By on November 15, 2018

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

The votes are in, and out of the 20 nominees for best vehicle, here are the winners.

It was a difficult campaign full of mudslinging, negative ads, and scandal – oh wait, that’s that other election campaign that ended earlier this month. Sorry, my bad.

We started out by asking you, the reader, to submit up to 10 nominations for the best and worst vehicles of 2018. We then used a scoring system to account for vehicles that were nominated in both categories. The top 20 vehicles, adjusted for scoring, were then presented for you to choose from. The full list is here.

Here’s what you, and our staff, came up with for the best vehicles of 2018. We had some criteria guidelines, and many of you either followed them or came up with your own to determine which vehicles deserved a nod. Criteria included, but wasn’t limited to: styling, value for the money, fun-to-drive factor, cool factor, “wtf” factor, and comparison to competition.

Without further ado, here are the best vehicles as chosen by you. You’ll note that there are actually 12 vehicles, due to ties.

  1. Jeep Wrangler (tie)

Jeep’s redone and more civilized Wrangler presents an interesting case. First of all, it barely made the cut for the best nominations instead of worst. You panned it for being pricey, for still being too off-road oriented, and in some cases for being outdated despite its recent redesign. And yet, enough of you gave it first-place votes that it still tied for 10th place. The world is truly a mystery.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: Chevrolet

  1. Chevrolet Bolt (tie)

The Bolt was seen by many of you as an affordable alternative to the Tesla Model 3. While the Chevy hasn’t received the same avalanche of press as the Model 3, it’s a fine car, and like the Model 3, it provides over 200 miles of range on a single charge.

  1. Ford F-150

Ford’s best-selling truck got plenty of love in the nomination process – so much so, we’re a little surprised it didn’t do better in the final voting. Whatever, it won’t stop Ford from selling boatloads. One of the nominators called it “Incredibly American,” stating it had “cutting edge materials.” Another one of you said it had the right features at the right price. Still, America’s number one vehicle is just number nine on this list.

Mazda 6

  1. Mazda 6

A good-looking midsize sedan that’s fun to drive and now offers turbo power? Shocking that it makes the list. The 6 has long been considered the enthusiast’s choice in this segment, and y’all agree with that consensus. One commenter said it’s a blast to drive, another said it’s the best of all worlds, and that’s why it sits on this list.

2018 Lincoln Navigator

  1. Lincoln Navigator

One commenter called it a “best in class” vehicle with “great looks.” One of our staffers thinks it’s the only interesting Lincoln presently on sale. Large SUVs remain a bit of a throwback in this crossover-crazed era, but it’s clear the Navigator’s updated styling and boosted power have won enough of you over to put it in seventh place.

  1. Chevrolet Corvette

Maybe it’s the fact that the ZR1 is back. Or that the Z06 and Grand Sport editions still exist. Or maybe it’s just that the Corvette, even in “base” Stingray guise, remains one of the best performance bargains in the industry. It probably doesn’t hurt that Chevrolet finally modernized the interior when the current generation launched a few years ago – not only is the car a hoot to drive and relatively affordable for those with a little extra scratch, but it no longer punishes you when you cruise around town.

2018 VW Golf

  1. Volkswagen Golf/GTI/Golf R

Here’s the first surprise of the voting. Based on the nominations, it appeared that the Golf family would sail to a victory. The GTI is often considered the best sporty compact car, the non-GTI Golf is a blast to drive, the Golf R is fantastic, and oh yeah, you can get a Golf wagon, too. Yet despite being car-enthusiast catnip, the Golf and its variants finished just fifth. What vehicles, pray tell, did the voters like better?

2018 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS, Image: Porsche

  1. Porsche 911

It’s no surprise to see the 911 high on this list – it’s perhaps the gold standard for sports cars. Plenty of you lust after it, and for good reason. One of you said it’s “made for driving and enjoying, a bit analog in a digital world,” and that sentiment sums it up nicely.

  1. Mazda MX-5 Miata (tie)

A Miata makes it to near the top of the list. How shocking. Mazda’s little roadster remains a blast to drive, offering elemental thrills and a connection to the road that is seldom felt anywhere else. Its affordability and styling won you over, as well.

  1. Honda Accord (tie)

When the new Accord launched, many of you poo-pooed the styling, especially the front end. Yet love it or hate it, you’re willing to overlook it because the Accord remains wonderful to drive, affordable, and still offers three-pedal driving. Like Mazda, Honda seems to “get it” when it comes to understanding car enthusiasts, and how those of us who like driving don’t want to sacrifice sport for comfort if we’re shopping midsize sedans. “Have you driven one?” asked one of the nominators. While the Camry is much improved, the Fusion remains (for now), and the 6 is also a blast to drive, the Accord’s all-around ability helps it here.

