By on May 9, 2007

light.jpgNominations for our Ten Best Automobiles  for 2007 proceed apace. So far, you’ve nominated 96 different [sold as] new vehicles, from the A3 to the Z4. We thought you might appreciate some fresh cyberspace in which to nominate, elucidate and participate in this automotive love-fest. Nominations are open until midnight (EST) this Friday; feel free to forward any further contenders or add your comments up until the deadline. Our writers will then select twenty finalists so you can choose the Ten Best. Meanwhile, here are some highlights from your nominations for the best of the best.   

In nominating the Ford Crown Victoria, Ingvar stated, “I am not American, and I haven’t been to the USA. But if I went there, I would buy one just to feel as American as possible. This and the Town Car should be put up in the MOMA or the Smithsonian as examples of true heroes of American industrialism.”

Matthew Sullivan explained how the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution earned his respect. “At first, I had no idea what I was getting… [Then] I got seat time in some of the greats in all prices ranges: Vette, Viper, M3, M5 (the new one), Boxster, S4, Mini Cooper JCW, Miata, Golf GTI, Civic Si, Euro Focus ST, etc… Eventually I came to realize that the Evo was my ‘price is no object’ car.”

There were plenty of paeans to more prosaic machines. Steven Lang nominated the Toyota Corolla. “I know this is a shocker from a sports car enthusiast. However I have to tip my hat to a model that represents the pinnacle of reliability, fuel efficiency, design efficiency, and just plain common sense. As a commuting device the Corolla simply makes more sense than any other compact car.”

As this part of the process does depend on the weight of numbers, I haven’t totaled up the number of nominations for each car (if someone wants to…). It seems fairly clear that the Mazda MX-5 and Jeep Wrangler are well-loved and respected favorites.

Steve Green spoke for many when he praised this most quintessential of American off-roaders: “A great vehicle is neither more nor less than exactly what it needs to be. By that measure, the new Jeep Wrangler is a damn good vehicle. The new Wrangler distills 60 years of tradition into unheard-of off-road skills, and better on-road manners than anyone could reasonably expect.”

HawaiiJim was positively poetic in his ardor for the Subaru Forester.

Not too wide and not too tall,
Its versatility stuns us all.
All-wheel drive for a stormy day,
Easy loading is its way.
Entry needs no leaps or bends
Through curvy roads it easily wends.
Gorgeous, No, babe-magnet, Not…
But super visibility makes it hot.
Common sense makes one thing clear
I nominate Forester with no fear!

Several commentators wanted to know why readers were nominating cars they had never driven, owned or otherwise personally experienced. As Virgil said, they can because they think they can. And they’re right. There are a lot of good reasons for nominating a car for a the Ten Best: looks, sound, specifications, technological prowess, pedigree, reputation, etc. Besides, in these YouTubular times, personal experience comes in many forms. 

Ryan remarked: “When all these nominations are rounded up, it’d be interesting to see how many cars were nominated for both Ten Best and Ten Worst.” So I dug out the list of Ten Worst Automobiles nominees and had a look. They are the best of cars; they are the worst of cars.

Acura TL
Audi A3
BMW Z4
Chevy Impala
Chrysler 300C/SRT8
Ford Crown Victoria
Ford F150
Ford  Mustang
Honda Accord
Honda Civic
Honda Fit
Hyundai Tiburon
Jeep Wrangler
Land Rover Range Rover
Lincoln  Town Car
Mazda RX-8
MINI Cooper
Mitsubishi Lancer GS
Pontiac Solstice/GPX
Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Saturn Sky/Red Line
Scion xB
Toyota Camry
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Prius
VW Jetta GLI
VW Rabbit

This bi-polar poll demonstrates our readers’ catholic (small c) tastes. Which brings us to ole’s observation: “Do you guys even know how great this is, that 122 people have commented and stayed on topic, and haven’t abused each other for their opinions? How cool and [unfortunately] rare.”

Even though the delete button did see some service, I echo that sentiment. TTAC has the best group of readers in cyberland. While the comments on many other automotive websites often degenerate into flame wars and sophomoric name-calling, we can count on you, our faithful, literate readers to provide well-informed and thought-provoking insights, no matter what the subject.

Thanks to all of you for your part in making TTAC a safe haven for dangerous thinking. I look forward to revealing the 20 finalists and your 10 winners. Oh, and look out for a major surprise in the next day or so. We’re taking this bad boy to the next level. Our treat.

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125 Comments on “TTAC’s Ten Best Automobiles for 2007: So Far, So Good...”


  • avatar
    Mcloud1

    I have Three.

    Saturn Aura. It is a well made car and it shows that theres hope for Saturn.

    Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan. Both are well built contenders in the midslze market. I exclude the Lincoln MKZ because I absoultely HATE its interior design.

    Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. It is a potent track car, road car, and rally car. It also seats five, and looks good. It is every car you will ever need blended into one.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    With due respect to the Fusion/Milan and Aura this is about BEST not mere competence. IMHO

  • avatar
    shaker

    I have two:
    Honda Fit: Though driver ergonomics (i.e. lack of driver’s seat height adjustment) make it less than perfect, the Fit shows that an economical car can have the “fun factor”, quality build, and a resonable price. Although short supplies have resulted in MSRP (or higher) sales prices, the idea of just two trim levels (both well equipped) makes buying one so easy — Base or Sport, Auto or Manual.
    Nissan Altima: THE alternative to Camry/Accord/Fusion: Different look (love it or hate it, you’ll stand out), better engine choices than competition, 6-speed or CVT. A well-equipped V6 can be had for less than 25K. The kicker: It’s built in Tennesee, making it more “domestic” than the Fusion.

  • avatar
    Blunozer

    “A great vehicle is neither more nor less than exactly what it needs to be.”

    THIS… This is one of the best summations I have ever heard. Bravo!

  • avatar

    This will get me some funny looks, but…

    Pontiac Vibe / Toyota Matrix.

    Good hauling room, very comfortable, the manual tranny’s surprisingly fun to thrash around, and the fuel economy’s quite good. I ended up grabbing a Vibe during the great GM fire sale, and I’m very pleased with it.

  • avatar
    AKM

    Thanks very much Frank. TTAC is one of those rare places where I have fun reading both the articles and the comments, and where I know I get my time’s worth of interesting, documented, and strong-headed (in the good sense of the term) opinions.

    Thanks to all for keeping it that way!! It’s an honor to participate here.

  • avatar
    mikey

    The Impala and the Crown Vic make both lists?That speaks volumes.The Vic is the car us baby boomers grew up with.The Impala is an updated?version.
    Whatever, I think both should make the top 20.
    And the fact that I,m a Canadian and an autoworker,and both cars are made in Canada{lots of US parts}does not cloud my judgement——“much.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    I’m going with these:

    Civic Si, for staying young and coming from the future. It sticks to Si roots by giving us speed, economy, and superb engineering.

    GTI, for original hot-hatch fun and practicality. Plus, it comes in a 3 or 5 door now. And it has throwback plaid seats! Yes!

    Lotus Elise, for being the most uncompromising, tightly-focused sports car on the market. It shows that blazing speed and hurt-your-neck handling can come in an ultralight package. There is a reason go-karts are always fun to drive.

  • avatar
    Hank

    My top would have to be…

    VW Phaeton…I may be the only American but I really like that car.

    Mini Cooper…A go-kart with A/C…how could you not like that?

    Charger SRT-8
    Honda Fit
    F-150 crew cab w/King Ranch (I’m still a displaced Texan at heart)
    Aston Martin…every one they make, just stunning

  • avatar
    BLS

    Chevy Astro

    Workhorse, Family hauler, least deaths per million vehicles.

    What other car can go on year after year completely unchanged and remain competetive.

    It is a real van not like other minivans. Do you think people would still buy Toyota Siennas in 10 years if they never ever changed them.

  • avatar
    chamar

    I still think that Ford Fusion/Milan needs to be in the top 10 list. I have had lots of cars and the rubbermaid interior is inexcusible (Had an Altima as a rental couple of days back and it wasn’t much better either), however still its a half decent car.

    Would love to see that car in top 10.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    Ok if we are allowed to vote for something that being in the US haven’t seen let alone driven, I vote for a Ford Focus ST (the everywhere except the US version)

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I vote to unnominate the Aura and the Fusion. “a half decent car” or “shows there is hope for Saturn” don’t TTAC’s Ten Best Automobiles Going make. The cars are good, but their not class best, which means they’re not TBAG material. The best car in this segment remains a toss up between the Accord (even in its fifth year) or the Camry. Call me when GM or Ford decide to built something better, not just competitive with (fakey Car & Driver demonstration events notwithstanding).

  • avatar
    N85523

    Yep, there really is something to be said for the reader comments on this site. There’s nothing juvenile about it, unlike so many others. A lot of people even use proper spelling and grammar. Thanks, TTAC, for fostering such an environment, and for your quality control when readers begin to behave like a Land Rover Discovery when it reaches 10,000 miles.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    ejacobs:

    I think captured the sentiment of many in your comments on the Lotus: “most uncompromising, tightly-focused sports car on the market.” My question is why we value these virtues in the Elise and ignore the very same virtues in the WRX STI/EVO??? After the Elise, is there a more tightly focused car on the market than these two??? I’ll take it one step further. For the money, aren’t both the STI and the EVO better performance values that the Elise??? Just as I would question any 10 best car list that left the Elise off, I would similarly question any 10 best list that left both of these cars off the list. Here is my list of cars that have to be on any piston-head list:

    Lotus Elise
    WRX STI/EVO
    Cayman S
    BMW 335i

    You can argue about the Bimmer if you want, but this is easily the best car in the entire BMW line and the only one that is arguably a bargain to boot if you consider the cars this Bimmer can run with. There is nothing quite like any of these high performance cars on the market right now. Let all the other cars duke it out for the remaining six spots on the list.+

  • avatar
    gogogodzilla

    I still say the VW GTI is the best for the money.

    A sweet little 2-liter turbocharged engine providing oodles of horsepower and torque.

    An Audi-like luxury interior.

    Handling that can be all things at all times. Great for cruising, canyon-carving, track laps… and carting the kids aroud.

    And the versatility of a hatchback.

    Let’s not forget the DSG transmission, either. Six speeds, shifts completed in microseconds, better acceleration and fuel economy than a stick. What’s not to love?

    All that, at a price point in the very low $20’s.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Please allow me to make a couple of suggestions of a couple dream machines that I think have been overlooked.

    First, the Mercedes-Benz SL600 Roadster. I’m not a big MB fan (I generally find them too sterile), but what’s not to love about a V-12 packed so expertly into an open air 2-seater? Mmmmm. MB claims that this little honey puts 510hp @ 5000rpm and 612lb-ft torque all the way from 1900 to 3500rpm. Oh, and zero to sixty in 4.4seconds. And all this for only $132,775.

