Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The 7 Best Cars

by Tom Bozzo

Car and Driver is out with its annual 10Best Cars list. So what gives with the title? Two underlying vehicle "platforms" — the structural underpinnings that, when reused in several models, reap huge cost savings for automakers — account for half the slots in the list.

The big winner is Honda's "Global Midsize" platform, which underlies the "Best Family Sedan" (U.S. Accord), "Best Sports Sedan" (Acura TSX, a high trim of the car known as the Honda Accord in Europe and Japan), and "Best Luxury Sedan" (Acura RL, a/k/a Honda Legend elsewhere). The U.S. sticker price range in this model assortment is enormous, from $16,710 for a stripper Accord to $49,470 for the RL.

Evidently, the RL is being viewed as more than just a $50,000 Accord by car writers and the general public (it's selling well). The TSX, which I've driven, indeed does an admirable job of feeling a lot like the occasionally sainted 1997-2001 Prelude for a tallish, Accord-based sedan.

The C&D editors, IMHO, took some leave of their senses in awarding separate spots to the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Magnum (for "Best Large Sedan" and "Best Wagon," respectively). Those cars are twins except for cosmetics and the aft bodywork. Indeed, DaimlerChrysler sells a retrimmed Magnum as the Chrysler 300 Touring in some non-U.S. markets.

Meanwhile, the BMW 3-series sedan, coupe, convertible, wagon, and the M3s are forced to share one position on the list. A travesty!

The surprise loser, discussed on this blog previously, is the new Audi A6. It failed to make the list even though C&D's reviewers generally accepted the new schnoz and thought it had caught up to the unloved E60 5-series in some areas where the old A6 was deficient. If this was #11 given the treatment of the Chrysler and Dodge, Audi was robbed.

I couldn't help but notice that from time to time (er, the last few posts anyway) you attempt (unsuccessfully) to add an "em dash" to your posts.

PMFBI, but I think you're missing the trailing semicolon. That is, instead of & m d a s h you should probably be entering & m d a s h ; ... altho who nose, it might work on whatever browser you're using. WTF, whatever.

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