2018 Kia Stinger GT - Image: Kia

  1. Kia Stinger

The idea of a RWD/AWD sports sedan that’s relatively affordable really, really appeals to you guys. Not only did the Stinger get many first-place votes, but it was one of the most-nominated vehicles in the first round. The car really is fun to drive (although, as I wrote before, it needs a little more seasoning), and it’s a looker. Kudos to Kia for both building a car like this and getting it mostly right.

Tesla Model 3

  1. Tesla Model 3

Color me shocked (no pun intended). The Model 3 wasn’t as highly nominated as other vehicles on this list during the first round (it even had a couple of worst-car nominations), so it’s a tad surprising that it snagged enough first-place votes (just three more than the Kia, but nine more than the Accord and Miata). Still, plenty of you spoke highly of it in your nomination comments. One of you said it “offers major performance for the dollar.” Another called it “right-sized for the market, an actual competitor to the 3 (Ed note – presumably, the BMW 3 Series) and the [Audi] A4.” Yet another hailed its “great design and effortless acceleration whilst being quiet.”

Final Thoughts

A final word on the voting – while the top 10 and winner were determined simply by which of the 20 nominees got the most first-place votes, things change a bit if we average out each car’s votes across the 20 places and assign a score.

For example, while the Model 3 got the most first-place votes, it also got a lot of votes for 19th place (a handful more than it did for first place) – and it got, by far, more 20th-place votes than any other car. It got a lot more 20th-place votes than it did first-place votes. That tells me the Model 3 is a divisive vehicle, and perhaps Tesla fanboys stuffed the ballot – or perhaps Tesla haters tried to bury it.

Maybe it’s not just about the Tesla being a polarizing car – the Golf family also had a lot of 20th-place votes. More than double what it had for first-place votes. This, despite having the second-best adjusted score for best vehicle during the nomination process.

If we’d gone by each car’s average ranking, the top five would’ve been, in order: Chevrolet Corvette, Honda Accord, Ford Mustang, Kia Stinger, and Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Perhaps next year’s survey should go by average ranking as opposed to first-place votes, or perhaps the survey can be set up differently so that instead of ranking 1-20, you simply vote for first place (personally, I like having this data). We’ll listen to your feedback below and discuss things internally.

So that’s it. The Tesla Model 3 is the TTAC Readers’ Choice best vehicle of 2018, as voted by you. Check back tomorrow for the worst vehicles, as voted by you. Let’s see how the hatred flows.

[Images: Jeep, Chevrolet, Ford, Lincoln, Mazda, Honda, Kia, Volkswagen, Porsche, Tesla]

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56 Comments on “TTAC Readers’ Choice: The Best Vehicles of 2018...”


  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    I’m happy to have purchased #5 this year. Driving my GTI is so enjoyable.
    Voting with my wallet is my favorite method.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    I’m amused how similar this looks to a typical “Car & Driver 10 Best” List.

    Then again, the Accord, Corvette, Golf, Miata, 6, and 911 are all great cars, so by no means is that meant as an insult!

    • 0 avatar
      phila_DLJ

      Going by C&D’s 2018 list, they agreed with TTAC on the Corvette, Accord, Miata, and Golf, but prefer the 718 Boxster/Cayman to the 911, the Giulia to the Stinger, and picked the Camaro, Civic, E-Class and Audi RS3 over TTAC’s pair of SUVs and EVs.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      This is the “TTAC Readers’ Choice: The Best Vehicles of 2018…” list, unique to ttac readership and NOT reflective of overall American tastes or preferences in automobiles.

      If this was the list reflecting what Americans actually buy, it would show the F150, Silverado, RAM etc as the best selling vehicles of choice, followed by the Camry, Accord, etc as best selling sedans of choice.

      ttac’s list of anything automotive is always skewed towards green/eco blue-collar automotive needs.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        Well, sure – for the same reason that a list of favorite TV shows at an entertainment blog would be very different from the list of what Americans actually watch. Because very few people who actually care deeply about that spend their evenings watching NCIS: Cedar Rapids.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Speaking of which…… the Satellite provider we use send me a survey the other day, quite lengthy actually.

          I must have impressed them with my responses in spite of me telling them that I found their top package overpriced and sorely lacking in decent programming so that I found myself streaming more movies from NetFlix than watching what was on Satellite.

