By on October 11, 2012

Similar to the TWATs, we are seeking to nominate the 10 Best cars on sale today. The nominees are selected exclusively be our readership, just like the TWATs. During the nomination process, we recieved nominations for different models of the same vehicle line (i.e. Corvette 427 and Corvette ZR1, Mustang and Shelby GT500). For the purposes of our contest, these will only count as a single model. If you want to vote for the Ford Focus ST or the Boss 302, you will be voting for the Focus or the Mustang. Voting will be announced shortly. The whole list is below.

Mitsubishi Evo X
Chevrolet Corvette
Ford Mustang
Mazda CX-5
BMW 3-Series
Audi A5/S5
Volkswagen GTI/Golf R
Jeep Wrangler
BMW M3 (N.B. this is a different platform, so I will allow it to be seperate)
Ford Escape
Dodge Dart
Volkswagen Jetta
Volkswagen Passat
Honda Accord
Ford Focus ST
Hyundai Veloster Turbo
Toyobaru Twins (Also an exception for obvious reasons)
Mazda MX-5
Cadillac ATS
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Ford F-Series/SVT Raptor
Dodge Charger
Hyundai Santa Fe
Chevrolet Volt
Mazda3 Skyactiv
Ford Fusion
Subaru Outback
Ford C-Max
Chevrolet Sonic
Fiat 500 Abarth
Ford Shelby GT500
Chevrolet Impala
Toyota Prius
Chrysler 300
Toyota Prius C
Kia Optima
Volkswagen Jetta TDI Wagon
Mitsubishi i
Honda Civic
BMW M5
Kia Rio
Porsche Boxster
Ram 1500
Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

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58 Comments on “TTAC’s Ten Best Shortlist...”


  • avatar
    ganong

    Agree on all except Santa fe probably,then then I may be biased. Civic too, though popular , certainly not worth the best list.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      How about the Tesla Model S? I mean that’s a real… Oh wait: this is TTAC. Must still be vaporware.

      • 0 avatar
        Conslaw

        +1 I don’t see how you can leave the Tesla Model S off this list. It’s gorgeous, efficient and as fast as a hopped up BMW. It is the most likely to have a technological grandchild that transforms the industry as a whole. (Nay to the rule that you must have driven the cars to nominate them – With that rule we’ll be left with mostly boring, common cars.)

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        @ Conslaw – dont you mean great great grandchild.

    • 0 avatar
      tatracitroensaab

      got to be the CX-5, the Passat, and the Jetta, due to their roaring sales figures. The CX-5 is just great, the two VW products because they are so well crafted to American tastes and incredibly profitable.

      • 0 avatar
        Nostrathomas

        since when does only looking at profitability and sales figures make a great car?

      • 0 avatar
        BigDuke6

        “well crafted to American tastes and incredibly profitable” make them a great car?
        Better put your fire suit on……

      • 0 avatar
        tatracitroensaab

        @nostrathomas @bigduke6 what is a good car, really? is it one that is fun with a nice interior, that pleases a few “enthusiasts”, or is a good car one that offers lots of space cheaply while at the same time not looking cheap, a combination that pleases thousands more? Is a good car one that makes money, or one that loses money?

        I’m looking from the perspective of a car company. The best car for a car company is one that makes oodles of cash while not compromising the company’s future. Before VW changed the Passat and the Jetta, they were good cars that were considered to be fun to drive and finely furnished. With these new changes they have given consumers what they want — cheaper prices for larger cars that still look nice. These moves have pissed off enthusiasts and auto journalists, but those sorts of people buy the Golf, the CC, and the Jetta wagon instead, anyway. The Jetta and the Passat should be nominated for their fantastic sales success and for leading VW’s march to world domination.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      I propose one additional “rule” — in order to vote, you must have actually driven the car.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      Yeah what’s up with the Santa Fe? I threw up a bit of my not yet digested lunch into my mouth when I noticed it on the list.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “For the purposes of our contest, these will only count as a single model. If you want to vote for the Ford Focus ST or the Boss 302, you will be voting for the Focus or the Mustang”

    “Mitsubishi Evo X”

    I assume there’s an exception for this one, too, as the regular Lancer’s a candidate for the other list.

    • 0 avatar

      Cars can be candidates for either lists. I’m keeping the Evo X because in the case of the Vette/Mustang/Focus, we had concurrent nominations (i.e Focus and Focus ST, Mustang and Shelby GT500).

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Where I was going with this is that your proviso would result in the _regular_ Lancer making the ten-best.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        LOL! I’d love to see that!

        And the TTAC Number One Best car is:
        Mitsubishi Lancer (asterisk, Lancer Evolution)

        And the TTAC Number One Worst car is:
        … er… Mitsubishi Lancer

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Doesn’t seem right though, there are some big differences between some of these sub models, not to mention a price difference. A Focus is a great car for the economy combined with the fun to drive, the Focus ST is a different animal. Golf and GTI, Mustang vs Mustang GT vs Mustang Boss, all different price points and therefore different value propositions. The Lancer vs. EVO is a blatant example.

