A Decade in Review: Ten of the best cars of 2010-2019 and ten of the worst
As the decade winds down, I recall some of this decades greatest hits, and a couple I wish never made it out of the factory.
The past decade was a weird one for the auto industry. With crossovers becoming the popular body style of choice among consumers, automakers had to play catch-up in order to cash in on these glorified lifted station wagons.
We saw several companies close their doors this decade as well. In 2010 we still had Pontiac, Saturn, Mercury, and Scion. The Grand Marquis and Crown Victoria were still in production. The Dodge Viper was ending production to gear up for its fourth generation. Tesla only had the Roadster, and its performance was no where near as impressive as the EV automaker's latest creations.
So let's do a wrap-up of the decade's best and worst vehicles, as chosen by me, in ten different categories, along with an honorable mention.
Best Mass-Market Sedan of the Decade: Dodge Charger/Chrysler 300
While there were plenty of legendary big sedans that bit the dust early this decade, the sedan market isn't dead yet. Dodge has managed to capture a significant portion of the market with this dynamic duo which offer muscle car performance in a slightly responsible sedan body. With the Charger becoming a proper police car alternative to the Crown Vic, and the Hellcat Charger becoming one of the cheapest ways to hit 200 miles per hour from the factory, I wholeheartedly endorse these ancient but awesome sedans.
Worst Mass-Market Sedan of the Decade: Mitsubishi Mirage G4
On the complete opposite end of the sedan market lies the Mirage G4, which might actually be less of a car and more of a soap box race car. The Mirage was never a revered model, but in a time when models like the Nissan Versa and Kia Rio are aiming to become equal parts practical and budget-friendly, the Mirage winds being a worse value than most used cars that could be had for the same amount of money.
The Chevrolet SS was such a difficult vehicle to love. It wasnt a civilian version of a Caprice, it looked too much like a Malibu, and its biggest claim to fame for car enthusiasts was that you could order it with Holden badges from the factory. It wasn't Chevy's answer to any competitors from FCA or Ford, because it was never really intended to be sold here, it was a Commodore through and through, and it just didnt catch on in the US, but it wasnt a bad car, it was just….a car.
Best Mass-Market Crossover/SUV: Ford Flex
I've said it once, I'll say it another hundred billion times, the Ford Flex was a brilliant SUV. It looked like nothing else on the road, it could outrun most of its competition, and it screamed retro, but wasnt lacking in features, by any means. With 365 horsepower and seating for 7, it was basically a Taurus SHO Wagon, and it came with four sunroofs, so there's that.
Worst Mass-Market Crossover/SUV: Mitsubishi Endeavor
It's ironic that Mitsubishi called their Montero Sport replacement the Endeavor, because although endeavor means "try hard to do or achieve something" the Endeavor left a lot to be desired. It's 3.8 liter V6 wasn't as efficient as other V6's in its class, it only sat five, and the interior was nowhere near as comfortable as other crossovers in its class. The only the Endeavor managed to achieve was a subpar performance.
Honorable Mention: Subaru Tribeca
The Subaru Tribeca receives an honorable mention in this category because the first design of the Tribeca was horrible, but the facelifted models actually looked pretty good, and would continue on until 2014 being a half decent alternative to mid-size SUVs like the Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander. The Tribeca crawled so the Ascent could run.
Best Mass-Market Coupe: Dodge Challenger
The Dodge Challenger is the joke that went on for so long that it's funny again, and now it's sold in souvenir shops on T-Shirts and magnets. I have a love-hate relationship with the Challenger, because on the one hand, I would love to see a "from the ground up" update of the Challenger to potentially save weight and improve fuel economy, but at the same time, I love that this decade old muscle car hasn't changed at all, and now benefits from FCA's latest UConnect infotainment and puts down nearly 800 horsepower in its most ludicrous trims, and in some cases, outselling its competition too.
Worst Mass-Market Coupe: Chevrolet Camaro
The Camaro was always my #1 or #2 muscle car choice out of the Big Three, but this latest iteration has pushed the Camaro to #3 where it will stay there, and here's why...its boring. The Z/28 was awesome, but they don't make it anymore, the ZL1 is now significantly further behind the pack than it should be, and the 1LE pack being available on even the 2.0-liter with the blacked out hood, gives the impression of someone who spent too much money on appearance and not enough under the hood where it matters.
Honorable Mention: Nissan 370Z
The 370Z earned this spot, because it, mich like the Nissan Frontier, it's been on the market for way too long, but unlike the Frontier, Nissan isn't moving a lot of 370Z's to justify it's long, relatively update-less stay. There was no reason that Nissan couldn't have done what Lotus did with the Evora, and slap some huge body kits on and beef up power to a clean 400, with the help of Infiniti and make a 400Z.
