobile All-Stars, and the C & D 10Best. The same cars keep winning, which maybe they should.

    I agree with both of these comments. I think that people picked cars that they liked, rather than cars that are truly the best. I’d never drive a Wrangler, but I recognize that it is the best at what it does. It’s true to its purpose in a way that very, very few automobiles are. Certainly not the G35 for example. I’d rather drive a G35, but the Wrangler is a better car.

    As said above, I won’t dispute anything on the list, but I was hoping that people would be more open-minded. But such is the democratic process.

    PS: the blockquote tag doesn’t seem to be working.

  • avatar
    synthetic

    Lumbergh21,

    This can be my personal view, but I know a bunch of people that would tell you the same thing.

    Mazda was on the verge of joining Toyota and Honda in becoming the “RELIABLE” car for the masses. They made/make truely good cars.

    What happened? They got FORDED.

    Where I live, Mazda=FORD in people’s mind and that’s not something you can change overnight.

    As a result, Mazda’s resalve value is truely crap and the aftermarket scene is not as big as it should be.

    Another important thing to note is Mazda’s lack of care for refinement. Consumers who don’t care for 10-15 extra ft/lb of torque will choose a Civic over the 3 because of the visible and sensible quality advantage provided by the Honda. Sure, the Mazda might last just as long as the Honda, but it will never feel as well-built.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    chuckR:
    May 22nd, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Re: blunozer 10:20 and philipwitak’s 11:22 comments.

    There is hardly a car on that list that qualifies as sensible (and I say this as a 911 C4 driver). It took quite a while to convince my wife that my C4 was transportation in the same way a sailboat is. Why not just pick your boat/car and enjoy it? Any one of the TBAGs in my garage would put a smile on my face. Philip – I’ve had a Cayman S as a loaner and it is better in every way than my elderly C4, except in the sound department, but I guess that some aftermarket doodads would fix that.

    A Mazda3 is infinitely practical: reasonably good gas mileage, loads of interior room for hauling things or people, and under $20k well equipped.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

  • avatar
    beken

    Personally, I’d pick my MINI Cooper S over a Mazdaspeed3 or Subaru WRX any day, but the MINI didn’t make your top 10. On this list, I like the Caymen. Driving a mid-engined car is quite different than driving a rear engined car so I don’t agree that it screams “I want to be a 911″. Also, the BMW 3 series is on my shopping list for my next sedan type car.

  • avatar
    ronin

    Am really looking forward to some G35 review that resists talking about BMW in the same breath.

    Especially because review after review, including that in the popular mags, that compares the two vehicles by category has the G35 coming ahead in power, handling, acceleration… and in that very important real world category too often ignored by enthusiast mags- price.

    Of course despite the lead the G35 invariably loses- not by any quantifiable measure, but by some mystical otherworldly- and hence unsubstantiable- category such as “The BMW really has the soul of a driver’s car…”

    This is similar to camera reviews in which Japanese glass yields images indistinguishable from that of Leica, yet Leica owners tout the Leica ‘glow,’or ‘the precision and tradition of Germanic craftsmanship,’ or talk about ‘the pure human ergonomics man-machine interaction’ and other such undefinable- and hence very safe- pseudo-explanation that really just states the opinion of those who wish to put what is really just a personal preference at a safe if imaginary level at which dispute is impossible.

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    Great list! Good job to TTAC and everyone who posts and comments. Here are my few pennies:

    1. I see that a few readers express surprises and disappointments (e.g., GTI, Wrangler). Unfortunately, when you limit the field to only 10, many will not make the list. I guess we can have “honorable mentions” or “also receiving votes” categories, as in athletic polls and awards.

    2. I have no problems with the TBAG overlapping some of the other 10Best lists out there. It’s no surprise that a good car will be loved by more than a few groups. Admittedly, the TBAG list is more sport-oriented than others.

    3. I’ve owned, driven, and driven in most of this field, except for the Vette, RS4, and WRX. They are indeed all worthy of the TBAG. However, I probably would switch the Boxster S in for the Cayman S, for all the reasons that others have noted.

    4. “Claude Dickson:
    May 22nd, 2007 at 10:09 am

    HOWEVER…I still don’t think the 3 Series as a group of 11 models should have been nominated and definitely think the 3 Series should not have made the final list. As a whole, the 3 Series is over-priced and is not as good as the G35 which made the list or the Audi A4 which did not make the list. The 335i deserves to be on the list, the rest of the 3 Series does not.”

    Claude, like the 3-series, the 911 series is also a diverse field, ranging from $70k Carrera to $145k Turbo to $185k GT2. The latter is actually 2.5 times the cost of the base model.

    Also, doesn’t it say something about the 3-series when it is the perennial constant on everyone’s 10best list, your disagreement notwithstanding? It’s also the benchmark for most auto comparisons, favorable or not (e.g., not as precise as the 3, have 90% of the 3′s performance at only half the price, more HP than the 3, yada yada.)

    For what it’s worth, every one of the 11 or so models in the 3-series competes nicely with its counterpart. You may like the A4, and it may have a nicer interior, but it is nose-heavy and not as focused and joyous a drive as the base 328i. (In fact, I prefer the TSX, even with its FWD, over the A4.) The G35 is a strong performer and value, especially on paper, but its handling is not as sharp, its 6-speed is not as smooth, and its interior quality is not as up to par as the 3. It will give the base 3 a run for its money, but I wouldn’t call it an overall winner.

    Can the majority of car magazines, blogs, e-zines, readers, and drivers all be wrong about this Bavarian product?

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

    Teekay, Id answer your question with a YES.
    BMW just backed out of an accepted order for a 3 series with me. Between that, the dealer’s indifference, the suspect reliability of these newer BMWs, and the obscene and utter worship of these cars, I sincerely think its silly to consider this vehicle superior overall to a Boxster, or even the MX5.

    The Free Marketeers may whine, but remember that Judge Judy is better compensated by the same said market…even more than the entire Supreme Court Justice bench COMBINED!

    This list is still terrific, and well done. But I’d take a MX5 or a boxster over a 3series all day long…even when “money is no object” .

  • avatar

    The nicest part of seeing the Mazda3 on this list is the smugness of having bought ours back in ’04, just before word starting getting out what this car was like. Which meant that the dealer was willing to deal.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    The RS4 should be in the number one spot.

    But, as long as the WRX and the Miata made it, all is right with the world.

    (And really… the new Wrangler should have made it)

  • avatar
    tony-e30

    As polarizing (read: awful) as Chris Bangle’s designs are to the BMW faithful, I feel the need to stand up for the guy and remind everyone that he isn’t responsible for the current interior design/materials or i-Drive.

    Also realize that the people who are responsible aren’t exactly jumping up, hands waving, to be recognized.

    P.S. I own a 2004 Mazda3 5-door that was purchased new. Cheap to own and incredible to drive for its respective price range, I’m glad to see it on the final list. Watch out for those omni-present door rattles (which I blame on the 20 percent Ford ownership).

  • avatar
    bascho

    Tony-e30

    Ford owns 33% of Mazda not 20%.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    Will the RS4s diagonally linked suspension (DRC or something like that?) ever be available for other cars on the aftermarket?
    I’ll never buy an RS4, but I’d love to be able to have the same magic that turns a nose-heavy Audi into a supercar turn my GTI into something better

  • avatar
    Hippo

    Well, you didn’t pick mine but it looks about right. I would buy the 1, 2, 3 and 6th place cars, the #6 being my first choice.
    The pink one with the snout looks real good, almost like the pink elephants that fly low enough to see sometimes.

  • avatar
    ptksr

    As somebody who wants a Mazda3 Hatch, I’m glad it’s on the list. It’s probably one of the best values for under $25k, and is attainable to most lower wagers. Just wish I had gotten it in the first place.

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    The last BMW I drove was a 2002 in 1975. I guess it might be time for me to test drive the current model since it ranked #1 with this group.

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    “The last BMW I drove was a 2002 in 1975. I guess it might be time for me to test drive the current model since it ranked #1 with this group.”

    Gottleib, read socsndaisy’s post and beware of the lousy BMW dealerships. The complacent and arrogant dealership experience may drive potential customers like socndaisy away from otherwise wonderful cars to drive. That’s the weakest link in the marque.

    For what it’s worth, assume the “perceived” BMW driver’s attitude when buying or dealing with its dealerships:

    “I’m here to buy a frigging bimmer, so cater to me or I walk. Make me happy, bring me the damned product. And, yes you salesman, shut up. Don’t give me all the BS about how wonderful the car is. I’ve already done my reasearch and know what I’m about to get into. And if you want to turn that “about to” into actuality, fetch me the frigging key, now!”

    I find that to work everytime. ; ) I don’t know why people keep complaining that they couldn’t get a test drive in a new bimmer, especially the M variety. I never had problems.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    Lundbergh21@1:03PM

    The Mazda3 seems the most sensible of the all the TBAGs for cost/performance/utility. But unless you are a yoot or have a pituitary deficiency or are a contortionist, you would not want to sit in the back seat after I adjusted the corresponding front seat for my comfort. Sensible is different when you need to ferry largish kids or their grandparents.

  • avatar

    Any chance on getting a list of some runner-ups…maybe 11-15? I want to see if any other american vehicles were close to making the list, but probably not. :-x

  • avatar
    RoadKill166

    Sure is nice to know my car gets the TTAC endorsement. After reading a bunch of reviews here, getting a thumbs up means a lot. Every time I drive my Mazda 3, I wonder why anyone who even remotely enjoys driving would consider any other small car. Plus it’s a great value.
    It’s hard to argue against any of the cars on the list, but a lot of them are out of reach of the average driver. I’ve been lucky enough to drive a Corvette and a Viper, but doubt I’ll own one. For the average Joe with two kids and a mortgage, the 3 excels.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I test drove Mazda 3, 5 and 6 models several times over the past several years when contemplating new vehicle purchases for our family and for several friends. Every time the Mazda fell short in refiniment and interior styling. The interiors look like something out of a cartoon to me. Perhaps this is what much of the under-30 year old demographic is looking for, but not me.

    Mazda also falls short of Honda in resale value and reliability records. Like it or not, Mazda is a second tier Japanese brand in the US. Toyota and Honda are clearly the top tier brands and yet they have very different character visa-vis one another. Nissan, Mazda and Subaru get the second tier and then there are the rest. 20 years ago most consumers lumped all Japanese brands together in terms of reputation for reliability and value. Now the market is much more discerning. It makes complete sense that Corolla anc Civic both outsell the Mazda3 by a wide margin. It is also noteworthy to observe that Mazda’s renaming of it’s product line with dumb Mazda# names is probably hurting their sales. Toyota and Honda keep building new and improved versions of now venerable model names. Why do so many other companys keep changing the names?????

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    TeeKay:

    Have you ever noticed that when car mags do comparisons with the 3 Series they almost invariably bring out the top dog (formerly the 330i, now the 335i). I can’t recall either the G35 or A4 being compared to the base 328i. To me, the reason is simple. Both cars were nipping at the heels of the 330i and would stomp on the base model. BMW has raised the stakes with the 335i, but the G37 is on the way and the ’09 A4 won’t be too far behind. The competition will still be nipping at the top dog in the 3 Series and owning the rest of the line.

  • avatar
    WilyCoyote

    TBAG Owner: Mazdaspeed3

    I have driven a ‘Vette, a TSX, multiple flavors of BMW 3-series, a couple of generations of Miata, a 911 (and a relative of TBAG: Boxster). Also own an e46 BMW 323i.

    1) A little surprised the Mazda3/Speed3 made the list. This is pretty high company for an econobox. Goes double since neither the GTI nor Civic Si made the cut. I figured the Mazda would never get over those two.

    1a) I did not seriously consider a Civic Si or GTI before I bought my Speed3. I owned, loved and positlvely thrashed a Mark I GTI for 8 years past when it should have been crushed, but never wanted any of the later ones. Never have really wanted an Si, either. But when the Mazda 3 came out, I thought “I’ll buy one if they ever drop another 100HP on the wagon.” They did, so I did. By some miracle they kept it pleasant to ride around in and innocent looking, while the boost makes a rambunctious rowdy out of an already fun car. Just like that old GTI.

    2) BMW vs. G35, TSX, et al: put me on the side that says there’s a difference in favor of the Bimmers. It’s the suspension tuning — no one has that nailed better than BMW. Still, the G35 is a ton of motor for the money, and the TSX is a jewel, a much happier prospect than an American-spec Accord or Camry. Good thing we have them all to choose from.

    3) What’s not to like about the RS-4? Dunno, but I don’t think I’d buy one at half the price.

    4) I’d destroy a WRX in a week. I’d wad it up scorching some dirt road at warp speed. How could you resist? I will preserve my license by not buying one.

    5) Cayman might be the only car I’d consider buying just for the way it looks. It could drive like a dump truck and it’d still be worth keeping around.

    6) Miata — pains me to think if I’d been born 10 years later I could have cut my teeth on one of these instead of the MGs and FIAT Spiders I had to suffer through. What a great little car, not a single meaningful flaw.

    Overall, what a great time to be a car nut, eh?

  • avatar

    Mr. Altoids:
    Any chance on getting a list of some runner-ups…maybe 11-15? I want to see if any other american vehicles were close to making the list, but probably not. :-x

    Here’s how the bottom 10 of the 20 finalists fared:

    11. Honda Accord
    12. Honda Fit
    13. VW GTI
    14. Honda S2000
    15. Porsche Boxster S
    16. Jeep Wrangler
    17. Maserati Quattroporte
    18. Mercedes E320 BlueTec
    19. Ford Mustang
    20. Ford Crown Victoria

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    ChuckR:

    Both me and my wife are 6’1″, and we had no problem fitting in the back seat of a Mazda3, Mazda6 sedan, or RX8 (though that was more of a climb in than just get in and sit down). Strangely enough, I could not fit comfortably in the backrow of a Mazda6 hatchback. Reportedly, there is only 1/4 inch less head room than the sedan, but the roof seemed much lower to me. I stand by my assertion that a Mazda3 is a practical car.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    jthorner, et.al.:

    While I haven’t driven or even ridden in a Honda Civic recently, I have experienced a Toyota Corolla as a driver and a passenger, and can say that the Mazda3 beats it in terms of reliability, fun, and interior design and quality. I guess a Corolla seems nice if it is compared to a Chevy Cobalt, but to me the interior was adequate at best. My mom ended up buying a Corolla and the interior in her Corolla isn’t wearing as nicely as the interior of my Mazda6-which quite frankly seems to be a step down from the Mazda3 interior. Well, actually her driver’s side floor mat is doing much better, especially where the heel of the driver’s right foot rests. :-)

    It seems to me that you’ve got “Toyota” people and “Honda” people and they don’t seem to even want to try what else is out there. I test drove dozens of different cars, including some that I knew I had little chance of buying, while looking for my new car a few years ago, and now that we are considering a new car for my wife, we are test driving more cars. Heck I even sat in a Chevy Cobalt. I didn’t actually drive it because I could tell there was no point in going any further with that car. The point is that I’ve tried a lot of cars and try to keep an open mind. For somebody who plans to keep their car for at least 10 years, resale doesn’t mean much. I needed a car that I could enjoy driving for years to come, and Mazda gave me a car that I thought would provide that driving enjoyment. So far, my Mazda still puts a smile on my face on a regular basis, and hasn’t had me cursing it, even once. I can’t imagine having those same feelings about a Corolla like the one my mom has.

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    “TeeKay:

    Have you ever noticed that when car mags do comparisons with the 3 Series they almost invariably bring out the top dog (formerly the 330i, now the 335i). I can’t recall either the G35 or A4 being compared to the base 328i. To me, the reason is simple. Both cars were nipping at the heels of the 330i and would stomp on the base model. BMW has raised the stakes with the 335i, but the G37 is on the way and the ‘09 A4 won’t be too far behind. The competition will still be nipping at the top dog in the 3 Series and owning the rest of the line.”

    Claude,

    Agree completely about the mags using the top model for comparisons. (By the way, there are more than one A4, each targets its own bimmer counterpart, but you know that already.) And it should be so, since the top model usually represents the company’s best. That is why I was surprised to find a recent comparo between the G35 Sport and the base 328i. Apparently, the base 3 series didn’t do that shabbily.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/12514/2007-infiniti-g35-sport-vs-2007-bmw-328i.html

  • avatar
    bmilner

    Interesting that the two hondas JUST missed the list. Also, people are griping about the lack of the GTI, and I can’t help but wonder if VWs putrid reliability had something to do with it. I simply don’t know *anyone* with a GTI that runs.

    (and don’t get me started on how their interiors have taken a quality dive in the last 3 years)

  • avatar
    maxspivak

    Good list.

    Here’s the base pricing for each car. For several I listed more than one trim line. M3 was an estimate since there isn’t a new one on the market right now.

    The first average is for all cars. The second is for the base (least expensive) version of each winner.

    Audi RS4 $66,000
    Infinity G35 $31,450
    Acura TSX $28,090
    Porsche Cayman $49,400
    Porsche Cayman S $58,900
    Mazda MX-5 $20,585
    Mazda MX-5 Power Hardtop $26,520
    Subaru WRX $24,995
    Subaru STI $33,495
    Mazda3 $13,895
    Mazda3s GT $19,895
    Mazdaspeed3 (Sport) $22,340
    Mazdaspeed3 (GT) $24,055
    Porsche 911 Carrera $72,400
    Porsche 911 Carrera S $82,600
    Porsche 911 Carrera 4S $88,400
    Porsche 911 GT3 $106,000
    Chevy Corvette $44,250
    Chevy Z06 $69,175
    BMW 328 $32,400
    BMW 335 $38,900
    BMW M3 (E46 - est) $49,000

    Average (all) $45,579
    Average (base models) $36,891

    I own a TBAG, ’02 330.
    My next car will be a TBAG, either another 3-series / M3 or a P-car (prolly boxster, an almost-tbag).

    I’ve considered and driven many TBAGs in the search for my next car: G35, Porsche Boxster & 911, Mazda Miata hardtop, Subaru WRX, BMW 335 & M3.

    As far as SUVs… They’re a necessary evil. I have a ’96 Grand Cherokee that I bought new with 4 miles. It’s got 128K now. I’m going to keep it until it dies. I drive it these days only when I need to haul, tow or ski.

  • avatar
    Hippo

    Painful,
    my daughter beat me 13 to 14
    :-)

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I find number 16-20 to be much more interesting than number 1-5 on this list.

    At one point in my life, I did own a low mileage Mazda Miata, and I could never understand the appeal of the car for more than about 5 miles of driving – ever wonder why there are so many low mileage used ones that spent their lives as “garage queens?”

    The rest are way overpriced for a car, or not my cup of tea – too much technology and gadgets for my taste.

    Of course, I’m kind of a Luddite when it comes to automobiles.

  • avatar
    skor

    A lot of you are wondering why Mazda doesn’t have a bigger market share compared to Toyota/Honda — despite the fact that they make such wonderful cars. Blame inertia. It’s the same reason why GM didn’t die back in the 1980’s — like it should have. Instead GM slithers on like a creature in a B horror movie, “GM: The Thing That Wouldn’t Die.”

    My neighbor is a WWII vet, all his life he’s been a GM man. He got discharged in 1949 after occupation duty in Japan. His first car was a 1946 Pontiac. After he got out of college, his first new car was a 1954 Olds. After the Olds, it was a 1963 Riviera. After that it was some more Oldsmobiles — each one crappier than the last — and then a series of crap-tacula Cadillacs. I’ll bet his heirs will be contractually required to hire a GM car to drive him to the cemetery.

    This man has never considered another make of car and he never will. When he was a boy, and a young man, GM was best, that’s all the thinking he needed to do on the topic. Eventually GM will die because GM’s hardcore customers are dying.

    The same process is now repeating itself with Toyota and Honda. Toyota/Honda customers were lured to those brands when they where young. Toyota/Honda offered them a reliable car at a fair price and they’ve steadily improved their products over the years, and kept them a good value. It’s human nature, humans are lazy, and they don’t want change because change takes effort. Look at all those GM buyers that stuck with GM despite the fact that GM was sticking it to those very same buyers. What makes anyone think that Toyota/Honda buyers will leave brands that continue to produce fairly good products?

    “Firmness in decision is often merely a form of stupidity. It indicates an inability to think the same thing out twice.” — H. L. Mencken

  • avatar
    keepaustinweird

    I’m the proud owner of a 2006 Mazda 3 hatchback with a 5-speed. When it came time to replace my GTI with a 4 door (baby), I started looking at used luxury cars. There’s a Mazda dealer within walking distance of my home so I figured – what the hell – I’ll take a 3 out for a test drive. It was the only new car within my budget that I thought I might actually want in my garage.

    So they tossed me the keys and off I went. I flogged the crap out of this car for about an hour, taking it through twisties, highway sweepers and stop and go.

    The test drive left me stunned. Within a week my 3 was in my garage and I’ve been a happy camper ever since – it’s been a little over a year and about 11K miles.

    When I first purchased the 3 I didn’t see many on the roads where I live in Austin, TX. Now they are almost as ubiquitous as the Civic and Corolla. It’s unscientific to be sure, but to my eyes Mazda is catching on with the buying public, and fast.

    I’m actually a little sad to see so many other cars like mine on the roads because I value individuality. When I first bought the car I thought I was in on a secret most others didn’t know. But the secret’s out now, and far be it from me to deny Mazda well-earned success.

  • avatar
    FunkyD

    If it gets here on time, I’ll go ahead and nominate the Pontiac G8 as a 2008 TBAG.

  • avatar

    ronin: “Especially because review after review, including that in the popular mags, that compares the two vehicles by category has the G35 coming ahead in power, handling, acceleration… and in that very important real world category too often ignored by enthusiast mags- price.

    Of course despite the lead the G35 invariably loses- not by any quantifiable measure, but by some mystical otherworldly- and hence unsubstantiable- category such as “The BMW really has the soul of a driver’s car…”

    I’m not an adoring fan of the 3-series, and really had my heart set on the G35 after this year’s redesign; and the price was at least $7k less than the equivalent 335i, with no nav to bolster the BMW. But there is no “unsubstantiable” difference in the two cars. BMW has done an amazing job with the 335 and there is simply no comparison in the real-world performance of the two. Go drive them back to back, and you’ll see how BMW consistently sells smaller cars, and probably less reliable cars, at a price premium over the G35.

    And this is not to take anything away from Infiniti/Nissan; this is only the second generation of the G35 and it is an exceptional car. Thank goodness we have such amazing choices.

    One comment on the poor(er) sales of the Mazda6 and Mazda3: the dealers definitely represent the Ford side of the business. I’ve owned a Mazda RX-4, 323 and Miata, all of which were excellent and bulletproof cars when compared to their contemporaries, but the dealers I used were terrible. The local Honda dealer for my wife’s S2000 has been superb, presumably with incentives from Honda. If Mazda would get handle on their dealers, they would easily join the major leagues.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    It seems to me that you’ve got “Toyota” people and “Honda” people and they don’t seem to even want to try what else is out there.

    Certainly not true in my case. When it comes time for a new vehicle I drive lots of different ones. Toyotas pretty consistenly leave me unimpressed. I’ve bought Honda/Acura products the last two times due to a great driving experience combined with sophisticated engineering and value pricing. Certainly I would rather drive a Mazda6 than a Camry, but I prefer the Accord over the Mazda6. Mazda also gets demerits in my book for having relatively poor fuel economy in it’s class. Perhaps this is thanks to Ford parts bin engines.

    Then there is VW. I’ve owned two brand new ones over the years and was predisposed to buy them again, but the recent reliability nightmares were a turn off. Driving the latest Passat redesign was another big turn off. Somehow the previous generation Passat felt like a better car than it’s price suggested while the new ones only seems “competitive”. I’ve read that Audi was ticked off and pushed VW to downgrade the interiors so as to protect Audi’s turf. I don’t know if that is true, but it sure looks plausible. VW has also gone for silly features like a push button electric parking brake. I wonder how long it will be till those don’t work! VW is rapidly loosing whatever remaining relevance it had in the US market.

  • avatar
    rheath2

    Shame the TSX and the Mazda3 made it and the GTI and Wrangler didn’t. The DSG gearbox in the GTI and some of the toys in the Wrangler (like electronic disconnecting sway-bars) didn’t help boost these vehicles higher.

    I realize that both cars on the list have their merits, but they just seem really boring to me. The GTI spits in the face of the Mazda3 as far as I’m concerned for the whole “crazy-ass econobox under $25 grand.

    The TSX, while having all of it’s tech and refinement and what not, it still just appears to me as another Japanese sedan that blends in with the crowd instead of making a statement, like what the Wrangler is able to accomplish. I have a feeling the Jeep recieved fewer votes due to people having the belief that all SUVs are the same and also due to those who constantly whine about the death of the 4.0 I6. Oh well, time to stop bitching and just wait for the next time the TBAG rears it’s head again and hope for something better.

  • avatar
    Jeff in Canada

    I find it interesting to read these compared to the TWAT list. I said in a TWAT post that any nomination should be based on how POORLY a vehicle achieves it’s intended goal or purpose. However this list appears to outline the finest cars that execute their indended goals flawlessly.

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    Funny how people judge a car by it’s price and look and only RICH PEOPLE can afford it.
    All of the cars listed are ALL over price.
    Like Mazda 3 it looks good but that “triangle” engine is slow on acceleration. TSX looks like any other Acura same with the price. they used it has cab in Thailand and Hong Kong. BMW 3 hit my Mitsu Mirage, the beamer got a huge dent mine was only A scratch. Corvette let me see 2 miles per gallon during acceleration, that’s why you see them in the slow lanes most of the time. Subaru funny looks fast but you feel like an astronout when sitted on the front and you have to wear ear plugs while driving it plus with a mileage of a corvette combined. And Porsche I think it’s about $1,500 for a tune up. You guys are rediculous The Ten Best Automobiles are for the rich and famous.

    Go out there every car you see out there are listed below for the Average American who works from 9 t0 5.

    Honda Civic from – 1988 and 2007
    Toyota Corolla -1988 and 2007
    Mitsubishi Lancer – 1988 and 2008
    Hyundai Elantra
    Ford Focus
    Kia Sephia
    Chevy Cobalt
    Nissan Sentra – 1991-2007
    Saturn (all cars)
    Pontiac

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Bah. Humbug.

    Here’s the predictable anti-BMW screed: I can’t understand how the best car you can buy is ugly inside and out, has virtually unusable controls, has had its legendary driving experience compromised on top models by irritating electronic nannies nobody asked for, is virtually undrivable in winter in about a third of the country, and on top of all that, is so poorly executed that specially prepped examples direct from the maker have broken down entirely in at least two magazine road tests.

    Yet you guys are all starry-eyed because its handling is the best. Not to gainsay wonderful handling, but five years ago you got it with only a fraction of the repulsive tradeoffs. Pardon the sexism of the metaphor, but she must be some irresistible bitch, huh guys? I prefer, so to speak, a car I can marry — the life of a (non-BMW) car is a long time.

  • avatar
    ghughes

    “Honda has become the true master of manual transmissions. There is no car in the world that can match TSX’s 6-speed tranny. This thing is out of this world.”
    Oh puhhleazze. The TSX is fwd, teeny-engined crap. My bro in law has one and I hate it! – A transmission is a transmission is a transmission – my lucerne has 4-speed, guess what? I dont notice the diff. Rwd, v-8, bench seats fitting 6 adults, that is a sedan to me.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Go out there every car you see out there are listed below for the Average American who works from 9 t0 5.

    Honda Civic from – 1988 and 2007
    Toyota Corolla -1988 and 2007
    Mitsubishi Lancer – 1988 and 2008
    Hyundai Elantra
    Ford Focus
    Kia Sephia
    Chevy Cobalt
    Nissan Sentra – 1991-2007
    Saturn (all cars)
    Pontiac

    I feel sorry for the average American driver then. It seems they all drive boring and/or poorly built cars.

    Funny you should say that the Mazda3 is “slow on acceleration” when it can get you upto freeway speeds much faster than any of the cars on your list unless its a Mazda3i (the least powerful engine available for the MAzda3) versus a Civic Si. The Corvette does not get “2 mpg during acceleration” nor does the WRX Sti. It seems to me you might be trying to stir the pot. Your post in general is very humorous if tongue-in-cheek humor is what you were aiming for. :-)

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    You don’t have to be sorry for the Average American because they buy good quality cars not by the price or name and fits OUR budget. Well, if Heinkel is so good on a Mazda how come other Japanese car manufacturers don’t built them and I drove one myself it takes awhile to accelerate. Corvette and Subaru are the same eats a lot of gas. WRX A car that unintenionally was built for a daily driver. Civic SI is slower than a Mazda? LOL

    Try driving a Manual Transmission and you will see the difference. If you like to feel and see a real performance of a Japanese or Korean car try buying and driving a Stick Shift.

    By the way those poorly and boring cars are still out there. from model 1988-present

    Just remember Don’t let the car control you,
    You control the car. Don’t let a Name fool you because it’s a $35,000 car. PEACE

    A Mitsubishi Lover

  • avatar
    synthetic

    Oh puhhleazze. The TSX is fwd, teeny-engined crap. My bro in law has one and I hate it! – A transmission is a transmission is a transmission – my lucerne has 4-speed, guess what? I dont notice the diff. Rwd, v-8, bench seats fitting 6 adults, that is a sedan to me.

    LOL!!!! no comment

  • avatar
    poltergeist

    Comparing the Lucerne 4 speed snoozebox to the TSX 6 speed M/T…….now that is funny!

    and AKILEZ…..what’s a Heinkel and what on earth does it have to do with the Mazda 3?

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    If you will read my post, you might see that I wrote that the only car on your list that would out accelerate a Mazda3 IS the Civic Si. If a Mazda3 can’t out run any of the cars on your list, it’s not being driven properly. By the way, my wife and I own four cars, and the only one with an auto is a 1968 Mustang that I’m restoring for my wife. The only time I drive an auto is when I’m in a rental.

    Who the heck is Heinkel? And, whats he/she got to do with a Mazda3?

  • avatar
    Joe O

    Hey gents,

    Please allow me to share some thoughts here:

    On the BMW vs. G35 argument: I actually just test drove a 2006 BMW 330i fully loaded 6-spd model on friday with my wife. We then drove a brand new 07 G35 Sport w/ auto transmission.

    After driving both, here were my actions:

    1. I came into work and recommended to a doctor/co-worker of mine that he buy a G35 for it’s incredibly responsive engine and high standard-feature-per-dollar ratio, as well as comfortable suspension tuning and well designed interior.

    2. I continued to price out 3-series for myself and my wife.

    Now, these seem to be contradictory. Are they? No. The kind doctor values a nice ride, nice interior, reliability, and is only modestly concerned with sportiness.

    He would never notice the fact that the BMW can be taken so much further in turns and feels like it’s a river flowing over the bumps. The BMW literally feels like it has individual body parts grappling over every nook and cranny of the road without disturbing the occupants. And this was with the 18″ low-profile run-flat tires.

    Sure, it’s reliability is questionable in the long-term. Sure, it’s cost-per-feature is high. But what the hell? I don’t need real leather or keyless entry. I want a car that offers the greatest degree of sport while not compromising my everyday comfort. And the BMW still walks that fine line better than anyone else.

    My thoughts regarding the VW GTI DSG vs Honda Civic SI vs. Mazdaspeed 3:

    Having recently test driven a GTI DSG after reading so much about it in the comments here, and currently owning a 06 Honda Civic SI, I have no idea why people are so enamored with the DSG. Sure, it shifts lightning fast and lightning smooth. But so what? It sucks the real fun out of the car and makes it so less involving. I actually liked the 6-spd GTI ALOT more.

    Furthermore, the GTI really doesn’t corner that well by today’s standards. It’s too tall, too heavy, and has a reverse LSD…the car actually applies brakes when the inside wheel starts to spin, instead of applying power to the outside wheel.

    That aside, the GTI has one of the most solid, nicest equipped interiors this side of 25k.

    MazdaSpeed 3 – If you haven’t driven it, don’t comment on the three. It is to the Mazda 3 what the SI is to the Honda Civic. But even moreso.

    It rips, it snorts, it pulls ridiculously hard for it’s price point. It points out 113 HP per liter. It seats 5 and a bunch of stuff. It’s built on a solid platform with a reputation for reliability. Though the engine is unproven in the long-term, it’s now used in 3 Mazda applications.

    It also does everything performance related extremely well, and offers greater practicality to boot. To me, this car deserved to be on this list. And though the last time I looked at it, I was turned off by it’s interior, I think it’s time to drive it again.

    Which reminds me: if you are someone who has sat in a BMW 3-series and said, “This is the worst designed interior ever. Bad cupholders, no storage nooks, impossible to deciper hieroglyphics…” Well then, go drive it. And then it makes sense.

    Joe

  • avatar
    danms6

    I’m guessing he meant Wankel, not Heinkel. I fail to see how the RX-8 compares to a Mazda3, however it might have made the list too if not for huge reliability issues.

    Also, how can you compare a standard 3 to a Civic Si for performance? A better comparo is the Speed3 which sells for within $1k of the Si and is a direct competitor. Easily wipes the floor with the Honda too, not bad for a “slow” Mazda.

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    Thanks danms6… I meant Wankel not Heinkel but they are both Germans and sounds the same but I prefer the latter. Why? Check b109 airplane..
    Actually we should be happy that the Japs are making cars in America not in Canada. They rarely built cars in Japan. Rotory Engine can accelerate good on 4th and 5th gear if you drive a stick forget about driving it on Auto.

    ghughes is right a transmission is transmission.
    it doesn’t matter what kind of a car it is.
    it will break down. So much for these postings.

    Anyway I got my own favorite brand it is The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer. Drive it to control it. peace

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    God another Heinkel ooops I meant Wankel engine lover. You meant that you forgot to check the Low speed Torgue List of a Wangster engine. lol

    Funny I race my 1999 Mitsubishi Mirage 200 hp against a Wangster engine at New Hampshire speedway. He was the only one driving a Mazda against Hondas and Mitsubishis. Tuners don’t usually tune Mazda’s but love tuning a Chevy Cobalt Super Charge and Cobalts drift.
    And that sick….

  • avatar
    galaxygreymx5

    The only Mazda available with a Wankel “rotary” engine is the RX-8. No other Mazdas outside of the RX series have been available with Wankel engines for many decades. All (non RX-8) current Mazdas use conventional four and six cylinder engines; some normally-aspirated, some turbocharged.

    The Mazda3, ‘Speed3, ‘Speed6, MX-5, CX-7, CX-9 and Mazda5 are all made in Japan. The only “Jap” Mazdas made in the U.S. are the conventional Mazda6 and the Ford cousins (B-Series pickup and Tribute).

    The 1999 Mirage was available with 1.5 and 1.8L engines making 92 or 113hp, respectively. There was no 200hp model.

    -Drew

    PS: Glad to see my car made it! Love my MX-5!

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Strange my Mazda6s with a naturally aspirated 6 ctlinder makes about 220 hp and 220 ft-lbs of torque, and I toasted some kid with a turbocharged Civic (I could hear the blow off when he shifted from first to second) about a month ago. This despite all the stickers and a rear spoiler reaching towards the heavens. ;-) My point is just because Hondas, Mitsubishis, and Chevy Cobalts (really?) are popular with tuners doesn’t make them faster or better than Mazdas. I’d take a turbocharged RX7 with a rotary engine up against most of its contemporaries any day. I’ll admit it takes some getting used to a rotary powered car, but once you do it is a fine choice for a sports car engine as long as practicallity matters less than handling and high revving fun.

  • avatar
    niky

    @AKILEZ: bro, you obviously don’t know what you’re on about.

    The Mazda3 doesn’t come with a “triangle” engine, or a Wankel, if you prefer. It’s got a relatively robust MZR engine based on a relatively robust Duratec block that makes relatively good power in the Mazdaspeed version.

    I can guarantee you that, while your cute little Mirage might have about 170 hp, it doesn’t have squat for torque, either (like your hated “Heinkels”), a Mazda3 s would likely leave it in the dust from a stop. From your posts about your Mirage, I’d wager you don’t actually live in the US, since the only engines they got there were the doggo SOHCs with less power than a teakettle.

    Of course, if you’ve got a V6 in there, that’d be another story, but then, that’s not on the stock car, never has been, and that’s not on-topic.

    And the Mazda3 sells very well, thank you, being priced solidly in the same range as the Corolla and Civic. It doesn’t sell as many, but then, Mazda has always been a niche manufacturer.

    —–

    # WilyCoyote:
    TBAG Owner: Mazdaspeed3

    I have driven a ‘Vette, a TSX, multiple flavors of BMW 3-series, a couple of generations of Miata, a 911 (and a relative of TBAG: Boxster). Also own an e46 BMW 323i.

    1) A little surprised the Mazda3/Speed3 made the list. This is pretty high company for an econobox. Goes double since neither the GTI nor Civic Si made the cut. I figured the Mazda would never get over those two.

    I think the thing is, if you look at the model range, the Mazda3 comes out on top of the others. While I think the Si is the bee’s knees… (there’s no replacement for rpms!) there’s the Mazdaspeed 3 lording over it (and the GTI). If we take a base 1.8 Civic versus a base Mazda3 2.0, the Civic may have the better engine/transmission combo, but the Mazda3 still feels like a more substantial, more connected and generally better-handling (and braking) car.

    It’s got a great range, the looks manage to be futuristic without being all bubbly and weird (it’s still got classic sedan proportions), and it gives the Playstation generation a little bit of “old school” in the driving department. A definite winner… even if it’s FWD.

    # Lumbergh21:

    As was noted previously, there are two Mazdas on the list. At least in recent years, Mazda has produced cars that have received rave reviews from most, if not all, of the print media. Why is it that Mazda still only maintains a relatively small share of the market? Is it that Camry/Accord drivers don’t even bother trying a Mazda6? (Edgett: Unless it is the base model 4 cylinder, a Mazda6 is definitely sportier than a Camry). Why do the Civic and Corolla outsell the Mazda3 many times over? Having driven both a Corolla and a Mazda3, the Mazda3 wins hands down for fun, feel, and practicallity. Even more improtantly why would someone buy a Cobalt instead of a Mazda3? Are they that much cheaper?

    It’s because sporty =/= safe. Most people go for “safe”. And it’s cultural inertia. Most people are unwilling to give Mazda a chance.

    # David Holzman:

    I find it very interesting and in our favor that while C/D and Automobile include the Chrysler 300C, we leave it off.

    Bears repeating! ;)

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    Wow!!! You guys so Naive.
    I bet you read all of those facts on the Magazine written by people who just drive cars and don’t actully built them just a critic of his own ego.

    All Say No Do. Yes you love your Mazda and I love my Mitsu. They all small by the way and cute. yap 113 hp but with a little aftermarket parts you bet I can see you on my rear view mirror. Poor kid with the Honda. The rule of the game that you can’t put turbo or a bottle on a stock engine.

    check web site please to make it to the real world
    http://www.horsepowerfreaks.com/performanceparts/Mitsubishi/Mirage

    Find a Mirage that is 300 whp.
    Oh!! Check the Play Station 2 game called GRAND TURISMO 4 check if they have a Mazda race car available. All cars on the games are facts and real.

    MX-5….try a Silvia or a Fair Lady

  • avatar
    danms6

    How did we go from discussing the Ten Best Automobiles Going to a kid talking up his Mirage?

    Also, boot the RS4 or TSX and add the Wrangler.

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    Who said I was talking about Mirage it’s great car like any other old cars out there. If you can mention mazda or your wrangler How come I can’t discuss about mirage?

    I was talking why are these cars are the ten most best automobiles for 2007 for “rich people”.

    When everyone are buying Econobox? Explain that to me danm6… read the statistics and facts

    Don’t let the car control you, you control the car.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Cars for the rich?? The best part about this list is they are fun performance cars that most of the buying public can afford. Asside from the two Porsches and the Audi, all of the cars are within reach. Looking at the prices, the Mazdas are both on the low end of the new car market prices. There aren’t many new cars out there that you can get for less than the price of a Mazda3i, and none worth owning, IMO.

    Another fact is most of the people nominating and voting for these cars did so because they drove them and loved them. That was true of my nominations anyway. You talk about naivete; you cite Grand Turismo 4, a video game, as proof of your point that Mazdas suck. I’ll come back with Need For Speed Underground; it includes the Mazda RX7 and the Miata. Just as valid as your point.=)

    I guess we ought to do a list of the Ten Best Used Cars for Under $4,000. I nominate the ’95 Mustang GT, last year of the 5.0. ;-) My wife has the Cobra, but the base 5.0 engine makes almost as much torque and power. And, I would need to raise the limit to $9,000 to get a ’95 Cobra Mustang on the list. I would also like to nominate a ’92 Mazda Miata. I think they can be had for around $4,000.

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    If you are against me or with me.I don’t care
    I don’t like Mazda “period” I drove one and will never drive one that’s why I know and not because of A PS2 Game and I am too old to play games.
    I love Mustang and hates Corvettes, BMW and Mazda.

    Please Mazda still makes those “Wangsta” Engine. I know $15,000 base price is not actually the Real Deal compared to Honda that only cost $13,000 but who cares. I love my 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer also known as the Mirage in other countries.

    By the Way Indian Guy “keso ho” have you review the 2008 Lancer. can you please drive and review it. thanks and be nice when you write a critique?

    thanks

    Peace to All Mazda Lover out here.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    Oh lord, this is getting off track. Overall, I think the list is pretty good. I would love to drive all of the cars on the list, but not own all of them. Ironically, except for the two mazdas, I wouldn’t recommend any of these cars to the average buyer.

    Of the cars listed, I have had a chance to either drive or go for a ride in the WRX, TSX, G35, and the 3 series. I think that they are all great cars, but I’d go for the TSX or the Subie. Mostly because I believe that the TSX is the besst real world balance of any car on the list except maybe the Mazda 3. It’s affordabel for the class, reliable, comfortable, and still fun to drive if you like the high revving 4 cylinders. Also, it is the manual I would least mind in stop and go traffic. The Subie is an awesome car for the money and great in the snow.

    I like the mazda 3 a lot, but am not sure about the Speed 3. I haven’t had a chance to drive one, but it seems like it has too much power for a front driver. Also, the Speed 6′s have had a good number of engines or turbos failing and that worries me.

    The GTI would have been great on the list and I think it would be a better daily driver than the Subie or the Speed 3. Now if it just had decent reliability and a dealer near me that didn’t suck.

    THe 3 series, a great car to drive, not to own. Also, it just costs too much compared to a G35 for me to ever buy one new.

    As for why Toyota does well in the mainstream, I have at least 6 family members that swear by them as transport and don’t shop elsewhere.

    Best cars under 4k: Mitsubishi starion turbo, eclipse GSX (till it blows up), and the Gen II Rx-7 turbo.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    You can get an RX7 turbo for $4k? Cool, too bad my driveway is already full with the four cars that my wife and I own. Totally agree on the Eclipse. I test drove a used one several years ago, but my mechanic told me not to buy it after giving it the once over (“till it blows up”) :-). I also have concerns about the reliability of a new-to-the-market turbo engine like Mazda is using. The Speed3 was a blast to drive, but I agree, wait a few years and let others be the gunieau pigs as far as the engine’s reliability. I nominated it for the list based on the fun to price quotient and an overall reputation for making decently reliable cars, unlike VW (that’s why I would rather have a Mazda3 than a GTI).

