By on May 16, 2007

tbag.jpgYou’ve made your nominations. At final count, we received over one hundred entries for our Ten Best Automobiles Going (TBAG). They ranged from the sublime (Ferrari F430 drop top) to the ridiculous (I'm not THAT stupid). Twenty-one of our most expert TTAC writers surveyed each and every entry, and then cast their votes from your list. They narrowed the field to twenty most excellent finalists (listed after the jump). Now it’s your turn. We need you, our well-informed and insightful readers, to link-on-over to our e-poll, cast up to ten votes and select TTAC’s Ten Best Automobiles Going (TBAG) for 2007.

It’s a diverse field. Although some cars received multiple nominations and some received only one, the number of nominations didn’t affect the judges’ selection process. My esteemed colleagues considered each nominee carefully, and then voted for their choices based on their individual merits. 

The list of finalists represents cars from all over the globe, in all price classes. Some nominees are fairly new on the market, while others are tried and true. All have that certain something that makes them stand out from the old ennui. Here are the finalists, along with some pros and cons to jump-start your thought processes and stimulate debate:

Acura TSX – Pro: A tasty blend of luxury, economy, style and reliability. Con: A rebadged Euro-Accord with plenty of high-class competition. 

Audi RS4 – Pro: Like lightning shagging a tsunami in the middle of a tornado. Con: Audi’s reliability rap sheet stretches back two decades.

BMW 3-Series – Pro: The benchmark for sport sedans: balanced, powerful, tuneful, tactile, grippy. Con: Flame broiled sheetmetal, and expensive options jack up the price.

Chevy Corvette – Pro: Performs like cars that cost twice as much. Con: Built like cars that cost half as much.

Ford Crown Victoria – Pro: Shows us what full-sized American cars once were. Con: Shows us what full-sized American cars once were.

Ford Mustang GT – Pro: An American icon with V8 bellow and woofle and terrific straight-line performance. Con: Very few roads are totally straight.

Honda Accord – Pro: High build quality, exquisite engineering, high mileage and segment-leading resale value. Con: Bland “any car” styling that makes mall parking lots a nightmare.

Honda Fit – Pro: The current benchmark for low-cost, frugal, fun. Con: Light clutch, missing cog.

Honda S2000 – Pro: High-revving VTEC engine wrapped in a nimble rear-wheel-drive roadster. Con: On – off engine makes around town driving lethargic– or loud.

Infiniti G35 – Pro: Near-BMW-level performance at a far-from-BMW price. Con: Near-BMW-level performance. 

Jeep Wrangler – Pro: Stays true to its rough and ready Jeep DNA: an American icon-on-wheels. Con: As a daily driver, it’s best suited to park wardens.

Maserati Quattroporte – Pro: A visual, haptic and sonic cargasm boasting a detuned Ferrari engine. Con: The brand has a rep for being less reliable than a pre- (post?) rehab Lindsay Lohan.

Mazda Mazda3 – Pro: Outstanding price-to-performance ratio. Con: Interior design and materials have been well and truly beancounted.

Mazda MX-5 – Pro: Low price, no-hassle roof retraction and go-cart handling equals year-round fun. Con: Chick car rep.

Mercedes E320 BlueTec – Pro: High mileage and low emissions promise the return of the passenger car diesel to the U.S. Con: High purchase price keeps it from those who would benefit most from its lower operating costs.

Porsche 911 – Pro: Legendary handling and performance in a timeless wrapper. Con: High price keeps it from those who would benefit most from its dynamic delights (i.e. me).

Porsche Boxster S – Pro: Faster through a slalom than a Ferrari Enzo. Con: Wind roar above 90mph makes conversation difficult.

Porsche Cayman – Pro: A miniature supercar. Con: Needs more power!

Subaru WRX/STi – Pro: Insane performance for chump change. Con: Only slightly better daily driver than a Jeep Wrangler.

VW GTI – Pro: The high priest of hot hatch hoonery.  Con: Questionable quality creates quantum queasiness.

And there you have it. Once you’ve decided which ten of these machines deserve a TTAC TBAG, click on the link below for some (Poll)Monkey business. Make up to ten selections, and then click the “Vote” button. You can only vote once, so make sure your selections are correct before you click on “Vote” to enter your votes.

The polls are open until midnight EDT, Saturday May 19.  We’ll announce the winners on Monday, May 21 (or maybe Tuesday, May 22 if we’re a bit alcoholically indisposed).

At this point it’s anyone’s game. Please use the comments section below to lobby for your choices, or explain them, or rail at our underpaid writers for failing to see the undeniable excellence of your neglected nomination. Thanks again for your intelligence, civility and enthusiasm.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

118 Comments on “TTAC’s Ten Best Automobiles Going (TBAG): Cast Your Vote Now!...”


  • avatar
    Brian E

    I’m impressed that the TSX made it this far. It’s an honor just to be nominated! I’m guessing it won’t make it into the final round.

    Here’s my slate:

    Acura TSX: The Euro Accord is everything the American Accord wishes it were. Do you need any more than this sedan offers?
    Audi RS4: “Forget violence, you are now driving war.”
    BMW 3-series: The coupe redeems it. Downside: cost.
    Honda Fit: Best Hundred Horsepower Ever.
    Infiniti G35: They put a copy of the outgoing design in the oven and left it on for a little too long, but the driving experience more than makes up for that. Best value in the low $30s.
    Maserati Quattroporte: The reason for slavish devotion to ladder-climbing.
    Mazda3: Best value for $20k, and best looking compact non-luxury car.
    Mercedes E320 BlueTec: I am not a Merc fan; the tri-pointed star does not make me swoon. A colleague of mine drives the gasser, and I really don’t see what there is to like about that car over the Infiniti M. But any Diesel is a friend of mine.
    Porsche Boxster S: The other reason for slavish devotion to ladder-climbing.
    Porsche Cayman: The other other reason for slavish devotion to ladder-climbing.

    I am disappointed in the absence of the Volvo XC90. I thought I surely would have Farago arguing for this one. If ever there were a soft-roader to include on a list like this, this is it.

  • avatar
    AKM

    I certainly hoped for the Audi A3 to make it. This said, it IS nothing more than a better looking, more expensive VW GTi, so I guess I can’t really complain.

    We have such a diverse field here that it makes head-to-head comparisons impossible. I decided to choose the best/most desirable in each class, and to heavily favor the classes of cars I like best (small cars, mid-size cars, with a bent for hatchbacks)

  • avatar
    murphysamber

    in defence of VW, the problems per vehicle is down 75% (from Autoweek I believe). there is nothing i’d like more on Michigan roads if I want something fun that won’t make my rear feel like I didn a 90 day stint in Attica.

  • avatar
    pfingst

    This is a very diverse field, so we’ll have to go with gut instinct. When I looked up and down the list, the first one I said “yes, absolutely” to was the Maserati Quattroporte. What a beautiful, beautiful car. The Wrangler is exactly what it should be, and no more. Ditto the BMW, a sports sedan for the ages. The Mazda3 for its superb combination of looks, performance, and price (beancounting notwithstanding). The Porsche Cayman for being a near-supercar without the ghastly expense. Those were the easy ones. I actually think ten is too many to vote for; five would be about right.

    Its a shame the Lincoln Town Car didn’t make the cut. I’d take that over the Crown Vic, and is more of a true throw-back to big American cars. And the Mustang is a joke, albeit a decent-looking joke.

  • avatar

    The pro/cons are brilliant. Well done. I laughed out loud.
    I couldn’t vote GTI – it’s outclassed by the Mazdaspeed 3 in the performance department
    No TSX as it’s boring to drive
    No crown Vic – total dinosaur
    No Accord – wait for the redesign
    The other contenders all belong there.

  • avatar
    tulsa_97sr5

    Ahhh, xB didn’t make the list despite all the great nominations, but 3/4ths of Porsche’s models did. Not saying an xB is better than a Porsche but…

    Maybe next time you could have a larger number of candidates and use a head to head bracket type format.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Kurt B

    Have you actually driven the GTI and Mazdaspeed3? Just because the MS3 has more horsepower on paper doesn’t mean it performs better. My LGT performs better than the MS3, and it doesn’t look as good on paper either. Granted, “performance” is very subjective, but the DSG and handling of the GTI make it far superior to the MS3, even if it doesn’t have the grunt. But then, cars.com did a comparison recently b/t those two and the Mini, and the MS3 was only 1/10 of the second faster 0-60. The GTI gets better gas mileage, too. So does the MS3 *really* perform better? I’d say no, and I know I’m not the only one.

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    Interesting, not one SUV, Minivan or Truck made it to the list, which is good since this is a forum about cars. I don’t quite consider the Jeep Wrangler as a SUV since it predates the concept by 30 years and is really in a class all by itself and yet it is probably the only true sport utility vehicle. Well you know what I mean I hope.
    Thanks for running the nominations and poll, it gave me a chance to think about what is really important to me in a car and will probably infulence my next purchase decision in 5 years when my oldest car will be 12 years old.
    So far either a BMW-3 or Porsche Boxster are being considered.

  • avatar

    My vote is for the Honda Fit. Definetely a blast.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Wow, Toyota got completely shut out of the nominations. So did Hyundai/Kia.

    By parent company:

    Honda: 4
    GM: 1
    Ford: 2, plus 2 Mazdas
    Nissan: 1
    DaimlerChrysler (still together for now): 2 (1 for each half)
    Maserati: 1
    BMW: 1
    Greater VW: 5 (1 VW, 3 Porsches, 1 Audi)
    Subaru: 1 (maybe this counts as Toyota now?)

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    I appreciate the idea of creating this list, but I have to say that I’m personally disappointed in the list that actually came from it. I can’t in good conscience vote for more than 6 of the contenders, so that’s what I did. Hope that’s OK……………………………………………………………………………………..
    Which 6? RS4, 3-series, Corvette, Mustang, 911, GTI.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    The Ford Crown Victoria gets my vote. It’s the best sedan (along with its Panther Stablemates) on the new car market, period.

    Ford did right by the Crown Victoria. It didn’t ditch the platform in the 1980s in favor of a smaller front wheel drive vehicle that was cheaper to build. And the didn’t ditch the platform in 1996 to chase a lark.

    The car is built on a full frame, with real steel and a cast iron V8 under the hood. The ride is wonderful, handling is secure.

    I am a die hard car enthusiast. I know cars and I know engines. I build them. My knowledge prohibits me from taking a liking to ninety-nine percent of the many rolling chassis that these corporations like to pass of as “cars”.

    The Crown Victoria is a real car.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    I’m with ZCD2.7T – this list is incredible. Every Porsche is nominated except the O-N-E that can actually race? Maserati is Italian for “trash”. Ford Mustang!!??? Crown Vic!!!??? This very unfortunately reads like a Road and Track, C&D list. And the STI has “insane performance” – mostly in a staight line. Wow, I’m speechless.

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    What the MS3 has over the GTI is reliability and a decent dealer network. The comments for the new GTI on VWVortex are down right scary. VW should be ashamed by the way its dealers treat its very loyal (they’d have to be!) customers. Fix these albeit major problems and the GTI will get my vote as it is a compelling vehicle.

  • avatar
    86er

    This very unfortunately reads like a Road and Track, C&D list.

    Au contraire, the very existence of the Crown Vic and the ToMoCo shutout negates that claim.

    Even though the identical pro and con as listed in the article may lead to the Crown Vic being seen as the “joke” nomination, that would, in my view, be a shame.

