This is always a tough task for me.
I formally reviewed well over 50 new vehicles in the calendar year 2014 and drove twice that many for anywhere from a day to several days. It has been an interesting year as America continues transitioning to more fuel-efficient vehicles as more become available. That does not mean small necessarily, it just means that if someone trades a two to three-year-old car for the same model, the odds are great that the new car will get substantially better fuel economy.
As always around this time of year, below you will find the Top Five vehicles I reviewed in 2014. They are the vehicles that had the most dramatic effect on me, their automaker, and vehicles that, frankly, surprised me in a good way. I will also tell you what I remember about them, and why they made this list. These are not ranked by any measure; the list is in alphabetical order by manufacturer.
2015 Ford Mustang GT:Mustang celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, so I expected something special with a totally new pony car, and I was not disappointed. It is a beautiful car, and with 435-horses, it will put a smile on the face of everyone who gets behind the wheel. Also significant too, is the new 4-cylinder Ecoboost that is offered in the new Mustang. For 2015, there is a Mustang for everyone.
2015 Lincoln MKC:I fully expected MKC to be an upgraded Ford Escape, but was very pleasantly surprised to find out that was not the case. In the red-hot small, luxury SUV segment, the Lincoln Motor Company has a worthy competitor. The two EcoBoost engine choices deliver great power and exceptional fuel economy. This vehicle gives Lincoln dealers all over the country hope for the future.
2015 Mercedes Benz C300: What used to be the smallest Benz made grew up for 2015. In my review, I called it a “mini S550” due to its looks and bigger size. Mercedes did a spectacular job on the interior, and the 4-cylinder turbocharged engine gives you a great mix of power and fuel economy. The C300 drives like a dream and is priced right for what you get.
2014 Ram EcoDiesel:I have said on the air that the first automaker to come out with a diesel would have a hit on its hands, and so far, I am exactly right. The Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealers still have trouble keeping the 1500 EcoDiesel in stock. It is pricey, but that doesn’t seem to bother people. It was amazing to get 30-miles per gallon in a full sized truck and for that reason, it deserves to be on this list.
2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid:In years past, I had been ho-hum on the Highlander. I believe that only Toyota could come out with a hybrid 6-cylinder, 4-wheel drive large SUV that will tow 5000 pounds and achieve 28-miles per gallon combined. The interior is spectacular and new features make it one of the most enjoyable SUVs on the road. Toyota priced it right, too. All things considered, this is one of the best mid-sized SUVs offered by any automaker.
The ALMOST made it list!The vehicles that almost made it were the 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, the 2014 Tundra 1794, and the 2014 Chevy SS.
Photo Credits: Ford, Hyundai. Chevrolet, Dodge, Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln