By on May 12, 2016

Ten Best/Worst Automobiles Today

When our esteemed Managing Editor, Mark Stevenson, gave you, the Best and Brightest, instructions for nominating the TTAC Ten Best and Worst Automobiles Today, he gave you several criteria: Looks that stop traffic, the “WTF” factor, misused technology, and misery factor. Essentially, you could nominate any car you wanted to (except the Compass), you just had to give a reason.

Mark instructed you to act like travel critics who’ve never left their hometown or restaurant critics that don’t go out to eat. In other words, TTAC allowed you to nominate cars you’ve never driven, have never sat in, or — heck — never even seen on the street.

That ain’t right.

When Mark asked the staff to submit our nominations, I omitted some cars that some might consider obvious choices, including the omnipresent Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Why, you may ask? Simple. I haven’t driven them.

In fact, I’ve only driven any generation of Miata for a total of about 10 minutes.

Back in 2008, my Mazda RX-8 blew a seal in its motor at an autocross, which not only ended my day of autocrossing, but also put me in a pretty foul mood. Luckily, a fellow competitor that day offered me a co-drive in his NA Miata, which I enjoyed the heck out of. I was also offered a chance to drive somebody’s NC Miata at the Miatas at Myrtle Beach autocross in 2014. That’s it.

So I have no idea if the ND Miata is any good. Sure, my brother seemed to think that it was. So did Alex Dykes. So does everybody else. But I’ve never driven one, so I can’t, and didn’t, vote for it.

In fact, it’s statistically incredibly unlikely that most of you have driven one, either. According to our own Tim Cain, only around 3,500 of them have even been sold in 2016. We have about 30 times that many readers here every day. Of course you haven’t driven one. You know what else you haven’t driven?

The Porsche 991 911 (3,100 sold in 2016), the Chevrolet Corvette (9,100), the Volvo XC90 (10,000), or the Tesla Model S (no sales numbers available, but most flyover states don’t even have a showroom). But each of those cars ended up on our TTAC Ten Best Automobiles Today. So why did you vote for them? I think I know why.

First of all, you received bad instructions. You heard that you could vote for anything you wanted, as long as you had a reason. It should have been a good reason — like, oh I don’t know, you drove it and you liked it. As Jules once famously said, “sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’d never know ’cause I wouldn’t eat the filthy motherfucker.” Unless you’ve experienced a car, how can you possibly know if it’s any good or not?

Secondly, the amount of groupthink that exists in the automotive journalism world — hell, in the world at large — is downright disgusting. Once an opinion is formed of a car at the “First Drive” event — which, let’s be honest, is typically nothing more than a wine tasting with some pre-production cars sprinkled in — it becomes difficult to get anybody to publish a contrarian opinion. So it becomes holy writ that the MX-5 is great, and nobody can ever say anything different. Every review that you’ve ever read of the MX-5 says it’s great. Every review that you’ve ever read of the 991 GT3 (including mine) says it’s great. Once it’s been said, it can’t be unsaid.

Naturally, you think the MX-5 is great, even though you’ve never driven one, because everybody says it is. You think the Fiat 500X is garbage, because everybody says it is. I thought the 500X was garbage too — and then I drove one. Turns out, it’s kinda awesome. (Tim Cain and I both agree on this. We both drove the 500X and thought it was everything the Renegade isn’t. It might even be the best Fiat money can buy — until the MX-5-based 124 Spider comes out. Ironic? —Ed) I didn’t vote for it for Ten Best, but it was right on the outside looking in. I thought the Huracan would be awesome. Turns out that I prefer the McLaren 570S. I might even prefer the NSX, which is utter sacrilege according to the automotive press (most of whom drove a pre-production model without functioning SH-AWD). I thought the Impala would suck, but after driving several of them as rentals, I’d have no problem placing it on my Top Ten list, which I did.

In fact, my entire Top Ten (well, twelve) consisted only of cars I’ve actually driven. It looked like this:

Point is, each of us has driven a car that we were quite excited about in advance, only to be disappointed by it when we actually got behind the wheel. We’ve all been surprised by a car, too. So don’t let the scribes of the internet, most of whom actually get less seat time in a “first drive” than you would between leaving the rental counter at the airport and arriving to your hotel, tell you what your opinion of a car should be.