    That said, let’s not take things too seriously here; as the sporting nature of many of the nominee vehicles could imply, this is in part in good fun.

  • avatar
    Mook

    I can get on board with a few of these; the Mazdas for one. I’m surprised the S2000 got on the list. I mean, I like it and all, but it’s 8 years old now and could have used a different engine from the start.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    boredlawstudent

    While I can agree that the VW’s dealer network leaves much to be desired, I’ve received shoddy treatment at the hands of many a Mazda rep as well. And Honda salesmen, and so on. Every car maker has dud dealerships… frequent any forum and you’ll find plenty of horror stories. Hardly a reason to say one is better than the other.

    As for reliability, the new GTI hasn’t had any more problems than any other vehicle. The new ones are built in Germany, unlike the prior models, which is helping the reliability considerably. And I have yet to see reports of any GTIs snapping their engine mounts during driving, which is a bonus in my book. Time will tell for the reliability on both, but right now there isn’t enough data on either to make the call one way or the other.

  • avatar
    TreyV

    Three Porsche nominations but we couldn’t throw Toyota a bone and select the xB? Come on, that’s getting a little silly.

    Oh boy, only the WRX/STI was nominated but not the EVO too. Whining to commence in 3…2… Since we are talking about a very specific model year for these nominations, with the 06 model year and beyond Subaru has changed it from STi to STI. It’s inane since it took years for the STi moniker to become fixed in the US, but now it’s STI.

  • avatar
    barberoux

    Crown Victoria. Mister we can use a man like Herbert Hoover again. Gee that old LaSalle ran great.

  • avatar
    Mook

    “Hardly a reason to say one is better than the other.”

    I feel that way about all of these arguments about what car is “superior”. People just like different stuff. Most of the cars out there fall into the sinkhole of mediocrity. Every now and then I’ll find something that stands out a little bit. Not necessarily better, but different, and at least it makes me feel something. The most recent Celica GT-S… now that was an interesting car. Did it have flaws? Oh god, yes. But it was one of those experiences where I had to sit and think afterward.

  • avatar
    Blunozer

    I just want to personally thank you for adding the word “CARGASM” to my vocabulary. It’s right up there with “DEFENESTRATED” (look it up) as one of my favorite words.

    I’m a bit disappointed that the jack-of-all-trades Outback didn’t make the cut, but glad the single minded Wrangler and MX-5 did.

  • avatar
    synthetic

    Acura TSX is the most balanced car among all the nominations.

    This car is a step up from its legendary older sister(Accord) while offering the same amazing reliability and “NO NONSENSE” overall package.

    For the sake of all those readers/consumers who are out there trying to pick a car that delivers the most functionality while maintaining a high score in reliability, performance, handling, roominess, interior design, exterior design, quality/fit & finish and resale value, I’m nominating the Acura TSX as the best current automobile in the market.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I appreciate you throwing a bone to us who like the Crown Vic – even Ford wishes the car would just go away, but people who like the Panther chassis REALLY like the car, and continue to buy.

    I think Ford was hoping if they completely neglect the car, buyers would switch to the lesser Five Hundred.

    Check the sales numbers lately between the two, on a car that has been virtually untouched since 1998?

    I’m on my 2nd Grand Marquis, with a third to follow before either Ford or the car dies, withever may happen first.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    Blunozer: A policeman friend of mine has sadly had occasion to officially reference that word in his municiple codebook for a homicide.

    Another great word is autochthonous.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    I can’t vote for ten of these choices…only one or two that I feel strongly in favor of.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Awesome list, sure there are some missing I’d like to have seen (Subaru Legacy GT Spec-B…but that was last year :) ), but some high quality cars there. Almost tough to narrow it down…and I feel silly voting for the Acura TSX and the Honda Accord. :)

    P.S. I think the new accord looks awesome…should shed some of the blandness that have went with Accords over the past few models (and by past few, I mean all)

  • avatar
    Kman

    Great final 20.

    Couple of points:
    – I loved the Pro/Con for the Crown Vic
    – … waitasec. The Crown Vic made it?!?! Sad part is that it’s going to get all the “hey that’d bee cool if it made it votes”, like the Sanajaya phenomemon on American Idol.

    Great job getting the TSX on there. I find it to be the most underrated, undereported car out there. And I don’t mind!

    I will add to the “Con” of the TSX: “…with plenty of high-class competition. ” … and it beats every single one of them

    To Kurt B: Be careful bud, you’ll embarass yourself if you keep going around saying the TSX is “boring to drive”. It’s like saying the Honda Fit is a full-size, or the Prius is a gas-guzzler.

    I second Synthetic’s declaration of the TSX being the best all-around car on the market today. It’s that good.

  • avatar
    Drew

    Hmmm…You can tell that it was definitely a group of enthusiasts picking these cars. Nothing inherently wrong with that, I’m an enthusiast myself.

    But – this list is missing two cars that to me were no-brainers. The Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Prius.

    Neither of them are terribly fun to drive, but they are the absolute best at what they set out to do. They are true to their purpose. I don’t own either, but if you need a minivan – there’s one choice at the top of the list. Ditto if you’re really concerned about gas mileage.

    I can’t say that about the Cayman for example. Everybody says something like “it would be the greatest car if Porsche gave it more power”. Well, they didn’t so it’s not. We shouldn’t be rating cars on potential greatness here, but actual greatness.

    At least, that’s what I had in mind when I suggested this idea.

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

    MX-5 hands down. This car is a class of its own. Its everything motoring should be, and nothing is missing, except the exoticar pricetag. And that vote comes from a 07 Boxster buyer.
    Honorable mention goes to the Crown Vic: the best tool for the job…considering the Subaru Outback wagon isnt on the list (dont forget all of those mail carriers!)

  • avatar
    vento97

    The GTI gets my vote.

    For all of its warts, it is “ze original” hot hatch that has made it possible for the Mazdaspeed 3s, and Honda Civic Si’s in the world to be given the development green light by Mazda and Honda senior management…

  • avatar
    kken71

    The retractable hard top uglifies the Miata. Its like [insert name of your favorite starlet] with a beard. I’ll put a bag over its top and vote for it!

  • avatar

    Frankly I love the Ford Crown Victoria, what a unit. Cheap parts, decent performance, simple, comfortable, well understood by many fleet mechanics and it doesn’t even look too bad. It’s not WOW but then again it’s a cab, a cop car, a repmobile… flash is a con in those cases. They are also quite reliable when taken moderate care of. I love em.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Anyone who criticises the Ford Victoria for being a “cab” or a “cop” car understands virtually nothing about automobiles. Might I remind you that the Chevrolet Bel Air during the tri-five years was a cop car. It was parked into the garage next to the equally beautiful and powerful…1955 Ford Crown Victoria. :)

    Plenty of performance parts for the 2v Mustang are available if you want your Crown Victoria to run faster. With $$$ invested, the car has run 11s in the quarter mile.

  • avatar
    rprellwitz

    Maxb49: wrote…
    “The Ford Crown Victoria gets my vote. It’s the best sedan (along with its Panther Stablemates) on the new car market, period.”

    I don’t know how else to say this – The Panther platform does not represent the best sedan on the new car market – I have driven the the mercury version, its horrid.

    Audi RS4 – BMW M5 – These are the best sedans on the new car market.

    As a platform the BMW 5 series offers it all – four engine choices (in the us 528 – 535 – 550 – M5) and available six speed manual or six speed automatic in each variant. All wheel drive is an option if you want it and a wagon version is available.

  • avatar

    Megan

    Yup, I have tested all cars in this segment available in Canada.
    I like the GTI and recommend it to people on a regular basis. It is probably a better daily driver than the Speed 3.
    For the performance minded it has pretty light steering, is overweight and is easily outrun by the Speed 3.

  • avatar
    Unbalanced

    Great cars need to be great looking. The Mustang and Quattroporte come close, but the only cars on the list that truly qualify are the ‘Vette, 911 and Wrangler. Hence my three “votes”.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    For the performance minded it has pretty light steering, is overweight and is easily outrun by the Speed 3.

    And that’s why my other car is a Legacy GT. The MS3 has ridiculous torque steer and sorely needs AWD. I think it was terribly misengineered, which is why I think the GTI is better. Less powerful, yes, but it makes better use of that power (like the LGT, which is faster than the more powerful MS3).

  • avatar

    My votes in no particular order

    1. Acura TSX
    2. BMW 3 series
    3. Corvette
    4. Accord
    5. Fit
    6. Infinity G35
    7. Mazda MX-5
    8. Boxster S
    9. Cayman
    10. 911

    I left the maserati out because I’m not inclined to vote for cars that are affordable only to robber barons, no matter how sweet. I left the blueTec out because Mercs have had abysmal frequency of repair, among other thigns. I left the Roo out because I just don’t like them that much–something that’ sprobably totally subjective. The GTI is way to prone to burning rubber. The Wrangler–I’m not into Jeeps, but I respect the justification for its inclusion. The S2000–I was not taht impressed when I drove it. Engine sounded like a hive of bees was after me. Would have included the Mazda3 if I’d had one more space.

    By the way, on the Accord, I deal with the parked in mall problem by having attached some cruiserline ventiports (google the term) which I made out of magnetic material.

    Notable that no toyotas made the final cut. I would have voted for the xB if they hadn’t ruined it.

  • avatar
    Kman

    Indeed the Mazdaspeed 3 was misengineeredmarketingineered

    When word first came out from Mazda about the MS3, the talk was AWD, basically the MS6 drivetrain. At the time I thought to myself “excellent! I like the concept of the 6, but it is butt-ugly and I want the utility of a hatch/wagon in my next car — here’s my next car!”.

    Sure enough, a year or so later when the MS3 was officially announced, it was FWD, making no sense at all with all the power. It is somewhat obvious that the marketing dept at Mazda also saw the danger to the MS6 and decreed “no AWD” (and engineering had to go figure out how to get that much TQ through the front wheels: reduce it in 1st and 2nd gear).

    However, rather than “cannibalize” the MS6, in the case of this potential customer, I won’t even bother going to the Mazda dealership. Stupid.

  • avatar

    But – this list is missing two cars that to me were no-brainers. The Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Prius.

    Both of them were considered. The Odyssey is besieged mby recent quality issues and does not offer AWD like the Sienna. It doesn’t mean it isn’t better, but it definitely isn’t the cherry on the sundae of the minivan class, a car that’s head and shoulders above others like it. It’s got competition.

    What, out there, compares to a Mustang, a Crown Vic or, for the price, a Corvette?

    As for the Prius… great car for reliability, but if its purpose is to save the environment, it fails – more energy to produce battery cells, more acid leaked into the environment, more weight because it has 2 drivetrains and after all that mumbo jumbo it still can’t outdo a smelly Diesel Jetta.

    Toyota’s cars are great sellers; does not make them the best in their class. Pick a Toyota and you can almost guarantee it is eclipsed by a competitor or something comes close (usually Honda). FJ Cruiser vs. Wrangler. Corolla vs. Civic, Mazda3. Camry vs. Accord. Rav 4 vs. CR-V. Tundra vs. Silverado.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    Acura TSX – I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more luxurious, confident, and reliable compact sedan in the high 20’s. A clear winner for its target audience.
    Accord – Have to knock it – its cavernous interior and high ride take big tolls on driving dynamics. Braking, turning, and acceleration all pay too great a price, at least when you’re using the standard all-season tires. Gosh, you might as well be driving a Camry.
    G35 – most fun lux sedan in the low 30’s. Spiff up a 3-series with the same options, and it’s an extra $10k. Is it really worth it?
    RS4 – Lots of votes, considering it’s a pretty exclusive vehicle. I think Audi owes TTAC a big debt of gratitude.
    Here’s an open question: can you really have poor reliability and poor dealer service and still have your car considered for a TBAG? I don’t know, just asking.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    By the way, any car that cannot physically be driven by a 6foot tall person (because of size constraints) should not be allowed to be seriously considered for a TBAG.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    At the risk of baiting flames, I second the disappointment that the Prius did not make this list, especially since the Crown Vic did.

