I can’t pick just one car of the year. There were too many interesting cars in 2011 to do that. My car(s) of the year pick is based on things that were new, interesting, ground-breaking, stylish or in some other way a stand out. I don’t accept car company advertising here so you can bet my picks aren’t influenced by five-page spreads coming from the winner.
Cars of the year for 2011 (in no particular order…)
1. 302 Boss Mustang. It’s been called the best Mustang ever. I fell in love with this car the minute my hand touched the shifter. It’s got good brakes, a great engine, it’s fast and powerful in an American muscle car kind of way, it’s good looking and serves a purpose for those who want a street race car with lots of power. It’s a tad expensive and the transmission is suspect so it’s not perfect, but it’s close.
2. Fiat 500. There are all kinds of problems with this car. It only scored three stars in the safety test. It’s under-powered. It’s only available through a very iffy, disorganized and sometimes even shady dealer network. And the ads for the car by J-LO have been a complete failure, but other than that Seriously, the reason I picked the Fiat is that it makes a statement. In a world where 15 minutes on any freeway will likely bore you to death with Japanese econoboxes lined up one after the other, each with no soul at all, here you have a design wonder, a statement car. It’s fun to drive (if sometimes impractical) and it costs less than $20,000. Since most people I know can’t afford to make statements with the Italian super cars, this one will do fine.
3. Jaguar XKRS. This one is spendy, sexy, fast and oh yeah – fast. It’s radical 550HP V8 reminds you more of a Corvette than a Jaguar with 4-second zero to 60 times to go with it. Top speed is 186. The exhaust is loud and lovely and it continues the Jaguar tradition of grace, space and pace quite nicely thank you. The convertible version (of which only 40 were made this year for America and sold out in one day) also deserves to be on the list.
4. Cadillac CTS-V Black Diamond Edition. I love this car. I even tried to buy one, but while Cadillac has created the world’s fastest production sedan, and stepped up its game remarkably of late, it still has a dealer network more worthy of the 70s era sleazy used car salesman and alas, I couldn’t work it out. My personal problems aside, you can bet your behind this is NOT your father’s Cadillac. This is a race car with the Cadillac emblem on it. It’s sleek, controversial, powerful, fast, fast, fast and reasonably luxurious on the inside even. This is an under-rated, over-looked car. If you get a chance to drive this car it will change how you think about Cadillac forever.
5. Range Rover Evoque. While technically it’s an SUV, it’s about as small as most full-sized sedans. In fact it’s a bit too small for my taste, and too expensive and too hard to find. But nothing is perfect and this vehicle is sexy. It’s about as luxurious as you can get and be in an SUV. It drives very smoothly, but is very off-road capable. It’s got great, dramatic styling. The rear-ward visibility is horrible but heck, at least you’ll look like a million bucks driving down the street in this thing.
The one thing about all these cars is they stand out. They are different. They aren’t SAFE. That sets them apart and causes me to consider them worthy of consideration.
What say you? What are YOUR favorites?