Some time in summer, OICA will announce the world production ranking of all automakers and answer that all-important question: Who are the world’s largest auto makers? TTAC readers are an impatient bunch and are used to hear and know stuff before anybody else. TTAC is pleased to announce the preliminary, unofficial world ranking of 2009 production. Who’s the top? Who’s the bottom? Who dominates the industry? We present you: The top ten car makers in the world. Read More >
Category: Ten Best
TTAC's Best and Brightest have spoken. You provided us with 81 nominations for our Ten Best award, from the Aston Martin Vanquish to the HUMMER H2. From this cornucopia of cars, our ever-eager writers selected the short list of 20 finalists. As you might expect, the final list leans heavily towards vehicles notable for their performance and driving excellence. Half of this year's contenders were also finalists last year [indicated by an asterisk]. So here they are, along with some of your more "colorful" comments. Once you've had a look, please step into the e-voting booth and choose TTAC's Ten Best.
Ten Best Nominations Are Now Closed
The truth hurts. But not always. Sometimes the truth about cars is the key to genuine insight and automotive ecstasy. This is one of those times, when TTAC's Best and Brightest select their annual Ten Best automobiles. In other words, this is your chance to help the wider world discover genuine automotive excellence, and reward those who produce it with a much-deserved hat tip. The name of this collective endeavor changes, but the rules remain the same: you nominate the cars, our writers narrow your selection to 20, then you get the final say on the Ten Best [more details below]. But before we get stuck in, here's a recap of last year's winners…
You heeded our call. You nominated the cars you considered the best of the best. Without fear or favor, TTAC’s tenacious tribe of telic keyboard tappers selected twenty vehicles from your list of over a hundred superlative automobiles. You voted for 10 of them, creating our first annual Ten Best Automobiles. The voting was often extremely close, but the end result was never in doubt: a selection of ten automobiles that any self-respecting motorist would be proud to own, and delighted to drive. Ladies and gentlemen, raise your tea mugs as I present to you: TTAC’s Ten Best for 2007.
You’ve made your nominations. At final count, we received over one hundred entries for our Ten Best Automobiles Going (TBAG). They ranged from the sublime (Ferrari F430 drop top) to the ridiculous (I'm not THAT stupid). Twenty-one of our most expert TTAC writers surveyed each and every entry, and then cast their votes from your list. They narrowed the field to twenty most excellent finalists (listed after the jump). Now it’s your turn. We need you, our well-informed and insightful readers, to link-on-over to our e-poll, cast up to ten votes and select TTAC’s Ten Best Automobiles Going (TBAG) for 2007.
It’s a diverse field. Although some cars received multiple nominations and some received only one, the number of nominations didn’t affect the judges’ selection process. My esteemed colleagues considered each nominee carefully, and then voted for their choices based on their individual merits.
The list of finalists represents cars from all over the globe, in all price classes. Some nominees are fairly new on the market, while others are tried and true. All have that certain something that makes them stand out from the old ennui. Here are the finalists, along with some pros and cons to jump-start your thought processes and stimulate debate:
Acura TSX – Pro: A tasty blend of luxury, economy, style and reliability. Con: A rebadged Euro-Accord with plenty of high-class competition.
Audi RS4 – Pro: Like lightning shagging a tsunami in the middle of a tornado. Con: Audi’s reliability rap sheet stretches back two decades.
BMW 3-Series – Pro: The benchmark for sport sedans: balanced, powerful, tuneful, tactile, grippy. Con: Flame broiled sheetmetal, and expensive options jack up the price.
Chevy Corvette – Pro: Performs like cars that cost twice as much. Con: Built like cars that cost half as much.
Ford Crown Victoria – Pro: Shows us what full-sized American cars once were. Con: Shows us what full-sized American cars once were.
Ford Mustang GT – Pro: An American icon with V8 bellow and woofle and terrific straight-line performance. Con: Very few roads are totally straight.
Honda Accord – Pro: High build quality, exquisite engineering, high mileage and segment-leading resale value. Con: Bland “any car” styling that makes mall parking lots a nightmare.
Honda Fit – Pro: The current benchmark for low-cost, frugal, fun. Con: Light clutch, missing cog.
Honda S2000 – Pro: High-revving VTEC engine wrapped in a nimble rear-wheel-drive roadster. Con: On – off engine makes around town driving lethargic– or loud.
Infiniti G35 – Pro: Near-BMW-level performance at a far-from-BMW price. Con: Near-BMW-level performance.