    I can recognize the Panther’s value as a sort of rolling security blanket (an ’07 feels like a ’97 feels like an ’87 feels like…). But come on. It’s a 4.6-liter V8 car that takes 7.9 seconds to hit 60(C&D 09/04). It gets 17/25 MPG in the process (same as a 300-horse Mustang GT). It’s 212 inches long, but has less front and rear legroom than a Chevy Malibu.

    I’d be sad to see TTAC, in effect, declare to the motoring public that it thinks the Crown Vic is one of the ten best possible choices one could make in a new-car purchase.

  • avatar
    Aardappel

    What, no Evo, no Z? these cars beat out pretty much your entire top 20 for speed + handling per $.. but I guess that wasn’t the criteria.

    Also, for the final list, some of these entries are really a “class” of vehicles, i.e. “3 series” encompasses some rather diverse models. I understand you don’t want the list cluttered by multiple 3 series models, but in the description you could add: “(TTAC recommends: model x)”.

    E.g. since you complain about power on the cayman, I presume you would recommend the S model. And “Corvette”? I’d say the base model and the Z06 are rather different value propositions with $20k and 100hp between them, surely these can’t be treated as just one choice.

  • avatar
    synthetic

    I have to agree with Aardappel with regards to the 3-series.

    Aside from poor reliability and the electrical nightmares forced upon the consumer, there’s many differences between the cars under the “3-series” umbrella(performance, style and feature-wise)

    And other than “handling”, BMWs are rarely the benchmark for anything these days. i-Drive anyone?!!

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Thus far there are 13 TBAGs:

    1. BMW 3-series (8%)
    2. six tied (6%)
    3. six tied (5%)

    With all 20 entries grouped pretty close together intially, tt will be interesting to see how the percentages separate over the upcoming week.

  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    P.J. McCombs

    The Crown Vic is not tops in any one category (except trunk space, and years since last redesign.) However, it does well in everything, which is possibly why it was made. Sure, it has slightly less room than a Malibu – does the Malibu have a huge trunk and RWD?
    Is it faster than a Mustang? No, but does the Mustang have rear seat or trunk room? And can the Mustang take corners?

    Maybe a perfect car exists out there, but for the price, the Crown Vic is the BEST sedan on the market today.

    By the way, the EPA ratings are incorrect. I’ve routinely got about 27 mpg on the highway, with the A/C on.

    And, how does Ford still sell thousands of Crown Vics if they aren’t good at what they do? The Crown Vic has a couple entire markets almost to itself – cabs and cops – and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change soon, unless Ford does something stupid.

    The Crown Vic (obviously) gets my vote, and I have to ask, is there any other car out there that can do EVERYTHING well, like the Crown Vic can?

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    You have given us a tough choice. I like the 335i, but not the rest of the 3 Series. I would have chosent he 335i over the RS4 because its performance approaches the Audi for far less money. But overall, the Series 3 is not enough car for the money. I have to take a pass on the 335 bundled into the entire 3 Series.

    I take minor issue with the cons on the WRX STI. The WRX STI Ltd Ed looks far less boy racer-ish and has an upgraded interior. The EVO/STI are evolving into what small Bimmers like the 2002 used to be about.

    Finally, I have to agree with the comment of others that the biggest con to the GTI are VW dealers. They are so bad, IMHO, it might be worth paying the premium to move over to the Audi A3.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    wstansfi wrote: “can you really have poor reliability and poor dealer service and still have your car considered for a TBAG?”

    Automobile Magazine recently did a Four Seasons wrap up on the BMW three series. Right up front, they say the car had a major mechanical failure. The describe that the problem took five weeks at the dealer to diagnose and recieve parts from Germany to fix worn camshafts, lifters and rocker arms caused by a lubrication failure. If the car had not been under warranty, the repair would have cost $4300, which would not include the potential need for a replacement vehicle. They also add that a long term 5-Series and 7-Series also required major mechanical repairs during the test. Notwitstanding all of this however, the rest of the article is unabashed praise for the BMW as God’s gift to the automobile world. Must be easier to reach this conclusion when 1) the car is given to you by the automaker, 2) you have a fleet of such vehicles to drive when this model is in the shop, 3) the duration of the test occurs only during the warranty period and 4) you didn’t have to pay for the reparis out of pocket anyway.

    I found it ironic in the current issue of Top Gear that Jamie Kittman (also of Automobile Magazine) wrote about the value of publications like Consumer Reports to the average consumer and auto enthusiast alike. JK so much admits that the opinions of the test drivers in magazines such as Top Gear and Automobile aren’t really applicable to real world conditions given the lack of any consideration given to reliability or cost of ownership other than MSRP.

    To this end, BMW 3 Series may win every enthusasts heart in any comparision and should be considered for a TBAG, but my real world vote goes to the Infiniti G35 every time.

  • avatar
    86er

    P.J. McCombs: It’s [Crown Victoria] 212 inches long, but has less front and rear legroom than a Chevy Malibu.

    Please cite your source on this.

    My source, courtesy of gmbuypower.com, indicates:

    Front Leg Room (inches)

    Crown Vic: 42.5
    Malibu: 41.9

    Rear Leg Room (inches)

    Crown Vic: 39.6
    Malibu: 38.5

    While the differences between the two vehicles are minor, let’s be fair, shall we. The Malibu’s Epsilon platform came out in 2002, while the CV’s Panther platform debuted 23 years prior. I don’t think I need to add that there have been advances in interior packaging since that time, aided a great deal by the move to FWD and transversely mounted engines.

    I also don’t need to add that exactly zero individuals out there are cross-shopping a Malibu with a Crown Vic, but your point stands: we’ve come a long way in a generation, and it could be argued that the Crown Vic should’ve come along for the ride, so to speak.

    The fact that it didn’t, in large part, and that it still has made the top 20 is in my view indicative of something larger than a propensity for nostalgia in this day and age (see my earlier comments under the other article re: TBAG).

  • avatar
    Hippo

    The only problem I see is that if one votes for 10 cars ones 1st choice has the same weight as ones 10th choice.

    While I would not have included neither one in my 10 choices, including an obsolete Crown Vic and not including the Prius makes no sense, unless the sole object is to create controversy.

    The question isn’t which car is the best 1K beater.

  • avatar
    nino

    Frankly, I too am disappointed with the final list.

    I strongly feel that a car costing $50,000 or better, should be expected to eccel at something. That so many high priced cars made the list is something of a downer for me.

    Also, isn’t the Cayman a hardtop Boxster that is both more expensive and slower (at least in base form)? Why do they both get on the list (along with the pricey 911)?

    And a Maserati Quattroporte?

    I understand that many of us aren’t able to drive all the cars on the list, but has anybody here driven the Maserati? I would venture to say that a Formula 1 Ferrari is a great drive, but should it be nominated based solely on what I’ve seen and read?

    And where are the multi-purpose cars that fill an enthusiast’s many real world needs? No Mazda6 Wagon or 5 door hatchback, no Subaru Outback Wagon, no SAAB Combi. When many of us can’t afford to keep more than one car, these cars are an enthusiast’s dream in that they’re fun to drive, but can still be counted on to fulfill the family chores that many of us live with on a daily basis.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    The Mercedes-Benz E-320 Blue Tec is the future, now. Let’s hope the price, per unit, comes down, as a new generation of diesels make their inroad into the American market.

    Honda S2000 is what a real sports car, combined with a motorcycle, should be.

    The Infinti G35 is every bit as good as a BMW, except perhaps – depending on what part of the country we’re talking about – in terms of re-sale; and even that is getting better for the G35.

    The Jeep Wranger, most especially the Rubicon edition, is the most real off-road machine you can find, short of a Hummer H1 – and that’s no longer available to civilians. (I’m evaluating one this week and, now when I drive over the streets where I live that are stripped down to the rebar, awaiting new concrete or tar, it doesn’t matter.)

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I’m a little surprised the Elise was excluded from the Top 20, but if I had to pick between it and the Boxster, I’d probably go Porsche.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    86er,

    The figures I quoted were from ConsumerGuide. They listed the Malibu’s f/r legroom at 41.9″/38.5″, and the Crown Vic’s at 41.6″/38.4″.

    The same publication’s two long-term Crown Vic testers averaged 22.4 and 16.3 MPG, the first with almost exlusively highway miles.

    I won’t argue that the Crown Vic has its purpose among fleets. Ford slashes fleet prices on the things, and fleet mechanics know how to work on them. That said, in my limited experience talking cars with cops (and reading articles in the same vein), they can’t wait to phase out the Vic in favor of Dodge’s police-package Charger.

    As for private buyers, your basic V6 Accord leaves the Panther for dead in acceleration and handling, gets better mileage, has similar interior space (trunk excepted) despite being two feet easier to park, and holds its value used.

  • avatar
    mekerr

    Boy, I almost dropped my can of Metamucil when I saw the Crown Vic as a nominee for a TBAG slot. As the not so proud owner of one of these beasts for the past +100K miles, I can write with some authority here. Sure, this thing is great if your idea of what a car should be stopped developing sometime about 1970.

    I bought this car for three reasons: 1) My previous job required that I travel a lot, and I feel more secure on the road with the largest mass of metal around me as possible. 2) The trunk is truly cavernous. That would be handy for travel. 3) It was one of the last traditional RWD American sedans.

    My previous car was a Bonneville SSEi.

    Pro: The car is big externally.

    Con: The car is big externally, so you get all the parking lot hassles that come with skippering around big, bulky car,

    Con: Inefficient use of interior space. The big exterior does not come with a corresponding increase in interior volume. As a co-worker of mine says, “Dude, please explain to me where all the damn room in this car went.” Rear legroom is the most limited of any 4 door sedan I have ever owned. The 2004 Malibu I now drive as a company car makes much, much more efficient use of interior space.

    Pro: The trunk is huge.

    Con: THe trunk is actually too big. The rear suspension is too flabby to allow loading six passengers into this car plus their luggage without dragging the rear bumper. I had spacers installed in the rear springs to keep the rear bumper from dragging steep driveways with the trunk unloaded. With passengers, its hopeless. I’d trade 3″ of this trunk for some more leg room.

    Con: The tank only holds 16 gallons.

    Con: The front seats are flat, non-supportive, and lumpy. There is no comfortable driving position.

    Con: Dumb placement of the climate control panel directly behind the ashtray/cup holders. I can tell you personally what Coke sloshed into this panel during a panic stop does to the functionally of the buttons.

    Con: Non-lighted cruise control buttons on the steering wheel spokes. Better bone up on the Braile method to set and adjust the cruise at night.

    Con: The average age of the Panther platform buyer must be about 82 years old. Notice next time you see one of these cars. My family tells me I look old driving this car. They are right. I am only 46.

    Con: The ride with the OEM shocks was nausea-inducing as I wallowed over the road. With Bilstiens it is sharp and brittle, especially over small road imperfections. Is there a compromise?