    Second, the Bentley Continental GTC. Another reader mentioned the GT, but I find the convertible much more compelling. Bentley is another company that I generally do not like because most of their cars look too stuffy and old. With the V-12 GTC, Bentley created a svelte contemporary look that preserves its heritage and distinction – a very difficult thing to do. When I have seen these in the wild I have nearly twisted my head off my shoulders checking it out.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    I would go for z06, if they blended c-pillar into rear fender and offered a better interior with more sophisticated radio/a/c controls. wait a minute… let it be corvetee zo6 ss.

  • avatar
    rashakor

    I don’t know you all guys but you gotta love this comment:
    “Thanks to all of you for your part in making TTAC a safe haven for dangerous thinking.”

  • avatar
    mikey

    Calling Lichtronamo you said to call when GM builds something better than the Camry. Just park an Impala beside a Camry and compare objectivly.
    Looks alone get my vote I didn’t mind the older Camry
    A bland car is a bland car.What was Toyota thinking when they changed that front end

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Hank:

    VW Phaeton’s off the market, I doubt it qualifies.

    BLS:

    Astro production ceased a couple years back, so it doesn’t qualify either. There was no direct competition in the US in its later years, although there are lots of smaller RWD/cargo vans overseas which if brought over would have forced GM to upgrade. The 2nd gen $printer is about to arrive here on these shores, if you want a new Astro-like vehicle.

    As for Toyota Siennas and other minivans, competition in the FF van sector is fierce. Look where the class was 10 years ago, and how much has changed – powertrain refinements, airbags everywhere, flexible seating, underdeck stowage, audio/video. Look to the upcoming DCX vans and overseas 2nd gen Toyota Estima and 3rd gen MPV/Mazda8 to see where the future is going – satellite dual-screen TV, swivel seats, hybrid + electric AWD, turbo + direct injection, reclining lounge seats.

    As a response, Ford and GM have thrown up the white flag and slapped on the swing-out doors with Flex and Lambda. Ford admitted that admitted sliding doors on the Flex would have cost too much to implement, a.k.a. more Deathwatch material. A Lambda based minivan is rumored to have been scrapped for the same reason.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I wonder if those nominating the Fusion and the Auru would still do so if the very same cars sported Toyota, Honda, Nissan or Hyundai badges? The fact that a US branded vehicle or two is finally in the hunt doesn’t make them one of the best cars available. Home team advantage shouldn’t count for anything, unless you are selling special editions of Car and Driver :(.

    That said, I second the nomination for the Honda Fit and also nominate the Mini Cooper. Both cars are leading the way by showing that small fuel efficient vehicles can also be lots of fun, have a great personality AND look good. Looks great, has a fun loving go anywhere personality and goes easy on the wallet. Sounds like the ideal spouse, er car!

  • avatar
    Steve Green

    I’d like to second William C Montgomery’s SL600 nomination. In fact, the entire SL line, starting way back in the mid-’50s, deserves some kind of Lifetime Achievement Award. Something like, “Most Decadent Two Seater Available At Any Given Time.”

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Please don’t call me unamerican or a GM basher, but I can’t understand how anybody who has driven any significant number of cars could nominate the Impala. My personal experience with a rental Impala was less than inspirational. It wallowed through corners, acceleration was an afterthought (push down on accelerator then wait for a two count while the car figures out what’s going on), the controls were far from intuitive, and the exterior was as vanilla as it gets. The cornering was so bad, at times I caught myself wondering how I got stuck with a minivan. I have more fun driving my ’58 Chevy TRUCK than that Impala; the truck handles better. The one good thing about driving the Impala was it certainly renewed my appreciation for my Mazda6s. When I drove it home from the airport upon my return I quickly remembered how driving could be fun.

    While I may not agree with some of the other nominations, at least I can understand them.

  • avatar

    To me, two vehicles fit this category. Since their inception(60 and 40 years ago), both of these fantastic automobiles know exactly what they are and where their place is. They haven’t strayed from their respective paths and to most enthusiasts, they are the absolute best in their classes.

    Of course, I’m talking about the Jeep Wrangler and Porsche 911, two cars that when I become successful enough, will both have spots in my garage.

  • avatar
    Jeffer

    I have to nominate the new Toyota Tundra with the 5.7 litre V8, The sound of the motor gives me goose bumps. I think that in a few years this DOHC 32 valve engine will be transplanted into many a hot rod. I will be buying one, but not for a few years as I prefer gently used over new.

  • avatar

    You could even split the awards on a Red state vs. Blue state points scale. Then the Prius and the Hummer H1 can both take #1

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    Mazda Miata!

    Sure, other cars have come along to crowd the roadster segment. But even if you think they are better, they still all compare and contrast themselves to the Miata. Dodge even admits outright that its Demon roadster concept was inspired by it. Which tells me the Miata still defines the segment. Its the benchmark everyone is trying to beat. How could you not include it?

  • avatar
    jthorner

    My personal experience with a rental Impala was less than inspirational.

    I must agree. Having driven rental Impalas and rental Five Hundreds, the Ford has the Chevy beat in every category. Far superior handling, excellent ride, more comfortable seating and an amazingly useful trunk. In fact, I nominate the Five Hundred for providing by far the most car for the dollar available in the US today. It is the only US brand sedan I would consider buying at present. The Accord is also a fine sedan, but if you need the next size up then the Five Hundred is impossible to beat for the money, espeically if you buy a one year old copy.

  • avatar

    “So I dug out the list of TWAT (Ten Worst Automobiles Today) nominees and had a look. They are the best of cars; they are the worst of cars”

    If a car makes the TBAG list it probably is pretty decent vehicle, the problem with the TWAT list is that in addition to some truly horrendous vehicles were many vehicles that have committed the cardinal sin of offending someone by its mere existence.

    That is why two fine vehicles like the Ford F-150 and the Scion XB can be on both lists but objectiely neither should be on the TWAT list.

    “A great vehicle is neither more nor less than exactly what it needs to be.”

    Ford F150 one of the few ford products that have been kept up tp date. It makes no excuses it is a great vehicle period. The fact that some people are offended by trucks is irrelevant.

    Scion XB innovative outside the “box” thinking, it is amazing that the people who slam the XB have never driven one. Possibly the most fun and greatest value and most utilitarian vehicle that can be owned. The no negotiated price also allows the XB to be sold for thousands less than The Fit in my area.

  • avatar
    TheNatural

    I would like to nominate the Saturn AURA

    In a world where everyone wants to get away from the haggling process, Saturn is already there. The AURA offers features that you wouldn’t have ever seen coming from it’s company, and has style that was much needed for its class. Even the greats, the Camry and Accord, are being forced into more plastic these days, which makes the AURA look even better.

  • avatar
    dux

    M12 GTO – A wundercar made for my generation: plastic, fiberglass, spoilers, and turbos. Oh and unflappably good to drive.

  • avatar
    mehugtree

    Only one car has truly rocked my world: the Scion xB.

    yeah, it’s got enough headroom that a 6’1″ dude can wear a top hat while driving it and have room to spare, and yeah, that same dude and his dog and his bike and his trusty cooler can sleep in it fully stretched out thanks to the nearly fold flat seats and yeah, it also bypasses a lot of gas pumps, but the real reason I nominate the xB is that it’s freakin beautiful!

    The gently rounded corners of the roof evoke the soften the senses and evoke a feeling of peace, much like the much lauded iPod. The ribbed roof reminds me of old school suburbans I never had. The subtle lovehandles at the beltline coming off the taillights make me proud of mine. The stubby little nose and side, open windshield for some reason cause me to think of Drew Barrymore in The Wedding Singer.

    It’s pure, raw, beautiful simplicity.

    (ps. the new 4door Wrangler rocks my world, too.)

  • avatar
    homeworld1031tx

    There have already been some suggestions to add the Honda Civic Si to the nominee list, and I agree with that. To me, this embodies all that is a great car. It’s as versatile as it gets. Honda reliability, the ability to work as a great daily driver and commuter (it’s still a honda civic), its looks (in my opinion the best you can buy for under 25K), its performance (plus its cheap aftermarket support) and its overall ability to convert commuters into people who will actually take interest in driving their cars. You can’t beat something like that, this car does it all, and it manges to do it pretty well.

  • avatar
    DrivenG35

    My middle-class three:

    Infiniti G35 Options for enthusiasts or entry-luxury sedan buyers. 3-series rival without 3-series price. ‘03-’06 have a reclining rear seat option–-very cool to this 23 year-old. A Right Wheel Drive sport sedan w/ a 6 speed transmission and naught to 60 in under 6 seconds for less than $35k loaded is a steal.

    Acura MDX Excellent space, navigation system, and luxury. Reliability is outstanding. Of course, you could get all the same features in a Pilot for $6-8k less. It has more space than the Lexus RX, better looks than the XC90 or SRX, and is a steal compared to the Benz R-Class or Audi Q7. Driven by my forty-something mother.

    Ford Five Hundred I convinced my 79 year-old grandfather to get one of these this year, when his ‘95 Maxima finally looked and rode too rough. The 500 is neither quick nor fancy, but it is easy to get into–great for older people, great on long trips esp. w/ Sirius, and it’s value is excellent w/ the [Volvo derived] safety features.

    Those are great cars for three very different target demographic groups.

  • avatar

    Frank Williams said:
    I haven’t totaled-up the number of nominations for each car (if someone wants to…).

    Counting all of the nominations posted in the comments section of the TTAC TBAG post on May 7th, and ending at 11:30 A.M. today, May 9th, here are the top 10 nominees:

    1. Mazda MX5 (“Miata”) – nominated 28 times

    2. BMW 3 Series – nominated 23 times
    (Of the above, 7 were for the 335i.)

    3. Jeep Wrangler – nominated 18 times

    4. Chevy Corvette – nominated 16 times
    (Of the above, 8 were for the ZO6.)

    5. VW GTI – nominated 15 times

    6. 3-way tie – nominated 14 times each:
    Honda Accord, Toyota Prius, Mazda 3

    7. 3-way tie – nominated 12 times each:
    Mazda Mazdaspeed3, Porche Cayman, Honda Fit

    8. Porche Boxter – nominated 11 times

    9. Lotus Elise – nominated 10 times

    10. Three-way tie – nominated 8 times each:
    Mercedes E-class, Mini, Panther-based cars

    Interesting, huh?

    Keep posting your nominations here at TTAC!

  • avatar
    Mook

    I disagree with the Civic Si, as I feel that it fails to match the RSX-S that it’s supposed to replace. It isn’t as fast, the interior is rediculous (especially compared to the RSX), it isn’t as practical (hatchback for the win), and the clutch/throttle/shifter setup isn’t as nice. Granted, it is a better handler, and it costs a little bit less. I’d rather pay a couple thousand more for a dedicated sport compact model, rather than a trim level of the utilitarian Civic. RIP Prelude/Integra/RSX.

  • avatar
    Cowbell

    A counter responce to those unnominating the Aura:

    While I can’t speak for the Fusion, the Aura does differentiate itself. Being in the market for a new family sedan (due to upcoming kid) I’ve looked at most of them, and no other car in it’s class had an interior this cool looking:

    http://fp.images.autos.msn.com/merismus/gallery/c461473a.jpg

    I know style is selective, but to me that interior looks great, and the build quality of the ones I sat in were very good too (Better than the Camry I was in with the giant gap where the upper and lower dash sections met by the radio). I guess I just like the option of getting an interior fabric/leather that isn’t black, grey or tan; as are your only options with every other car in the class.

    Also, try getting an accord, camry, fusion, or sonata with paddle shifters. I may be wrong, but I haven’t seen any of those cars with that option.

  • avatar
    david42

    I tried to come up with a nominee, but got stuck. Which got me thinking: the US auto market is in a weird place today. Generally speaking, cars are better than ever, but the selection is a lot less interesting than it used to be.

    Let’s take the Germans: BMWs are bangled, Mercs are falling apart, VAG is swapping Bauhaus for bloat (except the RS4, natch).

    Sure, there are some great German cars: the abovementioned RS4, VW GTI, M Coupe. But nothing can claim the mantles of the e39 5-series, the old (but still avant-garde) A6, the once-bullet-proof E-class….

    But there is the Cayman, so there’s hope.

    The most interesting Scandinavian car is a mildly-zippy sedan with a grown-up Taurus SHO engine. Whoop-dee-doo. (Let’s have moment of silence for the turbo-R, please. OK, it’s still available, but the undertaker is on his way.)

    And Saab. Oh, Saab.

    And it’s slim pickings from Japan, too. Sure, there’s the WRX (STi!) and EVO, but those are single-minded cars. Which are wonderful, but also thoroughly compromised when it comes to 95% of the driving we do. Today there’s nothing like a turbo Supra or a 3000GT VR-4 (or a Galant VR-4, remember that?).

    The American cars are on their way up, but the good stuff hasn’t hit yet. The Aussies still haven’t landed. I think the Corvette is a fair nominee, though: like the Cayman, it has stellar performance at a reasonable price.

    So: these are great days to buy a new car… if you’re in the market for a CamCord. But if you want something interesting (and not impossibly Italian), there’s not much out there.

    Anyway, my votes for TBAGs: Cayman and Corvette. They’re accessible, drive-able, high-performance cars that aren’t overengineered.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    Claude,

    I just think that comparing the Lotus to the Evo/WRX/Sti is apples to oranges. You can’t use the Lotus as a family car. The rally-style cars are four wheel drive and fairly heavy for their size.

    That said, I completely agree that the WRX and Evo should be on the list, because they are driver’s cars, people haulers, and snow machines. There really isn’t anything like them on the market. So there are two more nominations.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    Mook,
    Would the RSX be counted? Not sure when they stopped selling them. Anyway, if it is, I’ll definitely nominate it for having everything the Si has, only with a hatchback and cleaner styling. It’s simplicity and fine engineering.

  • avatar
    McAllister

    Porsche 911.

    I have never driven one.

    But nothing (Ferrari, Lotus, etc.) says “sports car” better than a 911. They look sexy, fast, and fun. No matter how many I’ve seen, whenever I see another one I say “wow”.

    McAllister

  • avatar
    Mook

    ejacobs,
    There are still a few new 06 models for sale acording to Autotrader.

    Production ended sometime during Summer ’06.

  • avatar

    I had to sign up just to nominate some cars. I was tempted to TWAT it up, but I think I’m more of a TBAGger, so I’ll drop it here.

    Mazda MX5/Miata:
    As an owner of a 99, my styling preference isn’t for the new one, but after driving it at the Zoom-Zoom Live event, it felt like a better car all around. I prefer the 99, due to it being more hard-edged, but if I had to have just 1 car for all things, I’d get the new one with the power retractable hard top. Practicality be damned! Any derision of the lack of power in this car clearly doesn’t know what a sports car is. Anyone who complains about Japanese cars having no soul clearly hasn’t driven a Miata, ever. Soul doesn’t live life a quarter mile at a time. Soul invigorates you one input at a time.

    Mazda Mazda3 5-door:
    Yes I love typing Mazda twice. Oh look, there I went a third time! My only gripe with it is that the 2.0L isn’t available on it. Otherwise, this is one of my favorite all-around cars, ever. The handling, steering, ride quality, interior layout, available options, practicality, gas mileage, and styling rub my belly, but for some reason, I ended up with an 06 Honda Civic. Not only that, but I’m not nominating the Honda, either. And even more peculiar, I really like it. A lot. But, back to the 3. I think the Mazdaspeed version is great. Better than the regular one? Well, if you’re into speeding tickets, burning premium fuel as fast as your right foot lets you, and an unavoidable compulsion to make just a few more horsepower (thanks, tuning community, I really NEED someone to offer me legal narcotics), it’s the right car for you.

    Audi A3 2.0T:
    I had a thing for the GTI; I think I have jocked the DSG an embarassingly long time. The engine was quite charming as well, what with all of that thrust coming from such mundane numbers. But the GTI weighed more than I could possibly justify for a car that size. And I have horrible luck, so I think gambling with a VW would be as sensible as buying as much Enron stock as I can. Today. However, with 4 rings on the buffet-sized grille, I can excuse the chubbiness a bit more. When the prices are as similar as they are, with Audi service replacing VW’s disservice (at least around these here parts), it’s a no brainer. All of the toys (and then some), most of the character, and a much friendlier service manager to (frequently?) deal with.

  • avatar
    Spaceweasel

    Can I suggest you find a different name for your awards? TWAT is great. No one wants to be known as a TWAT. But TBAG? Ideally, automakers would trumpet your award as a sign of excelence among auto enthusiasts. But which brand is going to splash ads across the wourld touting the fact that they’ve been TBAGed?
    Don’t be clever to your own detriment. If you can’t come up with something, I’m sure the astute and creative readers of this site can.

  • avatar
    Spaceweasel

    and my nominations are…
    Boxter/Caymen (Porsche can tell me it’s two different cars, but really)
    Wrangler (how on earth did it take this long to get four doors?)
    GTI (with the DSG, thank you.)
    Exige (like the Elise, but more so…who needs a rear view, anyway)
    CTS-V (a caddy with some serious vroom)
    Atom (serious commitment, serious fun)
    R8 (just for coming to the party)
    G35x (and pocket the change from your Bimmer)

  • avatar
    Joe O

    “ejacobs:
    May 9th, 2007 at 2:02 pm
    Mook,
    Would the RSX be counted? Not sure when they stopped selling them. Anyway, if it is, I’ll definitely nominate it for having everything the Si has, only with a hatchback and cleaner styling. It’s simplicity and fine engineering. ”

    The SI has a more advanced suspension, an LSD, a different engine (the SI engine has balance shafts and a different intake manifold), a better sound system, a different weight distribution, an aux input jack, drive by wire throttle, electric power steering, and costs (list) $3k less.

    And the RSX is no longer made.

    I own an SI and have 20k miles on it. Nothing I’ve ever driven has such different characters. It is a tightly wound regular honda civic at 4k and below. At 6k and above (rpms that is) it is a maniacal economy car, lunging for redline every time, aching to never be shifted short of 8000 rpms.

    Joe O.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    A testament to the comments:

    So many people have nominated the GTI that I will once again go test drive it; this time, with DSG. And I will seriously consider it (or it’s A3 cousin).

    Your words have power. And as spiderman likes to recall, “With great power come great responsibility.”

    So, with those thoughts in mind, nominate responsibly :)

    Joe O.

  • avatar
    nayrb5

    I haven’t driven one, nor even seen one. But if the Jeep Patriot is half as capable as it looks in the various videos I’ve seen, then it might just be my next car.

    It’s the cheapest new SUV anywhere, it’s not excessively bulbous or thirsty, seems competently designed/built and yet maintains the trail-rated capacity of Wrangler, et al. Quite frankly, it was the next best thing to bringing back the Cherokee and a far superior decision to its misguided badge-twins, Compass and Nitro.

    More importantly, given the low cost, it might actually give people an incentive to use it as an actual off-road vehicle (which would certainly be my intention).

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    ejacobs:

    The Lotus Elise and WRX STI/EVO are similar in that both are very focused vehicles with a minimum of compromise. They do not share the same focus, but both are designed for specific purposes. And both are refreshing in that, apart from these vehicles (and some exotics as well, you rarely see such single purpose focus in autos today. And if we celebrate the Elise for its focus, why not the WRX STI/EVO as well???

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Mikey:

    I’m sorry, you were disconnected after “Just park an Impala…”

    DDL

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    ejacobs:Claude,

    I just think that comparing the Lotus to the Evo/WRX/Sti is apples to oranges. You can’t use the Lotus as a family car. The rally-style cars are four wheel drive and fairly heavy for their size.

    I must disagree. It is quite irrelevent whether we are speaking of four doors or two doors, a large trunk or no trunk when the machines in question were designed (and marketed) specifically for racing. The fact that an STI/Evo can safely convey ones family through all but the most severe weather is nothing more than a happy coincidence – not the deciding factor in purchasing the machine. The fact is that the STI/Evo, though conceived from a mass produced chassis, are as purpose built as an Elise – even more so because of the pedestrian design parameters that must be overcome in order to acheive their level of performance. My vote stays with the Evo – though I would not be averse to seeing the the STI on the list either.

  • avatar
    arki30

    Mook:

    “RIP Prelude/Integra/RSX”

    Amen. I love my RSX Type S. But I’m off-topic.

    My vote is for the Infiniti G35 Coupe. I haven’t driven this car, but I so want to. Gorgeous interior, and the exterior design is just sex on wheels for me. I wet myself when one rolls by. Here’s to hoping the driving sensation matches the aesthetics. The sedan doesn’t do it for me though. The roof hump just becomes too pronounced with the extra doors.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    Glenn Swanson:

    Re-arranging your top 10, you have listed 16 vehicles, broadly categorized as follows:

    1 sports sedan (3 Series)

    3 hot hatches (GTI, MS 3 and Mini)

    2 sport(y) converts (boxster and MX5)

    1 vehicle with off road capabilities (Wranger)

    3 sports cars (Cayman, Elise and Vette)

    1 hybrid (Prius)

    5 small/compact/full size sedans (from the Fit/Mazda 3 to Accord to E class/Panther based)

    Kind of shows the kinds of cars that have caught our attention.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Spaceweasel:

    I believe RF chose those names/acronyms to prevent the awards from ever being hijacked or even quoted by the manufacturers, their ad agencies, and the popular press. That’s one way to keep your editorial independence that’s a bit different from Consumer Reports – no lawyers needed.

    Not to mention the amusing us immature folks and ticking off the easily offended…

  • avatar

    I love these TTAC ballots.

    Let’s have some more….like……Favorite cars of the last 10 years……or What car has lost its way from inception to present/time of death(I’m looking at you Mercury Cougar)….just a couple of ideas.

    Anyone else have any other ideas for possible future votings?

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    Claude, I agree with you that the rally racer duo should absolutely be celebrated. That’s why I voted for them. They are far, far more versatile than a Lotus and can be used for many different types of driving. Lotus uses the less-is-more approach and is made for more specific driving contexts. They are very different cars with very different characters and purposes. But, believe me, I love ‘em all!

  • avatar
    beken

    My vote goes to the MINI Cooper. It is one car where you can have it all without the SUV size. Sports car handling and chuckability without the sports car price. Economy car fuel mileage without the economy car build and equipment level. Good reliability (mine anyways). Big trunk (when in two seater configuration). It seems expensive, but you get a lot of standard equipment so value for dollar is good. … and it’s not a truck. Also, the dealer service support has been top notch even for routine maintenance. How about that? A company that stands behind their product not just on paper.

  • avatar
    Joe Chiaramonte

    After tooling 350 miles top-down around curvy back roads last weekend (and with a loaded trunk, Sky and Solstice fans), I still find it tough to imagine a better car for the money than my Miata – after two years of ownership.

    Mazda (in their infinite wisdom) has kept it real in their third generation MX-5. It’s still light, powerful enough, economical enough, spirited and communicative – and has remained within the financial reach of a large group of driving enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    jd arms

    Loved the RSX until I had to sell it. Everyone here has pretty much explained its best points. I would have nominated it, but I consider it discontinued. Besides, I used my 3 nominations on 3 cars I think are better. Still, it was a sensational little car.

    As far as other Top Tens, I would like to see the Top Ten Q Ships.

  • avatar
    TreyV

    WRX STI: Goes like hell (straight or turning) while still a practical small sedan. Shockingly easy to drive fast and highly forgiving. You can just feel the quality of the drive train oozing into the cabin, which itself is a study in clean driving functionality. Holds resale value well. Other Subaru owners wave to you and point out your car to their little kids (personal favorite of mine.)

    As much as I hate hatchbacks, I have to nominate the GTI Mk5. My sister and her husband own one, and what everyone says is true.

  • avatar
    dinu01

    Here’s my list in no particular order. I have only considered cars that can be called “World Cars”, meaning they are sold throughout the world without too many changes to the suspension, engines, exterior and interior design, the exception being the TL. My rationale being that European fuel prices notwithstanding, a Crown Vic cannot be enjoyable to drive on the Route Napoléon. A good powertrain, powerful brakes and a sporty yet compliant suspension cannot be ignored.

    Here they are:

    Mazda3 2.3L w/Luxury Pkg (Canada): For folks on a budget that know a thing or two about cars, nothing says performance, quality, design, reliability and value as the 3. (*Yes, I am aware that the 2.3L engine is only offered in NA and Australia only*). Equipped w/a 5spd manual, the 3’s torquey engine gets it moving along at a brisk pace. The suspension setup ensures it stays planted on the highway as well as in the twisties, and the brakes put many other cars to shame. Add good steering feel, most safety gadgets (except ESP), great reliability and a very competitive price for what it offers, and no Civic, Corolla, Cobalt or Focus can stand next to it.

    VW GTI: The (entry-level luxury/sporty) enthusiast’s choice. Great FSI turbo engine power and note, with decent fuel economy. The interior cannot be faulted (save for lack of proper ACC in Canada) when the leather seats are chosen. If only the ride height would be the same as in Europe…

    Honda Accord: Does what it’s asked to do better than most in its price range. Great value, ride, reliability, interior, etc. Brought down by uninspiring styling and typical Honda long braking distances.

    Mazda6: What other family car in its price range is so enjoyable to drive and in 3 body styles? Good “performance” for its class. And yes, there’s more to performance than 0-60 times. Let down by an aging interior and V6 motor – soon to be replaced by an all-new Mazda6 in 2008/2009. One of my favourite things about the 6 is that it’s a good-sized car, not too big like it’s competitors. Alas, that too will change in a year or two.

    Acura TSX: What the Accord should have been. What a midsize car really should be.

    Acura TL: Mated to the 6spd manual transmission, the TL strikes me as almost perfect in many respects. For many of us in the North (ie: Canada) FWD is a bonus, so while I understand its Achilles’ Heel(s), FWD (or AWD) is the only way to go due to our climate. Almost perfect because I can’t yet afford one :)

    MB E-Class Bluetech: OK, the E-Class is great, but I’m really nominating Bluetech. If it was available in other cars and at the current gas prices (over $1.00/L here in Toronto), Bluetech could be the tool that finally paves the way for more diesels here in NA.

    Mitsu Evo: Haven’t driven one, but I’ve seen what it can do on a track driver skill being equal: put supercars to shame.

    MX-5: Now with the PHRT available, if they only put in that GTI interior, the MX-5 PRHT would be my car.

    Dinu

  • avatar
    maxspivak

    Two more:

    Porsche 911. I test-drove one yesterday, a 996 (previous) model, and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Still can’t. It was much, much better than I thought. Raw power and supreme poise with its orgasmic engine note. It’s sex on wheels. I want one.

    Infinity G35 Sport. I stand by my previous nomination of BMW 3-series. But G35 should be TBAG’ed. It’s an almost-Bimmer drivingwise, a better Bimmer gadget wise, and a much better Bimmer value wise. However, it’s not a Bimmer. There is only one 3-Series and the Roundel adds a couple of notches that Infinity lacks. But G35 is a very, very worthy car (just not for me).

  • avatar
    Ybnrmol

    AUDI A3 3.2 DSG
    I have been driving that car for more than a year now and enjoyed every minutes of it. After putting more than 35000 miles on dry, wet and snowy road I could say that the A3 deliver a lot of acceleration and is safe to operate in any condition (like SoCal damped concrete HW;-). The engine is powerful but even better the DSG system enable you to extract every HP available. The sport mode is brilliant especially and fast but dense traffic where it makes changing lane fun and fast. Bonus point the A3 is the absolute stealth machine for some reason police officer don’t seem to see that car sp… If you want to know more about it read the brilliant review by RF:

  • avatar
    curisu

    Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution: for the performance enthusiast, it is the absolute best bang-for-the-buck vehicle available today. To honestly get a better performing car in terms of handling, acceleration and braking, the buyer will have to shell out twice the asking price of any Evo.

    In many ways, it is *the* compilation of an enthusiasts vehicle; Brembo brakes, Recaro seats, BBS or Enkei wheels, Bilstein dampers (on the MR version), and Yokohama rubber. These are the items that many retrofit onto their whips to enhance road prowess.

    The Evo also boasts four doors, seats five, and has a reasonably large boot for those extra-quick milk runs. I’ve personally seen many examples with baby seats (Recaro, of course) in the rear – so it can serve as a perfectly reasonable family vehicle.

    The Mistubishi Lancer Evolution has earned a spot on the T-BAG list.

  • avatar
    CellMan

    You know, there are so many cars mentioned in this thread that I would oh-so love to own. Those vehicles designed with a singular purpose, executed with passion and built to specification far beyond mere conveyance.

    Here are my nominations for the best cars today (in no particular order):

    BMW 335 – It’s new twin turbo engine is simple sublime. Still the benchmark that all manufacturers aspire to. This car has it all: ESP-levels of handling feedback, comfortable and luxurious as a daily runabout, able to carve the twisties with surgical precision and built with an unnerving dedication for the driver. The quitessential driver’s car. If you enjoy driving and want an all-rounder, a semi-affordable rocket with a little cachet and don’t mind it’s looks so much, this is the one for you.

    Chevrolet Corvette – A domestic supercar. Save those extra thousands of dollars, put ‘em in the bank. This affordable monster simply outperforms most supercars especially at basic tasks. Forget that American-as-apple-pie interior plastics and creaks and rattles. Its part of the sensory overload. True Americana; big brute power at Wal-Mart prices.

    Honda Fit – Perfect timing for the Perfect Storm. Those wacky engineers at Honda could teach the whole world on how to maximize space usage from such a small and frugal box. However, this is no mere tin can, but a refined pleasant place to be in. At the same time, it’s engine is peppy, economical and together with a communicative helm and an utter joy to fling about driveway speeds and beyond. Engineering excellence at its best.

    Jeep Wrangler – Why oh why have those Jeep people lost their way? How could they deviate from their Prime Directive? All they had to do was look at the Wrangler. It defines the Jeep brand. Forget Trail Rated. It should be Wrangler Rated. This vehicle defines the brand. No others matter. The 4-door is the perfect addition, many years late, but perfect for the task at hand. It is minimalist yet comfortable, functional and sure-footed as a mountain goat. In other words, the best.

    Porsche 911 – How many years has this basic design been? A whole lotta years and why, because it works and is the extrovert representation of the DNA at Porsche. Porsche’s dedication to refining the 911 platform speaks volumes of their purpose. And the buyers in their showrooms agree.

    Lotus Elise – Pure to Lotus’ roots, lightweight, fast and handles like it’s on rails. It is not practical. It is not cheap. It is not the fastest, nor will the spouse approve. But gawdammit, it will put on such a big ass smile on your face when you drive it. It’s the go-kart for adults, except you won’t catch the bugs in your teeth.

    Toyota Prius – IIRC, Toyota loses money on each Prius it sells. But that is the price Toyota pays to bring to market a technological smorgasboard for the sole purpose of bringing to the masses, new powertrains to help improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Its not perfect (nor is Toyota’s green cred PR), but it takes guts to bring innovation and enviro-conciousness to the people.

    Aston Martin Vantage V8 – Sex on wheels. Gorgeous. I don’t know what more to say, I’m smitten. Um, I’ll be right back…

  • avatar
    derWiskinator

    I would like to mention the Prius. As the first car to radically change the basic technology used in the personal transport market to succeed, this car needs to be up there.

    Beyond its neat tech, the Prius is highly functional. Seats 5 comfortably, a lot of stuff, and hauls it around via its stoopidly gas miserly engine.

    The steering may be numb, and the gas pedal feels disconnected from the wheels (cause it is!), but it is a great car.

  • avatar
    imoody

    I nominate the VW Golf mk. V GTI. I see that the GLI is already up on the list, but I just want to be clear that the GTI is both the better looking and more practical car (it being the same size as the GLI, but a hatch, with the commensurate increase in trunk space), especially now that it can be had with four doors.

    Why do I love the GTI so much? Well, I am a proud owner of a black magic GTI 2-door hatch. It drives flawlessly, with a seemingly magical suspension that soaks up road imperfections while transmitting a sense of the road through the steering wheel and granting a handling balance of mild understeer. Well and good. But the engine and transmission are where the real meat of the accolades should accumulate. The DSG transmission, while not perfect (woe betide he who downshifts unexpectedly — when the transmission electronics anticipate that you’ll shift up rather than down or vice versa, it actually takes longer to shift than a conventional automatic. The lack of consistency can be annoying; I love forward to a Tri-Shift-Gearbox. At any rate, when the transmission’s working, it’s working wonderfully. Even counting it’s niggles, it is worlds better than a traditional slushbox (can’t comment on a sequential manual, as I haven’t driven one).

    The engine is the other point d’excellence. It is great as is – awesomely torquey down low, with no turbo lag. Unfortunately, it noticeably loses steam above 3,500rpm. Fortunately, it is stupidly easy to reflash it so that it will perform better. At stock, it puts out (according to the manufacturer) 200bhp and 207lb/ft of torque. Impressive numbers for a 2.0L engine, regardless. However, with a simple, safe, dealer undetectable (if you buy an ECU switcher that will revert the ECU to its default settings whenever you wish) and rather inexpensive reflashing (think around $500), it puts out (with REVO software, at least) approximately 250bhp and 285lb/ft of torque. Now, I haven’t dyno’d my GTi, but it sure feels much faster. Happily, the fury now matches the sound (and what a sound!).

    Yeah. The GTi had better be on this list, or I will seriously internet punch all you perfidious TTACers.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    EvoHappy:

    You got my point regarding the STI/EVO similarity to the Elise. Between the two, I lean towards the STI only because it is generally regarded as the better daily driver while the EVO reigns supreme on the track. But like you, I’d be happy with any top 10 list that contains at least one of these beasts and very unhappy with a list that omitted both of them.

    I have to second a comment by another poster: the biggest problem I have with the GTI is VW dealerships. They alone are reason enough to choose the A3 over the GTI.

  • avatar
    210delray

    Claude Dickson and Glenn Swanson:

    Thanks for counting up the nominees! Just think what a nicer world this would be based on the list of 16:

    No crossovers
    No minivans
    No pickups
    And especially, No SUVs (except the iconic Wrangler)!

    Just cars, wonderful cars: sports cars, sports sedans, family and luxury sedans, convertibles, hybrids, hatchbacks and wagons, cruisers and cop cars.

    Okay, okay, realistically we’d need SOME pickups and minivans. But not the plethora we have today.

  • avatar

    I’m suprised the panther-platformed cars are being nominated in such numbers. But that’s cool.

    If TTAC was to name the top picks for police cars, or for NYC taxi cabs, I could see the logic.

    But as one of the 10 best going? I don’t get it.

    There are a lot of fine cars out there, and the panther cars have their place, but top 10? Really?

  • avatar
    funhouser

    So I nominate the Subaru WRX…wait for it…SEDAN!!!

    Gasp!

    The TR is a little ugly, granted. But the looks grow on me every day. Better deal than a BMW 330x, makes more sense than a evo or sti (how many track days do you do?), more torque than a civic si…

    For my 20,000 in loans I really didn’t think I could do better, and I tried. I couldn’t get the freaking sport wagon because I didn’t hate myself that much, glad it works for you Loverman.

    Seriously a year of research (cause I am a nerd) and I though it was the best. Maybe the Speed3 is better, but I admit I haven’t test driven it. BTW the GTI is owned by the WRX. Do you like accelerating in the corners? Maybe it just appeals more to my driving style. To every one who voted for the GTI, enjoy the plaid seats. And the GTI is uglier than the WRX. O.K. I said it. Let the healing begin.

  • avatar
    GEMorris

    Mazda3 – Mazdaspeed3: For being what the Rabbit/GTI should be. And for having the balls to make the hatch model the hot one. Most new car for the money in either (5-door) case.

  • avatar
    ArkAngyl

    I Nominate….The Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Tahoe….They really are stunningly good, quiet, powerful, and comfortable with great towing/payload capacities….
    Just because soccer moms use them wrong doesn’t mean the vehicle itself is to blame….

  • avatar
    galaxygreymx5

    I’d like to nominate three vehicles:

    1. Mazda MX-5 Miata. Timeless styling, snickety shifter, silken rev-happy engine with your choice of slick top mechanisms. This is the only car besides my (RIP) EV1 that makes me stop and turn for a last look of adoration before I go in from the garage.

    2. Honda Accord. Honda gets so many things so right in this familymobile. Faultless ergonomics and proper materials make you feel like you got too much for your money while one of The Motor Company’s delightful mills churns away out front. This is the only family car that I’ve had fun in on twisty back roads. Not Miata fun, mind you, but way beyond Malibu fun. Plus, it’s a Honda, so you can beat the crap out of it and you know you won’t break anything.

    3. Toyota Prius. So remarkable because it drives as if it’s anything but. Only Toyota could build the space shuttle for $21,995 and have it top the reliability charts. Even discounting the high-tech hybrid aspect, the Prius is a lot of midsize sedan with a handy hatch, plenty of room for five and some nifty gizmos on the option sheet.

  • avatar
    gogogodzilla

    I gotta say that if I had the money to buy a weekend car… I’d seriously think of either the Ariel Atom or the Caterham Super-7.

  • avatar
    armadamaster

    I too, am just baffled as to the current Impala’s nomination as well. It’s a glorified Lumina that looks like a Honda Accord-wannabe. Aside from all that, the current offering doesn’t even hold a candle to it’s RWD predecessor with the same name of the mid-1990’s, over a decade ago!

    A big thumbs up nominating the Crown Vic. The Panther platform is the most underrated, unacknowledged, unappreciated cars on the road. These cars have endured and endured, unlike the hiccups of the moment like Scion’s XB or Toyota’s Prius, the Panthers have rolled right along with the changes over the decades. The new Charger/300C are nice American styled cars but the Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car are as American as the Mustang anyday of the week. It’s going to be a sad day in the automotive world when Ford gets dumb enough to pull the plug on them.

  • avatar
    wsn

    How can Aura or Fusion be 10 best? They have been introduced for less than 2 years, to replace failed models. At least let the dust settle, OK?

    IMO, any true 10 best would likely be at least 10 year old, such as Miata or Accord or 3-series.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    I want to clear up a quick misconception about the LGT that Alex Rashev posted about in the last thread. The horsepower did not drop in the LGT over the last couple years — it has remained the same. What changed is how the horsepower/torque standards are measured, and it’s now equal across cars. If you look around, it’s not the only car that posted different numbers even though the engine remained the same.

    I’d like to ask every single Accord fan out there to go test drive a Legacy GT. Your definition of ‘a great family car’ will change significantly.

  • avatar
    nugget

    Honda S2000 – The S2000 is still a fantastic car. The gearbox is amazingly smooth and direct, with a just-right placed shift knob and short, precise throws. The engine is sweet all the way to it’s 8000 rpm redline, taking on a new, aggressive personality at the 6500 rpm VTEC changeover. Below that rpm, the car is a comfortable cruiser. Top-down in 10 seconds without a Cirque Du Soleil performance. The steering input is precise and quick. Subtle updates over the years keeps the car fresh; HID headlights, LED taillights, larger wheels and tires, a slightly larger engine, …. And, referring back to Honda marketing in the ’80s, they’ve kept the interior Simple. The controls are minimal and well-placed, though not spartan as in the Elise.

  • avatar
    nino

    I vote to unnominate the Aura and the Fusion. “a half decent car” or “shows there is hope for Saturn” don’t TTAC’s Ten Best Automobiles Going make. The cars are good, but their not class best, which means they’re not TBAG material. The best car in this segment remains a toss up between the Accord (even in its fifth year) or the Camry. Call me when GM or Ford decide to built something better, not just competitive with (fakey Car & Driver demonstration events notwithstanding).

    We’ve seen the BMW 3 series being nominated here and some of those that have nominated them admit that the 3 series probably isn’t the best car in its category. So why should both the Aura and Fusion not be nominated as well?

    And as far as defending the nomination for the Impala 3.9, understand that this isn’t the rental car version. Also, the car offers a scosh more room than both the Camry and Accord in what I feel is a pretty stylish package. When you add in that this car can be had out the door for $22,000 fully equipt, I’m sure that it’s a car that appeals to many.

    I’d also like to say that unlike some others, I’ve driven every car that I’ve nominated.

  • avatar
    nino

    How can Aura or Fusion be 10 best? They have been introduced for less than 2 years, to replace failed models. At least let the dust settle, OK?

    IMO, any true 10 best would likely be at least 10 year old, such as Miata or Accord or 3-series.

    How can that be when during those ten years these models have undergone two, three complete model cycles?

  • avatar
    nayrb5

    Nino raises a good point, we should be evaluating the car as it stands at this moment, rather than the history attached to a particular model name.

  • avatar
    poweredByHonda

    Honda Accord
    consistently on Car and Driver’s 10 BEST list, including the full run of this current generation. Great driving dynamics for a family car.. from the basic 4 dr sedan, to the 2 dr coupe V6 6M. Great ergonomics, reliability, among one of the best in retaining resale value.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    I agree that the Accord is a fine car, as long as you’re on the inside. Its exterior design is inexcusable. Previous generations were such smart designs and easily better looking than any Taurus or Camry. The horrendous melted candy looks of the current Accord makes it not even close to “the best” in this category. I do like the Accord concept though. Looks matter whenever you’re talking cars. So ugly cars can’t be included.

    The Aura, to me and many others who wouldn’t otherwise consider a Saturn, is the best looking midsized family sedan. Its driving dynamics are far superior to the miserable Camry and GMs reliability is historically amongst the best in this segment as well. The Aura deserves to be on the Best list.

    The Mercury Milan – Ha great new V6 and AWD, and is a compelling case to buy a Mercury. Actually, this is the level of design and features should have been included with the Fusion. I’m not saying that it should be on “the best” list, but it is a solid second-place to the Aura.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    I have 3:

    BMW 335i: Awesome lag free power, pristine handling, steering, breaks, etc. It’s a BMW, what do you expect?

    Toyota Prius: Revolutionary, state of the art, best in its class, changing people’s perceptions on what vehicular automotive transport is, does everything a Camry can do…with reduced emissions and better mileage.

    Mercedes Benz S-Class: Best in its class. Super luxurious, while still very sporting, which is a combo few actually strike perfectly these days. It looks fantastic inside and out, and is finally showing the three pointed star has its game back and is making best out there autos.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    People keep mentioning the Aura and Fusion/Milan. Let’s get this clear, they do not, in any way shape or form, deserve to be on the “BEST Autos Going” list. Key word there, BEST. These cars are NOT the best in their class, not the best in their segment, not the best in any way, shape or form. They are mere IMPROVEMENTS on what we as car fanatics and consumers are used to expecting from their respective manufacturers. After the L-Series Saturns and the Taurus/Sable, these offerings seem quite good, and in comparison to their predecessors, they are, but compared to the competition they are not the best. In this class of vehicle, the family sedan, the Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, and Subaru Legacy all combine utility, sportiness, top notch reliability, high quality interiors, and, save the Accord, attractive exteriors. The interiors of the Fusion, Milan, and even the Aura do not come close to matching those three, and are not nearly as practical, not nearly as refined, comfortable, etc, as the Japanese trio listed above. Please everyone, don’t get blind sighted by the concept of IMPROVEMENTS, we’re looking at the best here, and the Aura, Fusion, and Milan are not the best, not even close.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Nino:

    And as far as defending the nomination for the Impala 3.9, understand that this isn’t the rental car version. Also, the car offers a scosh more room than both the Camry and Accord in what I feel is a pretty stylish package. When you add in that this car can be had out the door for $22,000 fully equipt, I’m sure that it’s a car that appeals to many.