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    No wonder this discussion is getting off-track.

    You have a kid that comes on, deriding people who nominate Miatas, Mazda3s, and “new” cars for a Ten Best Autos Going (aka “new” and “best”, not “cheapest”) list as stuck-up bourgeois out of touch with the avrrrage americans.

    Then, he disses Corvettes and Bimmers in favor of Mustangs, Hondas and Mazdas in favor of – not an Evo – but a 1999 Mirage. And best of all, cite to the venerable GT4 game to prove his point.

    What’s next? Citing to his Hot Wheels set to prove that the Mustang is indeed faster than a Ferrari or an Indy car?

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    TeeKay,
    Hot Wheels? I chuckled.

    Lumbergh21,
    If a guy in a “tuned” Honda (or it’s nearest equivalent) doesn’t have a roll cage and a harness bar he is probably a poser. Four of the race tracks that I frequent have quarter mile traps that are used only to determine the acceleration gain from modifications before we hit the track. For the most part the traps are empty and on occasion the tuners show up. I’ll go and watch them for a while if I’m waiting to get on the track, and let me tell you some of these guys have damn fast cars. However, they all have roll cages. As for the Mazda6, is is lengths better than any of it’s direct competition. The RX-7 would also be an excellent track choice with some slight modifications.

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    The discussion is not of track it is matter of being practical. And by the way I am not a kid I am 40 yrs old high performance mechanic and SCCA member from New England. Who loved muscle cars and Japanese cars not because they look good to look at or a wonderful engine that I called Wangsta engine oops I meant Wankel. Because they are economical and will last 400,000 miles try that with a Beamer,Ferrari and Mazda.

    Out of touch with Average American?!!lol
    AS I SAID BEFORE drive out there and tell me how many Honda’s and Toyota’s are driven by Average Americans. Count them and give me the Numbers.
    How many Honda and Mitsu that I installed performance parts than can reach or dynoed for whopping 400 whp.

    So Teekay so you like Corvettes and Beamers. You dish a Truly American Car the Mustang for a Ferrari that cost a fortune to buy. What kind of an American are you? Funny how people here are so Naive. especially the people who answered me back just to prove they know something about A Car.

    Guys having a $35,000 it doesn’t mean it’s not gonna break. Funny Mazda change their body style and engine and people think OH!!It’s a good car let me buy it. c’mom!!! zoom zoom

    Oh by the way I Can make 5.0 Mustang with a blower beat your Ferrari on 2nd gear. Oh by the way I prefer A Hyndai beat your Ferrari on 3rd gear.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Evohappy9:

    Yeah, I have to admit to a bit of street hoonery. It was at a stop light on a highway leading out of town. The kid was revving his engine next to me, and I couldn’t resist punching it when the light turned green. The two lanes merge approximately 0.3 miles after the signal, which is where I slowed down to a legal (nearly) speed. He probably could have done better if he hadn’t spun his wheels when the light turned green (put me in front off the start) and then hadn’t shifted at too low rpms (to my hearing). Heck, I din’t push my car past about 5,000 rpm on my shifts.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    AKILEZ,
    If you don’t mind me asking what grade racing licence do you have? The reason why I am asking is because SCCA racers are not usually too concerned with straight line driving. As a matter of fact, you sound more like an NHRA member. What difference does it make if a Mustang can beat a Corvette Z06 or a Ferrari in a straight line? Put them on a track and the Mustang will drive like it’s been on a three day bender – and that is if it is in the hands of a professional.

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    by the way,

    The term Hot Wheels is an old school term.
    It is now called Rice Rockets,Low-Rider,Pimper and pimp etc etc…

    Lumberh21 just avoid street racing it is really dangerous, If a Honda kid wanna race you, better avoid that Honda and help that kid not to blow his piston or radiator hoses. Avoid them it is not safe for other commuters. I always been telling my Kids Customers to avoid street racing.

    Go to a track and race with your friends but not on the street or highways.

    A true Street Rice Rocket is a Sleeper. they have cars that look junkie but inside the engine is pretty suit up. I see all of them in Jacksonville to Daytona Beach, Florida and of course Georgia.
    I even saw a 1999 Acura with a whopping 500 whp on it with full body radar that cost $5,000

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    Lumbergh21,
    What is the magnetic appeal of high speed street hoonery? Sometimes I find myself in a situation where I know for certain the other guy cannot touch me and yet I drop the hammer anyway. Some days, it’s almost as if I’m just looking for an excuse. I am I alone?

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    Hey Evolution 9
    Well I don’t really race just fix cars for SCCA members.

    I am on the Solo Category but trying to get a racing license. I wish they are cheap to enroll on one of those classes but they’re pretty expensive and I need an old Honda CRX with Mugen performance parts on it. I don’t care about the expensive parts just concern driving a new Evo or
    Honda on a race track. If someone hit me from behind my new car is gone and not too practical to race a new car anyways. I believe you drive an Evo because of your user name. I just recently attended a Time Attack on Red Line it was sweet.
    Funny I saw a lot of Evo’s and STi’s and one Mazda RX-7 which the only car of Mazda that I have a little respect.

    Have you tried changing the Damper and sway bars on the front and rear of your Evo? I noticed it has a little sway to it on sharp needle turns and especially from going up hill it intend to not grab tight when going up hill and then sudden down hill? if know what I mean

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    AKILEZ,
    It sounds like you were describing a reverse slope? Yes, they will kill an Evo very quickly. That is primarily due to its ride height. My track Evo has been dropped 1.5″ in the front and 1.75″ in the rear (KW suspension). As far as the jumpy rear end – I have trunk and chassis ladder stabilizers. Remember, at high speed, when the throttle has been lifted on an Evo, especially in a becketts/chicane type maneuver you will most likely lose control or initiate a lurid slide. Power must always be given to the wheels. I don’t know how you took the turns to begin with, but I hope that you did not lift the throttle then brake. Always stay on the throttle and modulate the braking accordingly.

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    Yap… that’s it…

    But I usually tap twice the breaks than shift 3rd gear. I know it’s a little fast but it’s an evo.
    Just low budget for those good racing tires.

    By the way here’s a web site for Mitsu and Hyundai
    performance parts http://www.rpw.com.au/shop/

    I buy my parts there…
    Funny… they make good parts for Hyundai too.

    ciao

  • avatar
    niky

    AKILEZ:
    May 24th, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    The discussion is not of track it is matter of being practical. And by the way I am not a kid I am 40 yrs old high performance mechanic and SCCA member from New England.

    ——

    That’s funny. You don’t talk like you’re 40…

    Yes, we do get opinions from reading magazines, but we also formulate our opinions from driving, tuning, breaking, repairing, retuning and racing our own vehicles. I do informal automotive reviews for a local site (going pro, hopefully, later this year), and I read TTAC occassionally, for reference (and enjoyment).

    —–

    And it’s ironic that the only Mazda you actually have respect for is the one with the Wangsta.. errh… Wankel engine… and a particularly oil-thirsty, gasket-hating version of the Wankel, at that.