    Con: Underpowered. 205 HP and paltry low RPM torque in a car this size is unacceptable. Mine is a 1999. Of course, the tranny has to hunt between 3rd and 4th gears and converter lock on and converter lock off at the smallest hills.

    Con: New oxygen sensors at 40K miles (+$200). A new torque converter at 90K miles (+$700) (a common Panther problem I found out). A rear axle rebuild at 100K miles (+$800).

    Con: The rear seat back does not fold down. Makes trips to the Home Depot all the more difficult. I should have kept my old SAAB 900. It excelled here.

    Con: Numb steering, sensitivity to crosswinds (large side surface area?), and poor directional stability. This is the latest in a long line of Fords that you do not drive, you herd between the white lines.

    Pro: In white, you look a little like a cop, and they seem to ignore you, well except for that one ticket I got.

    Pro: Lots of room in the doors and package tray for a killer aftermarket sound system.

    Pro: Quiet, relatively. Makes listening to the killer sound system that much nicer.

    Pro: Long brake life. At about 120K miles, the front pads
    are still original.

    Pro: Gas mileage decent. I can squeeze about 24MPG on straight flat interstates. Around town is closer to 16MPG.

    Con: Poor rear traction. I guess limited slip would help here, but one wheel on the rear loses grip at the slightest moisture on the road surface. I almost did an end-around once accelerating onto the freeway when I started out in a patch of diesel fuel a truck had dumped there.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    Crown Vic is a great car – precisely because it is not a modern design, which means it was not CAD designed to shave every possible last ounce of weight, nor every last penny out of the cost of building it. When it came out in 1978, it was an expensive car to produce, as it was the last car the old Ford Motor Company built, and it was it’s flagship platform, and was designed as such. Ford has continously refined the platform with a lot of surprisingly high quality items.

    Using the braking system as an example – dual piston four wheel discs with antilock, electronic brake force, braided stainless steel lines, etc. All good stuff designed to last, and not just the latest technological buzz words.

    Not to nitpick on other’s complaints, but both of my Grand Marquis have had the Rear Air Suspension – load the car up, and it evens itself out. The only commmon repair I know of on the car is the front ball joints typically go after about 10 years/100,000 miles or so – they are the infamous “lubed for life” scam. Aftermarket replacements are all greasable.

    Change the Mercron V tranny fluid every 60k, and you are golden on the transmission.

    I’m only 40 years old, and on my 2nd Grand Marquis. We’ll always own one as long as they are around (for me, a Panther is not a “chick” car, and my wife is not as big a fan.)

  • avatar
    digitalsoul

    With some help from Edmunds.com: The Crown Vic isn’t even the best large sedan sold by Ford.

    The Crown Victoria did poorly in bumper tests. Side and head airbags are unavailable, as are rear headrests, parking assist, or even an anti-theft system. (You’ll need those cheap parts if someone decides to pilfer a few to save even more pennies.)

    Ford’s Five-Hundred has more rear head room and leg room. It has a lower turning circle, available all-wheel drive, a six-speed automatic–oh, and it’s trunk is bigger, too. And when the 08′ Taurus hits the streets, it’ll out-power any Crown Vic sold today with it’s 260hp V6.

    Since police approval of a car apparently matters, perhaps all the Five-Hundred/Taurus really lacks is a doughnut warmer.

  • avatar
    Mook

    Lichtronamo

    That reminds me of a C&D comparo a couple years back where the electronics on their 3 series went haywire, and at one point caused the brakes to completely lock up and spin the car out.

    It got 1st place.

    How can you give 1st place to a car that almost kills you?

  • avatar
    Drew

    Both of them were considered. The Odyssey is besieged mby recent quality issues and does not offer AWD like the Sienna.

    BMW and Mercedes both have recent quality control problems, yet they made the list for some reason.

    What, out there, compares to a Mustang, a Crown Vic or, for the price, a Corvette?

    I never complained about any of those. But, since you bring them up, I’ll grant you the Corvette and maybe, maybe the mustang. But the Crown Vic? nothing compares to it – and that’s a good thing. You could just as easily ask “what compares to the model T?” Just because something is unique doesn’t make it worthwhile.

    As for the Prius… great car for reliability, but if its purpose is to save the environment, it fails – more energy to produce battery cells, more acid leaked into the environment, more weight because it has 2 drivetrains and after all that mumbo jumbo it still can’t outdo a smelly Diesel Jetta.

    This is not a flame, but that’s just plain wrong. More energy than what to produce the battery cells? Then not producing them? Sure, but they make up for it by the energy (gasoline) that they save over the life of the car.

    Acid? You are aware that the prius uses nickel metal hydride batteries, correct? There’s no acid. It uses potassium hydroxide, which farmers use by the ton to correct the PH of soil. The batteries are highly recyclable.

    Finally, the Prius most certainly does outdo a diesel Jetta if you’re concerned about the environment. The Prius emissions are far, far cleaner than those of the TDI. Please don’t confuse MPG with environmental cleanliness. If that was the only consideration a 2 stroke 50cc motorcycle would be better than anything, but we all know it’s not. There are mor issues to consider.

    This is NOT a flame, but my impression is that TTAC picked the cars that they liked the best and then tried to come up with excuses for why other one’s weren’t better. Why else would BOTH the Cayman and the 911 be on here?

    I originally thought that there shouldn’t be any categories, because people would be open-minded. Except for the Crown Vic, that doesn’t seem to have happened.

  • avatar
    Mook

    Why else would BOTH the Cayman and the 911 be on here?

    I take more issue with both the Cayman and the Boxster on the list. They’re essentially the same thing, just different styling and a drop top.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    It is interesting how well represented Honda is on the short list. Personally it seems that today Honda has the best engineering staff/management of all the global automotive companies. In nearly every vehicle segment they compete in their offering is one of the very best all around vehicles offered. The Acura RL and Accord Hybrind are perhaps only weak sisters in the whole lineup. Pretty amazing. Toyota, on the other hand, is more of a production and marketing driven company. Toyota always makes highly competitive vehicles, but rarely best-in-class. Having recently test driven both the Prius and the Civic Hybrid I can say that this is still true even in the new-tech world.

    The “any car” styling of the Accord is probably more due to it’s ubiquity than it is to the actual design. I remember when the 2003 redesign came out it was often criticized as being weird. Now if you really want an UGLY car, get a 2007 Camry :).

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Is TBAG partying like it’s 1979?

    – Crown Vic (LTD back then)
    – Mustang (III on the Fairmont platform, live axle also standard)
    – Accord (oh-oh, shiny brand new new 4 door)
    – Vette (enough said)
    – 911 (prior iteration which dated back only 15 or so years)

    Might as well throw in the original RX-7, Chevy Malibu and platform mates whose rear windows didn’t roll down, Lincoln Versailles, and Dodge Omni 027/Plymouth Horizon TC3 for good measure.

    Count me disappointed too.

  • avatar
    Aardappel

    can this poll be made to show fractions (at least one decimal)?

    Because with 20 options, it goes without saying that we’ll have a lot of cars tied at 5% nomatter how many votes we get.

    Alternatively, make it show votes instead of %… or at least make it sort, so we can see which 5% is doing better than which other 5% :0

  • avatar
    Drew

    Let me also add my disappointment with seeing the “3 series” make the list. The 3 series runs the gamut from the $32,400 base 328i to the $49,100 base 335i convertible. That’s a $16,700 spread, or 51.5% !!

    I know it can be hard to choose, but this is the Ten Best Automobiles Going and the 3 series has 11 models. It seems that TTAC took the easy way out in this instance. This is especially surprising since it’s, well, TTAC.

    I’d like Robert, et al. to know that the biggest reason that I’m disappointed is that I know that you can do better because I’ve seen you do better countless other times. TTAC has set the bar high with past performances, and it seems that this one was just called-in. At best.

    We criticize because we love!

  • avatar
    newdamagenyc

    Ahhhh man, no Evo IX? I must say I’m a bit disappointed, but since I didn’t vote, I can’t complain too vociferously either. I’m just surprised that the STI made it and not the EVO IX when if you put them head to head, the EVO is superior in just about every performance category (although I’m not saying the STI doesn’t belong there either!). I will admit that the STI is a bit more comfortable as a daily driver though.

  • avatar
    Nemphre

    Drew:

    Could you go into more detail about what you’re dissapointed about? A lot of cars have a 50% spread like you describe. A Honda Accord base model is about 20k while the hybrid model is around 30k. That’s +50%. Base Civic DX is what… 15k? +50% and you’re looking at 22.5k. Sounds like a Civic Si to me.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    starlightmica:Is TBAG partying like it’s 1979?
    Well said. For me, one of the attractions of TTAC has been the consistantly informative, enntertaining and cordial exchanges between the readers. With this list though, I can’t help but sense that people were nominating cars based on extremely subjective and imperfect second or third hand information. I noticed this especially with performance machines. A large percentage of the cars nominated as daily drivers certainly deserved the recognition. Arguments for the MazdaSpeed3, TSX, GTI, Accord and G35, though sometimes in conflict were allways well balanced and no doubt influenced in many cases by personal experiences. With performance machines on the other hand, the nominations evinced almost a total disregard for “performance” and was reduced to simply “because I like this one better”. Then flaccid arguments were fobbed off on the readers to justify the nomination. With the Porsches it has been repeated like a mantra that they have “supercar” performance. There is no Porsche on this list that will run with a slightly modified Evo let alone a supercar. The one Porsche that can – the 997 Twin Turbo – is not even on the list. It doesn’t bother me that they are on the list, what bothers me is the nature of their nomination. If they were nominated for their elegance, their construction, their comfort or simply “because you like them” there would be no foul. But to claim performance as the primary reason for the nomination and then chose clearly inferior models (performance wise) is questionable. Especially when there are cars 1/3 of the price that will outperform them on a track-on gravel-on snow ect… I spend a great deal of time at race tracks and have rarely known a Porsche (other than the Turbo) to put on a good show. If all nominations were X-factor based instead of fact based I suppose there is no problem.

  • avatar
    SpinningAround

    What an incredibly lame and entirely US-centric list… Are you seriously suggesting that these are the best cars currently produced in the world?

    The Ford Mustang? TTAC is convinced that this best way for me to spend the best part of 30k? It may well win the award for the most horrible car to drive in the world courtesy of suspension designed at the beginning of last century, steering that Ford apparently neglected to physically connect to the front wheels and an interior that makes GM’s design and plastic selection skills look good. If I want something nice to listen to I’ll buy a CD- cars I prefer to be fond of driving.

    The Panther platform Crown Vic? Come on. An ancient design which is actually even more awful to drive than a Mustang and whose only redeeming qualities are a big boot, stab-proof seat backs (CPVI only, folks) and the fact that if you drive a white or silver one you scare everyone else on the road out of the right lane. Definitely not redeemed by the ‘woofle’ from the underpowered yet surprisingly thirsty V8 or the fact that people try and flag you down to take them to the airport.

    I think you need to rebadge yourselves as C&D for having 3 Porsches on the list. But the Porsche Cayman? Lazy, derivative styling which also manages to be heinously ugly from the rear on a car artificially neutered by Porsche’s marketing department to avoid canabalizing 911 sales. Limited slip diff- who needs one. They’re only useful for going around corners, right? All yours for the low, low price of 60-odd grand (for an S)? This is the best car in the world? Really?

