As the year draws to an end, it’s time for all of us to plan ahead for 2014 but also look back to 2013. So, this time I choose to see what models turned out to be in the spotlight in the big, big North American market.
Without further ado, I hereby unveil ten good and very good cars that impressed me over the year. I need to tell you that this is my very personal opinion, it’s not based on sales and it will cover models that were not necessarily renewed for the 2014 model year.
10. SRT Viper
Besides the ongoing revival of the muscle car era that took the US by a storm, one sports model deserves our praise for its stubborn unwillingness to get really modern – the Viper. It’s powerful, not overly subdued to driving aid systems and also hand built. Ok, the price is to high for the average American and the sales are lackluster – but this usually happens to any legend in the making.
9. Subaru BRZ
Yes, it’s a Japanese car. I know. But the BRZ is driving sales for Subaru (well ok, the entire brand is doing really well) and it’s a very good little sports machine. Those who will not have a problem being dwarfed by the ever-lasting full size pick-up, will also have no problem outdoing them dynamically in every aspect imaginable.
8. Ford Fusion
A very well conceived sedan, actually so well done and selling so much that it uplifts the hopes of Ford and any proud American that it could finally put an end to the all-mighty rule of the Toyota Camry.
7. Toyota Camry
Yes, it’s another Japanese in the US top. But who could argue with me that the Camry is actually a lot more US flavored than Nippon scented? There should be a long explanation on why the Camry is the best selling US models for so long, but actually… we all get it, it’s a compelling package that is praised by so many clients. And that should be enough.
6. Jeep Cherokee
Oh boy, where should I start? It’s ridiculously ugly, which makes it in a quirky way kind of attractive. Do you get that? Well, if you don’t, a lot of Americans do, to the point that there was a national craze on why Chrysler isn’t producing it faster (remember the production issues) and now that it’s finally out in the open it really sells well.
5. Tesla Model S
What can I say – I’m still not convinced that electric vehicles are the cars of the future and ever more so when they are so expensive. But still, hat down to Tesla for making such a god car, with such a good range with close to none automotive experience.
4. Chevrolet Silverado
If we’re talking American cars, there should be at least one pick-up around. Well, for now I settled for the Silverado (with the Ram 1500 diesel as a runner up), as the F 150 is now old and waiting for an heir. So, cudos to GM for releasing a very good pick-up, one that will bring lots of traction for the company in the segment.
3. Lincoln MKC
Ford is trying to shake things up at the dormant Lincoln brand and the MKC small crossover might be just the model they need. It’s got Lincoln design all over, which means it’s odd in a non-creepy way and you will definitely stand out in any crowd in it. Plus I really like the momentum of these little crossovers. And the MKC is also very well priced in its segment.
2. Cadillac ATS
This is yet another great premium package at a not so premium fee – the ATS has all the right stuff. It’s not very big and heavy (so you’ll get dynamic behind the wheel), it’s luxurious enough and the most important – it screams good design. Cadillac, one of the few brands blessed with inspired designers has done it again. Good for them.
1. Chevrolet Corvette
It all boils down to one model. And this year none other could have claimed the top spot (sorry 2015 Mustang, you’re too far away into the near future), but the iconic Vette. It’s the sports car that puts the Americans on the same level with European brand. It’s the sports car that screams made in the US. And it thoroughly overdelivers when behind the wheel.