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Thursday, December 17, 2009

2010 NA Car Of The Year, My Vote

I don't really get a vote on the 2010 North American Car Of The Year, but if I did, here is how I would vote.

Car Vote: 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrd
The Fusion Hybrid is, according to numerous sources, the best hybrid sedan on the market.  From car magazines to Consumer Reports, the hybrid Fusion is very highly rated for its ride and handling, refinement, and neat instrument cluster.  The styling update is handsome, making the car look faster and more masculine than the first generation Fusion.  The Fusion is also known for high reliability.  A significant downside to this car is that the packaging of the battery pack, behind the rear seat back, precludes a fold-down rear seat feature.  Home Depot and Ikea runs will have to be done with something else. 

The Buick Lacrosse is a major product for GM, and shows the future direction of Buick.  It is a handsome new package (though a bit over-styled) with an interesting direct injection I4 motor which makes good power and fuel economy. 

The VW Golf gets good reviews for ride and handling, power, and interior design.  It is one of the few passenger cars that can be had with a clean diesel engine, becaus VW has been committed to selling diesels in the U.S.  But its exterior design, to me, is bland.  And VW has not been known for stellar reliability

Truck Vote: 2010 Chevrolet Equinox
The Equinox is a major new product for GM, updating their badly uncompetitive previous compact SUV offerings which included the previous Equinox, as well as the recently departed Pontiac Torrent and Saturn Vue.  It has an attractive design, with sharp styling and good proportions.  The interior is much better than previous Chevrolet products, and stands with the best in its class.  Fuel economy is excellent with the 2.4L Ecotech with direct injection.  The major issue with this vehicle is probably GM's inconsistent quality.  Hopefully for GM, the Equinox is one of their high quality products.

The Ford Transit Connect is a neat little delivery van, but I am not sure it is TOTY material.  It isn't really a consumer product, but a fleet vehicle.  It has a spartan interior, and being based on the current Focus platform, its engine and transmission are getting old.  Fuel economy is very good for its payload, and reviews praise the handling.

The Subaru Outback is a good solid Subaru product.  The new model is larger than the previous generation, but doesn't come with any more power.  It combines high reliability and safety with bland styling and boxer engines.  It is quiet and comfortable, but to me, boring. 

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