Before you cast your vote, whether it’s for TTAC’s Ten Best Automobiles Today or for something important like the President of the United States, form your own opinion. Don’t make it a beauty pageant. Do your homework. Experience it for yourself. Cut through the propaganda and PR, and think for yourself. And if we do a Top Ten again next year, I hope that you’ll be able to submit a ballot that reflects your own experience, and not somebody else’s.

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97 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: Ten Best Automobiles Today Shouldn’t Be a Popularity Contest...”


  • avatar
    mike978

    A fair point, however people can make a judgement on other criteria as well such as design and price. I would also assume quite a few people at auto shows have sat in those cars as well. So it isn`t like they choose them just because a magazine said so.

    In addition if reviewers from Jack, Alex and magazine reviewers say the MX5 is great then it is pretty likely to be great.

    Maybe you just didn`t like the lack of Ford votes and that a company Ford sold out on (Mazda) did much better.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “In addition if reviewers from Jack, Alex and magazine reviewers say the MX5 is great then it is pretty likely to be great.”

      In other words, if enough people praise it and say it’s great, it probably is and gets my vote?

      Different people like different things and the crowd dynamic is real. Why not take it as a data point until you can experience it yourself?

      The Ford statement doesn’t play.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        ” The Ford statement doesn’t play.”

        Exactly, it was totally uncalled for and only served to undermind the rest of his comment.

        Reading his list doesnt scream “Ford bias” to me. The only Ford on the list that isnt widely accepted as a truly great vehicle would be the Flex. Not that it doesnt belong on his list, because its HIS list. The point is, it doesnt seem as though he’s biased, unless you happened to have an anti-Ford bias yourself and therefor youre unfairly judging him based on what he parks in his driveway.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I was channeling my inner DW, so I apologise for the last sentence. However I don`t think it does invalidate the other comments.

          Although your threshold for “Ford bias” may be different to others going of your username!

          Hubcap – different people do like different things, but as Bark himself said if a range of people say something is good then it is pretty likely to be good. Not guaranteed.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    That’s why I only nominated the 2 cars I have driven enough to actually get a feel for: SS (best) and Colorado (worst) – though it’s a little stretch with the SS.

    I’ve driven a bunch of others, but I wouldn’t nominate a car or truck based on a test drive with a sales person in the car with me.

    But I figured it was an exercise in getting some views to the site and ultimately the goal was to get people to nominate cars. So I don’t have a problem knowing that people voted for cars based on perception. This is the internet, after all.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    If that’s the case, if we have to drive every vehicle and we’re basing the list on number of votes, the entire list will be made of rental cars and cars costing <$35,000.

    A very boring list that would make.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Mine would have a truck I rented from Home Depot in there. Rental SuperDuty flatbeds do not make a sexy list.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “I was very pleased with the truck, but the big sticker on the side was tacky.”

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        I just rented an F250 flatbed from Home Depot to transport some boxsprings. The V8 accelerated unbelievably fast and sounded wonderful, the transmission was slow to respond. It had a jittery and unsettled but not rough ride, solid rear axle skipped around all over when turning on rough pavement. Dash had a tire pressure error, but I checked the tires and they were fine (yes, I actually took 10 minutes to check the tire pressure on a pay by the hour rental). It rode just like my old Crown Vic, but it was faster.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      More value in that than a confirmation of B&B groupthink. “MIATA GOOD 500X BAD HERP DERP”

      Truthfully the premise of the survey was flawed from the get go. I did not even bother to vote. If TTAC needs to do anything it’s snap the B&B back to reality, instead of further bolstering this fantasy that we are influencers and taste makers.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I have no opinion of the Miata because I am 6’4″ and it fits me like my wife’s t-shirts. The 500X is butt though. I don’t care what Bark says about it. It’s butt.

  • avatar
    MBella

    You make a good point. It’s group thinking like this that has resulted in me being disappointed in every BMW I have ever driven.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I’m glad to hear you say this. I didn’t nominate or vote on this list, because I’ve only driven seven current cars – the three that are on our driveway, three rentals, plus the 911 GT3, courtesy of Xtreme Xperience (btw, it’s epic).