    You’ve only driven a Mazda once and never again? Sorta like those people who’ve never been closer than fifty feet away from an Evo who think it’s a piece of “ricer crap” with those ridiculous wings and gonzo body-kit.

    Or someone who tried an old Mustang and thinks the new one isn’t worth **** just because it’s still a Mustang, and they can’t be any good.

    Don’t complain that all Mazdas are horrible cars if you’ve only driven one… and only once, at that.

    —–

    RE: What people are driving: The thing is… the average American may drive a Corolla or Camry, but do they actually dream about one? It doesn’t make them the best cars in America… just the most common.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Lumbergh21:
    May 24th, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Cars for the rich?? The best part about this list is they are fun performance cars that most of the buying public can afford. Asside from the two Porsches and the Audi, all of the cars are within reach. Looking at the prices, the Mazdas are both on the low end of the new car market prices. There aren’t many new cars out there that you can get for less than the price of a Mazda3i, and none worth owning, IMO.

    That I do not agree.

    The best selling sedans in the United States are Camry/Accord/Corolla/Civic. That’s about $20k +/- $3k. The only two cars from the 10 best list that would fit into this price segment are the Mazda 3 and Miata.

    You need to be substantially better than the American average, or use your home equity to afford anything else. Also consider here in Canada the top selling sedans are Civic and Mazda 3. Try tell an average person that he can afford a BMW 3 series. Even the very weak base 323 with fake leather starts at CND$35600 (=USD$32958).

  • avatar
    wsn

    niky:

    RE: What people are driving: The thing is… the average American may drive a Corolla or Camry, but do they actually dream about one? It doesn’t make them the best cars in America… just the most common.

    Camry and Corolla are the best, for the price. It’s doesn’t make sense to talk about good or bad without a context in value.

    Even the beautiful Cayman can be a bad car, if it’s priced at $1,000,000. The Chevy Aveo can be a good car, if it’s priced at $1000.

    Of course, it’s very hard to compare cars of different price segment. So, why not just rate their relative strength? For instance, VW Phaeton is a very weak model, weaker than Jetta in their respective segments. You get the idea.

  • avatar
    niky

    Well… that’s up to the site-writers… :)

    My comment was directed at AKILEZ, who claims that large numbers make these better than any car on the list. I don’t agree with that simply because of what you said… context. It just makes them the best vehicles in the context of “cars-as-an-appliance” marketing and selling… although I did vote for the Accord and Fit simply in recognition of the fact that they can actually appeal to both enthusiasts and the practical man.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    WSN:

    Off the top of my head, here are the cars that you can get for less than the base Mazda3 (the 3i): Ford Focus, Chevy Aveo, Chrysler PT Cruiser, and Kia Rio. None of these cars exactly excites the senses. Even the Mazda3i will out run them and feel and sound better doing it IMO. I’ll admit right now to never having driven any of these except a Kia Rio, however; so, my opinion is based mainly on what I have read about them and a test drive in a Mazda3i.

    There are of course other cars that are int he same price range as a Mazda3i, but I was addressing the assertion that all the cars on the list are only for rich people.

    By the way, as an engineer, I am in the middle class segment of America, and I could “afford” any one of the cars on the ist if I wanted to pay on time like most people do, rather than pay cash for my car and save my money for other fun stuff-I don’t consider interest paid to someone else to be all that fun for me. Even then, I could afford to buy any car under $40k with cash, but I don’t plan to. That’s how I ended up in a $17.5k Mazda6s, bought at the end of the calendar year when they were dealing to move the previous years models off the lot.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Niky:

    I also think the Fit’s practicallity is appealing. I also like the Scion xB for the same reason-the old one not the larger new one.

  • avatar
    boladaz

    A4 is way better than TSX. my wife s TSX feels much heavier, sluggish when cornering at high speeds, noticeable engine lag makes passing hard, i just dont feel confident driving it. interior? typical heres-the-knob-now-use-it layout.. on the other end of the scale is my A4, handles very well, elegant styling, topnotch interior. chip it and its another story..feels safer with family trips too with its top crash test ratings…just my humble experience.

  • avatar
    poltergeist

    “A4 is way better than TSX. my wife s TSX feels much heavier, sluggish when cornering at high speeds, noticeable engine lag makes passing hard, i just dont feel confident driving it. interior? typical heres-the-knob-now-use-it layout.. on the other end of the scale is my A4, handles very well, elegant styling, topnotch interior. chip it and its another story..feels safer with family trips too with its top crash test ratings…just my humble experience.”
    No doubt the A4 is a nice car, but it’s also $4500 more than the TSX for similar equipment. Not to mention the Acura will likely have less “issues” throughout it’s life.

  • avatar
    Kman

    A4 / TSX To boladaz:

    Interesting. As background, I currently have a TSX whose lease is up, and the leading contender for replacement is the A4 Avant.

    The way you describe the TSX, sounds like your wife’s is an automatic? In my test drives, I found the front-heavy A4 to feel both nose-heavy, and overall heavy as well. Neither is out of the parameters of fun everyday driving, though, and I am considering A4 because it is “close enough” to the TSX in driving dynamics and interior fit and finish (and interior design), but I really want the utility of a sportswagen, and after last winter in Montreal, I want AWD.

    The TSX is still one heckuva value play. Audi (and VW) is getting a bit overconfident in their “pricing”.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    I’ve been researching vehicles and I really wonder if everyone, including me, overlooked the Mazdaspeed 6. The top 10 list ended up being about fun to drive cars and I would think the MS 6 would be FAR more fun than the TSX.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    I nominated a Mazdaspeed 3 because I had driven one, and liked it. I haven’t driven a Mazdaspeed 6, and so, didn’t nominate it.

  • avatar
    boladaz

    Its funny but this weekend i have to get the TSX serviced, some ‘issues’ on the electrical 12v outlets not working at all..must be a fuse thing, maybe I can just change it myself…but mechanics would do the job better coz I also want them to check weiiii-ng sound whenever I hit the gas…hmmm. Car reliability is a level playing field right now, more like ups and downs of your life or having sex to your nagging wife.

  • avatar
    poltergeist

    As a Honda tech, I’m the first to admit that more recent Honda/Acuras have more problems than they used to…most are usually very minor. I know an Audi tech who says that VW/Audis often have numerous CEL/Electrical/Sensor problems, even on new/low mileage cars. Makes a blown power outlet fuse seem pretty minor to me. (BTW Honda/Acura has an updated outlet to fix this…seems some cellphone adapters can short the orig outlet) My ’04 TSX has had not one problem since new in Nov.03.

  • avatar
    CJ

    I’m going to have to disagree with you guys on the Mazda3. I found it to be mediocre when I drove one. It was loud, the engine was crude, and it was cramped. That award should have been presented to the Civic. It’s an all-around better vehicle.

  • avatar
    niky

    Yeah… the superior Civic… with its boingo boingo springs, torture rack front chairs and sightlines worthy of a Volvo (and I hate the sightlines on a Volvo)… The Civic’s a great engine in need of a better car…

  • avatar
    C2100

    Miata – MX5 everyone should drive one at least once in their lives

    My summer drives are a 1990 classic red and a 2006 Suzuki DL650 VTwin motor cycle- The VStrom

    My partner has a 2001 Miata – she drives it harder than I dare to drive mine on the street. On the auto cross track its different however. The 90 with ultra high performance tires and a fresh used imported Japanese motor is magic.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India