    I drive a car everyday that offers more for a lower price then the Impala, a Mazda6s. While the interio materials used in the Mazda are hardly top of the line, they are just as good as those in the Impala and are much more intuitive to use. Though I have a manual transmission in my Mazda, here’s a prime example of poor interior design in the Impala as compared to the Mazda6s. The shifter in the Impala has no indicators alongside it, no PRNDL2(3). What brilliant stroke of genius told them that people didn’t want to be able to look down alongside the floor mounted shifter and verify what they had just shifted into? While the Mazda6s may not have the horsepower and torque of the Impala SS, it can outrun any other Impala variant in the 1/4-mile or through the corners. You get better acceleration (at least with a manual transmission like I have), better cornering, better road feel, and better steering. The seats in the Mazda are comfortable front back with ample room for four American sized adults, and it comes equipped with a trunk large enough to haul their four suitcases. No advantage to the Impala in interior room that I could tell-though I’ll admit that I didn’t get out a measuring tape and check that. Finally, the Mazda is certainly more recognizable in a parking lot. It’s sporting looks are a big improvement over the Impala’s “look” whatever it might be.

    By the way, I have driven each of the three cars that I nominated among many others that have also been nominated by others. I also do not feel it is right to nominate a car that I have only seen in a magazine or somebody else’s driveway.

  • avatar
    nayrb5

    As I see it, there are a few fundamental problems with expecting people to have driven the cars that they nominate.

    For one, how many of us currently own cars that would qualify for this list (either in model year or quality)? I drive a 2005 Malibu, so that’s out for year (and although I like it, it doesn’t qualify as “best” in quality and other intangible factors).

    Secondly, we’d have a fairly small (and repetitive) list if people stuck to cars that they have a reasonable working knowledge of. Perhaps that should be another list (and equally exciting). But if the TBAG is going to work, restrictions need to be wide open for the sake of variety.

  • avatar
    Audi RS4

    I’d like to nominate the following cars:

    Audi RS4: beautiful, fast and a very good interior, this thing is cool!

    VW (Golf) GTI: practical and fast. That’s an ideal combination! Also quite good value for money and the engine is a true masterpiece.

    Lamborghini Gallardo: This is one of the best cars on the market today. Of course it is ridiculously expensive, but it is só good looking that you’ll forget that immediately.

    Aston Martin V8 Vantage: just because it’s looks are fantastic.

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    “LamborghiniZ wrote: People keep mentioning the Aura and Fusion/Milan. Let’s get this clear, they do not, in any way shape or form, deserve to be on the “BEST Autos Going” list. Key word there, BEST. These cars are NOT the best in their class, not the best in their segment, not the best in any way, shape or form….”

    The problem here reminds me of the kindergarten classes, where teachers would give out at least 30 awards for their 20-student classes. Parents would be pissed if their kids didn’t get an award of some sort. People have to keep in mind that you don’t get an award for being merely COMPETENT or AVERAGE. It’s a 10BEST award, not the top-500 competent cars award.

    “nayrb5 wrote: As I see it, there are a few fundamental problems with expecting people to have driven the cars that they nominate.”

    Why? If we don’t take into account of the nominators’ actual experience in driving/owning/touching the cars, why dod we need to go through this exercise at all? Wouldn’t it have been better to simply take the 10-best lists of Road&Track, C&D, MT, CR, etc. and narrow our 10-best list down from these? Or couldn’t we simply have the “10 Cars I Don’t Have But Would Love To Own” list?

    After having driven a Lexus E300 and Camry for a few years, I would never nominate these 2 on any list. Yet, they seem to be a stable with the R&T, etc. crowd. Aren’t we trying to do something differently?

  • avatar
    autobahner44

    VW GLI-a GTI for the family man. Easy access and plenty of room in back for the children. A nice change of pace (and price) from the sea o’ wannabe’s in the black blau mit weiss 3s. I’ve been flying under the radar in mine for over 35,000 trouble-free miles. Six speed manual-way more fun than DSG.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    Ok, time for me to be lame. I’m going to nominate my own car, the Honda Civic SI. Before I list why, I must say that I went out and test drove the GTI DSG today at lunch. It has tremendously better quality, fit and finish. And it’s a heckuva lot smoother.

    But here’s why I’m choosing the SI over it: I got into my 2006 Honda Civic SI today after driving it’s competition. It puts the sport in 20k cars. Turn-in is so abrupt you feel like the car was where you pointed before your mind could comprehend it. The engine responds like an M3 with individual throttles.

    Didn’t know know that one of Da Vinci’s famed sketches was actually the basis for the 6-spd in the SI? Somehow it combines two-finger-flickability with an unerringly naturalness to never shift into the wrong gear.

    It’s two faults are that it has poor Drive by wire tuning and, did i mention, it has a poor drive by wire tuning? Take that away, and it’s a sure-fire winner.

    For 20k (now 21k in 2007)

    Joe

  • avatar
    Aardappel

    I nominate the Nissan 350Z, for being the best sports car value below 30k$.

    It’s superb handling, on rails cornering, great balance (front-mid engine layout!), massive low-range torque (VQ35DE engine), RWD propulsion, and maybe not unimportantly great styling, make this car unrivaled in the segment.

    Assuming you enjoy driving, and driving fast, there is no better car below 30k$. The MX-5 may have mildly better handling, but significantly lower HP/torque. The first car I could name that beats the Z in most respects is the corvette, so maybe it could be argued that the Z is “the best value sports car below 40k$”, especially because you can then pick the even better track model.

    I don’t understand why anyone would nominate the G35 coupe over the Z, unless you value a slightly more classy look over driving behaviour.

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    However, if you can’t beat them, join them. In that case, aside from my Mazda MX-5 and BMW 3-series nominations, I would like to add the following entries to “10 Cars I Don’t Have But Would Love To Own” Award:

    1. Ferrari F430 Spyder: I love the sound of this engine everytime one passes me by in downtown SF. The mags can attest to its numbers and performance prowess. And it is one of the most beautiful verts on the market today. Please make mine a bright yellow with the SMG transmission.

    3. Aston Martin DB9/DBS coupe: This is by far THE best-looking car on the market today. It just oozes sex. The V-12 sounds awesome as well (just not as frantic as the Ferrari V8). The interior is THE best looking interior, period. Make mine Black or Blue, with bamboo interior, and a 6-speed munual transmission.

    3. Maserati Quattroporte auto: Hey, I need something to transport my family and a few child seats, and I’m not goin to deny my kids the glorious engine note at 8000-rpm redline. The sedan also cannot look out of place next to the DB9 and the F430. Thus, only the Maserati fits the bill. The name alone evokes heritage, emotions, and allure that only the Italian marque can provide. And just having the opportunity to say I own a “maserati” over and over again is worth half the price of admission. Make mine Silver with an auto (the kids won’t like the jerkiness of the SMG).

  • avatar
    akitadog

    Nomination: Chevy Corvette

    Yes I know it’s been nominated before, but this car really is Everyman’s supercar. Even the base 400 hp model is in the lower end of Supercar Territory.

    It gets excellent gas mileage (something severely lacking in supercars), great looks, great engine note, comfortable to drive daily, and has a good size trunk (something else severely lacking in supercars). People say the interior is not up to snuff, but I think it’s just fine. It’s ergonomically functional and doesn’t look sterile (i.e. Elise). Honestly, who’s going to be regularly feeling up the dashboard? Only those with, um, fetishes…

    I mean, all that for <$50K? Why would it not be a TBAG?

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    To whoever nominated the RS4:

    Cool car and got a great review here. BUT, the 335i will run with it for $20k less.

  • avatar
    nino

    To Lumbergh21;

    I agree with you about the Mazda6 which is why I’ve also nominated the Mazda6 wagon and 5 door hatchback versions of this car.

    My premise in nominating the cars I did was not only good performance in the speed and handling sense, but trying to represent a real world in how these cars are used everyday performance sense. Cars like the Impala appeal to that buyer that wants a bit more room and can’t afford to spend a fortune on a car. The only other car that is comparable I feel would be the Toyota Avalon.

    Hand-in-hand with this thinking was that I felt price value was very important as well as offering something unique in the marketplace. The Malibu Maxx and Mazda6 wagon and hatchback are cars that have no competition in the marketplace and fill a niche that I personally feel is important.

    Finally to my way of thinking, if you’re spending upwards of $40,000, $50,000 and more, a certain amount of excellence is expected. That is why I feel that nominating cars like Ferraris and Mercedes, kind of defeats the purpose as you would expect these cars to be great at the prices they sell.

  • avatar
    italianstallion

    Reading this discussion makes me wonder about another list. I’d like to suggest: Top Ten Automobiles We Want But Don’t Get. TAWWBDG?

    As interesting as the current TBAG conversation is, we’re only telling manufactures what we like about what we’re already “given”. On many levels, the industry already track this kind of consumer data and while it certainly leads to more pointed competition in the market place, but (arguably) it ultimately results in less consumer choice.

    On the other hand, discussing what we really want (but don’t yet have) may encourage market offerings that aren’t responses to (American) market categories that already exist.

    After all, its many of the cars that weren’t originally intended for our market that we entusiasts so love, i.e. Acura TSX (Euro Accord), Scion Xb (JDM Bb), forthcoming Saturn hatch (Opel Astra), etc.

    So (in a future article/thread) lets talk also about all the fantastic (overseas) offerings that we’re denied here: the Ford Mondeo, Euro Honda Civic Hatch, Toyota Avensis Wagon and Corolla Verso, etc.

    But also lets imagine models and versions that we want but aren’t made (yet), ie. wagon versions of the TSX and Lexus IS350, smaller minivans from Toyota and Honda, revived El Caminos, etc.

    Maybe then they’ll stop peddling these senseless SUVs and CUVs (not many of which have been nominated, BTW).

  • avatar
    Joe O

    I nominate the Saturn Ion. My wife owns an 03 model, 5-spd. And here’s why I nominate it:

    No other car makes the soul sense the total lack of driving enjoyment every time you close the door, no other car emits the sense that absolutely no thought was put into the driving dynamics , no other car can match the sound of that particular ecotec four struggling to reach 4500 or 5000 rpms…it is a sound I will remember for the rest of my life.

    And for that, it is unrivaled. And being a TBAG is all about being unrivaled.

    Joe O.

    Further, the Saturn Ion makes me (and my wife, who drives it everyday) remember WHY it’s important to own a fun car.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “• People keep mentioning the Aura and Fusion/Milan. Let’s get this clear, they do not, in any way shape or form, deserve to be on the “BEST Autos Going” list. Key word there, BEST. These cars are NOT the best in their class, not the best in their segment, not the best in any way, shape or form. They are mere IMPROVEMENTS on what we as car fanatics and consumers are used to expecting from their respective manufacturers. After the L-Series Saturns and the Taurus/Sable, these offerings seem quite good, and in comparison to their predecessors, they are, but compared to the competition they are not the best. In this class of vehicle, the family sedan, the Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, and Subaru Legacy all combine utility, sportiness, top notch reliability, high quality interiors, and, save the Accord, attractive exteriors. The interiors of the Fusion, Milan, and even the Aura do not come close to matching those three, and are not nearly as practical, not nearly as refined, comfortable, etc, as the Japanese trio listed above. Please everyone, don’t get blind sighted by the concept of IMPROVEMENTS, we’re looking at the best here, and the Aura, Fusion, and Milan are not the best, not even close. ”

    Please understand this, that most people are simply suggesting what’s best for the midsized family sedan segment. And in the segment you’re referencing, the best has generally been considered to be the Camry or the Accord. Not the Altima and certainly not the Legacy. Don’t even get anyone started on the terrible “quality of the Altima or Legacy either. The only two that the Fusion and Aura have to beat are the Camry and Accord. So I’ll assume that you’re behind on your magazine reading or simply refusing to accept the opinion of those who have experienced these newer cars. The reality is that they’re doing extremely well in comparison to the standby Honda or Toyota. Sorry to break the news.
    But the good news is that Toyota made lots of money so far this year! Yipee! How does that help the sad souls who drive their vanilla cars?

  • avatar
    AlphaWolf

    The Aura…Its driving dynamics are far superior to the miserable Camry and GMs reliability is historically amongst the best in this segment as well. The Aura deserves to be on the Best list.

    GMs reliability is among the best in the Camry, Accord segment? Uh Huh..Although yeah, the Camry is not fun to drive at all.

    I have high hopes for the Aura, but I do not see it in TBAG. I agree with some of the comments that is should not be an most “improved” nomination category.

    I would nominate the Civic SI.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    1. Ferrari F430 Spyder: I love the sound of this engine everytime one passes me by in downtown SF. The mags can attest to its numbers and performance prowess. And it is one of the most beautiful verts on the market today. Please make mine a bright yellow with the SMG transmission.

    Nicest thing about driving through Novato (other than getting through it) was the Ferrari dealership. I’d be headed down 101 when I would first here that unmistakable shreik of the engine followed by the gorgeous form that almost defines the I-want-it-but-I-can’t-have-it car.

  • avatar
    Giltibo

    OK. Here are my noms and a few thoughts on others…

    (In no particular order):

    1)Honda Fit. Right now, in its niche nobody can touch it when it comes to versatility and roominess. Did I mention that it’s also darn fun to drive?

    2)The MX-5 Miata. It has not aged one bit since its inception. The S2000, Solstice or Boxster may go one better in certain respects but the Miata is still the benchmark by which the affordable sports coupes are measured.

    3)The Chevy Corvette. The quintessential American sports car

    4)The Honda Odyssey. The proof that a minivan is not necessarily only an appliance.

    5)The 9-1-1. Call it 911, 993, 930, Carrera or anything, the 911 deserves its place in the pantheon of the automobile. ‘Nuff said.

    6)The Lexus LS: What a Cadillac or Lincoln should be.

    Now, IMHO, those I think don’t quite belong:

    A) EVO / STI : These are specialty cars made for rallying, not-so-friendly on an everyday basis… not to mention very expensive to buy, maintain and insure.

    B) Many VW’s and Mercedeses. The Veedubs have not shaken yet the ghost of long term reliability. The Mercs have deteriorated a lot in that respect too since the fusion with Chrysler. Sad but true…

    C)The Panther cars. These

  • avatar
    Giltibo

    (oops!)
    I was telling about the Panthers. These are cars of another age who have not evolved since God knows when. Compare, for example, a Chrysler LX (Magnum / Charger / 300) and a Panther when it comes to performance and handling and you’ll see what I mean (Though the LXes are far from perfect…)

    D) The Accord is in the last year of its model cycle and it’s starting to show its age (though there’s not much wrong with the interior and the way it drives – let’s wish for an evolution, not a revolution)

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    Giltibo:

    You elect the 911 but exclude the STI/EVO because they are “speciality” cars that are “expensive to buy, maintain and insure”??? You CAN’T be serious!!!

    For the price of the 911, I could buy two STIs or EVOs and have plenty of change left over. Porsche is infamous for their maintenance costs and I would bet my last dollar the STI/EVO is far cheaper to insure.

    As for “specialty” cars, the 911 is a very expensive 2 seater sports car. That is pretty special purpose to me.

    Also, you need to check out the STI Ltd Ed. which is clearly aimed at a broader audience with its upgraded interior and the omission of the whale tail rear spoiler. The EVO has less extreme versions as well.

    You need to find other reasons to leave the STI/EVO off the list.

  • avatar
    Chaser

    I agree that it’s bogus to nominate a car you haven’t driven. For instance, everyone loves the Corvette on paper. My neighbor had an 05 model, and when he offered to let me take it for a spin I thought I’d be blown away. Not even close. Instead, I came away with the impression that it was just a faster Camaro. The automagic tranny was partly liable, but that car’s still not worth the money in my opinion.

    The same goes for Dodge’s Internet golden boy, the SRT-4. Fastest car under $21k, etc. Then you drive one for a while and realize how much negative attention you get with the boy-racer (ricer?) look, and how the exhaust drone tenderizes your brain while the suspension rearranges your vertebrae. No thanks.

    On the other hand, I always hated the Scion xB. From the outside it’s a high-school freshman’s first autocad project and 103 hp? Pathetic. Then I finally drove one thanks to all the positive feedback on the net…and I loved it. This is a car that simply makes you happy everytime you hop behind the wheel.

    My point is that it’s more than stats and torque curves. You have to drive the car to really feel the soul of it. Anyone can go “magazine racing” and simply pick the vehicle with the best stats or the highest rating from the paper pushers. I would expect more from self-proclaimed car nuts.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Chaser:

    You drove the last year of the Corvette with the OLD 4-speed auto. No wonder it didn’t seem thrilling. Plus a Corvette has no business being mated to an auto. If you’re anywhere near the Boston area I will gladly let you get behind the wheel of my 06 with the proper 6-speed tranny. Better yet, I’ll take you for a spin and show you just how fun these cars can be. If you liked that glorified Toyota Echo (xB) there’s no way you wouldn’t like a Vette driven properly

    Claude Dickson:

    Your other points are vaild, but I would almost guarantee you that STi and especially Evo insurance is more expensive than insurance for a 911. The main cost of insurance is liability and there are far more kids driving reckless in STis and Evos than 911s. Usually by the time you can afford a 911 your testosterone level has dropped to a level sufficient to prevent extremely reckless driving. Although the 50 something in the 996 911 Turbo I raced on I-93 last Friday might beg to differ. He did give up after we hit 120mph though, I was ready for a little more ;)

  • avatar
    Joe O

    A fine doctor friend from Huntington Beach recently bought a 911 over a Maserati or Aston Martin. Why? Because the first scheduled maintenance on the Porsche was at 20000 miles; compared to the Aston Martin at 3000.

    I’m not kidding.

    Porsche might be expensive to maintain, but only from Subaru/Mitsubishi comparison. In it’s league, it’s one of the least expensive.

    The EVO and such might offer acceleration times in supercar territory, but you don’t realize how far away they are from Porsche until you drive the two of them. No magazine data. Just drive them.

    The EVO might belong on the list, but the Porsche definitely does. Plus, the 911 has out-scienced physics for 40+ years now and has remained an icon. I think it coined the term “pendulum effect”.

    Joe O.

  • avatar
    Chaser

    thetopdog> The bluelight-special interior and automatic really killed it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my xB is better. I’m not a foaming fanboy; the Scion has plenty of shortcomings. I just find such flaws easier to swallow at $15k as opposed to $40k.

    I only wish I lived close enough to take you up on the test drive offer. When I become dictator of America, my first edict will be No Autos in Performance Cars. Mad with power after that, I will then declare every Friday Hawaiian Shirt Day.

  • avatar
    TreyV

    The top five most expensive to insure came up recently on a big Subaru board I visit. #1 was the EVO. I think, but don’t quote me since I can’t find the thread from there, the SRT-4 was #2 and the STI was #4. I’m drawing a total blank on the other two. A 911 starts at $72k. As I’ve never had to insure something that pricey, I’m not really sure how insurance goes up with vehicle value. Does the high expense 911 have similar insurance as the high risk STI?

    However, the maintenance cost delta from homologated Japanese compact sedan to high perfomance German sports car has be pretty significant.

  • avatar
    Chaser

    My xB is one of the cheapest new cars to insure that I’ve found. An SRT-4 costs approximately $25/month more. If I were in the market for an Evo, Sti, or 911 then ~$25 wouldn’t be a blip on the radar.

  • avatar

    I nominate the Boxster. No other car has ever felt so good to me; the precise steering with excellent feedback, the amazingly well-balanced handling, the feeling of being incredibly firmly planted on the road well in excess of 100mph, and the song of that engine. And as I’ve probably said before, Porsches have the prettiest valves. The valves belong in MOMA (to see a menorah made of Porsche valves, go to my website, motorlegends.com). And the song of that engine!

    I nominate all of Acura, for being the overall best-looking brand (the Cayenne, “C” of the Ugly Car Alphabet, kind of ruins it for Porsche), as well as for overall excellence.

    I nominate the xB for being the coolest looking car out there, as well as incredible practicality.

    The MX-5 for having perhaps the highest quotient of fun per dollar, as well as a high quality quotient.

  • avatar

    I also nominate the Corvette for being the one car an American can be truly proud of. The fact that I came out of the womb 7.5 hrs before the first Corvette rolled off the line, and ethnic pride (Zora Arkus-Duntov is a fellow member of the tribes) in no way bias me.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    A fine doctor friend from Huntington Beach recently bought a 911 over a Maserati or Aston Martin. Why? Because the first scheduled maintenance on the Porsche was at 20000 miles; compared to the Aston Martin at 3000.

    I’m not kidding.

    Porsche might be expensive to maintain, but only from Subaru/Mitsubishi comparison. In it’s league, it’s one of the least expensive.

    The EVO and such might offer acceleration times in supercar territory, but you don’t realize how far away they are from Porsche until you drive the two of them. No magazine data. Just drive them.

    The EVO might belong on the list, but the Porsche definitely does. Plus, the 911 has out-scienced physics for 40+ years now and has remained an icon. I think it coined the term “pendulum effect”.

    Joe O.

    First off, anyone buying even a quasi-sports car needs to anticipate frequent and diligent maintenance to keep it running – I can’t beleive that is even a topic/consideration with these cars. You shoud check out the maintenance schedule and cost for REAL cars like the McLaren F1, Enzo, LP640 or Zonda.

    Second, Porsche “out-scienced Physics for 40 years”!!!!????? Maybe if you were driving Porsches with $500k in modifications. Until the 996 series they were death traps unless heavily modified – only recently has the physics of chassis engineering advanced to a degree to enable a rear engined machine to remain dynamically stable in agressive maneuver. More proplerly, only recently has that technology been made affordable enough to incorporate it into a Porsche.

    Third, with your comparison to the Evo surely you must be referencing the GT3?, certainly one of the higher end models of + $100k – and at that point the only thing the Porsche has on the Evo is acceleration. –Quite possibly you were not driving the Evo correctly?– That can quickly be remedied with a $750 Vishnu reflash. I cannot tell you how many times an angry 911 Turbo driver was wanting to humiliate me in my seemingly stock, “pathetic, poor mans wannabe race car” (those words were spoken to me at a stop light) and ended up getting his world rocked – even more so if we happen to be on a back country road. And thats not even with my track Evo!!! For the image conscious the Porsche is a great machine, but if your pursuit is truly performance, an Evo with $4000 of modifications could not be touched by anything made by Porsche. And hey, my best friend is Porsche driving instructor and while he can find owners of modified Porsches to take my track Evo in the quarter mile trap there has not been any that will make faster lap times with him driving(so far anyway).

  • avatar
    saabophile

    Saab 9-7x – its a great suv, not that great of a fit for saab, but its got a great I6 engine, plenty of power and towing capability and a great deal of creature comforts. with the current incentives its also a good value.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    O.K., I immediately nominated the Lancer Evolution and the LP640 because to me they are no brainers. I needed some time to spend in introspection however in order to present what I would consider to be a thorough and well accounted for list.
    1 & 2 have already bee named.

    3. Toyota Corolla: It’s suprising comfort and excellent economy coupled with reliability make it the perfect commuting vehicle.
    4. Infinity G35 Coupe: for the most elegent bodystyle this side of $250k.
    5. Civic Si Coupe: I have had exensive drive time with this car and though it’s acceleration is wanting the handling is superb. In many instances, if properly handled, the maneuvers that can be safely executed at one lane (public road) speed are very similar to the Lancer Evolution (on dry tarmac – preferably on a warm day).
    6. 997 Twin Turbo:just a wonderfully dangerous piece of machinery.
    7. MazdaSpeed3:crisp handling shoud be made available to all who want it – and Mazda will deliver.
    8. Subaru Impreza: my friend has abused his Impreza in so many ways I don’t have the space to recount – suffice to say he put 110,000k on his vehicle in one year, neglected oil changes/tune ups and the engine sounds wonderful – the car still drives like its new. Maybe my friend was lucky, but Subarus have always served my parents well also(+200k miles).
    9. Honda S2000:a truly beautiful gearbox – I wish my Evo(s) shifted with such fluidity.
    10. Prius:I am certainly skeptical of anthropogenic global warming (especially after the Wegman report); that notwithstanding, I recognize the need to conserve/preserve what we have. The Prius, I hope, is the first of many steps that will enable the average citizen to remain as unfettered in their mobility as they are now without leaving as great of an ecological imprint.

  • avatar
    mchohan

    I am going to post my choices based on the very simple following logic: “if it aint durable, reliable, and able to fulfill its intentended function with minimal fuss and downtime, it shouldn’t be anywhere near TBAG”…

    1. Lexus IS250/350 – If I had to buy new, had to personally bear the brunt of operating costs/depreciation, and wanted something that would look stunning with minor modifications (wheels, ride height— NOTHING ELSE)… I would choose the IS and dare anyone to park any other vehicle beside it with similar wheel/ride height mods. Only a few taught German sedans would make the cut but alas, LONG-TERM reliability trends relegate almost every vehicle from the Germans a non-contender for TBAG… From VW with their never-ending electronics issues to M3’s sending pistons through their power dome… whats the point if the car only does its thing inside the safety zone of manufacturer warranty i ask?

    2. 2007 Ford Mustang GT – From a Lexus IS to Ford Mustang? I tell you all, I would proudly park a 2007 Mustang GT alongside my IS250/350. Obviously an American icon, the current gen Mustang offers aggressive classy styling (look to the just released Shelby GT 500KR… all you need is the front bumper, hood, and wheels and all of the sudden an unassuming Mustang GT is drop dead gorgeous)… Beyond styling tweaks, the Mustang offers every person out there to personalize their vehicle a thousand different ways all the while providing no less then 300 RELIABLE horsepower that will melt the rear tires all day long… I absolutely love it and the fact that for a few thousand dollars, you can have an exhaust track that rivals the finest from Italy and I am not kidding when I say that….

  • avatar
    tiger

    Honda Civic Si

    First and foremost, it’s a car that makes you want to drive it. The combination of an 8000 RPM redline, the responsive chassis, and superb dynamics delivers sheer driving pleasure like sports car. It’s like a Miata, but with a better motor.

    Honda quality, beautiful modern design, and ample room for four makes it practical; much more than a weekend toy. It’s like an Accord, but in a tidier package.

    Good gas mileage, low depreciation, and low cost makes it affordable. All this (including a GPS) for under $23K?

    Lots of fun, very practical, reliable, and actually affordable? Everyone talks about this, but the Civic Si actually delivers all three — and better than anything else does.

    There’s simply no better all-around car on the planet.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    “italianstallion:
    May 10th, 2007 at 9:18 pm
    Reading this discussion makes me wonder about another list. I’d like to suggest: Top Ten Automobiles We Want But Don’t Get. TAWWBDG?”

    An excellent suggestion. My first nominations for TAWWBDG would be Ford’s European Mondeo and Focus. And why is it taking BMW so long to bring the 1 Series across the pond? By the time it gets here, many won’t care anymore. I’m rapidly losing interest myself.

    Meanwhile… despite its cheap interior and solid rear axle, I will second the nomination for the Ford Mustang GT. Quite simply, the car is probably the best performance bargain out there today. If you don’t need leather seats, you can drive away in one of these for 25k or less. With 300 horses under the hood. It’s a bit on the crude side, but tons of fun nonetheless.

    The new Nissan Altima coupe equipped with the 270-hp V6, priced at 24k to start (the four-cylinder version will start at 20-21K) , may give a Mustang a run for its money when it hits the showrooms this summer. But, for now, you can’t beat the pony car’s bang for the buck.

    Yes, I know all about the Mazda Speed3, Subie WRX and Mitsu Lancer Evo. And I think they’re great. But 300-hp V8’s go about their business in an entirely diffferent fashion than turbo fours. That and the fact that four-doors just don’t do it for me.

    And to all those who keep nominating various VWs and Audi, I understand. Vee-Dubs are great cars to drive. But every person I know (and there are quite a few) who have owned VW and Audi-branded vehicles over the past five years have traded-in their cars early because they simply gave them too much trouble – particularly in the electronics department. I understand many of these nominations are emotionally based. And, as enthusiasts, nothing beyond driving enjoyment is supposed to matter. But VW’s dismal reliability (and corresponding lack of manufacturer support) would keep these cars off my personal list. Your results may vary.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to nayrb5:

    Nino raises a good point, we should be evaluating the car as it stands at this moment, rather than the history attached to a particular model name.

    Being best means best now AND best in the years to come. I hereby claim that Aura and Fusion do not have long term quality (not just reliability) as good as Camry/Accord. Why? Because their predecessors didn’t prove that way. Prejudice, maybe. But 99% of the times, history will just repeat. Fusion will be no better than Taurus(in relative terms), unless Ford goes bankrupt and all the management/workers get fired and replaced by other people.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to blue adidas:

    But the good news is that Toyota made lots of money so far this year! Yipee! How does that help the sad souls who drive their vanilla cars?

    Profitability is a good measure of product superiority, indeed. The most profitable car brand in the U.S. is Porsche; the second one is Lexus. They are certainly superior to their same-priced rivals (VW Phaeton vs Lexus LS460?).

    The same can be said for other products as well. Guess who has more profit making TVs, RCA or Samsung?

  • avatar
    niky

    Profitability is a good measure of marketing research and the ability to appeal to the 80% of the buying market that falls into the middle of the bell curve. People stuck somewhere between total auto-illiteracy and automotive engineering degrees.

    This makes for good sales, yes. And, admittedly, some of those sales are deserved. But does it necessarily mean the product is great? More people eat white bread, but can you honestly say that it’s the best bread ever made?

    If history repeats itself 99% of the time, ten years from now, Toyota, Honda and company will be teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and Hyundai will be on the verge of passing Toyota as World’s Number One automaker. It’s history repeating… but with different players… right?

    Years of stumbling have made the American companies a tiny bit smarter and warier of the traps and pitfalls that have put them where they are now. Whether this current semi-turnaround pans out or they slip back into the same bad old ways, no one knows… and no one can predict.

    If no one ever gave a chance to the unknowns, Toyota wouldn’t be what it is today.

    Thus, we vote for the cars in the here and now. Which is why I still object to the nomination of the Corolla. I agree, it’s everything a car needs to be, and it was a heck of a good compact-class car when it debuted… but it’s falling behind the competition. But, hell, if it makes the top twenty, I’ll grudgingly admit it deserves it.

  • avatar
    Kman

    As car enthusiasts, we normally have a pretty good idea of the short-list of cars we want to get when comes time for a new one.

    This was the case with me, and I started test-driving the various ones. Normally, I would also have an idea beforehand of what to expect, and which are the likeliest contenders.

    A first happened this time: the first car that sold itself to me on the test-drive, and without being on my initial list, is the one I have currently owned for four years: The Acura TSX.

    It was spring 2003, and the 2004 TSX had just arrived at the local dealership; I hadn’t even read much about it.

    As I moved away from the RSX-Type S I came in to see, I was smitten by the high-quality materials and build of the interior. The design was wonderfully handsome as well. I sat in the driver’s seat, shut the door… what’s this? Very luxurious thud, and a quiet cabin. The instrument panel awoke into a soft glow to welcome me. Equipement list? FULLY EQUIPED! How much is this thing? $3K more (CDN) than the RSX-S I was just looking at. And because it is a 2004 in early 2003, it actually leased better. But the feel of this interior is an entirely different LEAGUE than the RSX-S. It brought back memories of my previous BMW 330Ci.

    The dealer happened to be near some mountaineous switchbacks, and as I straightened the wheels after the first turn, having heel-and-toe downshifted smoothly in the setup to the turn, my whole mind became quiet and I heard with pure clarity: I. Am. Getting. This. Car.

    A week prior to this, I had test-driven the Mini Cooper and Cooper S. Putting handling numbers aside, I had as much fun in the TSX as I did in the Minis. The connected-ness and whole-ness of the controls is greater than the sum of their parts.

    After having aquired the TSX, I’ve described it as giving me 90% of what the 330Ci did, at a value bonus of 140%. Plus, I appreciate the anonymous, yet handsome-on-second-glance styling.

    Four years on, I still smile on my daily drives.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    thetopdog:Your other points are vaild, but I would almost guarantee you that STi and especially Evo insurance is more expensive than insurance for a 911.

    I went to every major insurance company and the 997 Twin Turbo is on average slightly more than two times more expensive to insure than the Lancer Evolution. If a feeble old man with a cane drives the 997 the rates will certainly drop. You are confounding driver age with vehicle type. It is unfair to compare the insurance rates of a 50yr old man to that of a 25yr old and then insist that one car is more expensive to insure than the other.

    My Evos (2), with a perfect driving record, cost about $5500 a year. One 997 Twin Turbo would run me $8230 per year (that is the cheapest quote).


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