    I did recently go shopping for a car for my daughter, and I learned something very valuable – don’t listen to car reviewers.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “I did recently go shopping for a car for my daughter, and I learned something very valuable – don’t listen to car reviewers.”

      +1

      But we all have our biases.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    I’m going to be intentionally obnoxious here (like that is anything new).

    Who cares?

    Most of us have not driven anything new in ages – we don’t have time to test drive things just so we can make this rag’s 10 best a wonderfully well researched and EXPERIENCED award. I haven’t driven anything new since 1997. I’m honestly content.

    I have sat in a myriad of new cars at car shows and I can tell you 90% of the interiors are garbage – cramped, you have a wonderful visibility issue that resembles looking out of a mail slot – the cars can’t carry four adults in comfort and the seats are odd and sit too low or the ergometrics are off.

    If I based my decision for best vehicles based on how my body of nearly 6 ft and 225 pounds feels when I sit in them, then no GM product would ever win jack. No Honduh product or Toyoduh product would be made ever again – always the worst interior experience – and a company now trying to out fubar interiors is Mazda – high belt lines – squishy roofs and awful attention to interior ease of use.

    Ford has a few great products – C-Max, Escape, Edge are great to sit in. Mustang sits too low – Focus is awful. Fusion and Taurus are okay. And I’m no truck guy but I loves me some F-150. The surprise was the Transit Connect which was amazing.

    Nissans suck but somehow the interior spaciousness of the Versa and the hatchback version could win me over if a manual transmission were offered in something other than the lower model.

    I suspect all cars perform better than my 1997 Ford so there is nothing to worry about – I would just want something that gets as good gas mileage and there is all the rub – many can’t and won’t.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Most of us have not driven anything new in ages – we don’t have time to test drive things just so we can make this…”

      Why use a plural, “us” to underscore your experience. Why not keep it as the singular “I”?

      After all, you know what you have and haven’t done. For others, it’s just a guess.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Well well well looky here

      lazerwizTURD only likes the brand he happens to own

      And thinks his 20 year old Ford is the pinnacle of automotive design

      I’m OVERCOME with shock

  • avatar
    ajla

    The only two cars in my top 10 list where I had not driven the current gen was the Rav4 Hybrid and Miata. For those I considered it a nomination for the *idea* behind them over the actual vehicle.

    The only one on my bottom 10 I had not driven was the Titan XD.

    The TLX and Maxima only made it to my top 10 list *specifically* becuase I drove them and I liked them a lot and everyone else on the internet is totally wrong about the Maxima and TLX.

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    People have this weird aversion to actually going and driving cars. It’s free and widely accessible…I would much rather go car shopping/sampling than pay $130 a person for Disneyland. I don’t get it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “It’s free and widely accessible”

      How so?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The “cost” associated with these free test drives is listening to a car dealer speak.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You also don’t get to “drive” very much in a new dealer car, typically a mile around a predetermined path at local speeds.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yeah, that barely counts. And I hate driving with a salesman in the car – and I’m young and look immature, so it’s not like they’d let me alone with it.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            “…and I’m young and look immature, so it’s not like they’d let me alone with it.”

            You never know. The salesman may be looking for a catamite.

            If you’re willing to perform certain “favors” you might get all the time alone in the car you need.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Had to look up that word. Ew.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            This is where being an old guy comes in, 28…I look respectable, so more often than not, I end up launched alone.

            Plus, my ex (crazy b**ch that she is) once convinced a BMW dealer she was fabulously wealthy (again, she’s crazy but quite persuasive), so they launched me off alone in a 335 and…a lightly used M5. Kind of unfortunate that this was a high point in our marriage, but I digress. All I can say is that it’s a good thing the CSP doesn’t do a lot of patrolling on C-470, because I’d still be in jail as we speak if they did.

            (Plus, if you do this on a Saturday afternoon, your chances are better…they’re usually busy with folks who are ready to buy.)

          • 0 avatar
            ijbrekke

            Regarding the 1 mile short test drives:

            Only if you listen to their instructions. When they tell me to turn somewhere I just say “No, I’m going to keep going, thanks.” I’m really not interested in having a relationship with the salesman, I’m only there for the car. If I’m a little rude to them, so be it. To date, no salesman has objected when I keep driving.

          • 0 avatar
            Compaq Deskpro

            CoreyDL

            I’m a 23 year old guy, so surprisingly when I test drove my Challenger, the salesman just told me to go ahead and come back in 10 minutes (after which I proceeded to drive around the area at local speeds anyway).

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            BMW dealer’s in the past just hand over the keys and say “Have a good time”. But, I never was considered a catamite.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Plenty of manufacturers plan big test drive events throughout the summer for the public. Some set up basic autocross courses, and you’re often free to drive reasonably enthusiastically as long as there’s no tire squeal or dead cones. I can usually guarantee getting a quick impression of at least a dozen cars a year without ever darkening a dealer’s doorway.

        It’s not a perfect representation, but it’s something (there’s also usually a few static models you can poke around), and it’s good for an hour of entertainment.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    So Bark, what you’re saying is the TTAC 10 Best wound up being a list of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Supermodels a bunch of high school nerds would most like to f^(k, essentially?

    • 0 avatar

      Correct. Say, have I ever mentioned that I dated an SI swimsuit model? Because that’s something I’ve done. I’ve dated an SI swimsuit model. She wore a swimsuit in Sports Illustrated. They took photos of her.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        But have you driven a Porsche?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        A Playboy centerfold would impress me more.

        • 0 avatar

          Centerfold, no. Girls of the Big Ten feature? Yes.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think the centerfold would be beyond my own expertise, I feel as if it would go to their head and without something like NFL or NHL on my resume I couldn’t even get close (or into the circles I imagine they frequent in the first place). I have personally never met a SI swimsuit model but I am confident I could pull it off given the opportunity and their availability (although its been almost three years since I’ve had a model, I’ve been such a slacker).

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Angel was a centerfold…

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            No I have to dust off J Geils’ “Freeze Frame” album. Centerfold may be the worst track on that album. Flamethrower is such an underrated jam too.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            That’s pretty good, but you can’t beat “No Anchovies, Please”.

            This is the story of a young couple in Portland, Maine:

            While waiting for her husband Don to return home from work, she reaches for a can of anchovies. As she spreads the tiny fish across a piece of lettuce, she notices a small note at the bottom of the can. Written on it is a telephone number. Curious, she dials, and is told, “Don’t move, lady, we’ll be right over.” Placing the phone back on the hook, she turns to see three smartly dressed men standing in her kitchen doorway. Before she realizes what is happening to her, she is rolled tightly in long sheets of cellophane, transported to an international airport, and placed on a waiting jet-liner. All this being too much for her to comprehend, she passes out.

            Upon awakening, she finds herself in a strange, foreign speaking nation (“Dalas nekcihc dna tihs nekcihc neewteb ecnereffid eht wonk ot suineg a ekat t’nseod ti”). Alone, fearing her escape impossible, she seeks comfort in the arms of a confidential agent. With the trace of her kiss still warm upon his lips, he betrays her to the hands of three scientists who are engaged in diabolical, avant-garde experiments previously performed only on insects and other small, meaningless creatures. Using her as their subject, they are delighted with the results. For the first time, a human being is transformed into a–shh, top secret!

            Meanwhile, back in Portland, Maine:

            Her husband Don, now chain-smoking 40 packs of cigarettes a day, sits at a local bar and has a few beers with the regulars. Bored, everyone’s attention turns to the television set that just hangs from the wall (“Welcome to…Bowling for Dollars!”). Suddenly, Crazy Al says, “S-say, Don, there sure is something familiar about that bowling ball.”
            To which a terrified Don replies, “Oh my God! That bowling ball, it’s my wife!”

            And the lesson we learn from this story is: Next time you place your order, don’t forget to say, “No anchovies, please!”

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Part of the problem too is that options can completely change the character of a vehicle as well. Bark drove the V6 naturally aspirated Taurus and didn’t care for it, but there are Ecobost V6 AND Ecobost 4 cyl options as well. I’m sure that they could have changed his driving impressions either positively or negatively. Would I want a stripped down no options Kia Forte? NO. But does a Forte SX with turbo and manual trans pique my interest? Yes. Jack once did a review of a 4 cyl rental spec Toyota Sienna minivan and hated it. A nicely trimmed V6 might have been differently received.

    Some members of the B&B are going to automatically hate on certain vehicle classifications. Cute Utes or trucks as daily drivers or vehicles with turbos or vehicles from certain manufacturers.

    I’ll fess up. I’m the guy who nominated the Jeep Patriot for a 10 best. But I qualify that by saying that only in specific circumstances. Would I wish a base model FWD crank window version on anyone? Heck No. Do I think someone should buy one for their urban commute that never leaves pavement behind? No.

    Let’s say you are in a situation where you need 4×4, locking center diff, don’t have much money to spend, the roads in your area are difficult or you have a loooooooooooonnnnnnngggggg un-plowed driveway in the middle of nowhere, or a monsoon can suddenly bring mud or a shallow water crossing to your attempt to get home.

    I think you would be greatful that there is such a cheap and relatively capable 4×4 on the market. The biggest gripe I have about the Patriot is the tire size that was spec-ed that has very few options for off-road tires.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      +1, which is why I’ve considered this vehicle to replace my beloved Mazda. I have not a long driveway, but a steep one that routinely flummoxes my tinivan as well as my Econoline E-350. I’m saving for limited slip rear for the van, the Mazda cannot be helped, though I do plan to upgrade to some winter rubber this season and see what kind of improvement I get.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      My sister-in-law has one of those long unplowed driveways in the country, and also happens to own a Patriot.

      I think it’s a cheap nasty thing, but a) I didn’t buy it, and b) they beat the $hit out of their vehicles anyway, so what’s the difference.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @86er, right – the Patriot (properly equipped) is the perfect vehicle for someone who actually needs a tractor to get all the way home. Problem is tractors can’t go 65 mph and people frown when you drive your tractor into town to buy groceries. (So is a Wrangler, but who wants to pay the premium if you are going to beat the hell out of it anyway?)

    • 0 avatar

      I had the Patriot on the Big Island five years ago. I liked it just fine for that purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Dan, thanks for sticking up for the Patriot. It may not be super awesome, but sometimes you just need something cheap that gets the job done, and there’s really nothing wrong with that.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “Secondly, the amount of groupthink that exists in the automotive journalism world — hell, in the world at large — is downright disgusting. Once an opinion is formed of a car at the “First Drive” event — which, let’s be honest, is typically nothing more than a wine tasting with some pre-production cars sprinkled in — it becomes difficult to get anybody to publish a contrarian opinion.”

    Exhibit A: The (current) Chrysler 200. Anyone who says it’s a “bad car” is full of s**t. But, since the Sebring was a wet fart noise, it’s safe for the automotive commentariat to continue using the 200 as a safe “whipping boy” so they can give the appearance of being unbiased.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I don’t recall a ton of scathing reviews on the 200. Maybe it’s just where I look. Consumer Reports, C&D, Motor Turd and of course TTAC liked it. I think Edmunds liked it too. Naturally though MT started its press release by completely tearing the old car to shreds.

      200’s death knells were its badge, and when fuel goes back up, it’s fuel economy killing weight. There is no reason a base 4 banger 200 should weigh 300-400lb more than the competition. All the gears in the world couldn’t fix that.

  • avatar
    NoID

    As a schill for my employer, I voted out of sheer brand loyalty.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I drive almost everything within a year or two of a major redesign (not exotics). It’s easy, get your butt to a dealer, tell them you are curious but not buying, proceed to drive after making it clear they should finish up their paying work first. The only times I’ve been denied it was bc the dealership was swamped with customers, and that’s as it should be (this happens almost never).

    I’ve also traded rides in the car I brought with salesmen. Despite all the crap salesmen get in the media most of them are at least interested in cars even if they don’t know much. It ends to being fun, almost like being at a car meet. I like to think I’m improving the breed by exposing them to an outside perspective, wider car knowledge, and a customer experience that none of the buy now tricks will work in.

    Bark. You are not wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      tsoden

      I love this post. The problem is, a lot of sales guys are under pressure to meet a commission deadline. Even if you are out right vocal about not buying today, a lot still try to find a way to convince you.