    3-Series Beemers? Horribly overpriced, even more horribly ugly and only effective driving machines in their top-end and most expensive incarnations. Might be aspirational in the US but in the UK they will forever be 4 banger, light flashing repmobiles thrashed within an inch of their lives whilst wedged up your arse in the outside lane at 90 mph. Cramped upfront and with rear legroom useful only for double amputees. If you were going to pick a Beemer should have been the V10 M5.

    The Jeep Wrangler? Err? If you want a real offroader that is not a lot of fun on the road, get a Land Rover Defender. But I suppose if you want something even less pleasant to drive then a Wrangler is ideal. After all, who can resist a car with removable doors? Must be the best in the world.

    VW Golf GTI? Might have invented the hot hatch category but its inclusion in the 10 best cars in the world contenders just demonstrates the US-centric nature of the list. Not even a terribly hot hot-hatch as they go these days but sadly the US doesn’t get the interesting ones. Bad luck.

    Ah well. At least the ‘Vette made the cut. I’d take a Vette over a 335i any day of the week. The ‘Vette has more rear legroom than the 3-Series and after you price in BMW options like window glass, wheels and paint a ‘Vette isn’t likely to cost anymore either.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Well, as one of the fellows who nominated about half the vehicles on the list, I can honestly tell you that this is not a contest of absolutes.

    The TBAG concept is focused on what the enthusiasts like at this particular site. Modern media be damned. Whether the vehicle is seemingly outdated or whether one is considered to be a near clone of another one is completely irrelevant to us.

    What is important, is that everyone has the opportunity to voice their opinions and take part in an open discussion. A lot of good ideas and perspectives have been discussed thus far and so long as this remains an open forum, I’m glad to hear out the voices of (dis)content.

    I believe the field of twenty is a very fertile one. However I will say that there were two instances where I had strong convictions that were not shared with very many of my peers. Again, to quote an old country song, “It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it’s just different” and in honor of the unusual I would like to offer my final two cents on two great cars.

    The first is the Toyota Prius. I don’t think there is any car in the market today that’s provided more goodwill for the parent company as the Prius has for Toyota. When the non-enthusiast thinks about Toyota these days, they most likely see a high quality and evironmentally friendly automaker. Yet this is a company that sells over a million gas guzzling vehicles. Thanks to the Prius, Toyota is not grouped with the other manufacturers that provide our market with guilty pleaures.

    As we all know, the quality side of the equation has been a foundation for Toyota’s public image for well over two decades now. However the ‘environmentally friendly’ image is one that no other automaker has truly been associated with in the mass media since VW was seemingly selling Beetles to the aspiring hippies and frugal zealots of yesteryear. Honda did try (and try) over the years to gain that crown… and I would argue that they actually have a better long-term record than anyone else in the NA market. But in the end, it is Toyota’s Prius that is now enabling hundreds of thousands of highly impressionable new Toyota customers to buy their gas guzzling SUV’s and feel good about it.

    The Prius is also a top notch vehicle as well, much in the light of the Scion Xb (another one of mine that didn’t make the cut). High quality of materials, a spacious interior design in a small space, a focus on frugality and fun over mere speed, and the willingness to design something different than the current ‘conventional’ tastes upon it’s release. A car that can do that and still keep a strong sales record even in it’s last year deserves a TBAG nomination.

    Bottom line. If we’re really looking at the phrase ‘Ten Best Automobiles Going’, it’s hard to find one that adds more to the bottom line than the Prius and the hybrid technology it’s based on.

    On the flip side of the equation, I wish there had been more attention given towards the more affordable side of the market. If we’re looking at compacts, there simply isn’t a car in that class more reliable, frugal, and comfortable than the Toyota Corolla. The Honda Civic is more sporty and high tech, the Mazda 3 has more verve and a pretty nice quality of materials for this class, but the Corolla is simply the best value proposition out there. Even in it’s last year of production it is thoroughly thrashing every other compact that competes with it.

    You can buy a very nice one for 15k, drive it for 15 years with minimal issues, enjoy a ride and interior environment that’s as good as most midsized sedans today, and average out in the low to mid 30’s for gas mileage. For the tens of millions that have to spend a disproportionate amount of their driving time as commuters in this world of $3+ gas, the Corolla is an excellent companion.

  • avatar

    This is not a flame, but that’s just plain wrong. More energy than what to produce the battery cells? Then not producing them? Sure, but they make up for it by the energy (gasoline) that they save over the life of the car. em>

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=prius+environment+acid&meta=

    http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editorial/editorial_item.asp?NewsID=188

    It’s certainly not as clear-cut as you suggest. Like a lot of environmental fads, the Prius looks like the solution to a problem that causes another problem.

    Remember when cars were the solution to cut down on horse excrement in the streets?

    If we lack evidence, we must abstain from judging hastily. I can’t honestly say if the Prius is really saving the world and if it deserves the repuation it has earned, or if it’s just Toyota’s marketing tool to distract environmentalists while they build the FJ Cruiser, the Sequoia, the 4Runner, the Tundra, etc.

    On the plus side, if the Prius is a prototype and a necessary step along the way to producing hybrids that are both clean and produce a net energy gain, it will have been a historic car, one that made hybrids mainstream.

    On the other hand, if we’re all driving Hydrogen cars or Diesel cars in 50 years, it will be a footnote in history.

    Does this sound like a ‘greatest car’ ?

  • avatar
    peejay44

    This predictable list does nothing to yield a usable”ten best” list, but speaks volumes to the demographics of those who frequent this web site.

  • avatar
    Nemphre

    From the comments, it looks as though things are how I expected. No one is going to be happy with the results because every has a different idea of what makes a car the “best” car. At least it has been somewhat civil so far. On any other forum this would have fallen into something akin to the Eastern Front.

  • avatar
    David Yip

    woofle is an awesome word.

  • avatar
    EJ

    Hey, you forgot to include the largest carmaker in the world, Toyota. Take my vote for a Toyota Camry Hybrid. Otherwise, I’m on strike.

  • avatar
    SpinningAround

    I don’t know why everyone is banging on about the failure to list the Prius. Beyond the fact that it is ugly, heavy and not very nice to drive I suppose it could get on the list. But then there is the little issue of the nonsense hybrid technology that doesn’t really solve any problem (but makes the car immeasurably more complex to build and maintain).

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    Disclaimer: I am not a Toyota fan. However, I have to point out that no Toyotas made the final 20, and yet the Crown Vic has made the cut. Point being…folks, the Crown Vic is the quintessential appliance. Of course you can argue that it has some character (industrial at most, IMO), but is it fun to drive? Does it excel in any category of driving enthusiasm? Or does it reflect the “Old-Timers’ Last Stand?” To me, it is the epitomy of boring, especially when compared to the rest of the cars on this list. Should it be in the Smithsonian? Absolutely. However, there’s nothing magical about riding in a cop car or taxi cab, much less driving one.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    Nemphre: I don’t think the readers exibited the unreasonability of wanting their cars on the list regardless. People understand that every nominee cannot be included but – I think they were expecting more structure and rationale behind the inclusions/exclusions from the list.

  • avatar
    Infamous Dr. X

    SpinningAround

    What cars would you want to see on the list? You’ve provided plenty of snark about what is on it but shouldn’t be, but haven’t said a thing about what isn’t but should be.

    How often do YOU drive a Wrangler? I’ve been driving one every day for 5 years, and there’s a lot more to it than ‘taking off the doors’. It’s find it to be an excellent ride both on and off road. And, while you may disagree, I think the Jeep IS the best in the world, and will happily debate the topic with you anytime.

    It seems like your style is to just neg what you don’t like and forget to mention what you do like, so maybe a debate would be a waste of time.

    Look forward to your nominees…care to enlighten us?

  • avatar
    Infamous Dr. X

    PeeJay

    And while the snark is being handed out, care to elaborate on the demographics of the people who visit this site? Don’t recall seeing any nominations with your name on them…

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I’m really surprised by the divergent opinions on all this. Wow! The lack of a ‘value’ constraint is even more surprising given that there are probably more than a few folks out here who haven’t ever seriously considered a new Porsche or Maserati.

    Hey, I love Porsches… used Porsches. Why blow 50k to 100k into the wind?

    I also enjoy the Police Interceptor Crown Vic’s as well as the Sport and Marauder models. But how anyone here can stomach forking over 20k to 30k when 2 year old ones that are virtually identican can be found for more than 2/3’s less is beyond me. Seriously, would any enthusiast enjoy the lightning fast depreciation and massive gas consumption this vehicle will inflict in the next five years? For the most part, I doubt it.

    I think some of us, myself included, have confused confusing the ‘flash point’ of buying a new car vs. the potential overall experience that would come with keeping it for at least a five year period.

    Here’s what would be my top ten choices for that purpose… given that it would be my money I would be spending on it.

    (Drum Roll)

    Honda Fit – If I had to do an awful lot of urban driving, this would be a fun car.

    Toyota Corolla – For all the reasons described a few posts ago.

    Mazda MX-5 – Base model. I would customize it… as I’m doing now with a base Silver 99′)

    Honda Accord – The best all-around vehicle if I only had to buy one vehicle for my family.

    Acura TSX – If I were willing to blow more money I would opt for this as a commuter instead of the Corolla.

    Mazda RX-8 – The best choice for winding one lane roads and off the beaten path journeys. Surprisingly high resale values.

    Honda S2000 – The Porsches and Mercedes may have the panache, but the S2000 is near perfect for a fraction of the price.

    BMW 335i Convertible – Every list should have at least one 4-seat convertible. Unfortunately most of the alternatives in the market these days are the equivalent of novocaine.

    Toyota Prius – If I rant any more about the Prius I’ll die from smugness.

    Scion Xb – The design has really grown on me over the years. I just wish the 2.4 powerplant could have been spruced up a bit and fit into the thing. The 1.5L was a bit buzzy on the highways.
    .
    .

    Yeah, I know I can put this somewhere else. But I really do believe the affordability and real world sides of the equation need to be considered for a TBAG nomination. I definitely don’t think we need to redo this. But if there’s enough of an outcry, certain models should be re-added to the mix and others that have broad ranges could be specified.

    Oh, and by the way. Good job and great idea!

  • avatar
    Pat

    Gotta go with the Accord. Went to the dealer last weekend to test-drive the CR-V in preparation for swapping out our 2003 EX MT Accord 2-door. She who must be obeyed thought the CR-V too large. She thought the Civic-SI too small (oh, what a blast when you slam the foot down in 3rd, but she was not on board for that rush). So we looked at Accords, knowing that the current model is in its last six months. Well, the dealer had no manuals, and I wasn’t going to look at 4 pot automatics, so we ended up in a 2007 Accord V6. We still have a 2003 LX MT Accord 4-door for 3 more months so I’m driving both. The LX has a tighter turning circle, and feels more balanced than the V6. The manual is fun, especially when you rev it out until the VTEC kicks in. I haven’t seen more than 3000 rpm in the V6 but I haven’t gone faster than that either.

    I especially notice the difference driving up five levels to our high-rise parking space. But the V6 is so smooth, quiet and responsive, it feels like a luxury car. It wafts along. Dab the go pedal at 70 and you’re doing 80. Mash it and you’re in trouble. In the 4 years from 2003 to 2007, Honda added side air bags, curtain air bags and stability control (V6 Model). Same basic car; two different characters, both good.

    We’ve leased 7 Accords since 1997. None spent anytime in the shop. None failed us. All felt as good on the last day of the lease as they did on the first.

    Maybe the Camry or Passat or Altima or Fusion or G7 are competitive. But which would you want to own/lease for the long term?