          They sent me all sorts of free movie coupons, upgraded our three tuners to HD and send TWO HD video recorders which we never had before.

          I feel I got more value for my money now.

          But you can’t say that about favorite cars, a depreciating chattel from the moment of purchase.

          So maybe that’s why people actually buy what works for them and give lip-service to the listing of what is their favorite.

          There’s a difference between wants and needs, and what actually works for a real-life buyer.

          Wouldn’t it be great if we could buy/drive EVs with a 600-mile range and a recharge time of less than 15 minutes?

          Maybe some day.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            God bless competition!

            Where I live, there’s one provider for internet/TV – CenturyLink – and they are INCREDIBLY bad.

            I’m sure when I cut the cord in February, when my TV contract’s up, they’ll try to make me do a survey and offer me all kinds of stuff. My thinking is that I’ll tell them to go f**k themselves…in Aramaic.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            FreedMike, we had a CenturyLink landline phone at one time and the trouble was that when it rained the connection was always noisy with static. And it cost >$60/mo basic.

            So we switched to Satellite for TV away from Cable, Tracfone pre-paid cheapies for cell-phones and Gigabit-internet service from the Charter Broadband Cable co.

            No bundles. Two bills to pay each month, and Tracfone cards to purchase ($99 each) once a year for each cell phone.

            So no more landlines for us. And when the internet goes down, we still have our cell phones and internet dial-up on our phones.

            It seems to work very well for us.

            BTW, my wife still carries her Apple cell phone provided by the family business and I carry my iPad Air. Nice thing is the Apple phone can act as a Hot Spot when nothing else works while on the road.

  • avatar
    mjg82

    Where’d the Pacifica land? I thought with this list that a minivan had a shot at the top 10.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Why is the Golf family polarizing? What a weird thing.

    No real issue with any of these except for the Stinger, which I test-drove before I bought my current car and found to be thoroughly mediocre: uninvolving in ordinary driving situations (sure, it livened up if you hurled it into a corner and floored it on the way out, but how many times a month do you do that?), too small on the inside for how big it is on the outside, too expensive in 2.0T form and too thirsty in 6-cylinder form.

    As for the rest, they’re mostly vehicles that are very good at doing what they’re there for. You could put them in most any order and I wouldn’t complain, nor complain about being stuck with any of them in the right circumstances.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I liked driving the Giulia, but its 2.0T just wasn’t powerful enough compared to the Stinger GT or the “mid-level” engines from the other Euro brands.

      In the end I’m going to blast down the road 20x more often than I’m going to clip an apex and the Kia offered 440i acceleration (and style IMO) for low-option 330i prices, which was enough to win me over.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        That is the main thing the Stinger excels at: it has a V6, full stop. If it did better than 21MPG combined, I may have been more interested.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        So 353hp and 392lb-ft wasn’t enough from your Giulia?

        https://shopeurocompulsion.net/collections/alfa-romeo-giulia-engine/products/euro-drive-tuning-system-alfa-romeo-giulia-2-0l

        https://youtu.be/dFQyN0Z7ovE

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          LOL. As a Giulia owner, I can honestly say that the very last thing in the world I’d want for my car would be to do something that made me _less_ confident in the reliability of the engine and electronics. I’d literally rather crash it into a wall.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      The Golf did great in the first round, but for whatever reason, didn’t get as many votes on the second go.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Out of curiosity, how do the standings look if you just count the total number of votes for 10th place or higher? IE, what was most consistently agreed to be the ten best vehicles nominated.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    This is a disgrace. The Tesla Model 3 isn’t even good, let alone “best”. This BEV is defective by design, having a charging time that well exceeds the usual 5 minutes that has been the automotive industry standard for decades!

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Has anyone mentioned that you’re becoming Dead Weight, Jr.?

      OK, so you passionately hate electric cars. And even if they would finally come up with an electric car that can come up with a 200+ mile range in 5 minutes of charging, you’d immediately change your standard to 300+ mile range, or 4 minutes maximum charging time, or something else so you can keep on screaming like an anti-electric car obsessive.

      You, more than anyone else, I would love to see the day come when the only choice you’re going to have to drive is electric powered. With, hopefully, a two hour charging time. You’d deserve it.

    • 0 avatar
      phila_DLJ

      I mean, this is what the voting bore out. It’s not like TTAC didn’t aggressively remind its readers to take the survey and vote.

