By on November 16, 2011

YouTube Preview Image

Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award has been a lightning rod of criticism among automotive gadflies ever since… well, you decide. Corvair? Vega? Mustang II?  Every year, MT picks one “best” car from a market that serves a wide variety of needs, and every year, the autoblogosphere rushes to help the tottering “contest” collapse under the weight of its own pretense. This year, with Motor Trend picking Volkswagen’s new de-Euro’d Passat (a car that has received a decidedly mixed critical reception) for its highest honor, is it any wonder that the peanut gallery is frothing over the choice?

Jalopnik, the gaddiest of automotive gadflies, swung for the moon with their headline of “Golden Shower” superimposed atop a picture of Editor-In-Chief Angus Mackenzie. Mike Spinelli’s satirical rant, praising Motor Trend for giving the award to a car that has been watered-down and decontented for the American market, would be funny if there weren’t legions of people who earnestly believed the Passat could qualify as some kind of enthusiast vehicle beyond the mere fact that it was a Volkswagen, and therefore obscure to most consumers.

The previous Passats were great cars. I lobbied hard for my folks to buy a B6 Wagon in high school but they ended up going with a Hyundai Santa Fe. The inside of a Passat was, to quote a popular movie at the time “lined with rich mahogany and filled with leather [bound books]…” and the 2.0T engine provided a nice kick. The dealer even had a parts counter guy who offered to re-flash the ECU for another 40 horsepower and 90 lb-ft, but alas, it wasn’t to be. Otherwise, the Passats were just “meh” to drive. More fun than a CamCord to be certain, but eating diabetic candy is more fun than eating celery sticks.

But a rant like Jalopnik’s, as funny as it is, is just as disingenuous as Motor Trend’s award – it’s not really about the quality of the car or of Motor Trend’s journalism, but a sly bit of branding and status whoring, intending to position Jalopnik as a site of integrity, by the enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. We’ve seen this before with the Jeff Glucker hit-piece, in spite of the rampant XBOX whoring and other questionable tactics like misleading headlines that lead to single sentence posts. Motor Trend may have made a bad call, but trotting out the typical “enthusiasts are being ignored” canard is the wrong move when our target for attack has given the COTY award to illustrious candidates like the 2002 Ford Thunderbird and the 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser. Spinelli asks rhetorically “Why would Motor Trend cater to the whims of “enthusiasts” over the marketplace?” Because, as we’ve established long ago, enthusiasts complain endlessly and buy seldom. Meanwhile, the new Jetta is setting sales records, despite it apparently being the enthusiast Antichrist on four wheels [Ed: to the point where Forbes calls it a “flop,” despite its 27% bump in sales]

On to the next bête noire – Motor Trend brags about this year’s field of cars being one of the largest and most competitive, at 35. Looking at the field, I can see about, oh, 33 more worthy candidates (aside from the Fisker Karma, which is vaporware and looks like a kosher sausage that stayed in the frying pan too long). Why not the Ford Focus or the Chevrolet Sonic, two small cars that prove that American cars can beat the imports at their own game [Ed: Might this not have been the best year in history for MT to give a GM small car the honor, after so many embarrassments?]? Why not the Audi A7, which should win for no other reason than being heartbreakingly beautiful? Why not the Nissan LEAF for being a mass market EV that actually works?

If you ask me, the reason is because Motor Trend is out of touch with everything and everyone else outside of Planet Motor Trend, and has officially become irrelevant. They slam the Ford Explorer, but again, it seems to do just fine in the sales race. Their endless advertorial love affair with the CTS-V wagon “long term tester” is almost a parody of auto journalisms excesses. And don’t forget MacKenzie’s own piece for Subaru’s magazine (and MT) which detailed his all-expenses paid jaunt to the Australian Outback in – A Subaru Outback! More than anything else, this seems like MT is betting that the new Passat will sell well, rather than rewarding a manufacturer for a truly significant achievement. And who precisely learns what from that?