Jeep Wrangler – Pro: Stays true to its rough and ready Jeep DNA: an American icon-on-wheels. Con: As a daily driver, it’s best suited to park wardens.
Maserati Quattroporte – Pro: A visual, haptic and sonic cargasm boasting a detuned Ferrari engine. Con: The brand has a rep for being less reliable than a pre- (post?) rehab Lindsay Lohan.
Mazda Mazda3 – Pro: Outstanding price-to-performance ratio. Con: Interior design and materials have been well and truly beancounted.
Mazda MX-5 – Pro: Low price, no-hassle roof retraction and go-cart handling equals year-round fun. Con: Chick car rep.
Mercedes E320 BlueTec – Pro: High mileage and low emissions promise the return of the passenger car diesel to the U.S. Con: High purchase price keeps it from those who would benefit most from its lower operating costs.
Porsche 911 – Pro: Legendary handling and performance in a timeless wrapper. Con: High price keeps it from those who would benefit most from its dynamic delights (i.e. me).
Porsche Boxster S – Pro: Faster through a slalom than a Ferrari Enzo. Con: Wind roar above 90mph makes conversation difficult.
Porsche Cayman – Pro: A miniature supercar. Con: Needs more power!
Subaru WRX/STi – Pro: Insane performance for chump change. Con: Only slightly better daily driver than a Jeep Wrangler.
VW GTI – Pro: The high priest of hot hatch hoonery. Con: Questionable quality creates quantum queasiness.
And there you have it. Once you’ve decided which ten of these machines deserve a TTAC TBAG, click on the link below for some (Poll)Monkey business. Make up to ten selections, and then click the “Vote” button. You can only vote once, so make sure your selections are correct before you click on “Vote” to enter your votes.
The polls are open until midnight EDT, Saturday May 19. We’ll announce the winners on Monday, May 21 (or maybe Tuesday, May 22 if we’re a bit alcoholically indisposed).
At this point it’s anyone’s game. Please use the comments section below to lobby for your choices, or explain them, or rail at our underpaid writers for failing to see the undeniable excellence of your neglected nomination. Thanks again for your intelligence, civility and enthusiasm.
Nominations for the Ten Best Automobiles remain open ‘til midnight tonight (Friday). So far you’ve nominated over 100 praise-worthy (if occasionally dubious) rides. Over the next week, TTAC’s writers will vote on which 20 vehicles deserve your final selection. You, our core of persnickety pistonheads, will then be charged with choosing ten cars from this list. We will announce the winners here, of course, and send a press release to our devoted fans in the automotive media. Meanwhile, we’ve had plenty of pithy comments and observations.
Several of you noted that suggesting nominees worthy of being called the “best” is a difficult process. David42 explained his dilemma eloquently:
"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…
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."
Despite of this purported quandary, relatively inexpensive, fun-to-drive cars like the Honda Civic si and the VW GTI (mit DSG paddle shift transmission) have dominated the proceedings straight from the git-go. Beken’s MINI nomination spoke for many:
“It is one car where you can have it all without the SUV size. Sports car handling and chuckability without the sports car price.”
TreyV shared similar sentiments re: Subaru's 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.”
Yup, practicality was a big factor. Curisu noted the Mitsibushi Lancer Evo's liveability.
“It 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.”
TeeKay thinks the Maserati Quattroporte fits into the same category:
“Hey, I need something to transport my family and a few child seats, and I’m not going to deny my kids the glorious engine note at 8000-rpm redline.”
And if the big Maser’s looks help it qualify it for a TBAG, the same holds true for the xB– apparently. In fact, mehugtree penned a soft porn paean to the wee Scion:
“The gently rounded corners of the roof evoke the soften the senses and evoke a feeling of peace… The ribbed roof reminds me of old school Suburbans I never had. The subtle love handles at the beltline coming off the taillights make me proud of mine. The stubby little nose and side, open windshield… cause me to think of Drew Barrymore in The Wedding Singer.”
More prosaically, there are plenty of you who heaped praise upon Ye Olde Panther platform, home of the Crown Victoria. Armadamaster (whose nic indicates a preference for full-figured vehicles) named that tune:
“The Panther platform is the most underrated, unacknowledged, unappreciated cars on the road. The new Charger/300C are nice American styled cars but the Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car are as American as the Mustang any day of the week.”
While exotics were notable by their absence, a few of you shared lumberg21’s champagne dreams and caviar nominations.
“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 shriek of the engine followed by the gorgeous form that almost defines the I-want-it-but-I-can’t-have-it car."