      And as Tim said, it was close. A couple votes here and there and Hillary wins Penn—er, The Stinger takes the crown!

      The Model 3 may not be the “Best Vehicle of 2018”, but it’s TTAC’s. Democracy in action!

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      @asdf

      I guess enough of the TTAC voting public didn’t share your concerns on charging time.

      Even as an EV enthusiast, I’ll be the first to say they still have a ways to go. They obviously need to continue getting cheaper, and range needs to keep improving. Infrastructure for recharging at home will be crucial.

      But charging times? Not so much. I think once EVs finally become mainstream and things shake out, charging outside of home or work will be seen as an emergency fallback, or as a refueling point for long cross-country trips. And after hundreds of miles of travel, most folks would probably like a break anyway. Meals, coffee, bathroom, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave Holzman

        Au contraire. On a long cross country trip, I don’t want to have to take my break at the charging station. I want to take my break where I want to take my break! Like at the national park.

        I also don’t want to stop in the middle of my 450 mile trip to my sister’s to charge the damn vehicle for an hour.

        Face it: long charging times mean that for anyone who takes significant road trips, having to do it in an EV at this point would result in lower quality of life on the trip.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      EVs work for some people, but not for others. They’re just another option available for auto buyers. More choice is better. Just like someone with a family of 6 might not want a Miata as their only vehicle. Miatas shouldn’t be pulled from the market because they can’t haul 6 people around.

      For me, charging time isn’t an issue. In fact, it’s really nice not having to stop at gas stations to fuel. No standing out in the cold. No struggles to get out of the gas station at rush hour. No lines at the pumps. Just plug in at home, and in the Winter, plug in at work too. Would that be the case for everyone? No, but it works for me and I wouldn’t want to go back.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    Am I the only one bothered by the numbering methodology? This top 10 has 12 cars.

    Usually if there’s two cars tied for 10th, there’s no 9th. Two 3rds? No 2nd. etc. so the cumulative result is a ranking from 10-1.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Why did we have to rank the cars if all that mattered was first place votes? Why not just ask people to pick which car they thought was the best from the nominees? Why doesn’t anyone involved know that when you have a third place tie then the next in order is fifth and eleventh place ties have no relevance to a top ten list? It’s kind of embarrassing to witness.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      You’re just pissed that there are no Toyotas, but of course you couldn’t come right out and say that.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      To your first point, it’s the way the survey worked. Next year, we may use a different tool or a different format.

      TO your second, I get what you’re saying. But there was no obvious tie-breaker, and I didn’t want to exclude the last two cars. So I decided, for transparency’s sake, to show all 12 that got enough votes.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’m torn. The Tesla example shows how two perfectly valid methodologies can produce two very different results. Really demonstrates that such rankings (whichever methodology) absolutely needs explanation (good to see TTAC / Tim did provide an explanation). Too bad with “other” lists comes out, such explanations are buried.

      I’m curious to see the bottom 10 list. If the same methodology is used, we’ll see the Tesla as both the best and the worst vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      Making all those lists in order to vote was too much bother for me so I used my time on other things.

      Surely a better way to do this is use those online voting systems which has the cars listed on there and you simply choose them from drop-down menus and the like, or select you favourites in a predetermined category list by clicking checkboxes?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So, the Ecosport didn’t make the list?

    I’m so…hurt.

    • 0 avatar
      phila_DLJ

      I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up on the other list!

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Guy at work just lemon-lawed one, replacing it with an HR-V.

        Considering the anti-Tesla rhetoric on here, surprise to see the results. (My problem is more with the company itself than the product, although the quality of the product makes it a gamble I wouldn’t be willing to take. To each their own.)

        As was stated, the ballot format was confusing.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    This list is about what I expected. Funny how there are no crossovers on the list!

    Couple notes

    – The Model 3 does have a lot of flaws, but it is an innovative vehicle that does a great job of blending traditional aspects with future technologies. 35k lies or not, it’s a neat car.

    – I find it interesting that about half of these cars aren’t radically new. The Mazda6 for example, while not new, is aging well and has improved over the years. Did I expect to see it on the list, however? Not really.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      I agree with you on the Model 3. It is an amazing vehicle that will likely be remembered as a monumental machine in automotive history.

      My problem w/ them for the last couple of years was always about the utter nonsense that emanated from the twitter account of the man at the helm.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    Very surprised (pleasantly, in my case) to see the Model 3 take the crown. Tesla and their cars are obviously pretty polarizing on this site.

