This is always a tough task for me. I formally reviewed well over 50 new vehicles in calendar year 2013, 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 is tradition, below you will find the Top Five vehicles I reviewed in 2013. 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.
2014 Corvette : What can you say about this car? It is outstanding for the driver and passenger, and one of the most enjoyable cars I have ever driven. I believe Corvette has changed the way people look at Chevrolet as an automaker. The quality was incredible and you can tell this car was well thought out. In a first for me, I rushed out and ordered one for myself after my review. There is nothing like a Corvette, period. I believe this C7 will be the most popular Corvette in decades.
2014 Kia Soul: If you’d told me a year ago the Soul would make this list, I’d have just laughed. I was lukewarm at best on this SUV. I always thought it was priced right, but that was about the kindest thing I could say. Now comes the 2014 and it blew me away. It was like Kia changed everything I hated about the first version. The interior, the quietness, the value, the fuel economy, and the quality contributed to the new Soul making this list. In a crowded field of small SUVs, the new Kia Soul is a stand out.
2014 Infiniti Q50: I always liked the G35 and G37. In fact, I’ve been an Infiniti fan for years. The replacement for the G37, the Q50 was impressive at first glance. Sleek lines and a muscular stance grab you immediately, but when you open the door, the interior is just beautiful. Performance and handling are exceptional and Nissan priced this car to sell. Thankfully, it comes with a 7-speed transmission instead of a CVT. There are some good entries in the mid-sized luxury segment, but the value of this car sets it apart.
2014 Mazda 6: Talk about a head-turner! I saw this car initially from a distance and was shocked to get closer and find out it was a Mazda 6. Always a good car, the flagship Mazda was always short on styling and had a mediocre interior. The Grand Touring edition will give you a car that looks like it costs twice what it does. Sky Activ technology gives you great mileage and superb handling. This car is a complete turnaround from previous versions of the Mazda 6. This is a super crowded segment, and Mazda put a lot of distance between them and the competition with this new Mazda 6.
2014 Chevy Silverado: It had been a long time coming…an all-new Chevy Silverado. In spite of it being seven years since there was any change, Silverado remained the #2 selling vehicle in America overall. For that reason, the 2014 had to be right and GM did just that. The new 5.3-liter V8 puts up some incredible numbers, 355-horses, 11,500 pounds of towing, and 22 miles per gallon in a 4-wheel drive truck. Interior improvements are dramatic and irresistible. Will the Silverado unseat the perennial #1 seller the F150? Probably not, but bowtie lovers have everything they have been wanting for years and more. Arguably, this was the most important new vehicle launch for GM in years, and they got this one right.
The ALMOST made it list! The vehicles that almost made it were the 2014 Jaguar F-type, the 2014 Chevy Cruze diesel, the 2014 Ford Energi plug-in hybrid, and the 2014 Cadillac CTS.
You can see full reviews of all these cars at http://www.carprousa.com/car-pro-vehicle-reviews/
– Jerry Reynolds, The Car Pro