Ed described the new Passat to me as “A German Impala” and that’s a pretty apt, if uncharitable description. It’s a lot better than the “enthusiast” vanguard would have you believe, but there’s still something not quite right. It’s a little watered down, a little soft around the edges – just right for everyone else who isn’t totally immersed in the world of automotive trivia. And they’ve never bought a car based on an annual award anyways.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

59 Comments on “Motor Trend’s Car Of The Year: As Relevant As You’d Expect...”


  • avatar
    Sundowner

    a few points of discussion;

    1) hyperbolic much?
    2) the A7 is ugly and serves no useful purpose while being more expensive than an otherwise identical A6, but has worse rear had room and abysmal real visibility.
    3) I don’t like the new Passat, but I don’t hate it. VW, if anything, is hitting the target of what mass market consumers want, and I see the appeal of that. They are not selling the hot rod stickshift Passat wagon that apparently only I want (and I LOVED my 08 stick Passat wagon), and I lament that.

    If the COTY was awarded on the merit of ‘most literal version of vanilla’ then the car deserves to win. If the car sells well, then winning never mattered, did it?

    On the other hand, if the car doesn’t sell well or is falling off, a COTY award might offer a nice boost (I’m looking at you, Audi A7)

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      it’s a good thing we all have varying tastes, otherwise we’d all be driving the same boring car. and i think the A7 is absolutely gorgeous

      • 0 avatar
        Sundowner

        tase is subjective, the lack of a functional value of the car is not.

      • 0 avatar
        A Caving Ape

        @Sundowner:

        But the A7 has a hatch! So … better for ikea trips at least? I trot out this argument when debating 4 door vs coupe (i’ll take a 4 door every time) but in the case of the A7 the only sacrifice seems to be rear headroom, which i mean, come on, how often do you really have adults back there.

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        Ja! who bought a Ferrari for it’s practicality? A7 is good looking car but I can understand that not every one would like the looks.

    • 0 avatar
      wallstreet

      I’ll take A7 over 5 GT very time. Now Aztec is ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      wallstreet

      I’ll take A7 over 5 GT very time. Now Aztec is ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      vbofw

      “On the other hand, if the car doesn’t sell well or is falling off, a COTY award might offer a nice boost (I’m looking at you, Audi A7)”

      I don’t think Audi needs any assistance selling A7s. They only shipped 2,000-3,000 to the U.S. and most buyers are waiting months to take shipments. Even though the profit on these has to be sky-high [they are A6s plus a $12,000 hatch, right] it’s probably the right strategy to keep it an aspirational/halo vehicle. And how many of these are they going to sell to Chinese government officials?

      • 0 avatar
        jeffzekas

        Audi proves, once again, the enthusiasts with big bucks have no taste (my god, it looks like a wide mouthed bass) and don’t care about reliability. I have NEVER heard any positive comments about Audi repairs– two dozen different owners have complained to me about expensive parts and numerous shop visits, which is why I drive a Subaru. Of course, enthusiasts also LOVE the BMW 3-series, another money pit, with owners who rarely mention the “$1,000 per visit maintenance” on these Bavarian Money Burners.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @jeffzekas

        I guess that makes sense. Your Subaru is too cheap to break, which is why it isn’t in the shop.

        Charging $28,000 for a car with THAT interior? Honestly.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I have to say that I was a bit disheartened when Automobile awarded the A7 with their of the year award. I just don’t “get” the car, and I’m usually fairly in-tune with what automotive “enthusiasts” like. But at least that fits with the elitist, “enthusiast” market that Automobile panders to. They don’t pretend to be recommending a car for years of ownership, just recommending what they like about the new car.

      As for the Passat and Motor Trend, I absolutely don’t see how it’s groundbreaking in any way. Motor Trend seems to give their award to either the stupifyling obvious choice, draining all originality from themselves (Volt last year… Duh) or else flying off into left field with a completely face-palm-dumb choice (the Passat, the Thunderbird, the Land Rover Evoque as ’12 SUV of the year, the ’91 Caprice). Cars that break no new ground, are widely regarded as merely competitive (or not) in their market segment, and, as with the Passat, Evoque, and T-Bird, are almost certainly highly unreliable if bought by a citizen and driven daily for several years (the T-Bird was built upon the 3-year-old Lincoln LS/Jag S-Type platform that had already been deemed a reliability dud; the LR and Passat have longstanding histories of bottom-of-the-barrel reliability).

      Whatever. I don’t think anyone buys cars based on MT’s recommendation anymore, thanks to years of this type of nonsense. The Passat probably won’t even be the biggest WTF car they’ve recommended in the past decade. The editorial staff is just ego-petting and telling themselves that they are still as relevant in awarding something as their forbears truly were. We all know better.

      Still, though… Makes no sense.

  • avatar

    in spite of the rampant XBOX whoring

    Thank you! Thank you!