  • avatar
    Kman

    A good point was made about everyone voting for 10 out of 20. It is true that my 1st choice is not as valuable to me as my 10th choice, but it will be scored as such.

    Truth be told, there were only five candidates that I wanted to vote for; the others I really had to stretch to pick. In hindsight, I should have voted for only the cars that I considered to be Best, rather than force ten artifical votes.

    I think the voting on this needs to be reviewed. I suggest either:

    – Each person votes for one (1) car.
    – Each person votes for their top-three.
    or, slightly more complex
    – Each person votes for their top ten in sequence, and points are assigned accordingly (10 for first, 9 for second, 8 for third, etc…) Max points wins. (And this way, ten 10th places won’t equal ten first places, thus tying two cars).

    On another point: The Crown Vic and Jeep Wrangler are great, niche, counter-culture vehicles, but are just silly on a BEST list. Collectively, we got carried away in having these end up on the final 20 list.

  • avatar
    Drew

    If we lack evidence, we must abstain from judging hastily. I can’t honestly say if the Prius is really saving the world and if it deserves the repuation it has earned, or if it’s just Toyota’s marketing tool to distract environmentalists while they build the FJ Cruiser, the Sequoia, the 4Runner, the Tundra, etc.

    The thing is, we don’t lack evidence. Some people wish to remain ignorant of the evidence – but that’s an entirely different matter. Will the Prius save the world? No. But it’s better than any other mass market car at helping reduce pollution.

    Simply linking to a page of Google search results and the editorial section of a college newspaper is a poor rebuttal of the points that I made in my previous post.

    I’m not in any way affiliated with Toyota or the auto industry, but I am a materials scientist and I do know what I’m talking about when it comes to energy issues. The gas saved by the batteries more than makes up for the energy that was used to make the batteries. It’s late and I’m on my way to bed, so I’m not going to post any links on this right now. If you don’t believe me I’ll provide them later.

    I don’t care if Toyota is using the Prius as a marketing distraction. Sales are up 70% YOY so that would be one hell of a distraction. But even if is is nothing more than that, who cares? The car is still real – you can buy one without having to buy a Tundra.

    I think the real distraction is GMs upcoming hybrid SUVs. The fuel economy and emissions are still going to be horrible on those things and you can bet that Gm will tout them as “Green” to the ends of the earth.

  • avatar
    rabiyya

    I like Kman’s suggestions for voting, however we would have to start over. Maybe they can be put to use in the future.

    I voted for five that I have experience with and I think are arguably best in segment.

    BMW 3-Series: had an E46/330Ci. The virtues of this car (without the iDrive) are well known so I don’t need to pump it. I loved that car but at about the same time that I found myself craving a manual, along came the…

    Porsche Cayman: a strikingly beautiful, exotic-looking, solidly-built sports car that gets real-world 30 mpg highway and doubles as a mood-elevating drug every time I get behind the telepathic steering wheel. For $50k. Non-obvious plus: I’m 6’2″ and have plenty of headroom and legroom with the seat all the way back. Non-obvious minus: I’m 6’2″ and have hit my head entering and exiting the vehicle several times. The windshield/roof line is low for a tall guy so I sometimes have to duck to see the streetlight change, which was not a problem I had in the…

    Jeep Wrangler: our household had a 5-speed 4.0 liter TJ. Okay, it wasn’t the current model, but was fun to drive (including the two weekends a year it actually went off-road), a snap to park (in San Francisco this is key), held its value and did everything it was designed to do very well, including suck up gas. Because of this, it was just replaced by a…

    Honda Fit: someone here described it as the best 100 hp ever (or something like that). He read my mind. We have the Sport, and it is a fun to drive, practical, non-hybrid-but-still-über-economy car that, again, is easy to park in SF and does everything it is designed to do perfectly.

    Infiniti G35: no, there has never been a G35 in our household, but a friend has the new sedan and after a spin around Twin Peaks, I wiped the drool from my chin and had to force myself to not consider trading in the RAV4. It also has a much nicer looking interior than the redesigned 3-series, IMHO.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Putting the Crown Vic on the list of cadidates is just silly. You might as well put the Morgan on the list if you are giving honors to extreme retro-tech. The Crown Vic isn’t available for sale to individuals at retail, it is a fleets only vehicle now. The Crown Vic isn’t even the best taxicab vehicle available in the US, that honor probably goes to the London Taxi: http://www.londontaxisna.com/index02.htm.

    I guess that nobody running the show really wants this site to be taken seriously.

  • avatar

    Crown Vic is an embarrassment to Ford. The Mustang is an antiquated throwback to an era where HP was the only calling card, the Mazda 3 has really bad crash ratings…..

    next

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Zanary:

    Mazda3 got IIHS tested without the side airbags and not surprisingly bombed. EuroNCAP testing for the 3 (with side airbags) was 4 stars:
    http://www.euroncap.com/tests/mazda_3_2006/265.aspx

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    WRX

    End of discussion

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    But how anyone here can stomach forking over 20k to 30k when 2 year old ones that are virtually identican can be found for more than 2/3’s less is beyond me. Seriously, would any enthusiast enjoy the lightning fast depreciation and massive gas consumption this vehicle will inflict in the next five years? For the most part, I doubt it.

    There is a group of enthusiasts dedicated to the Crown Victoria. Crownvic.net

    Those of us in that group who really know something about the Panther platform know where to get a brand new Grand Marquis for $15,000. That’s priced better than ANY sedan on the market.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    But how anyone here can stomach forking over 20k to 30k when 2 year old ones that are virtually identican can be found for more than 2/3’s less is beyond me. Seriously, would any enthusiast enjoy the lightning fast depreciation and massive gas consumption this vehicle will inflict in the next five years? For the most part, I doubt it.

    There is a group of enthusiasts dedicated to the Crown Victoria. Crownvic.net

    Those of us in that group who really know something about the Panther platform know where to get a brand new Grand Marquis for $15,000. That’s priced better than ANY sedan on the market.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    On another point: The Crown Vic and Jeep Wrangler are great, niche, counter-culture vehicles, but are just silly on a BEST list.

    Why is it silly to place the Crown Vic on the best list? Tell me what other car you know of IN PRODUCTION will outlast a Crown Victoria. What transmission in a similarly priced vehicle is as bullet proof as the Crown Victoria?

  • avatar
    rprellwitz

    Here were my votes…
    1. Audi RS4
    2. Corvette Z06
    3. BMW 3 series
    4. Mazda MX-5
    5. Cayman
    6. Subaru WRX STi
    7. Jeep Wrangler

    I was surprised that the Prius didn’t make the list as it seems to have many TBAG worthy traits even if its greeness (is that a word?) is questionable.

  • avatar
    rprellwitz

    Maxb49 –

    You obviously have a lot of passion / devotion to the Panther platform. Out of curiosity how many of the other vehicles on the list have you driven?
    Could you explain what is that special X factor in the Panther platform because seeeing them everyday , having driven them as well I don’t see / feel it. Is the argument that its big, cheap and durable? Does that qualify as X-factor?

  • avatar
    confused1096

    I’ve put my vote in for the Crown Vic. I own one and love the car. If something drastic happens to this one I expect to buy another. Keep in mind that I was very anti-Ford for quite sometime. An absolutely bullet-proof Aerostar and this Crown Vic, that I traded the Aerostar for, have seduced me back into the fold.
    It’s large and roomy, easy to maintain, fun to drive, has PLENTY of aftermarket mods available, and gets better fuel economy than our minivan. Heck, it only averages 3mpg less than my dearly departed Maxima.
    My only real complaint is how Ford has handled the Panther platform. I think they’d could have had high sales numbers if they’d actually updated the car.
    Other cars are faster, others are more nimble, or more economical. But nothing in the 20-30K market is a better all-around sedan. I’ve owned and driven a LOT of cars folks, this one is the best of any of them.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    Here are my top 10. I broke them down, more or less, by category except for the Honda Fit which I just can’t bring myself to vote a 10 best.

    1) Audi RS-4: The closest thing to it on the list is the WRX. Think a more civilized version of the WRX.

    2) WRX: The is nothing like this car for anywhere near the price on the list. This should really be a tie between the STI and the EVO.

    3) Wrangler: only off road vehicle on the list

    4) G35: This car may not be better than the 335, but it IS better than the other ten 3 Series models. The 335 would be on my top 10 list, but I can only vote for the 3 Series and it, by and large, is over-priced for what it offers.

    5) MB E320 Bluetec: The only alternative on the list for full size sedans is the Crown Vic. Need I say more???

    6) Accord: This is the only sub $30K mid-size sedan. The TSX is mostly a more expensive Accord.

    7) GTI: The MS 3 might be faster, but the GTI is the better balanced car and the better daily driver

    8) S2000: This is a close call IMHO, the MX-5 would be an equally good choice. I just like the Honda.

    9) Vette: Mostly a sentimental favorite, one of the few bright lights in the entire GM line (At least I’m honest about my biases).

    10) 911: Delivers supercar performance for less than super car prices (ie Maserati)

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    Minor amendments:

    I included the Honda Fit because is it the only car in that class. I deleted the Accord because the car is competent but soul-less. The GTI does most of what the Accord does and is far more fun. Finally, I substituted the MX-5 for the S2000. Yeah the S2000 looks better in my eyes, but both cars have their flaws. When cars have warts, I choose the cheaper of the two and that’s the MX-5.

  • avatar
    bmilner

    I have mixed feelings about the list as well, for the following reasons:

    1. Reliability: as someone who owns a 2003 Passat that has been in the shop 6 times, I simly can NOT vote for a car that can’t bring itself to work properly and often (this means you GTI, and probably you Mercedes)

    2. Porsche’s: I think they are hot cars, sure, but did you have to eat up 15% of your spaces on the list with 3 near identical models?

    3. Prius: I haven’t driven one, but by all accounts, for its size, drivability, mileage and reliabiility, it’s top of the heap.

    Gulty pleasure that I like on the list. The Maserati. No rational part of my mind wants to like that unreliable overpriced car. Yet, everytime I see one, I want one… BADLY.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    Claude,
    There is no serious driver that would refer to a Maserati a supercar. There are of course Marerati die hards mired in the glory of years gone by. Comparing (presumably??) the Turbo to the Maserati does not do any justice to the Porsche.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    evohappy:

    You are right, the Maserati is an exotic, not a supercar. Even less reason to spend the money to own it.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    “Other cars are faster, others are more nimble, or more economical. But nothing in the 20-30K market is a better all-around sedan. I’ve owned and driven a LOT of cars folks, this one is the best of any of them.”

    Confused:

    What is your definition of all round sedan??? I’d wager that if you showed the above quote to just about anyone here, the Crown Vic would be the last or close to last vehicle they would think of (assuming they would think of it at all).

  • avatar
    Jim H

    I think it’s “all-around” EXCEPT for fun to drive, faster, nimble, and economical :) You pretty much have to take those things away from the Acura TSX to consider the crown vic. :)

  • avatar
    akitadog

    The lever has been pulled and the holes have been punched. Here are my TBAGs and why:

    Audi RS-4 – (New) M3 Power with AWD surefootedness, amazing good looks. The sports car for the man w/ family to haul. RS4 Avant would be icing on the cake.

    Chevy Corvette – The affordable near-supercar and supercar (base and Z06, respectively). American muscle, good looks, good cargo room, great mileage, affordable, daily driver, outruns most anything, I could go on…

    Honda Accord – Everyman’s best car. Best blend of comfort, sportiness, reliability, value, resell, perfect for the man who had to give up his 3 series dream for that new bun in the oven.