Best Luxury Sedan: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The W221 and pre-facelift W222 are without a doubt my favorite luxury sedans on the market. While my overly American instinct is telling me that the Cadillac CT6 deserves this spot, the CT6 is also incredibly expensive, but falls significantly short in comparison to the sheer power and luxury of the S-Class, with enough powertrains to satisfy the pompous populous, the S-Class is the vehicle I think of when I see "The Best or Nothing" written in that Mercedes-Benz font in their commercials
Worst Luxury Sedan: Maserati Ghibli
One tube of Crest toothpaste should be all I have to mention about this unfortunate tarnish in Maserati's history. Now, am I using this as an excuse to ramble about FCA's mismanagement of Maserati? Yep. Am I using it because I personally don't like Maserati? Kind of. See, Maserati is trying too hard to appeal to the Mercedes-Benz and BMW market, when they should've been aiming for Porsche and Aston Martin, and what we are left with is a vehicle that is too expensive, underpowered, and poorly built. It doesn't deserve to wear the trident. It barely deserves to wear a Pentastar.
Honorable Mention: Kia K900
You're darn right I chose the K900 for this category, because this Korean limousine is incredibly affordable, and unlike the Ghibli, the K900 came with a 5.0-liter V8, but has depreciated so quickly that they can be had for $25,000 which means that you can get a vehicle that has an incredible amount of features and power and luxury, all for the price of a well-equipped Civic. Do the math.
Best Luxury Crossover/SUV: Jeep Grand Cherokee
I can't think of an SUV that has had a better run this year than the Jeep Grand Cherokee. With this current body style aging like a fine wine, the Grand Cherokee has seen significant sales growth, selling nearly a quarter of a million units in 2017. Theres a Grand Cherokee for just about everyone, and a price tag to match, considering the Trackhawk with its 707-horsepower V8 stickers for just under $90,000. Jeep as a brand has also carved out quite a niche, because in base form they can compete with Honda and Toyota, but fully-loaded, they make a good alternative to the luxury offerings from the Germans.
Worst Luxury Crossover/SUV: BMW X4
The BMW X4 represents everything that is wrong with BMW at the moment. Not everything needs to look like it's ready to tear your face off with power and performance. It's something that Audi and Mercedes have both gotten down to a science in the compact luxury crossover coupe market. The X4 is weird looking from most angles, and doesn't seem cohesive like the GLC Coupe does. It's easily the worst thing to happen to the luxury SUV market this decade.
Honorable Mention: Saab 9-4x
The Saab 9-4x was a brilliant car in terms of appearance and appeal. It looked more like a modern Saab than the 9-7x did, and instead of sharing parts with Chevrolets and GMC's, it shared parts with the Cadillac SRX, an equally brilliant vehicle, but the 9-4x carried itself in the way that only a Saab can, quirky but cool at the same time. With an equally quirky interior and powertrains, it's a shame the 9-4x didn't catch on, because maybe it could've kept Saab around just a little bit longer.
Best Luxury Coupe: Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
There is nothing I love more than seeing an S-Class Coupe on the road. It looks incredible, and the powertrains on offer give this yacht the power of a cigarette boat. It also just screams "Move, I'm better than you." It's a shame that Mercedes is backing away from auto shows, because that's the only I'll be able to sit in one of these in my lifetime.
Worst Luxury Coupe: BMW 335i Coupe
I have a personal hatred for the E92 and E93 335i because they're driven by people who think that they're at Le Mans, but they don't have the wail of the S65B40 V8 to justify their overly aggressive driving habits. Instead, these are the people that give BMW a bad name, because of their terrible behavior, I give BMW drivers more than enough space on the highway, because I don't entirely trust them to do the right thing.
Honorable Mention: Mercedes-Benz CL
The CL was a brilliant car, but the biggest flaw was the name. CL. In terms of Mercedes nomenclature, I would be lead to believe that it was a C-Class sporty coupe, or perhaps a smaller SL, but not as small as the SLK. Luckily, this was fixed when the CL became the S-Class Coupe, but still if the CL didn't win the hearts of the big luxury coupe faithful, we might have gotten the S-Class Coupe.
Best Pickup Truck: Ford Raptor
Was there a doubt that the Raptor was going to win Best Pickup Truck of the Decade? No. The Raptor was a bet that was incredibly risky. At the height of the auto crisis, Ford was going to launch a truck that was already modified, but wasn't a diesel and the only real feature was that it could jump really well. Now in its second-generation, the Raptor competes in a category all it's own, take your Ram Runner and your Silverado ZRX and go home.
Worst Pickup Truck: Nissan Titan
The Nissan Titan never captured the market like it should've. To be fair, neither did the Tundra, but Nissan has tried multiple different recipes for the Titan, including the Titan XD with its Cummins V8 and even that didn't work. The Platinum Reserve models didn't appeal to the buyers of Ram Laramie Longhorns and Silverado High Countries. Nissan needs to put some serious thought into the Titan to keep it competitive.
