Autosavant’s Ten Most Popular Articles of 2009
By Chris Haak
As 2009 draws to a close this week, we thought that it would be fun to list the top ten most popular articles on Autosavant during the past 12 months. This top ten list is not necessarily a list of our favorite articles – though of course we’re fond of many of them – but rather just a ranking of the most popular in terms of the number of people who have viewed them. Of course, this means that articles written earlier in the year had a “head start” of sorts, because they had the benefit of 9, 10, 11, or 12 months of pageviews, while something written in November or December had to make its mark in just one or two months. Enough introduction; on with the list:
10. Preview: 2010 Buick LaCrosse. This was an overview of the all-new Buick LaCrosse, including the car’s technology, design, powertrains, and more. The funny thing about this article’s popularity is that it was written before we had actually driven the car, yet it managed to pull in more cumulative traffic during 2009 than our review of the 2010 LaCrosse CXS managed to do.
9. The Ranger is Dead – Long Live the Ranger. This article was written in April 2008, and still has lots of staying power for us. It also has unfortunately become a major target of comment spam in recent months, so we had to disable comments on its post. This article also happened to be the third-most popular article of 2008. As we said in last year’s “most popular” summary, the news on the Ranger changed, and the US-built model got a reprieve until 2011, and Ford shelved plans for a smaller-than-F-150 F-100 model.
8. 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review. The Overland is the top-of-the-line Jeep Grand Cherokee and adds some nice touches on top of the Limited model, not to mention the historic Overland badge that Willys had owned. Until writing that review, I hadn’t realized that the Overland name had not been affixed to a new car since 1926. The Hemi really made the Jeep a straight-line performer, but it guzzled gas at an alarming pace, and the interior is in need of an upgrade (and de-plastification). Perhaps the all-new 2011 model coming in a few months will improve the Grand Cherokee in those respects.
7. What’s the Point of a Lifted Truck? Not only is this article our seventh-most viewed article of 2009, but it’s the most-commented on article in Autosavant history. It garnered over 50 comments until I, as the author, tired of the immaturity and name-calling from those whose nerves were struck by the simple question, closed comments. As you read through the comments, note how the first few agree with the article, but subsequent ones took a decidedly nastier tone. The consensus answer, by the way, was that most guys do it for looks and just because they can. They also said that their trucks can haul things and tow, and get decent gas mileage in spite of the extra weight and massive tires.
6. 2010 Chevrolet Equinox LT Review. GM’s new-for-2010 compact crossover has been doing well in its competitive segment this year, and has class-leading highway fuel economy with the base 2.4 liter four cylinder engine and six-speed automatic. Our reviewer thought highly of the vehicle, in particular its interior, comfort, refinement, and quietness.
5. 2008 GMC Sierra Denali AWD Review. We put GM’s flagship pickup through its paces on a long road trip and came away in love with the engine and transmission, but wishing for more differentiation between the top-of-the-line Denali trim level and the more pedestrian Sierras. The first-generation Sierra Denali, which included the awesome Delphi Quadrasteer four wheel steering system, got the differentiation nailed down. The current model has a big engine, some fake wood, and a big shiny grille to set it apart.
4. 2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe: First Drive. At a media event, your intrepid Editor-in-Chief had the opportunity to drive Mercedes-Benz’s all-new 2010 E-Class Coupe, which replaces the CLK in the lineup. The most confusing part about the E-Class Coupe is that it has an E-Class-like body affixed to mechanicals that are more closely related to the smaller C-Class than they are to the E-Class sedan. Whatever it’s based on, it was a nice ride that left me wanting for little more than additional horsepower and a smaller steering wheel.
3. 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL Sedan Review. As with most of our popular car reviews, we surely owe this one’s popularity to Google. We liked the fuel economy and equipment levels in the four cylinder Altima SL, but disliked the CVT. At least Nissan does CVTs better than almost anybody else, which is a bit like saying you’re the most charming cattle rustler in the Old West. The best part about the Altima is that Nissan shed the cheap interiors found in most of their products in the early part of the decade beginning with this car; soft-touch surfaces and nicely-damped switchgear abound.
2. 2009 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5 SE Review. Google loves our Altima reviews – what else can we say? Our test car was a coupe equipped with the big 3.5 liter V6 and a CVT. It was really fast, but the suspension tuning was a bit too harsh. The car’s short wheelbase not only makes the ride a bit choppy – it also makes the car look a little goofy to my eyes with the long overhangs required of a front wheel drive car. Oh yeah, and it was really expensive. (Altimas can be very well-equipped cars if you have the wallet for it, but Nissan really gets you with the price of options.)
1. 2009 Toyota RAV4 Sport 4×4 V6 Review. The thing I remember most about driving this RAV4, aside from the run-flat tires and the fact that I had the chance to drive it in the snow last winter, was that Toyota’s 3.5 liter V6 really can move a small vehicle like the RAV4 quite rapidly. The V6 and the RAV4’s small size made it perhaps an ideal vehicle for jumping into holes in traffic, and a compact SUV that can seat seven (admittedly in cozy accommodations in the third row) while getting 26 miles per gallon on the highway makes it a decent choice. Now, if only Toyota could do something about its dowdy appearance, which can’t come close to touching the handsome 2010 Equinox’s exterior looks or interior design.
And there you have it. We at Autosavant wish all of our readers a healthy and prosperous New Year. Thank you for sticking with us during a year that was tumultuous (to say the least) in the auto industry. We have some great stuff planned for 2010 – including an all-new site design. We’ll also again cover the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in just two weeks. We can’t wait to talk about cars and the car business in 2010.
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