ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Now entering its third decade of 10Best competition, “Car and Driver” has announced winners in its 20th annual roundup as detailed in its January 2002 issue.
Foreign models continue to excite the judges. There are eight such models in the 2002 lineup, the same number as last year.
Joining the list are three new cars – the Acura RSX, the Audi A4, and the Subaru Impreza WRX – and a former winner, the Chevrolet Corvette, last on the list in 2000.
The top 10. This year’s 10Best winners are:
* Acura RSX
* Ford Focus
* Audi A4
* Honda Accord
* BMW 3-series/M3
* Honda S2000
* BMW 5-series
* Porsche Boxster
* Chevrolet Corvette
* Subaru Impreza WRX
Expanded coverage and visuals can be found on http://www.caranddriver.com, along with an online reader poll of 10Best cars, a 20-year timeline of the top ten cars since 1983 and an online photo gallery and an auto-related trivia section.
TV program. RTM Productions, a supplier of original television programming owned by Lagardere Active, will also be airing a 10Best cars segment on Car and Driver Television on TNN in January.
A 13-member panel of “Car and Driver” editors with a combined 289 years of experience gathered in Ann Arbor this past fall to determine winners by rating them on a scale of 1 to 100.
Selection process. While all cars offered in U.S. showrooms by January are eligible, only a select few make the cut.
Finalists must fall below a price cap determined by multiplying the average transaction price as of summer 2001- $26,376 according to National Automobile Dealers Association – by 2.5.
This year’s cap was $66,000, up $4,000 from last year’s basis.
The magazine also renominates previous years’ winners if they are still available and under the price cap. It then identifies new or substantially upgraded vehicles for the current year.
Older vehicles that fall outside these two categories and have already had a shot do not get a second chance. This year, the process yielded 33 new nominees, down from 2001, because 10Best now excludes trucks.
Truck category. A new 5Best trucks category has been created. Although SUVs were always included in the nominees, and they have also included pickups the last five years, only seven, six minivans and one SUV, have ever made the top list
According to the editors, the problem has been that the design elements that make a truck a truck – beefy construction, a tall stance, and an emphasis on carrying capacity – all compromise the quick reflexes, grippy traction, and high performance that have been rewarded in the 10Best.
But in recognition that just over 48 percent of the new-vehicle market is trucks, they decided it was time to recognize excellence with a different set of criteria.
The 5Best trucks for 2001 are
* Luxury SUV: Acura MDX
* Small SUV: Ford Escape
* Large SUV: Toyota Highlander
* Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado
* Van: Honda Odyssey
How it began. 10Best began in 1983 with the desire to produce a list devoted to automotive excellence.
However, in keeping with the personality of the magazine, the staff did not believe that just one car could represent its diverse readership and circulation. So, they selected 10 cars.