Ferrari? Cellman don’t need no stinkin’ Ferrari! The Corvette rocks!
“This affordable monster simply outperforms most supercars especially at basic tasks. Forget that American-as-apple-pie interior plastics and creaks and rattles. It’s part of the sensory overload. True Americana: big brute power at Wal-Mart prices.”
Technology caught some of your eyes, by Prius engagement. Galaxygreymx5 penned his ode to the high tech Toyota:
“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.”
And if you think no one’s paying attention to your nominations, note what Joe O had to say:
“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 its A3 cousin).”
Will TTAC’s Ten Best influence a generation of pistonheads? Probably not. But the final list will tell the world who we are, and what we stand for– automotively speaking. As far as we’re concerned, you are what you drive. Voting to select the Ten Best winners opens next Wednesday, the sixteenth.
Nominations 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.
Ford Crown Victoria
Land Rover Range Rover
Lincoln Town Car
Mitsubishi Lancer GS
Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Saturn Sky/Red Line
VW Jetta GLI
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.
I recently wrote a “where are they now” update for the winners of TTAC’s first annual Ten Worst Automobiles awards. Commentators Cellman and Drew shook their metaphorical heads at our negativity and challenged us to look at the other end of the spectrum. And so TTAC’s Ten Best Automobiles awards were born. Yes, yes; all the buff books and big sites do it. But TTAC readers are more discerning, our selection process more democratic and our timing… enigmatic. So read the rules below and then tell us which vehicles you consider worthy of a TTAC Ten Best.
A Ten Best-worthy vehicle is a special beast. The vehicle’s overall design and build quality (design, materials or ergonomics) may inspire your nomination. Or technological innovation (fuel efficiency, aerodynamics or electronics) could float your boat. Safety (e-nannies, structural integrity or technological innovations) may play a role. And raw performance (gut-punching acceleration, neck straining cornering or eye-popping braking) is always a fave.
Of course, any of these factors can produce a good car. But truly great cars– the automotive equivalent of a tea bag [loosely] packed with Darjeeling White– are an irresistible combination of all these characteristics, along with a huge noseful of that addictive aroma we call the X-factor. Those are the vehicles we’re looking for.
In short, nominate the cars, pickups, SUVs, CUVs and/or minivans that you consider the best of the best; vehicles that are so good you can’t help but wonder why their cohorts aren’t built with the same passion, care and precision. Oh, and we'd really appreciate it if you stick to the rules.
2007 Ten Best Automobiles Award
Rules of Engagement
1. To qualify for a Ten Best, a vehicle must have been offered for sale as a new vehicle in the U.S. between May 7, 2006 and May 7, 2007. Otherwise, nominations may be made regardless of the automobile’s price, market segment, country of origin, production/sales numbers, domestic content or average buyer’s average IQ.
2. TTAC will only accept Ten Best nominations that list at least one reason why a given vehicle qualifies for an award. (Nominations bereft of justification will be deleted with extreme prejudice.) The more poetic your justification, the greater the chances your candidate will make it to the final selection process. (That’s our story and we’re sticking with it.)
3. “Me too” and “yeah, like he said” nominations will also disappear. Even if you share a previous nominator’s rationale for a given nomination, practice your anti-plagiarism skills with paraphrasing, thesaurus-based word substitutions and drug-induced creativity.
4. If you disagree with a particular nomination, feel free to offer an opposing view. However, TTAC’s posting policy is in full force. Anyone who flames (personally attacks) the website, its authors or fellow commentators will have their comment deleted and face a permanent posting ban.
5. Once nominations are closed, TTAC’s writing staff will hold a secret ballot to select 20 vehicles from the nominees. They will base their vote on the number of nominations received, the eloquence of their champions and their personal opinions of the vehicles in question.
6. We will then submit these 20 finalists to you, our esteemed readers. You may vote (via an electronic poll) for the ten vehicles on the list which you deem worthy of a Ten Best. Anyone who votes more than once will be permanently banned from commenting on TTAC, and don’t try any of that new account, different IP stuff with us, Mister.
7. Nominations begin today. We will publish the 20 finalists for voting on or around May 21. The winners will be announced on or around the first week in June. Winning manufacturers will find out when they read the results on TTAC.
And there you have it. Post your nominations with the required justification(s) below. Meanwhile, thank you for your support and enthusiasm. It wouldn’t be half as much fun without you.
NOMINATIONS FOR TTAC's TEN BEST ARE NOW CLOSED