2010 to 2019: The ten best cars of the decade
Alex Goy is a freelance motoring journalist who writes for the likes of Jalopnik, The Telegraph, Carfection, CNET, and DriveTribe.
We’re about to enter the roaring twenties. As such your head should now be filled with Gatsby-esque images of lavish parties, booze-fuelled afternoons, and some truly ostentatious cars.
But before we all start calling each other ‘old sport’ and creating ludicrous plans to get the girl, it’s time to have a look back on some of the best cars of the decade. Year by year, here are the best cars the decade has to offer.
[Oh, and before anyone gets snippy with timings, etc – the years these cars appear in is when they were announced/produced. Don’t get too unhappy if the moment you became aware of a car doesn’t match up to the date on the page, ok? Good, now let's continue... ]
2010: Lexus LFA
Sneaking in at the very end of 2010 (production began then at least) is one of the finest supercars ever built, the Lexus LFA. In fact, Jeremy Clarkson proclaimed it to be the best car he’s ever driven. High praise indeed.
The Japanese motor’s 4.8-litre V10 produces a rather tasty 553bhp and 354lb ft, and will punt you from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds and on to 203mph. It helps that the V10 sounds utterly incredible…
2011: McLaren 12C
McLaren’s re-entry to the road car sector was a blinder – the MP4-12C (later renamed just ‘12C’). A carbon monocoque chassis combined with a super smooth ride and a silly powerful 3.8-litre turbocharged V8 made the 12C a car to remember.
While at the time its looks were criticised for being a little on the bland side, it’s aged remarkably well and at its debut it managed the third fastest lap of the Top Gear test track, putting it behind the Ariel Atom and Pagani Huayra. For a first effort it was strong, and McLaren’s road cars have only gotten better since.
2012: Morgan Three Wheeler (and the L405 Range Rover)
A split for 2012 – something ridiculous and something sublime. First up, Morgan reintroduced the car that give it its start over 100 years previously: the Three Wheeler. One wheel at the back provides drive, while the two at the front attempt to steer it. I say ‘attempt’ because it’s really one of the worst handling cars money can buy – capable of both under and oversteering in the same corner. It’s woeful, but also hilarious fun (so much so I bought one). To drive it is to love it.
The other highlight of 2012 is the L405 Range Rover. It took the already posh SUV even more upmarket while upping its off road cred. Benchmarked against Bentleys, Rollers, and all things swish, the ‘new’ Range Rover was quieter, quicker, and more capable than ever before. A huge technical achievement for the marque. And, if you take a look around London/Cheshire, something of a sales hit.
2013: The Holy Trinity
Once a decade (or so it seems) there’s something of a supercar renaissance. A group of similarly mental cars appear at around the same time, each a variation on the theme of ‘the most extreme thing we can get away with’.
For this decade we got the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918. All of them variations on the hybrid theme – not using electrical assistance to keep MPG figures high (though the 918 was exempt from London’s congestion charge) but to go as quickly as possible. The subject of pub arguments all over the world – which was fastest, which was the best looking, which would you actually own (Porsche for all three for me, ta)… The Holy Trinity caused waves, and that can only be a good thing.
And hey, if these cars are only ever going to be a dream purchase for you, why not treat yourself to a Lego version of the P1?
2014: BMW i8
Another hybrid sports car, though not quite as extreme as the holy trinity, BMW’s i8 took exotic looks and combined them with a genuinely smart powertrain. Few cars make it to production looking as close to their concepts as the i8 did – there’s nothing quite like it on the road.
Its 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo attached to electric trickery means its power was knocking on 370bhp. Ok, it wasn’t a sports car, more of a tourer (albeit one with a TINY fuel tank – you need to plug it in to get the best out of it). An important car though.
2015: McLaren 675LT
McLaren’s ‘LT’ name made a return with the 675LT – a spicier, track-biased version of the 650S road car. With more power, stiffer springs, and trick aero, the 675LT was a hardcore monster. Except when it wasn’t – when you gave its 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 the beans it was raucous, angry, and exciting, but you could just as easily drive it around day to day without any trouble. A truly exceptional car, and one that’ll likely be remembered as one of McLaren’s best.
2016: Bugatti Chiron
The Bugatti Veyron is one of automotive engineering’s landmark moments – a true 250mph car that can be used every day without fear of something very expensive going bang. Its follow up, the Chiron took the original recipe and refined it. Smoother, more refined, and (somehow) faster than the Veyron, the Chiron even looks slicker as well. Oh, and one’s just topped 300mph. Another landmark Bugatti.
2017: Lamborghini Urus
An SUV? On a list of cars of the decade? HOW VERY DARE YOU? Well… yeah. See, while the Urus is something of a left field choice, it’s a sign of the times. A mainstream car from Lamborghini wasn’t even a thought a decade ago, and now the Urus is selling insanely well for the company.
Yeah, Porsche has had an SUV for a while but for Lamborghini to turf one out is a huge deal – SUVs are were the money is. People who like supercars also have families and want to transport them to places in something just as wild as their Aventadors. Ferrari’s got one on the way, and Aston Martin’s will hit the road in 2020. It may not be pretty, but it is important.
2018: Ford Fiesta ST
The era of the 400bhp hyper hatch is upon us, and with ut comes silly top speeds, sub-five second 0-62mph times, and monstrously high price points. Ford’s Fiesta ST was proof that you didn’t need all wheel drive and a billion horsepowers to have fun.
In fact, with front wheel drive and a mere 197bhp, the little car’s 6.5 second 0-62mph time and 144mph top speed may seem a little weedy, but meant you could exploit the car, push it harder, in more places. It was fun, fast, and (whisper it) better than the Focus RS…
2019: Porsche Taycan
The electric car revolution stepped up a gear in the teens, but Tesla remained top of the luxury EV tree for the duration. 2019 saw two mainstream manufacturers take the fight to Tesla – Audi and its e-Tron, and Porsche’s Taycan. Porsche chose to make an EV that only Porsche could: a proper sports car. It has less range than a Tesla, but it’s been designed to lap tracks all day. The EV wars are just beginning, and Porsche’s first attack is a good one.
There we have it, some of the best/most important/influential cars of the decade. Now, this is the internet, and that means you're not going to agree. In fact, you're probably going to argue your very own case for your top ten – and you're more than welcome to do so in the comments! The glory of a free and open society means you're within your rights to tell me I'm wrong. Unless you reckon the Alfa 4C was in any way good, important, or worthy of praise. It wasn't. Anyway, here's to a happy and healthy 20s!