2011 was a very good year for cars
There were a lot of great cars introduced in 2011, but here, in no particular order, are top 10 favourites.
Hyundai brings an impressive package to the subcompact class with the all-new Accent. Even though this car is positioned price-wise against other subcompacts, it really fits, in size, with compact cars. Hyundai even includes class-leading technology such as direct injection to produce the most powerful subcompact at 138 horsepower. Starting at just $13,199 and maxing out at just $18,399, this roomy, practical and very well-equipped car is selling like hot cakes and for good reason.
BMW 1 Series M Coupe
BMW has produced a very special car with the 1M, almost a throwback to the way they used to make motorsport cars. The 1 Series is the smallest BMW on the road but in M trim it gets a very powerful 335hp and gobs of torque at just above idle. Add in a stiffer suspension, wider track, bigger and lighter wheels, plus a bunch of curvy body panels and the 1M is a bargain in the performance coupe arena. Price of entry is $53,600
It has been a long wait for the Chevrolet Volt. After years of auto show tours, speculation and delays, it is finally for sale in Canada. With a starting price of $41,545, the Volt isn’t cheap, but does offer a ride and style that many luxury car buyers should embrace. The design is sporty and the interior roomy and comfortable. Able to go 65 kilometres on a single charge, plus the ability to extend that range with a small on-board gasoline engine, the Volt lets “green” drivers have it all.
A full electric charge takes 10 hours at 120V or four hours at 240V.
Porsche 911 Turbo S
Buckle up and hold on, the 911 Turbo S takes a run to 100 km/h in just 3.3 seconds and gets to 200 km/h in just 10.8 seconds thanks to a 530hp turbo 6-cylinder engine. It isn’t just fast; the AWD system along with a host of electronic goodies gets all the power down to the road and the nose pointing in the right direction at all times. The standard ceramic composite brakes never fade and the interior is fully covered in leather. Not cheap at $200,000, but faster and more fun than cars costing much, much more.
The Chevrolet Cruze might just be the best all-around car in the compact class. With a very smooth and quiet ride plus a nicely fitted interior, this car is the perfect place to be if you are stuck in traffic most days. Available with two engines, including a turbocharged 4-cylinder, the Cruze is powerful and efficient. Even though the Cruze is priced in the compact segment ($14,995-$24,780) it has near mid-sized dimensions.
Mustang GT Convertible
The Mustang GT has a new 5.0-litre V-8 engine with a heart stopping 412hp. The engine has a sound that should be bottled and sold, it’s that good. In convertible trim, especially in Grabber Blue, it is a perfect balance of power and grace. The fabric roof stores quickly and neatly, not using too much storage space and the back seat is perfect for kids. With a starting price of $42,999, this kind of power and style might be worth it.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
To say that the latest Jeep is a big step forward is a massive understatement; it really is like reinventing the brand. The larger dimensions make this a Jeep for all, with a bigger back seat and cargo area. Built off a Mercedes platform, the on-road manners are impeccable, plus the Grand Cherokee still has off-road capability. Starting at $37,995, the interior is stunning plus the all-new 290hp V-6 is powerful and efficient.
The latest trend in the luxury sedan space is to lower the roofline to produce a coupe-like silhouette. Audi takes this idea one step farther by adding a hatchback into the mix. Porsche has done this with their new Panamera, but some might say they lost the plot when it comes to style. Not the case with the A7; it has all the power and luxury of the beautiful new A6 but also adds the functionality of a hatchback.
The A7 is much cheaper than a Panamera, starting at $68,600.
The Hyundai Accent might have the value equation down but Ford has the handling and fun factor nailed. Next to the iconic VW Golf, this little car is the second bestseller in Europe, The interior is class leading, plus the steering and feedback to the driver is excellent, all for a starting price of $12,999. With 119hp, the Fiesta isn’t the most powerful but it is the most satisfying.
Volkswagen Touareg TDI
Diesel engines have a lot of usable torque, which is perfect in an SUV application. Unfortunately, it is only the German manufacturers that have invested in clean diesel technology, which allows them to import these wonderful machines to Canada. VW is the only non-luxury brand to have a diesel SUV and it is spectacular. Very handsome on the outside with a plush interior, the Touareg has it all, plus fantastic fuel efficiency. Stating at $53,190, it isn’t cheap but you get a lot of SUV for your money.