      I have only dealt with a couple dealerships that did not want you to buy the same day you walked in the door :(

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I don’t know, I don’t think I could be so crass as to waste someone’s time test driving a car I have no intention of buying.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        I know what you’re saying but I’ve known salespeople who’ve gone on test rides with people who had no intention of buying a car but when all was said and done purchased the car.

        It might not happen often but a drive is akin to sticking your toe in the door. It gives you a little taste and helps clarify your like/dislike for the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        slap

        If you are going to do it, go when the dealership is empty. That should minimize the wasting of someone’s time.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Seeing as I can’t afford to buy a new car, any car I’d test drive would be a car I wouldn’t be buying!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Actually, I get the best results from a) showing up on a busy day and b) telling the salesman that I’m just shopping right now, and it’s OK for him to go work with his folks that are ready to buy. Plus, I’m 52 and look respectable. Bringing a kid with you helps – the guy knows you’re not going to go re-enact the “Bullitt” chase scene with the kid in the car.

      Most often I get something like “just don’t go crazy,” and off I go.

      Works fine as long as you’re not trying out something hot.

  • avatar
    kobo1d

    100% agree. These user-voted awards are good fun, but I think most people realize it’s just a big circle jerk that shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  • avatar
    FOG

    Darn, I was truly hoping for a Car Nerd Fight between Bark and Mark. Why did you two pick today to wear big boy pants?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    So, since we’re talking 2016 models, pretty much everyone but auto journos gets to cast a vote for whatever they’ve rented in the last 6 months if it was a 16, and if they bought a car they can vote for that. May as well just leave the readers out, right Bark? We’re not entitled to vote. For cars anyway. I’m not sure you’re entitled to vote for President though.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I heard a great quote the other day. We’ll see if anybody recognizes it (doubtful), and it made me laugh as it was delivered in serious context.

      “You’re not qualified to exercise free will.”

    • 0 avatar

      Well, I already voted in the primary. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Yea, this comes off as Bark saying his opinion is more valid than everyone else’s. This is a common theme with his anti-journosaur tirades, but the first time he has used it against the B&B.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Is his Bark worse than his bite?

      • 0 avatar

        Hardly. I’m asking you to apply the same rules I applied to myself.

        By the way, guess how many press cars I’ve been given in my whole life? The answer is less than 1.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You were once given a press motorcycle?

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          For those of us that don’t regularly rent cars, how are you supposed to make a judgment of the worst car unless we purposely go drive cars that we think will be bad? It makes no sense. Most of my worst list was made up of cars that completely missed their market.

          For the best cars, I’ve driven exactly five 2016 vehicles. I drove a 4Runner (purchased), Highlander, NX200t, IS300, and MINI Cooper Clubman S (ordered, awaiting delivery). Three of those cars were driven to replaced a vehicle that was totaled. The Clubman test drive was just to make sure that it didn’t drive terrible because that is what my wife wanted to replace her old MINI. The Miata was because I was bored one day and was genuinely interested in how it drove. It was pretty much as good of a drive as everyone said. My only gripes were based on preference things or NVH that you just can’t escape in a rag top.

          You say no press cars, but it isn’t like you have the same access to cars as everyone else. You drove a McLaren for free. I doubt I could get a test drive in a C7 Corvette while rolling up in my FR-S (or even my 4Runner).

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Great point. And the list is opposite of reality on the top choices.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Bark, I think that even if you haven’t driven a car, it’s not unfair to nominate it. I mean, is it really a stretch to say a C7 ‘Vette is a badass, gorgeous car even if you haven’t driven it? I don’t think so. Nor would it be a stretch to say that a base Versa is a rolling hairshirt.

    Yes, there’s groupthink, and it’s a popularity contest, but this group doesn’t necessarily like the most popular cars. Even in high-volume categories like midsize sedans, they picked one (the Honda) that is not the best-seller, and another (the Mazda 6) that isn’t selling well at all. Even brands like VW that endure constant hate can produce a winner, like the Golf.

    I thought the list was better than expected, personally.