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      Now if only we could manufacturer ALL of your beloved EV right here in the same country we seek to improve based on manufacturing litigation rather than the age old boring lowest cost bidder wins routine we would ALL be better off, eh?

  • avatar
    JMII

    I’m driving #6 these days. The C7 is a remarkable piece of engineering. I can’t wait to get it on the track and see what can really do. The interior is truly in a different league which, for a GM vehicle, is really saying something. The Mag-Ride suspension and general chassis tuning has impressed the hell out of me. Once again track time is required to really know what it can do, but I assume all the reviews can’t be wrong. Mine is the Z51 so most of the racing bits from the Grand Sport (dry sump, performance exhaust, bigger brakes) just missing the wider tires and flared fenders.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    No German sedans, no CUV’s on the list. The ‘Car of the People’ is on it. Got to like the way that TTAC readers vote.
    Just can’t figure out why the Dodge Journey didn’t make the cut?

  • avatar

    Tesla and Cadillac are were the action is at.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    A top 10 best of list without a BMW on it. Given this is a site for car enthusiasts, it speaks volumes on how far BMW has fallen in driver’s eyes and emotions.
    I like electric cars but I was one of the voters that put the Model 3 near the bottom. I’m waiting until the next generation. The teething problems are real, the quality is iffy, and it just looks a little “off” compared to other Teslas. Call me surprised to see it #1…I had the MX-5 and 911 at the top… driver’s cars!
    I thought the Russian hackers were going to force the Mirage for the win. Oh well…saving their skills for 2020 I guess!

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    #9 F150? This site is “The Truth About Cars”. LOL

    Perhaps the question should be… rate these vehicles based on what you would ACTUALLY buy!

  • avatar
    riggodeezil

    Interesting list to say the least. I’ll take a #9 with a side of #4 please. The rest of them you can keep. A Honda Accord, a Kia, and a plug-in hunk of computer hardware ahead of a Porsche 911? I guess polls and surveys really are just a bunch of hooey after all.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      The 911 is a great car, but is it nearly twice as good as a Corvette or 718 Cayman? I don’t think you can reasonably disregard cost, or for that matter, 2(+2) seat sports cars being a very niche product.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        I considered a Cayman as my brother has the previous generation (Boxster GTS) but one look at the engine compartment was enough to make me run away. On my C7 ‘Vette you pop the hood and see every bolt on the LT1 V8. You pop the hatch on the Cayman and you see… well nothing because the engine is hidden somewhere deep inside the car. While this is great for handling any service issues would be a nightmare. Granted most Porsche owners aren’t getting their hands greasy but I track my car so access to bits that make it go are important to me.

        Another factor is availability and options. I can’t afford such a toy new so I was limited to used vehicles. The way Porsches are configured and sold makes comparison shopping and color choices very limited. For example when I was looking at Cayman’s there were like 5 or 6 in the entire US that meet all my requirements. With C7s I found over 20 and could have easily up that to 30 cars if I wasn’t being so picky.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Perfectly fair reasons to pick a Corvette over a Cayman, but the 911 doesn’t have great engine accessibility either, does it?

          Just questioning the idea that this is all “hooey” for not slavishly idolizing the 911.

  • avatar
    riggodeezil

    Oh, and:
    “…perhaps Tesla fanboys stuffed the ballot – or perhaps Tesla haters tried to bury it.”

    So, maybe use median ranks instead of average ranks if you do go to a different method next time?

    Regardless, it’ll probably all still amount to hooey in the end :-)

  • avatar
    shipping96

    I’m enjoying all the gnashing of teeth by the Tesla haters. Haters gonna hate!

  • avatar
    NeonNoodle

    Anyone who pans the Wrangler for being “too off-road oriented” is missing the entire point of the vehicle. This body-on-frame solid-axle truck still being made, marketed, and sold in this country amidst the sea of lookalike watered down CUVs is why it continues to sell like hotcakes.

    I’m in the market for my first brand new vehicle in a decade and a half and after driving several of the car based unit construction “SUVs” that seem to dominate the market, frankly, the Wrangler is the only thing I’m really interested in. It currently has no genuinely comparable competition (which is astounding to me), but I am very curious to see how Ford’s Bronco compares once that’s released.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      Duck Twacy:

      “AHHH!!

      Snake Eyes!
      88 Teeth!
      Hammer Head!
      Pussycat!
      Bat Man!
      Double Header!
      Pickle Puss!
      Pumpkinhead!
      Neon Noodle!
      Jukebox Jaw!
      Wolfman!

      YOU’RE ALL UNDER ARREST!”


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