    Honda Fit – The best all-around car for 20-something city slickers on a budget. Great passenger and cargo room, good looks (w/ sport trim dress-up), Honda reliability, inexpensive (not to be confused with cheap).

    Infiniti G35 – Coupe is perfect for those not inflicted with poseuritis (aka mustbedeutschinosis). As well, the best sports car for those who need two extra seats and can’t afford the RS4. Upcoming G37 will be even better.

    Jeep Wrangler – Trail-rated goodness for those who get their kicks that way (not me, though). Purpose-built for where no other dare tread; although most in my area are spotted spotless on the commute. They must know why the caged bird sings.

    Mazda Mazda3 – Driving one now (5-door), granted, it’s my fiance’s (autobox). I steered her toward it, but, I admit, for selfish reasons. Best all-around small car, great cargo room, decent space, best handler this side of MINI, sweet looks, great for the starter family.

    Mazda MX-5 – What’s to say? Still the leader in affordable, no-frills RWD sunny-day fun. Excellent car for Everyman to supplement that Accord (see above). Killer contrarian value at 1 to 2 yrs old.

    Porsche Cayman – Best sports car on the list (Cayman S). Goes fast, stops fast, turns sharp, looks sharp. It has the cache if you have the cash. When’s the next spec-race? Big brother feels fat by comparison.

    VW GTI – My all-around favorite car for the enthusiast who’s got other stuff to make payments on as well. Great passenger and cargo room, interior rocks, accelerates well, handles well in spite of its heft. Really equal to its overpriced A3 cousin. Not a step down, but sideways. Will be mine when I’m done paying for some other stuff.

    Why the old-tech Jeep, but not the equally old-tech Crown Vic, you ask? Wrangler has dominated its niche forever. Vic was just another big American sedan when it first came out, now it’s the geezer amidst other, better American (and foreign) sedans. No competitor to the Wrangler has yet to knock the king off the hill.

  • avatar
    kjc117

    I voted my 10 :)

    Why are both Ford’s on the list?
    Crwn Vic is a dangerous car with fuel tank behind the rear axle and many people have been seriously injured by this poor design.

    Mustang living in the past glory, sure the 60’s Stang was classic but the current version in not worthy of any 10 best list. No IRS in a sports car in 2007?? If you want a big engine rear drive American sports car besides the Corvette why not the Dodge Charger?

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Why are both Ford’s on the list?
    Crwn Vic is a dangerous car with fuel tank behind the rear axle and many people have been seriously injured by this poor design.

    This is b.s. and you know it. Car fires in the police interceptor editions were caused by an improper installation of police trunk equipment, at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour!

    The Crown Victoria is safer than many other vehicles on the market. When is this incorrect myth going to die the horrible death it deserves?

    Mustang living in the past glory, sure the 60’s Stang was classic but the current version in not worthy of any 10 best list. No IRS in a sports car in 2007??

    If you want a big engine rear drive American sports car besides the Corvette why not the Dodge Charger?

    Because the Dodge car is a big, bulky, four door sedan that lumbers along the highway…

    C’mon now! Compare segment to segment. This is like saying, if you want a powerful, rear drive German car, why not get a BMW 7-series instead of a AMG Mercedes. *rolls eyes*

  • avatar
    Alcibiades

    Anyone who gripes about the Crown Vic being on the list should go back and read Sajeev Mehta’s review of the Grand Marquis. You may not agree with him, or with all of us Panther-platform lovers, but it isn’t crazy to say that a brand new well-equipment Grandma for $21,000 is a helluva great value, with a lot of brickhouse swagger thrown in for good measure.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Alci,

    Good point. Unfortunately, everything is going up in price. When I was touring the various auto shows at the beginning of this year, I saw the price tags on these cars. $50k for a crew cab pickup with leather. $38-$45k for a minivan. $23k for a moderately equipped small car.

    People are getting fed up with the auto industry in general. They aren’t voting on blogs, they are voting with they wallets. People are not buying new cars. Who can blame them?

    Much of the problem can be attributed to a sluggish economy, high fuel prices, etc. The party days of the 1990s are over, and the only thing that’s going to get the ball rolling again is new technology. By new technology, I’m not referring to redesigned bucket seats in your Camcord/Lexucura equivalent. I’m talking about the hydrogen powered car. It’s coming. It will be here next year. The hydrogen car will turn the economy right side up and the auto industry on its head. The hydrogen car is technology.

    Whether you like the Acura badge-engineered Accord over the Crown Vic is really a matter of personal taste. Cosmetics and safety equipment aside, the automobile in its present state remains unchanged since its inception. The V8 has been around for a century since its inception in France. The V6 since the 1960s. That’s why I don’t buy the argument that the Crown Victoria is n undesirable due to it being a modernized Ford Galaxie. If that’s the case, so be it, but your Honda Accord is a modern iteration of an old Buick.

    As for the Mustang? It won’t appeal to automotive snobs, but it runs like hell. If that’s not fast enough, plenty of equipment is available at your fingertips to make the car run faster. Pony up the bucks, and the pony car will walk away from any Viper, Z06, Porsche 911 Turbo, or Ferrari in the quarter mile. Want to go around a corner you say? Do some minor suspension tweaks. Dollar for dollar, the Mustang offers great performance and the possibility of supercar performance (with money invested that will total less than a Z06 sold under sticker). THAT is why the Mustang is one of the Ten Best Automobiles Going.

    Next year we can enjoy our hydrogen, 68 mpg combined, cars. Today, lets enjoy motoring for what it is. :)

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Ladies and Gentlemen, 2 quick comments.

    The first is about some comments that this is not democratic because we don’t have preferential balloting, or weighted voting, or because “my suggestion isn’t in the final 20.” Yes. Democracies are about many people getting what they are sort of mostly okay with.

    Secondly, and I hate to pick on someone’s comment, but a person in this thread argued about the lack of the Prius by saying “3. Prius: I haven’t driven one, but by all accounts, for its size, drivability, mileage and reliabiility, it’s top of the heap.” TBAG is exactly the opposite of this list of criteria. Plenty of people are well informed about cars. But TBAG is about cars for car lovers. I know an awful lot about insurance law, but let’s get real, it’s not my life’s passion. This is not just an objective contest, which would be impossible anyway, but a subjective evaluation. A car could get 100 mpg, do 0-60 in 4 seconds, seat 8, be safe enough to withstand mortars, and be recyclable into generic medications. We could still hate it.

    Let C&D and R&T pick their faves based on advertising money. Let Consumer Reports name cars on the basis of what makes the most “objective” sense. This is about the cars that, for some reason or another, hold our fascination and attention. They have character and charm all their own.

  • avatar
    niky

    Well, it’s too bad, at that. I seconded (or thirded) the Prius nomination on the fact that it’s actually a pretty nifty machine to drive. Not because it’ll “save the Earth”. It’s fun, but not in the classical corner-carving / pedal-to-the-metal sense.

    But I can understand… there has to be some subjectivity to this… after all, this is an enthusiast site, and almost all of the cars in the final twenty should appeal to enthusiasts one way or the other.

    —–

    Comments on the Mazdaspeed3: re: marketing engineered. I am similarly saddened by the fact that it isn’t AWD, but still, offering that kind of performance at that price has to count as some sort of coup. Besides, most of us old Mazda owners, used to FF performance from the “zoom zoom” brand are complaining that much. Unlike some other makers, who shall remain anonymous, Mazda makes FF cars that can actually turn.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    Maxb49,
    Suspension tweaks will only improve a cars ability to maneuver to a degree. It is the chassis that dictates the machines overall performance, the suspension only complements the chassis. With a chassis as archaic and unsophisticated as a Mustangs there is really no amount of suspension work that could get it to race properly. The chassis must be modified. If you have ever driven a proper car at 9/10ths-10/10ths you would understand that comparing a Mustang to a Ferrari/997 Twim Turbo is rediculous. A Shelby GT500 Cobra with a Roush kit will not lap faster than my stock Evo. Vipers are trash and reducing the multifaceted dynamicism of truly proper racing machines to their quarter mile trap in order that the Mustang be comparable to them is an insult. If you have ever seen a Mustang outmaneuver a Ferrari, Porsche or Evo there must have been a fantastic amount of money invested in that car or his opponents were as fantastically inept.

  • avatar
    GT-R

    The only automobile on this list that combines the best attributes of everything in the top 20 nominations is the Infiniti G35. It is brilliant to drive, has a superb power-train, is packed with technology, has excellent built quality, has a luxurious interior, is roomy inside, and all this at an amazing price. Like someone else mentioned before, even the resale value is near the top nowadays. I personally think that it is currently the best sports-sedan that Japan has ever produced. The G35 even pays homage to its Japanese heritage with its washi interior trim and sword-like grille.

    The BMW 3-Series is also brilliant in almost every way, but its price and interior drags it down.

    The G35 has already collected a bunch of awards, and TBAG would surely be icing on the cake.

    1. Car and Driver 10 Best – 2007 Infiniti G35
    2. Automobile Magazine All-Star – 2007 Infiniti G35
    3. IGN Best Japanese Car – 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport 6MT
    4. CNET Top Luxury Technology Cars – 2007 Infiniti G35
    5. MSN Best Winter Car (Near Luxury) – 2007 Infiniti G35x
    6. Consumer Reports (Best Upscale Sedan) – 2007 Infiniti G35
    7. MotorWeek Drivers Choice Award (Best Sports Sedan) – 2007 Infiniti G35
    8. Intellichoice Best Overall Value (Sports Sedans Under $38k) – 2007 Infiniti G35

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Evohappy9, let’s go through your argument point by point:

    Suspension tweaks will only improve a cars ability to maneuver to a degree. It is the chassis that dictates the machines overall performance, the suspension only complements the chassis.

    This is true, but the tone of your argument suggests that the GT500’s chassis is about as stiff as overcooked macaroni, which isn’t true.

    With a chassis as archaic and unsophisticated as a Mustangs there is really no amount of suspension work that could get it to race properly.

    Your point about the Mustang platform being archaic is dead wrong. The platform code is D2C and it was introduced for the 2005 model year.

    Your point would be moot even if the Mustang platform were 3,000 years old. A platform is a design idea. An idea’s effectiveness is not a function of the time elapsed since it was conceived in some person’s mind, and if you think it is, I’m sorry, you’re WRONG. It’s a non sequitur

    The chassis must be modified. If you have ever driven a proper car at 9/10ths-10/10ths you would understand that comparing a Mustang to a Ferrari/997 Twim Turbo is rediculous.

    Don’t make assumptions about people you don’t know, and don’t be condescending. I many, many years of automotive engineering under my belt and I am well versed in performance driving and has owned an extensive array of automobiles. Some I liked (the Porsche 911) and some I didn’t like (the M5). A car is as balanced as you build it to be.

    Why don’t we compare your Mitsubishi to a Saleen S7? I will be lucky enough to own that car (the S7) but I have driven it and it is more balanced than anything from Ferrari, Ford, Chevy, Mercedes, the list goes on. The S7 is a car engineered for downforce, something that most Ferraris aren’t built for. Obviously, the FXX is omitted from that Venn diagram.

    A Shelby GT500 Cobra with a Roush kit will not lap faster than my stock Evo.

    The GT500 doesn’t need a Roush kit to lap your Mitsubishi. A Corvette Z06 will slaughter that little Japanese wonder at Laguna Seca. GT500s, stock, are comparable (if slightly slower) than Z06s. Minor suspension tweaks have them on par with or better than their Chevrolet counterparts. That is a fact.

    Vipers are trash. . .

    I want to know exactly what you mean by trash. If by trash you mean not everyone’s cup of tea as a daily driver, fine, but you Evo is trash by that definition with its uncomfortable seats, ugly design, and despicable ride – to scratch the surface. And that puts it on par with the Viper.

    . . .and reducing the multifaceted dynamicism

    Whatever that means.

    of truly proper racing machines to their quarter mile trap in order that the Mustang be comparable to them is an insult.

    Truly proper racing machines? What is a truly proper racing machine? A truly proper racing machine is an automobile that was designed, built, and bred to run races and only run races day in and day out. There is not a single car on this list that is a “truly proper racing machine.” Not one. The Saleen S7 Twin Turbo track edition isn’t on there, nor is the Ferrari FXX, a Honda F1 car, or Junior’s Monte Carlo. The Ten Best Automobiles Going is about daily drivers sold to the every day consumer and the consumer enthusiast. A race bred Corvette wouldn’t be seen on the street and neither would an Evo purpose built for the track..

    If you have ever seen a Mustang outmaneuver a Ferrari, Porsche or Evo there must have been a fantastic amount of money invested in that car or his opponents were as fantastically inept.

    I noticed your attempt to slip Ferrari, Porsche, and Evo into the same breath. Whatever money spent on the Mustang to outmaneuver a Ferrari or Porsche would be peanuts compared to the price difference between the Mustang and the Ferrari/Porsche.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised the 300C didn’t make it, considering the comment about big, American sedans in reference to the Crown Vic.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    GT500s, stock, are comparable (if slightly slower) than Z06s. Minor suspension tweaks have them on par with or better than their Chevrolet counterparts. That is a fact.

    No. That is NOT a fact. Not even in the same galaxy as a fact. Per my closing statement, you must be driving with neophytes. A Shelby GT500 pace a Z06???!!!! I’m laughing heartily. The guy in the Z06 must of had his throttle foot fall asleep. Maybe he didn’t know they were racing? I have never seen a Mustang do anything but blunder and stumble about on a track (and that is with professional Ford drivers). As for the Roush kit, I have raced several, and no, they still can’t keep up with my stock Evo. What is difficult though is trying to find guys with national/regional racing licences that actually drive those…….cars that Maxb49 is fond of.

    I noticed your attempt to slip Ferrari, Porsche, and Evo into the same breath. Whatever money spent on the Mustang to outmaneuver a Ferrari or Porsche would be peanuts compared to the price difference between the Mustang and the Ferrari/Porsche.

    Please sir do your reasearch. If you did you would already know that Evos and STIs are considerably de-tuned for their sale in the US and it requires remarkably little to elimate the resrictions. For $4,200 my track Evo is doing 0-60 in 3.1 with a standing quarter of 11.4. Unlike the Mustang my Evo can handle the power in and out of the corners. I don’t need my track Evo, though, to race a GT500. Anyway, for about $35,000 total (cost of car – reflash as mentioned above, KW suspension, trunk & chassis ladder stabilizer and roll cage) my track Evo goes toe to toe with your Z06 (which is a very fun car by the way). Not to mention it trounces the 997 Twin Turbo and the F430 on a regular basis.

    Truly proper racing machines? What is a truly proper racing machine?ect..ect..

    I believe that is self evident. A machine that does not require a substantial lift on the throttle when maneuvering agressively-or when accelerating hard on a poorly paved road. A Mustang/Viper driver will lose several tenths in every turn because of the greater throttle lift follwed by rapid decceleration that is required to maintain stability in the corner. Their virtue lies in their straight line power. Both would be better cars if the power was reduced and a little more consideration was made to the machines ability to harness what it has.

    I want to know exactly what you mean by trash. If by trash you mean not everyone’s cup of tea as a daily driver, fine, but you Evo is trash by that definition with its uncomfortable seats, ugly design, and despicable ride – to scratch the surface. And that puts it on par with the Viper.

    I completely agree. The Evo is one extraordinarily foolish looking car. You say its ugly, I would rather it was ugly than foolish. My idea of comfort is a 5-point harness and a turbo charger so I really can’t comment on its ride. I can only say that compared to what I’m accustomed to the stock Evo is a plush ride to me and I love the seats.
    As far as the trash statement – there is no greater waste to me than unusable power in a car; which is what the Viper is, unusable power. It is an $80,000 quarter mile car. I know several people that own them and even they will concede that it’s not a race car. I believe that you deliberately contorted my statement about “proper race cars” into it’s ideological extreme to present my argument as irrational. Let’s please keep this civil.

    Your point would be moot even if the Mustang platform were 3,000 years old. A platform is a design idea. An idea’s effectiveness is not a function of the time elapsed since it was conceived in some person’s mind, and if you think it is, I’m sorry, you’re WRONG. It’s a non sequitur
    Holy smokes!! I’m in debate over whether this is Transcendental Aesteticism or Deconstructionism. Give me a minute…..I’m going to go with Deconstructionism. It seems that my colloquialism escaped you’re attention. When the design is antiquarian in reality, the date of it’s conception in reality and release to reality is quite irrelevant. I used the term archaic to accentuate the technologically wanting nature of the chassis. I was not concatenating the temporal relationship between the “idea” and the object – but linguistically connecting the object, for effect, to a word denoting age.
    Very Respectfully,
    KP

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    . .and reducing the multifaceted dynamicism

    Whatever that means.

    Sorry!! It’s late and I’m sleepy. Post Script : exactly what I said. You blithely ignored the spectacular maneuvering attributes(multifaceted dynamicism) of the said machines, thus “reducing” their performance to straight line dynamics in order to compare the Mustang to them.
    Good Night
    (I apologize for the word “dynamicism” – a former professor of mine petitioned to have it officially incorporated into the English language. I believe it failed but I do like the word. Unfortunately it has been chosen to represent a specific field of physical science).

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Some important points to address:

    No. That is NOT a fact. Not even in the same galaxy as a fact. Per my closing statement, you must be driving with neophytes. A Shelby GT500 pace a Z06???!!!! I’m laughing heartily. The guy in the Z06 must of had his throttle foot fall asleep. Maybe he didn’t know they were racing? I have never seen a Mustang do anything but blunder and stumble about on a track (and that is with professional Ford drivers).

    I am glad that you buy into the advertising paid for heavily by General Motors. I own both a Z06 and a Shelby. (I have owned high performance BMWs that I didn’t care for and a WRX that handled well.) I prefer my Shelby to the Z06. It is capable of keeping pace around a track with it. Laugh as you may, I have a regional racing license. What part of the country are you from? I would be happy to engage you in a friendly race if we are near each other. 

    Please sir do your reasearch. If you did you would already know that Evos and STIs are considerably de-tuned for their sale in the US and it requires remarkably little to elimate the resrictions.

    This is something I can appreciate and I have been making the same argument all along for the GT500. I would make this argument for just about any muscle/performance car that lists for under $50k. (Finding a GT500 at the moment that isn’t outrageously marked up is admittedly difficult, though not impossible.)

    For $4,200 my track Evo is doing 0-60 in 3.1 with a standing quarter of 11.4. Unlike the Mustang my Evo can handle the power in and out of the corners. I don’t need my track Evo, though, to race a GT500.

    $5,900 has my GT500 into the mid to high 10s. Your track Evo could probably get close on a good day assuming the 11.4 number given is an average. Your track Evo is a blisteringly quick car, a credible racing machine, and more than makes its case in terms of dollar for dollar performance. But it won’t outgun a Shelby that has comparable money invested. A drivers race, if you will.

  • avatar

    Quite frankly, I’m a little suprized that the Lotus Elise wasn’t nominated.

    Nothing handles better – it looks great – its cheap – and, it is practically daily-driver friendly.

    I’m not in the camp that is willing to compare the Elise to the Boxster. The Porsche is a much more comfortable, more expensive, less engaging drive. And, to my eyes looks a little funny. The mid-engine layout is right on but the chassis can handle a lot more power. Its also common – seems like every other car I pass on the way out of Manhattan is an leased, automatic Boxster on its way back to New Jersey.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    Maxb49,
    The statements in your second thread have me listening. I will ask you, though, why it is that Mustangs are rarely seen at race tracks? From my experience, and that is with considerable driving on European tracks, Mustangs almost never make an appearance. When they do, modified or not, it is never a good showing.

    I will apologize to you for coming off rather harsh. I was simply nonplussed when you stated that you had considerable seat time in Porsches/Ferraris and still deigned to ask the question “what is a proper race car?”. That put me out.

    With my experience with the Z06 it seemed to me to require rather hard throttling to push (force) it through the corners which per force prematurely wears the tires. If that technique is not used record lap times will probably not be met (from my perspective). I know several Z06 owners that admit to this handicap. Do you have any insight into proper throttle positioning in agressive cornering for the Z06- is there a different way to corner that does not involve modifications to the rear suspension? Since you own a Z06 you obviously have experience with the car and as I have yet to meet anyone that could offer up a different method maybe you know someting the rest of us don’t. As far as your comments on the GT500, how then do you compare the two in aggressive maneuvering? I have driven a stock Shelby GT500 and was completely unimpressed. No doubt, the engine is huge and straight line power is not an issue. My primary concern is that of curb weight. Extra body welds and suspension tuning will only go so far – I think that you will agree that the Roush modifications are fairly radical compared to what other cars need to race. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that the few Mustangs I have met at the track were owned and modified by blockheads. Always a great deal of talk on suspension work/chassis mods followed by lackluster performance. A GT500 in the high tens is a breeze (comparatively speaking) to achieve. So I would like some informed insight into the maneuvering dynamics of the GT500 (modified to your specs) and why you feel it is superior to the Z06.

    My 11.4 time is an average – as I don’t spend much time at the trap I can’t give you a true number. What I can say is that the 11.4 comes from a soft launch as I do not feel the need to hard launch unless under special circumstances (transmission/transaxle preservation). Twice at the trap I ran a 4500rpm drop and achieved a 10.94/11.05 respectively. To get an Evo to start racing consistantly in the high tens and lower will require considerably more money. There is a limit to the madness. I know this is long winded so bear with me. Straight line power is achievable in almost any car, it’s getting the machine to harness the power and channel the physical loads against the chassis in a way so as to maintain stability while at high speed.

    Let me give this example:
    There is a beautifully serpentine, poorly paved/buckling back country road not too far from me. About two weeks ago – around 7:50am Saturday morning I was tooling about in my daily driver Evo going to pick up a friend. The next thing I realize there is a Roush GT500 (flaming white with blue racing stripes right? or is that a different model?) riding up my trunk. I waited until we were entering a hard right ascending elliptical turn and went full on the throttle – once you emerge from the turn you can see the road for quite a distance and there are many right to left short swings, almost like a 3/4 mile long chicane. Comming out of the turn and into this “chicane” I could see that the Roush GT500 driver was taken aback by the speed with which I could negotiate the first turn and my lead continued to rapidly increase. Was this a case of not enough mettle on his part or sheer physical limitation of the car?

    I live in the Mid-Atlantic area and also have a regional licence. I specialize in gravel and tarmac rallying.

    Regarding the not “outgunnung” the Shelby comment, if you are referencing brute force I totally agree (though I have seen some 1000hp Evos – whether they worked or not I don’t know). Surely you realize though that speed through the corners and proper braking skills wins the race. I am simply having a difficult time envisaging a Mustang that handles as well as an Evo.


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

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States