        Seems like this would negate the validity of the entire contest.

  • avatar
    jfbramfeld

    Maybe a list of cars not nominated would be more practical.

  • avatar
    calsonicgtr

    I can’t wait to see one car end up on both lists.

  • avatar
    th009

    That’s a long short list! I thought the TTAC team was going to narrow it down, and then we were going to select from a list of 20 cars?

  • avatar
    philadlj

    It may be a bit of a long shortlist, but those are ALL very good cars – with maybe two or three exceptions.

    Paring it down to 15 is doable, but selecting only 10 is gonna be tough. Now I know how C&D feels every year…

  • avatar

    Wouldn’t the Raptor be considered part of the F-Series. Similar to the GT500 being a Mustang? Just sayin’.

  • avatar
    Easton

    I second the Ram 1500. I just bought one and am quite impressed so far with the smooth ride, over-abundance of horsepower, and simple ergonomics.

    I always thought the pictured CX-5 was a GM-esque “yeah-but” car. Aesthetically pleasing, fun-to-drive (optional manual is very cool), nice interior BUT very weak engine.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I wonder about what’s skewing our perspective if the CX-5 has a “very weak engine.”

      I found it to be adequate. No, it won’t win any races, but it does everything it needs to do in an acceptable manner. It’s certainly no slower than my current car.

      To me, it’s like when reviewers complain about lack of soft-touch plastics in places that you never touch.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    I’m grouping my choices for reasons which I hope will be clear:

    Standard Bearer: M3. Long time standard bearer which has not lost it’s way, unlike others (looking at you 3 Series).

    Not Afraid to be Different: Evo, Optima, and Veloster. In an age where cars seem to be mushing together at times, cars that are not afraid to be different are always welcome (especially when they are pretty good cars). The EVO’s high rent tech in a low rent body/interior needs no introduction. The Veloster stands out with its funky looks and fun nature. The Kia gets my nod for adding a little spice to the boredom of the Camcord class. Not yet a polished product but this car would get the nod if only for offering those pie wheels in such a staid class.

    Trailblazers: Toyobaru An affordable back to basics sports car is LONG overdue. Imitators are welcomed

    Legit Challengers: Focus ST and ATS. Been some time since the US has had a couple of cars that aren’t merely respectable compared to it European competition, but might even be class leading.

    Anarchist: Boxster. It’s a good car, but it makes my top 8 list for its potential to turn the house of Porsche on its head as there are few reasons to choose a $100,000 911 convertible over the MUCH less expensive Boxster (The new Cayman, when it arrives next year, promises to do the same thing to the hardtop 911). Now if Porsche customers would realize that the base models of the Boxster/Cayman provide all the performance needed for public roads and acted accordingly, the Revolution would truly be here.

  • avatar
    mbaruth

    GT500 gets its own nomination, but the Boss 302 is lumped in with the V-6? Boo.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well, I wondered if this would happen. I quote part of rule 1 from the original rules post:

    “1. To qualify, a vehicle must be offered for sale as a new vehicle in the U.S. between Jan 1, 2012 and now”.

    So Derek, do you mean anytime since Jan 1 until now, or do you mean it had to be on sale on Jan 1 this year and still be available now? I thought it meant the latter. Several cars above would be ineligible if I’m correct. That’s the way these things are usually done.

    However, I don’t care how you interpret your own rule, just clarify it, please.

    • 0 avatar
      dougjp

      He he, lots of funny posts so far, even voting when that hasn’t started. However the list is already there. Why are there questions about the rules? Is there a car that was on sale Jan 1, 2012, but not after? Then its not between those dates, but on one of them! It should be disallowed, the whole process should be put on hold! :)

  • avatar
    stryker1

    I’ll throw my hat in for Kia Rio. The current Rio5 is a decent sound system away from being a complete no-brainer.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Butterfly

      Have you driven one? The one I drove had a HORRIBLE manual gearbox (Canadian spec car with manual offered not only on the base model), the car was very noisy at any speeds above 60 km/h, plus a 5 minute stint on a highway got my right leg (and the rest of the body but to smaller extent) extremely uncomfortable due to all the vibrations that were channeled through the accelerator pedal. I guess the sound system was even worse than any of this.
      And I really wanted to like the car, it looks good and I love small cars.
      I was surprised to find that the Accent (supposedly a complete copy of Rio mechanically) is a MUCH better ride, a lot quieter and more comfortable. The 2013 model even had a pleasant manual gearbox with much better ratios. I think they revised it from 2012, but I’m not sure.

  • avatar
    Ciriya.com

    I have to give it to the M3, but as a Prius owner I was VERY close to giving it to the Prius for the overall package. The only thing stopping me was the Prius’ ghetto interior. The Fusion is another very honorable mention. So is the Mustang in all its current iterations.

    On that note, who the hell nominated the Impala??? I’d put that one on the other list.

  • avatar
    2012JKU

    Jeep Wrangler – there is nothing else out there like it!

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    Didn’t this used to be the Ten Best Automobiles Going? You may as well keep the theme going, where’s the consistency?

  • avatar
    Boff

    So…the 3 series lands on the Ten best nomination list as well as the TWAT nomination list.

    Reminds me of the time (and I’m dating myself) when Simon Le Bon was NME’s Artist of the Year AND Wanker of the Year.

    Methinks any maker would love to have a car no-no-notorious* enough to appear on both TTAC lists.

    *see what I did there?

  • avatar
    redliner

    Would somone please explain what in the world the Mitsubishi i is doing here? If anything, it belongs on the TWAT list.

    I second the Tesla Model S comment:

    It is arguably the best car in it’s class (battery powered cars without an internal combustion engine) and it is also highly competitive with other cars in it’s price range. It has HUGE amounts of storage with it’s “frunk” and the ability to carry 5+2 people. The tech is competitive to say the least, and to my eye, it’s a sharp design to boot. The first electric car that I would seriously consider as my only car.

    • 0 avatar
      mr_muttonchops

      The argument could be made for the Mitsubishi i that it’s something of a groundbreaking moment: putting an electric drivetrain in such a small production car. The car itself may not be so great, but the idea itself certainly is.

    • 0 avatar

      The Tesla is the first electric car that could be considered cost and performance competitive within its segment (*). I think that’s a much bigger deal than the Mitsubishi, which nobody who drove it seemed to like.

      Besides, your own testers seemed to enjoy driving it. Maybe you could eventually get Baruth to give it a spin?

      D

      (*) Well, unless its segment consists of golf-cart style neighborhood vehicles, but I don’t think those make a reasonable definition of “car”.

  • avatar
    wsn

    I propose to add one more rule:

    The model must never drop below 100 unit sales during any calendar month in its history.

    That way, we can filter out obscure models and can actually have the space to list legit upgraded models such as EVO separately from the base model, if they are both relevant enough to exceed 100/month.

  • avatar
    Hayden535

    VW TDI Sportswagon!!!!!

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    Ford Focus

    Transit Connect???

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    No Volvo, no Mercedes. Interesting!

  • avatar
    Grahambo

    1983-95 Porsche 944/924S/968. Still the most fun, practical and just right (sports) car ever made. (Note I didn’t say cheap to maintain.)

    The failure to top it some 30 years later speaks volumes about the lack of imagination in the modern world. Makes most everything else feel like a damn joke. Respect to the Miata and RX8, however.

  • avatar
    motormouth

    Mazda CX-5 as a contender for best car of the year? Are you high? I drove one yesterday and it’s a full-on compromise between efficiency and power, with efficiency winning hands down. I was told that the CX-5 – together with the SkyActiv engine – will serve as the basis for the new 6. Well, that’s the end of that car being a sleeper hit due to its Mondeo lineage.

    This list also highlights the US-centric readership of TTAC. Where’s the new Mercedes A-Class, Fiat Panda, maybe the 911? The Dodge Ram gets in, but the Ferrari F12 does not? Yeah, great list, if you believe the world begins at San Diego and ends at the Jersey shore.

    • 0 avatar
      Stephen82

      Yes, I too am shocked and dismayed by the US-centric nature of this list! It’s almost as if in the ven diagram with sections labeled “countries with high vehicle purchasing and ownership” and “countries with high internet usage and availability” the intersection of the two showed the US! Then a website about cars asked their readers to nominate their favorite cars. How could this happen?!
      I know I’m being sarcastic, and I agree that it would be nice if there was more variety, but I think the make-up of this list is pretty good all things considered. Hopefully you can encourage more foreign readership of the site so that in the future the choices become a bit more eclectic.

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    Hold the phone there a minute.Hasn’t anyone noticed that the acronym for the ten best cars ain’t nowhere near as catchy as the acronym for the ten worst cars?

  • avatar
    JohnTheDriver

    Wow, no Mercedes, no Infinity, no Lexus, no Acura and only one Audi and one Porsche. This concept of “Best”, I do not think it means what you think it means. Or, to put it a different way, I will be making fun of this list on many websites for years to come.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    Why not name the Mercedes, Infinity, Lexus or Acura you think merits mention as well as the Audis or Porsches that should be added. The one thing that stands out for me in this list is that it contains few stupidly expensive cars. Nice to see a list where people are not arguing over fantasy cars they could never afford and have never driven.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Ford Escape – oh please, just looks don’t make it best
    Dodge Dart – a car with Italian job…
    Volkswagen Jetta – German de-engineering
    Jeep Grand Cherokee – did they ever ran good
    Dodge Charger – what a drek
    Chevrolet Volt – obama cocktail
    Subaru Outback – did you actually drove this
    Ford C-Max – oh, no
    Chevrolet Sonic – sorry state of american car
    Fiat 500 Abarth – again, Italian is oxymoron to best, unless it is fashion
    Chevrolet Impala – impala?
    Toyota Prius – not sure what is the sense of this car, it saves in one place but spends in many others
    Toyota Prius C – here we go again. This is not eve Prius


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