Favorite Cars of 2007 and More
The year is over and its time for a look back. This is standard operating procedure at a lot of automotive publications and we’re not proud here at Autosavant, so I’m going to go with the flow, and give you the benefit of my thoughts on the year’s newcomers.
First, the cars – lots of new iron in 2007, and these were the ones that really stood out for me:
Cadillac CTS: The best Cadillac from General Motors in a long, long time is finally the equal of the BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz offerings. Does it match those cars everywhere? No, it doesn’t, but those cars themselves don’t match their competition in every aspect, so it’s not required that the CTS win every battle on every feature. And, oh my goodness, the interior just makes you feel sort of all gooey and warm in your own personal interior.
Audi A5: Somehow, Audi just keeps putting out better and better cars. Poor German relations to BMW and Mercedes not so long ago, Audi is threatening to take away BMW’s dominance in sports sedans and Mercedes-Benz’s dominance in luxury sedans, and not look back. Audi is even expanding into Porsche territory, more on that in a minute. Audi sales are going through the roof, and cars like the A5 are the reason; beautifully rendered in metal, wonderful inside, and performance out the exhaust pipe. At $40,000 USD, they’re not cheap, but they’re worth the price.
Audi R8: This is a loud shot across the Porsche 911’s front bumper from Audi and what a shot it is! The 420 hp V8 coupe makes great noises, it tracks like a laser, and, of course, it is stunning to look at inside and out. At $110,000, it is aimed directly at the sweet spot that Porsche occupies in the market. Its not going to convert any die-hard Porschephiles, because they are blind to any other make, but anyone with an open mind needs to take a long hard look at this beautiful coupe.
Honda Accord: I love the interior, love the drivetrain, and the exterior of the sedan makes me grit my teeth. I like the coupe version, but hardly anyone will buy it, so what does it matter what it looks like? And since I am not all-powerful, it doesn’t really matter what I think of the incredibly bland sedan exterior, because Americans will line up to buy the wonderful new Accord sedan, just as they’ve been doing for many years. The ground has now shifted in the mid-size sedan segment with the Honda Accord clearly leagues ahead of the Toyota Camry in this category, and the new Chevrolet Malibu between the Accord and the Camry.
Chevrolet Malibu: If I were a buyer in this mid-size segment, the new Chevrolet Malibu is the car I would buy, and that’s saying a lot coming from someone who has eviscerated GM (and rightly so, I might add) for its lousy product over the years. The aforementioned Honda Accord is a little better mechanically and inside, but the Malibu is so much better-looking and so close in mechanical goodness that, personally, I would gladly give up the tiny edge of refinement the Accord has for the huge advantage in looks the Malibu possesses. Has the world gone mad?
Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Volume, volume, somebody turn up the volume. The new, redesigned C-Class is supposed to be the answer for Mercedes-Benz’s simmering quality issues of the last 10 years, and the early returns look very promising. Mercedes is counting on that outcome because the C-Class is one of the main ingredients of good financial health for Mercedes-Benz. The C-Class is understated in exterior design, but much improved in almost every aspect and the quality issues have been banished, according to the folks at M-B. The only serious knock against the new C-Class is the decidedly-average horsepower levels of the new cars, but with the price of gasoline going up, that might be a non-issue soon.
Buick Enclave: Buick has a big hit on their hands with the new Enclave, and the attention is well-deserved. It’s now the class leader in this segment. It’s extremely attractive, the fit and finish is superb and the Enclave moves out smartly with the smooth powerplant GM has provided for the crossover. There are actually waiting lists for the Enclave, if you can believe it. People waiting in line to buy a Buick – who woulda thunk it?
Now, astute readers may notice that Audi and General Motors get a lot of play on this list.
That’s just the way it worked out, but from a personal perspective, I must confess that in addition to dogging GM for a very long time, I was also an Audi-basher for quite awhile. To me, Audis in the Seventies, Eighties and into the Nineties were overpriced, under-powered cars with poor reliability that sold mainly off the appeal of their German origins to an American public. That changed for the better in the mid-90’s and Audi has never looked back. GM, of course, has had its own problems the last few decades.
And now, here I am, praising their cars.
But the cars I’m listing here are really good cars and will probably end up being great cars, depending on well they stay bolted together, so the past sins of either company don’t really enter into it at this point. Right?
Well, it certainly works that way for Audi, but let’s not kid ourselves, it just doesn’t work that way for GM yet. The recency of GM’s awfulness has not faded away for most of the American public, so they will be paying the wages of sin for sometime going forward.
But, regardless where the cars on this list come from, I can recommend them. Every one of them provides their owner with some high level of car-related pleasure. Drive one, buy one, love one.
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