    Finally, someone else will go public on this topic. Jalopnik has an “editorial tie up” with the publishers of Forza 4 (i.e. Microsoft) and Ray thinks that just because “no money exchanged (sic) hands”, there’s no ethical problem in a publication giving coverage to a product in exchange for the makers of that product promoting the publication.

    I don’t really have a problem with such a back scratching relationship. If Turn 10 Studios wants to fly me out to Seattle to show me how good Forza 4 works in 3D, or ship me out a 3D monitor and glasses so I can review it at home, I’ll be happy to review their product and if they’re nice I’ll say so. I just think it’s a bit hypocritical for Jalopnik to get Jeff Glucker fired for what he did for Nissan or whoever it was, while Ray is hyping Forza.

    Changing the topic, Ed, did you notice that Jalopnik is looking to hire a writer based in Detroit? You think I should apply?

    • 0 avatar

      Of all the cases of “The emperors new clothes” in the automotive world, they’re far past stark naked…But if I recall correctly, it was a youth who was the one to call out “he’s not wearing anything ” :)

    • 0 avatar

      To not only equate the editorial tie-up we’ve had with Forza as being even remotely hypocritical — or on the same level — as Jeff Glucker of Autoblog’s ethical sins is ridiculous. For starters, there is a clear disclaimer on every Jalopnik post on Forza 4. Go ahead and take a look:

      http://jalopnik.com/forza-4

      Jeff Glucker, on the other hand, provided readers no disclaimer for behavior that is universally accepted as ethically-bereft.

      And might I remind you that Glucker’s sin of omission in this case was to be accepting cash from the entity he was promoting. That’s an act we clearly are not engaging in here.

      If your argument is that there’s a promotional value to us by being allied with Turn 10, fair enough. But not only is that covered by the disclaimer, but it’s a sin that TTAC would also be guilty of any time that an automaker, or their PR staff have, for example, tweeted out a link to a TTAC story. Where’s their disclaimer, huh?

      And by the way, your lack of understanding of the word “hypocrisy” — and its context or definition — is all the reason I would ever need not to hire to you.

  • avatar

    “More fun than a CamCord to be certain, but eating diabetic candy is more fun than eating celery sticks.”

    The same applies to the new one. As much as it underwhelmed me, I must admit that it’s more fun to drive than other midsize sedans. But, as Derek notes, this says more about the state of the segment than about the Passat.

    Very much hope that the new Ford Fusion changes this, but not exactly hopeful.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      The last Passat I drove was an ’03 4Motion wagon: lots more fun than an Accord, lots less reliable. I for one would be OK with VW’s NA market decontenting if the bits they leave off are the expensive and fragile ones. Credit to VW, at least, for offering a diesel and a stick in the States.

      As for the segment, I don’t think it’s any great revelation to say that buyers in this class are looking for economy, comfort, and reliability first. Driving pleasure (at least as defined by the average enthusiast) comes in a distant second…

      • 0 avatar
        Guzzi

        I caught the diesel, but a 6-speed manual with it? That’s…perverse, in a simply beautiful way. It’s not enough to give the U.S. one of the few remaining diesel options, but hey, look, you can row your own? What’s the take rate on THAT?

        Truly, it’s the nonconformist’s mass-market sedan. Now I kind of want one.

        And why no 2.0 turbo on this? I thought they used to have that engine.

        p.s. I always liked Spinelli way more than that douchepottamus Wert.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    Excuse me, I rented an Impala and still remember the great nap I took in the back seat after a weekend of sports, I am 6-2 and 240, and had great drives in it for over 8 hours over the weekend. Are they both going to be going strong at 120k miles? Would be nice.

  • avatar
    threeer

    One more nail in the (very) insignificant coffin of the automotive rag mag. The new Passat? Really? It’s okay, and seems to be selling well enough…but the “best?”

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I stopped reading Motor Trend years ago. The only thing more laughable than “Car of the Year” is Truck of the Year.

    Also, Jalopnik really needs to get over itself.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “Because, as we’ve established long ago, enthusiasts complain endlessly and buy seldom.”

    Well, that’s about it. And that’s also why the Fiat Abarth 500 won’t save the nascent and flagging 500 line. But at least the Passat name will live on for a long, long time.

  • avatar
    86er

    That’s some fine eggcrate grille, right there.

    I’ll take two.

  • avatar
    newfdawg

    The only people who seem to care about the COTY is the staff of Motor Toones. So many of the choices have crashed and burned that if anything the choice serves as inverse indicator of the vehicle’s quality and worthiness. I haven’t read M/T for years and frankly, if they discontinued the “award” would anyone really care?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Motor Trend brags about this year’s field of cars being one of the largest and most competitive, at 35. Looking at the field, I can see about, oh, 33 more worthy candidates

    If I’m not mistaken, the sole criteria for being a contender is that the car is a new model. Being on the contender list isn’t a honor, per se.

    Why not the Ford Focus or the Chevrolet Sonic, two small cars that prove that American cars can beat the imports at their own game

    Judging from their reviews, they didn’t like them very much. Their comment about the Focus wasn’t entirely upbeat:

    Comparisons with the Elantra kept popping up. Many agreed that “the inside lets down the outside” from a design standpoint, with too much hard plastic and a gimmicky center stack. Others weren’t sold on the slightly boomy 2.0-liter, lamenting that “as with the Buick Verano, you have to wait for the money engine, which should be the 1.6-liter EcoBoost.”

    Their views about the Sonic weren’t entire positive, either:

    Several editors complained about the car’s driveability on the road, noting that the combination of a sensitive throttle and non-linear power delivery made it hard to row the gears smoothly. Others balked at the shifter itself, calling it “loose,” “rubbery,” and “vague.” The transmission was also dinged for its extra-long gearing, which forces you to downshift from sixth to third to find any real power.

    Their criticisms of the Passat were fairly mild. So part of this may be a case of not doing something really badly, rather than one of a car that does one thing very well.

    I’ve never been a fan of Motor Trend, but this “everyone sucks except TTAC” shtick is becoming excessive. The nature of the contest requires that they choose one winner. It’s quite possible that the staff would reasonably choose a winner, given the criteria listed, that you would not. So what?

  • avatar
    SilverHawk

    The company I worked for had a new product that MT supported as one of it’s “best new products of the year” in 1997. We ran some ads, of course, to thank them for their support. The first ad came out in their COTY issue. That year, the award went to the Chevy Malibu, a car that was designed from the ground up as a rental. Like the car, our product went nowhere. For the 1953 model year, Robert Bourke/Raymond Loewy gave us the Stude Starliner coupe, one of the 50’s most original designs. MT chose not to give an award in 53. I should have known.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ……you lost me at “the previous Passats were great cars”…..obviously you weren’t of bill paying age, as most of them were money pit P’sOS…..makes me wonder about your car guy cred. On that basis alone, I reluctantly agree with MT and thousands of consumers, the American Passat is a winner. By the way, how many cars of any sort have you bought, with or without COTY encouragement. Or, “as we’ve established long ago”, do reviewers critique endlessly and buy never?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “the previous Passats were great cars”

      Yes, that line gave me pause, also. My 02 Passat was a dealer repair queen, making a dozen unplanned trips there in 3 years. I traded that dog just as the 3/36 warranty ran out.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Anyone familiar with MT’s award history knows it’s full of very dubious choices – the ones I recall in particular (i.e., by seeing the COTY story in the magazine) were those for the 1973 Chevy Monte Carlo and the 1974 Ford Mustang II. Personally I feel that the last time the award was properly given was in 1965 for the full-size Pontiac line.

    • 0 avatar
      dvp cars

      …….can’t believe you touched on 2 of my favorite cars in one comment….for 23 years I’ve owned a very rare 64 Pontiac (Canadian built 409 Parisienne Custom Sport coupe), which I presume you would like, and picked up a brand new special order Monte Carlo (“S” model, 350 4bbl, dual exhaust, sport suspension, no A/C) in 1973….obviously not one of your first picks, but I loved it. Motor Trend got it at least half right, as far as we’re concerned.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      It has been hit-and-miss. The Oldsmobile Toronado won in 1966, and deserved the award. Same for the Chevrolet Impala/Caprice in 1977 and Ford Taurus in 1986.

      The 1973 Monte Carlo received several suspension improvements that really did improve handling and braking. Granted, it still wasn’t a BMW, but for people used to the standard soggy domestic fare, it was a big deal at the time. And the car was a huge sales success.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I actually really like the new Passat. I just wish the base engine was, let’s say, a 90-degree iron block V6.

    It’s more a “German Oldsmobile” than a “German Impala” anyway.

    I’ll see about owning one in about 10 years.

    • 0 avatar
      wallstreet

      It is very nice of VW to offer TDI Passat. There is no other vehicle manufacturer in NA offers more oil burner choices than VW.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Which really stings, because I want another diesel but am afraid to go back to VW. I wish every day that I had kept my ’04 Golf too… first car I ever paid off, and I had no problems with it other than a seat squeak which eventually went away. I might have been one of the lucky ones, but I sure do miss that little focker

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Easy now…some even smaller, snootier automotive blog out there may be calling this rant about Jalopnik’s rant no less sly a bit of branding…and no less intended to position TTAC as a site with more integrity than Jalopnik, by real enthusiasts, for real enthusiasts (which I believe it usually is, by the way.) Kettle, meet pot?

    P.S.: MT’s COTY so obviously should’ve been the Coda. ;)

  • avatar
    mustangsvo1812

    Who cares about Motor Trend doesn’t everyone know Car And Driver is the only relevant new car magazine?

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Didn’t they also name the Renault Alliance COTY back in 84? Maybe the best thing to do is buy anything they don’t award COTY to.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Didn’t they also name the Renault Alliance COTY back in 84?

      1983, as it turns out.

      But it would help to understand that the Car of the Year criteria requires that (a) the car is a new model and (b) that it is a car (not a truck.)

      And back in 1983, it also had to be a domestic. (At that time, there was also a separate “Import Car of the Year”.)

      In 1983, there would have been very few vehicles that would have matched those criteria in order to have been considered. I don’t know what the Alliance would have competed against, but I would expect that you would have been able to count the entrants on one hand. And of course, all of the competition would have been from the Big 3, as there were no other companies that would have been eligible.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        In 1983, the Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar were new, with slick aero styling. The Thunderbird really should have won.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        In 1983, the Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar were new, with slick aero styling. The Thunderbird really should have won.

        I share your personal preferences, but I could see how the Alliance could have been chosen, instead.

        The Alliance earned a lot of praise in the automotive press at the time, due to it being more refined than other compacts. Of course, they didn’t prove to be as durable as well as some of the competition…

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        During a summer internship in 1985, I joined a carpool, and one of the members had a 1984 Renault Alliance D/L sedan. I was amazed at how smooth the ride was (no small car has equalled it, in my experience), and the pedestal bucket seats really did open up rear seat legroom.

        Unfortunately, when I graduated from college in 1986, I was looking at new cars, and every Alliance owner I asked said it was the worst car that he or she had ever owned, even though it had some nice features and was comfortable for a small car. And I believe that it was one of the first cars to receive an entire chart of solid black dots from Consumer Reports.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    I was sitting here looking at this, and suddenly it hit me.

    Why would I buy this when I can get a Hyundai Genesis fully loaded used for about the same price with less than 50k miles. (or for that matter any other luxury car in that price range/mileage/age)

    Just a thought

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    If you look at the contenders, it should be named “Motortrends Biggest loser”.
    Pathetic.

  • avatar
    vento97

    TTAC should keep a wet-dry shop vac around to protect their facility from being flooded by the river of tears flowing through this forum.

    “A VW WON??? OMG!!!! SAY IT AIN’T SO!” (Sniff)….

    Chill people. It’s only an automotive magazine. Their job is to generate advertising revenue first and foremost.

  • avatar
    TR4

    I figured out what MT was about in the early 1970s when cars were suffering from early emission controls. They would frequently run an article about an overpriced hop-up kit consisting of carburetor jets and distributor advance weights/springs. Invariably the power, torque, driveability and gas mileage improved while the emissions stayed the same or even went down. And a couple of pages away from the article guess what…an ad for said kit. Of course any magazine or newspaper that accepts paid advertising is subject to similar criticism.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Well, I can see why they did it (haven’t gotten that issue yet). The copy of MT in front of me now has the Passat beating the Sonota and Camry in all three engine trims, so they have a new “best mid-sized sedan” to announce, and guess what, it’s probably the most visible and consumer significant segment in the land. Makes sense that they would be focused on it right now.

    This reminds me of the Sonota garnering all the media praise and rewards after its launch. At least the Passat is considered by MT to be “best in class”, the Sonota only got so much attention for being a non-crap Hyundai. Even at its launch the old in tooth Accord was a better vehicle in a lot of respects.

    FWIW I’ve driven a lot of the cars in this segment recently, and I’d rank them new Passat, new Camry, old Accord, Sonota/Optima, Altima. The news to me here is that the new Camry is so good, not that VW can build a good conventional midsizer, but that’s just me. Also, I don’t see how VW decontented the Passat…its got a nicer interior than its competitors and waaaay more drivetrain options than were offered before. Also, the old euro centric 2.0T was definitely a bit of a headache so, all I see is a Passat I could actually recommend, not the second coming of the $16k Jetta.

    • 0 avatar
      daveainchina

      @tedward

      Nice list.. but I’m curious, why isn’t the Chevy Malibu or Ford Fusion on your list? Or do you only drive import Brands. No biggie if you do, I’m just curious.

      Do you drive them all because of rentals, or is there another reason you get to drive them all? (I know rental companies tend to limit their brands, just thinking that’s how you got all the imports there)

      I’ve driven from rental fleets, the Hyundai, the toyota, and the Malibu. I liked the Hyundai, but I thought it was sensitive to crosswinds. Never had that feeling in either the Toyota or the Malibu.

      Which reminds me, why don’t reviewers ever talk about cross winds affecting vehicles. Some are way more sensitive than others.

      I hear skittish on the highway, or unstable.. but those are just generic terms that could mean anything. I’d rather see about sensitive to road groves, or sensitive to crosswinds, etc. A bit more detail helps me make better judgements.

      • 0 avatar
        BigDuke6

        “Sensitive to crosswinds” is a pretty generic term as well. Are you talking a 45 degree or 90 degree crosswind? What speed? Is it a constant wind or gusting? ALL vehicles will react to a wind force to some degree. And when testers are out testing it’s kind of difficult to go out “looking” for crosswinds……

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        dave

        I’ve only even had rental experience with current Malibus, and I understand that a new one is out soon. The Fusion I’ve driven, but not for several years now, so no idea where it stands as a current product. The v-6 version I last drove was pretty good, but I don’t know if its equivalent trim level is even available currently.

        I seek out test drives pretty regularly and I help a lot of peple buy cars. Also, I tend to always be the driver and I do so often for work and in my personal life, so I drive everyones cars.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Chillax people. A car mag picked the VW for a variety of reasons, I’m sure some valid. Perhaps they felt VW was bold by moving away from their typical slightly-more expensive and smaller sport-ish sedan and building to American tastes – decent driver but certainly larger. It remains to be seen if it will work, but personally I think it’s a distinctively subtle design.

    1974 [COTY] Ford Mustang II

    I’m your local Mustang II apologist. Put the car in the perspective of it’s time – the ’71-’73 series was huge, bloated, smog-choked, thirsty and cumbersome. A Mustang closer in size to the original with better handling and efficiency was delivered….with perfect timing because of OPEC. Ford looked brilliant (stroke of luck), and they sold a million+ better handling and appointed modified-Pintos at a huge profit. And that profit produced the Fox (1978-2004) and Panther (1979-2011) platforms – thankfully.

    Perhaps back then MT was recognizing the significance of downsizing a (at that time recent) legend, and awarded Ford accordingly.

  • avatar
    n777ua

    Sorry but the continued TTAC hysterics over the Jetta and Passat are palatably pathetic. There is a different standard for VW here, and especially in Michael’s pieces, which are litered with half-truths, and endless outrage over qualities that are somehow acceptable in the comparable Asian competitor.

    TTAC should be ashamed of themselves for trying to be too cute for their own good – you guys are ending up looking like a joke with this endless attempts to underwrite the Passat – you throw around loaded descriptors that aren’t even backed up by any sort of objective reality – Michael complaining about an entirely non-existent “thump” when cornering in the Passat – calling it unrefined, complaining about it’s steering feel – it’s all nonsense, especially after you read the Camry review a few weeks later – a car that’s inferior in most every way to the Passat – exterior body solidity (not laser welded like Passat), paint quality, interior quality, refinement, attention to detail (lit nighttime controls, footwell lighting). Michael should have his reviewing license revoked, because I know I’m not the only one shaking their head at his trying attempts to be a serious reviewer – only to fall flat on his face.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    As I recall 1984 was the year they awarded the COTY to the then new Honda Civic CRX. One of the few times a car worthy of the award actually won it.

  • avatar
    makuribu

    Remember when Starland Vocal Band won the Grammy for “best new artist”?
    Pretty much every MT COTY award makes me want to sing, “oooooooh afternoon delight!”


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

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