  • avatar
    thatoneguy247

    Why shouldn’t this be a popularity contest? If there was a survey of Ten Best Historical Leaders I’d imagine we could find a general consensus on names like Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, etc. I can’t imagine anyone voting on that survey today would have actually met or have been directly influenced by those individuals, but there’s some understanding that the record of history, much like the opinions of auto journos, is an account written for the express purpose of forming a context around a person or, in this case, a car. “Best” is so subjective anyway that even driving a car wouldn’t necessarily give someone more of a valid opinion than someone who hasn’t. “Best” could mean a lot of things, from what car hits above its weight class in terms of performance per dollar to what car has brought the roadster to the masses.

    That being said, I both drove and voted for the Miata.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I dont think its a big deal. It is just a reader generated poll.

    Although I the criteria for evaluation should have been better defined. Cars that should be defined as worst are cars such as the hrv, crz, and yaris. Cars that are neither competitive in their class or a bargain.

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    I’m curious how a poll of readers could be expected to result in anything other than a popularity contest. Even those who go on lots of test drives and do a lot of car rentals will likely only get first hand experience with a fraction of the models on the market. There’s really no chance of getting a real objective comparison to determine the best and worst.

    Also, considering the extremely opinionated attitudes displayed by many of the B&B, can anyone really expect them not to make judgments on vehicles they haven’t driven? Clearly any car that doesn’t make 707hp is a contender for the worst list in some circles…

  • avatar
    speedvagen09

    One point where I disagree is this rules out voting for cars based simply on execution or design. I voted for the Miata (which I’ve driven) due really to its execution; the fact that mazda kept it light, made it smaller even, makes my heart flutter because they’re putting their sales reputation on the line for a concept.

    Also, I claim the right to vote for cars on the basis of looks alone. Design can play a large role in perceived worth, independent of whether or not I’ve ever driven a car (e.g., the 911, simple classic lines)….

    Vagen09

  • avatar
    VoGo

    If we only voted on cars we’ve driven, then Honda would never make the list, because they don’t do rentals/fleet.

  • avatar

    Cars are like politicians. People vote for them on the basis of emotional reaction and whatever mythos the item on two legs or four wheels manages to successfully conjure. That’s basic human psychology.

    Not that it doesn’t make your points invalid, Bark.

  • avatar
    Acd

    In America we’re encouraged to spout off and to act like we’re experts on topics we know absolutely nothing about (see social media). We’re seeing it in action this year in the primary elections where people are making decisions that will affect the country for years to come based on incomplete and often wrong information from the media and candidates so it makes perfect sense for them to have unwavering opinions on cars they’ve never driven or may have never seen in person.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    TTAC has 100k visitors every day?

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I didn’t vote because most of my seat time has been in pickups, EMS units, dirt bikes and street bikes.
    The last car I drove was a Yaris rental my wife got when her van was in the body shop 2 years ago.

    I’d only vote for cars that I would like to own. Maybe a new Mustang but a ’69 Mach1 429 top loader 4 would be my ultimate lust machine. The 70 Cougar Eliminator pushes all of the right buttons too. I always loved the looks of a DB9.

    Trucks or bikes.
    Not much else floats my boat.
    On the subject of boats I did see a twin 6.7 litre Cummins powered riverboat. That would be on my lust list too.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “Secondly, the amount of groupthink that exists in the automotive journalism world — hell, in the world at large — is downright disgusting.”

    Pretty much why I skip most of the comments anymore. These lists were entirely predictable.

    Good on you for making a post about how popular the cars are in the marketplace.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If readers polls such as these required respondents to know what they were talking about, then there would be only three participants (and two of them would be lying.)

    No offense intended to Mr. Stevenson, who is doing what he needs to do, but I tend to skip that kind of content for a reason.

  • avatar
    Lemmiwinks

    Yeesh.

    1. This was supposed to be fun.

    2. Stop taking yourself so seriously.

    3. The reviews y’all post here are supposed to be where the chickens come to roost. This is a side-bar exercise for us to say what we think — We the masses who don’t have the opportunity to indulge in our hobby as much as we’d like.

  • avatar

    What springs to mind immediately is that Jack has driven Yaris, and panned it. When I drove it, it was awesome for an econobox. Maybe not Fit awesome, but certainly better than many better regarded subcompacts.

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