Friday, October 30, 2009

Do you agree with Popular Mechanics winners of 2010 Automotive Excellence Awards?

Every year, automotive magazines, websites, journalists and more come out with their picks of what vehicles they believe are the best of the year like the Car and Drivers 10Best and this past Wednesday was no different when after well over 100,000 miles of testing was done on over 100 of the newest cars, trucks and sport-utility vehicles, Popular Mechanics Magazine announced their 2010 Automotive Excellence Awards.

“Despite a tumultuous year in the automotive industry, engineers have rolled out some of the best cars we’ve ever seen,” said James Meigs, editor-in-chief, Popular Mechanics. “We are exceptionally proud of this year’s Automotive Excellence Award winners, all of which represent the innovation and foresight that will keep this industry moving forward.”

The recipients of the fourth annual Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Awards:

Performance: Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Design: Chevrolet Camaro
Value: Kia Soul
Fuel Efficiency: Toyota Prius
Versatility: Subaru Outback
Fun to Drive: Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Off-Road Ability: Ford F-150 Raptor
Technical Innovation: Lexus Remote Touch
Luxury: BMW 335d
Workhorse: Ford Transit Connect

However after reading this list, do you agree with Popular Mechanics winners of 2010 Automotive Excellence Awards?

When I look at this list, I have to say that while I agree on some and see where they choice that make and model, in other categories, the results have left me asking why.

Of course let’s start with a few categories that I agree with like the Fuel Efficiency going to the Toyota Prius. How on earth it gets those numbers is interesting to me, but nonetheless, it is what it is. However I would actually choice a Audi A3 TDI or a VW Jetta TDI. The advancement in diesels is amazing right now. It surprises me that more consumers don’t look into these types of vehicles, gasoline isn’t going to be around forever, you are going to have to explore alternative fuels sooner or later.

In the performance category, the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro definitely put up some amazing numbers in performance, but I can also see how the Ford Shelby GT500 beats out the rest this year. The same can be said for design, the Chevrolet Camaro is incredible to look at. Chevrolet’s designers hit this one right on the mark. The 2010 Camaro reminds me of the First Generation Camaro (1967,1968,1969). I will say though that the 2005 Ford Mustang was incredible to look at too as is the 2009 Dodge Challenger. Both were designed with the past in mind as was the new Camaro.

Value left me wondering why, the Kia Soul might have a balance between price tag, power and everything else inside, but it’s ugly. MotorWeek compared the Kia Soul, Scion xB and the Nissan Cube and while they did end with the Kia Soul, the Scion xB was a good compromise between the Soul and the Cube. I would have chosen the Scion xB here, consider its reasonable fuel economy, space (cargo space included), power and it’s not as ugly.

However what simply got my attention had to be three categories, the fun to drive going the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, the off-road ability going to the brand new Ford F-150 Raptor and in Luxury was the BMW 335d. The Raptor was made for off-road, however in not seeing the tests on it, I can’t say for sure that I would agree here. I mean you didn’t get that off-road ability from a Trail Rated Jeep or a Land Rover, really, REALLY?

Under fun to drive, I have to say that from what I have read and seen, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a giant surprise especially considering the guys from took it on the 2009 Targa Trophy rally and finished 6th, but nothing is as fun to drive is a BMW.

Finally is luxury, I’m curious why they choose the BMW 335d? Well Popular Mechanics defined it as “Luxury cars don’t have to be one-dimensional. The 335d blends luxury, performance, fuel economy and fun into one very rewarding package.” I will definitely agree on the performance, fun to drive and the fuel economy, but the jury with me is still out on the best in luxury, what about a Porsche?

Remember that there are a lot of awards that come out every single year for automotive excellence and while you might not agree with all of them (I know I didn’t as I said above), it does leave you pondering a few of them that you might not have considered before. But I will say that like I said above, the 10Best included in a Corvette, Porsche and a VW in theirs, what’s in yours?

(Source: Popular Mechanics; Photo credit: