Car & Driver – 10Best Cars 2006

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Every year, Car & Driver, one of the high circulation car enthusiast magazines in the United States, publishes the results of its 10Best awards. The 2006 10Best Cars awards were released in the January 2006 issue of Car & Driver and you can find them on the C&D website at (http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=33&article_id=10354)
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Not having looked at the winners prior to writing this blog, VehicleVoice (http://www.vehiclevoice.com) staff conjectured about what types of cars Car & Driver would select.
We knew that, being a buff book, they’d select cars that appealed to the enthusiast, maybe throw one or two mundane winners into the mix, be heavy on import marques and generally favor smaller cars. Lets see how accurate we were?
BEST SPORTS SEDAN – Acura TSX
BEST SPORT COMPACT- Audi A3
BEST LUXURY SPORTS SEDAN – BMW 3-Series
BEST PERFORMANCE CAR – Chevrolet Corvette
BEST FULL SIZE SEDAN – Chrysler 300
BEST MUSCLE CAR – Ford Mustang GT
BEST FAMILY SEDAN – Honda Accord
BEST ROADSTER – Mazda MX-5 (Miata)
BEST SPORTS COUPE – Mazda RX-8
BEST LUXURY SPORTS CAR – Porsche Boxster
So, lets see, seven are import brands, 3 of the imports are from Germany and four are from Japan. Mazda picks up two wins with its sports cars.


VehicleVoice Counterpoint to Car & Driver 10Best Cars
BEST SPORTS SEDAN: The Acura TSX is a 4-cylinder only European 4-door Honda Accord. How would the Mazda6 do in tis category. You could argue that Mazda6 is the same size but more distinctive looking than the TSX, but some would say it belongs in the Family Sedan category.
BEST SPORT COMPACT – Audi A3 is a nice, new small car carrying a prestigious brand and a very high price. Our vote would have gone to the MINI. Compared with A3, the MINI wins the personality and value competition.
BEST LUXURY SPORTS SEDAN – Is selecting the BMW 3-Series just a knee-jerk from decades of the BMW 3 being in this category? Nice car, but perhaps the Infiniti G35 would have been a more believable entry. G35 would have been an excellent selection… great V6, good presence on the road, rear wheel drive chassis, sporty handling and maneuverability in an easy-to-live with package. Might even have considered an Acura TL in this slot.
BEST PERFORMANCE CAR – Corvette is hard to beat – especially in its latest form. We’d give an equal nod to the Porsche 911. But think about it. If you pay the $65,000 for a Corvette ZO6 with its hand-build motor and highly modified structure, brakes, et al, it’s still a bargain compared with a typically eqipped Porsche 911.
BEST FULL SIZE SEDAN – Hard to argue with the Chrysler 300. Almost singlehandedly – with the strong assistance of high image HEMI V8s – the 300 (and Dodge Magnum/Dodge Charger) have re-establishted American Large Cars as highly desirable, fun to drive and high value. Ford, taking a different approach, launched the underpowered Five Hundred/Freestyle/Montego triplets. Michael Jordan, LA reporter for Automobile Magazine was quoted at a recent conclave, “These cars are a black hole of visual interest”. Can’t argue with that, the Ford products simply disappear in the shadow of the Chrysler entries.
BEST MUSCLE CAR – We agree wholeheartedly that the Ford Mustang GT deserves to the honors for Best Muscle Car. The breadth of the Mustang lineup ranging from 6-cylinder secretary’s cars to fire breathing Cobra 500 GTs shows that Ford is dedicated to keeping its predominant presence in this marketplace. Sure, bring on Challenger and Camaro, but Mustang will be tough to unseat.
BEST FAMILY SEDAN – Well Honda Accord is relatively new and got a rear end freshening for 2006 (to make it look more like Taurus and LaCrosse), and Accord remains an awfully good Mid-Size Family Car. Over the years, however, it has lost much of the sporting flavor of earlier generation Accords that brought more enthusiastic drivers to the car and the brand. Maybe not this year, but perhaps a nod to Hyundai Sonata or Azera or the Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan/Lincoln Zephyr might be in order for 2007.
BEST ROADSTER – What other roadsters are there? Miata, …..er the MX-5 now, wins this category hands down.
BEST SPORTS COUPE – Well now that we don’t have the Dodge Stratus in the competition….. but that’s another story. What goes here? Hyundai Tiburon? Mitsubishi Eclipse? Acura RS-X?
BEST LUXURY SPORTS CAR – The Porsche Boxster certainly is a great small sports car. How about the Mercedes-Benz SLK? We understand why the Audi TT did not get in the hunt … too narrowcast. Next year, lets lay the money down on the Porsche Cayman.

This article has 2 comments

  1. urquhart 12/15/2005, 9:32 am:

    Do these top ten ratings really mean anything to the normal buyer? Yeah, I read them all the time, agree or disagree, but there is a lot more to selecting a new car than just winning one of these numerous magazine tests.
    The vehiclevoice counterpoints are not too far off base. I wonder where the Volkswagens were?

  2. GB 12/15/2005, 2:38 pm:

    Can’t argue with these selections and good comments by gpeterson and urquhart. Honda always has a few cars on this list and usually no Toyotas. Toyotas sure do sell a lot but not very engaging to drive or look at.
    Will Hyundai Sonata soon make a run at the Accord in the family sedan category. I saw one just today and thought that Accord is a nice looking car. Uh, no that’s the Sonata.

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