Honorable Mention: RAM Heavy Duty
While the RAM is my favorite of the Big Three trucks, the Raptor was more than worthy of the win in this segment, but the RAM is still the best at being a big ole truck. With its 6.7-liter Cummins straight-6 putting out a hilarious 1000 ft-lbs of torque, it is more than worthy of the honorable mention, and if the Raptor wasn't wildly successful, the RAM would be on top.
Best Convertible: Fiat 124 Spider
The Fiata will take this segment, because I love it's take on the classic sports car. The Miata is a brilliant car, but the 124 captures a little bit more luxury, and is bolstered by Mazda's incredible work on the interior infotainment and overall dynamics. The 124 Abarth version also commands the attention of passersby, which only makes me love it more.
Worst Convertible: Buick Cascada
I feel sacrilegious putting the Cascada as the worst convertible of the decade, because that means I have to speak badly about a Buick, which is rare for me, but the truth of the matter is, the Cascada captured a lot of the Chrysler Sebring crowd, without doing anything to bring any sort of wow factor other than open air motoring. It also wasn't really a Buick as much as it was an Opel/Vauxhall, and the Cascada was on sale in Europe in 2013, and didn't go on sale here until 2016, when the Chrysler 200 bowed out in favor of the 200 sedan.
Honorable Mention: Chrysler 200S Convertible
The Chrysler 200S convertible deserves this spot because of its subtlety in its performance. It was a reasonably big convertible, much like the Sebring it replaced, but it also packed some serious horsepower under the hood, 283 horsepower to be exact, which is 83 more than the Cascada. In terms of pure open air driving, it was a decent alternative to the Mustang and Camaro convertibles, if you didn't mind the front-wheel-drive and the lack of a V8.
Best Supercar: Lamborghini Aventador
The Aventador continues to be my favorite supercar, because of how it has aged. The 6.5-liter V12 is truly marvelous and helps this state of the art supercar continue to impress and turn heads. Time has been kind to the Aventador, considering it's been around for nine years, and still looks modern and exciting. I imagine a new model will be on it's way soon, but the Aventador's legacy will not be forgotten.
Worst Supercar: Jaguar C-X75
This one is a bit bittersweet, because Jaguar didn't actually put the C-X75 into production, which makes it one of the most breathtaking and jaw-dropping supercars of the decade, but also the worst, because it should've been in production. Aston Martin managed to sell the One-Seven-Seven, so Jaguar could've realistically sold a handful of these without going bankrupt.
Honorable Mention: Lexus LFA
While the LFA was truly brilliant, the fact that Lexus only made 500 of them is the reason why the LFA does not top my list. It was too exclusive. The Yamaha V10 under the hood was an engine that could give Ferrari nightmares, and the LFA looked incredible too, but 500 units, some of which are still unsold, leads to a kind of peculiar feeling in the back of my head about it. I like the LFA, but I don't love it.
Best EV: Tesla Model S
The Model 3 is absolutely killing the game right now, undercutting luxury competitors but not skimping out on features and quality, but the Model 3 wouldn't be as successful if it wasn't for the Model S. The Model S has been around for nearly seven years now, which is incredible, because it still looks incredibly modern. The instant torque is still destroying luxury cars and some supercars on the dragstrip, while quietly and effortlessly winning the hard earned dollars of consumers. I have no doubt in my mind that Tesla will continue to win over buyers, despite competitors finally getting their EVs to market.
Worst EV: Mitsubishi i-MiEV
This egg-shaped nightmare is another failed project from Mitsubishi that suffered from the overall lackluster qualities that plague almost every other Mitsubishi on the planet that isn't an Evo or a 3000GT. The i-MiEV didn't win the hearts of the energy conscious drivers like the Prius, Volt and Leaf did, and the styling was too outlandish for the hybrid conscious drivers that opted for more sedate hybrids like the Altima and Accord hybrid. It had one job, and failed miserably at it.
Honorable Mention: Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive
Everyone remembers seeing this highlighter blow the doors off an SLS Black on that one motoring show on the BBC a few years ago, but the interesting thing about the SLS Electric was that we never heard from it again, and that is the ultimate shame. This gullwing doored, 739-horsepower, brilliant piece of engineering cost nearly $500,000, and only had a range of about 50 miles, but what the SLS leaves me with, is a hunger for Mercedes to produce an electric AMG GT using all of the technology it has now, because maybe they'd be able to beat the Tesla Roadster to the punch.
They say that it's difficult enough to measure a year, but measuring a decade is just shy of impossible. There were plenty of cars that should've made this list upon looking it over a second time, but that's why we have a comments section. It will be interesting to revisit this list in 2029 when we are talking about the latest EV's from automakers that haven't even been created yet, going up against some of the biggest names in the industry. Here's to 2020, may it bring new and exciting vehicles for us to yell about on the Internet.
What did you think of this list? Did you favorite car not make the list? Comment Below!