The Votes Are In! Here Are Your Candidates for Best Automobiles of 2016, Along With Your Nomination Comments
We’re getting to the homestretch for TTAC’s 2016 Best and Worst Automobiles Today.
Our writers have voted diligently, and a couple of tie-breaking votes were cast to give us an even 20 contestants in each category.
I present you the 20 Best (and 20 Worst, later) Automobiles Today, as chosen by you and our writers, in alphabetical order, along with select nomination comments for each and every entry.
However, before we get to the contestants, let’s talk about what’s to come.
Starting tomorrow, we’ll be asking you to vote on the 10 Best and Worst Automobiles Today based on the list below. We are offering you a preview of the lists so that you may cajole your fellow voters into a certain way of thinking — your way of thinking. You have 24 hours to campaign your choices before noon ET tomorrow, at which time we will open the polls to the public.
Here are your contestants.
20 Best Automobiles Today
Chevrolet Corvette (incl. Z06)
In configurations ranging from the base model, 455-horsepower coupe and convertible to the heart pounding, 650-horsepower Z06, the Corvette was easily picked by TTAC’s writers and Best and Brightest. To which I ask: Did you all forget that these were blowing up last year? No matter, it’s in the list.
The Rodney Dangerfield of sports cars – but totally deserves your respect.
Here today. Gone tomorrow. This American-badged Aussie sedan might only be here for a short time, but at least those who drop real coin to buy one will enjoy Corvette-like performance with the practicality offered by a four-door sedan. Oh, and it has a manual transmission and Magnetic Ride Control. What else could you want?
This is a great car that represents the end of the line for so many things. The last Holden Commodore. The last Chevy RWD V8 sedan. The last Pontiac. The last Zeta car. The last of the LS engines. The last NASCAR special. The last large manual transmission sedan. The last high-output car that doesn’t look like a jacked-up rape monster.
Dodge Charger (incl. SRT and Hellcat)
The Official Mancar(d). The Dodge Charger may ride on the aging LX platform, but it literally has a configuration for everyone (who isn’t looking for an SUV) — from base model 3.6-liter V6 rental queens to the 707-horsepower Hellcat. The Charger goes as fast as it looks, and has enough space to take you and three of your friends on the quickest, most comfortable of road trips.
However, it’s one of just two vehicles from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on the Best list (versus five entries on the Worst list), and the other is a Jeep.
If a car company is going to offer a 700-horsepower family sedan for nearly affordable money, you damn well give them a prize!
Ford Fiesta (incl. ST)
There’s a reason why the Fiesta is owned by more TTAC writers than any other car: it’s damn good. Three different engines, two body styles, and a hot hatch option ensure this little Ford’s place in our top 20 … just (this was one of the tie-breaker cars). It can now be had with all the techno-wizardry your Millennial brain can handle, thanks to SYNC 3.
There’s a reason I don’t own a Boss 302 anymore, and (the Fiesta ST) costs $25,000. The most fun for the dollar, period.
—Bark M., Fiesta ST nominator, voter, and owner
Ford Focus (incl. ST and RS)
The current Focus is what the Civic should have been had Honda kept making good Civics. Engines? It has them. Many of them. Available with a 1.0-liter EcoBoost (available with an automatic, unlike the Fiesta), 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four, 107kW permanent magnet electric traction motor (Focus EV) and a pair of turbocharged engines in the ST and RS, there’s a Focus for everyone — unless you live in North America and want a wagon.
Great styling, and just the fact that the RS and ST are available makes me happy. I also think a beefed-up, AWD version could be a formidable Impreza/Crosstrek competitor.
Ford Mustang (incl. GT350/R)
The Mustang is the all-American quarterback for Ford. After over 50 years, it can still throw a touchdown, time and time again. And while the new Shelby doesn’t come with a blower, it still has a stupid amount of power for a naturally aspirated sportscar.
Finally, the Mustang is back to what it should be: a poor man’s GT, a Jaguar for half the price.
Honda Accord (Sedan and Coupe)
The Toyota Camry may be the sales leader in the midsize segment, but there’s no argument to be made against the Honda Accord. The family sedan (or coupe!) can still be had with a stellar V6, and some models will even allow for manual gear switching. What other midsize car in the segment can still be had with a stick?
A nice alternative to the Camry, sportier for the most part, but still reliable and economical. If the Camry is too boring for you, this is your car.
Make Civics Great Again! The tenth-generation Civic is just that. Honda says it’s “epic,” but it’s still stuck in the days when CivicNation was cool. The new car, though, comes with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that’s almost as good as the 1.8 TSI offered by Volkswagen, and Honda plans on mating it with a manual transmission later this year. Sure, the Civic might be nearly as big as the Accord you drove in the ’90s, but so is damn near everything else.
Public perception finally matches the product again thanks to the recent redesign. Honda built the car the public wanted rather than the car they thought we should want.
Jaguar F-Type (Coupe and Convertible)
Sex on wheels is Built in Britain. The F-Type may not be as gorgeous as its E-Type predecessor, but you’ll forget that when you hear its growl trumpeted from the almost-too-loud exhaust. Also, thanks to public demand, Jaguar has offered it with a manual transmission — even if it isn’t the best gearbox in the Colonies.
Handsome wins. Handsome with muscles and a wicked sense of fun wins every time! A joy to behold, a symphony to the ears, a treasure to cherish. Few cars can inspire the way a Jaguar can.
—Sam Hell Jr
When someone says the word Jeep, your mind doesn’t immediately think of the Renegade, Compass, Patriot, Cherokee, or Grand Cherokee. The Wrangler is the Jeep of Jeeps. Hell, in the ’90s, people called Suzuki Sidekicks another “type of jeep.”
Make no mistake, the Wrangler is horrible on-road, compromised in many different ways, and would put a luxo-liner on notice for fuel economy. But the Wrangler will take you through the round stuff and look cool doing it, every single time.
The Wrangler is not good at a lot of things. But it’s perfectly mission-oriented. If only other vehicles were so focused on their core task, freed from compromise. It helps that the Wrangler is a convertible, too.
A greatness of the vehicle can be measured by the ration of desirability and need. This one scores in supercar territory.
If you’re going to own a crossover, at least buy the best-looking one that’s somewhat fun to drive. That’s what the Mazda CX-5 is — a Mazda3 that’s forgotten to go to the gym.
Or maybe it’s just been too busy with the kids to make time. After all, you can easily shove car seats in the back and lug around Fido to boot. Sure, it might be a little noisier than some of the competition, but you need to drown out crying newborns somehow.
The only compact SUV that encourages you to live life and not give up
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Fitter. Happier. More productive (at having fun). The fourth-generation MX-5 trims the fat from the NC Miata and places this Japanese roadster at the top of any Dream Garage list. It might not be powerful, or able to seat more than two people at a time, but its razor-sharp focus is a welcomed entrant in a sea of compromise.
Do you really need a reason? Mazda continues with an almost 30 year history of the best modern interpretation of a British roadster
Mazda3 (Sedan and Hatch)
Want a compact hatchback with a stick? Want it to be efficient? Want it to be lightweight and fun to drive? And do you want it to be uncomplicated, from stem to stern? Hello. Those seeking a little more excitement can get the larger 2.5-liter four-cylinder, though the 2.0-liter is just fine in most regards.
Mazda: Where’s the damn Mazdaspeed version already?
The ideal compact family car for someone who actually likes to drive.
Probably the the best looking midsize car you can buy in America. Hell, it’s probably one of the best-styled cars ever. Period. The Mazda6 is only limited to four-cylinder engines and its options aren’t about to have you checking an endless list of must-haves. But, if the Camry and Accord are too boring, this is definitely worth a look.
The sexy, more fun alternative to the Camcords that only the in-the-know people get.
Porsche 911 (incl. Specials)
There’s nothing quite like a 911 — except for all the other 911s you can buy.
Over the years, Porsche’s sportscar has gained a ton of weight, but its basic shape has stayed the same. It’s also just common enough for Joe Everyman to possibly get his hands on one, and drive it straight through the winter months in snow-belt states.
It’s the same car they made 50 years ago (except it’s now water cooled), and it will be the same car 50 years from now (except powered by … something else).
Subaru WRX (incl. STI)
Bozi owns one. Everyone wants to be like Bozi. You should own one too.
Okay, the WRX might not be for everyone, and the production version is certainly one of the most watered-down designs to come from Subaru in recent history. But if you want all-wheel drive, a turbocharged mill that will have you doing mountain runs, and a trunk for all your vaping gear, this is the car for you. (Flat-brimmed hat is an optional, though highly chosen, extra.)
“But James, I want to do all that cool car stuff you do, but I can’t with kids, a dog, a mountain bike, and a part time gig as an uber driver.” Yes you can!
Tesla Model S
Regardless of what you think of Elon Musk’s hype machine, the Tesla Model S proved one thing overnight: you don’t need to choose between an electric drivetrain and outright performance. The sedan has been saddled with quality issues since it’s gone on sale, but the evangelists will make sure everyone of them is purchased. Oh, and it’s nicer inside than a BMW 3 Series. Take that, Germany.
Proving the U.S. appetite for electric vehicles, and American manufacturing.
Want a Wrangler without the soft top but with a decent on-road driving experience? Toyota has you covered — still.
The 4Runner is old, but that’s not a bad thing. You’ll know it’ll last forever if you buy one.
Old engine, old body-on-frame construction, and old part-time 4WD — yet it is selling almost 10k/month and resale is great. It goes counter to the homogeneous sea of CUVs. And that roll down rear glass!
Volkswagen Golf (incl. GTI, R, Sportwagen)
The Golf is probably the best compact car that nobody buys. Why would they when you can add a trunk and pay way, way less for a Jetta? Regardless, the Golf offers up pretty much everything you can find in a Focus, plus a wagon model.
Too bad about that whole diesel thing, though.
It’s the perfect package: good driving dynamics; refined quiet ride; rock solid interior and build quality; and, in GTI variety, it’s quick.
Volvo finally has a vehicle that wasn’t developed when OJ Simpson was on Court TV the first time around. And guess what? It makes SUVs desirable for the rest of us!
Engine options are limited, but you can still get one with nearly 400 horsepower from a four-cylinder engine combined with an electric powertrain.
Tiny producer beats the segment: Beautiful, incredibly spacious, outstanding interior. The want is strong with this one.
Notable cars that just missed the cut: Porsche Boxster/Cayman, BMW 2 Series (incl. M235i), BMW M2, Chevrolet Colorado, Ford F-150, Chevrolet Impala, Mercedes-Benz C-Class (incl. AMG), Jeep Grand Cherokee (incl. SRT), Ford Flex, Mercedes-Benz E-Class (incl. AMG), Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet/GMC Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon, Cadillac CTS (incl. CTS-V), and Dodge Challenger (incl. SRT and Hellcat).
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- Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
- Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
- Roger hopkins Why do they all have to be 4 door??? Why not a "cab & a half" and a bit longer box. This is just another station wagon of the 21st century. Maybe they should put fake woodgrain on the side lol...
- Greg Add me to the list: 2017 Sorento EX AWD w/2.0 Turbo GDI 68K miles. Changed oil religiously with only synthetic. Checked oil level before a rare long road trip and Ievel was at least 2 quarts down. That was less than 6 months after the last oil change. I'm now adding a quart of oil every 1000 miles and checking every 500 miles because I read reports that the oil usage gets worse. Too bad, really like the 2023 Tuscon. But I have not seen Hyundai/Kia doing anything new in terms of engine development. Therefore, I have to suspect that I will ony become a victim of a fatally flawed engine development program if I were to a purchase another Kia/Hyundai.
- Craiger 1970s Battlestar Galactica Cylon face.
So how many people did nominate the XC90? We need sensible family cars, and this is mostly a van, cough.
I traded a 2015 Charger SRT 392 for a 2015 SS. The SS is the real deal, get one while you can.