When you think about the best cars of the decade you have to look at the last couple of years to see some of the best.
For example, you have “Chevrolet Malibu” restyled and totally revamped Malibu debuted in the middle of 2008 and set the automotive world on its ear when it unveiled the mid-sized Malibu that featured newly sculptured lines that are completely competitive with anything from Germany or Japan and an interior that’s very nice.
A front-drive vehicle, the V-6 powered Malibu 1LT has a host of features that are costly add-ons on other lines including heated, power seats, climate control, high-end sound system and new front-end and rear-end treatments that are miles ahead of the former Malibu. The former Malibu was a subcompact model.
The front end is especially nice as it features the full new Chevy look with a dual grille look and front end that extends almost to the street. The wheels are nicely designed into the front fenders and rear quarter and the rear end styling seems complete.
From what we’ve seen and heard of the ride and handling package, even the stock Malibu is a real contender, while the upgraded Malibus are even better and hold the lines you choose through turns and corners.
Indeed, the Malibu deserves its designation as “Car of the Year.”
Another radically restyled vehicle – that caught about the entire industry by surprise – is the “Ford Fusion”. One of the reasons the Fusion was such a surprise is that it came right in the middle of a product cycle. Normally, the car industry restyles its offerings about every five or six years and during the intervening time, they simply refine and change a detail or two hear and there.
Instead, the 2010 Fusion is as different from the 2009 as the Model A was from the Model T. Where the older Fusion had nice, but very staid lines, the new Fusion features a radically rounded front end with fair light assemblies and fenders and bumper covers that work into the body lines. The new design seems much more organic.
With four trim levels, including a Sport that features different suspension geometry, a larger anti-sway bar and other goodies, the 3.5-liter V-6 Duratec-powered Fusion is a very capable handler and deserves all of the accolades it has achieved.
Who would gave thought that a car that we once pictured as the epitome of the 1973 sedan would, within less than a dozen years be named North American Car of the Year and would have no less an authority than JD Powers & Assoc raving about it? The car in question is the “Hyundai Genesis Coupe”,a vehicle that powers has labeled the most appealing midsized premium cars in its 2009 APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study).
The J.D. Power and Associates APEAL award measures what consumers like and dislike about their new vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership, particularly with the vehicle’s design, content, layout and performance. Genesis received high marks for its exterior design, engine and transmission, interior comfort, and technology and entertainment features totaling 864 points – 26 points above the midsize premium car segment average. In addition, the Hyundai brand made a 16 point improvement from 2008.
“We are thrilled to accept this J.D. Power and Associates award as it truly signifies the satisfaction and pride Genesis owners have for their cars,” said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai’s vice-president of National Sales. “Genesis offers luxurious features and performance quality at a value unmatched by any other vehicle in its segment. And with awards like APEAL, it is clear Genesis is more than meeting expectations for consumers in the market for a premium car.”
“Throughout the years, vehicle models achieving high APEAL scores have been shown to benefit from faster sales, less need for cash incentives and higher profit margins on each vehicle sold,” said J.D. Power and Associates.
The J.D. Power and Associates APEAL award will join the growing number of Genesis honors and accolades including North American Car of the Year (a first for a Korean auto manufacturer,) Kiplinger’s Best New Model for 2009, AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award, and more. Genesis also contributed to Hyundai’s ranking last month in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, as Hyundai ranked the highest non-premium nameplate and fourth overall – up from thirteenth the previous year. Hyundai’s Genesis sedan sets a new benchmark in the premium car category. With a starting price of just $33,000, Genesis includes performance and luxury features typically found on vehicles costing thousands of dollars more.
The restyled “Honda Accord” is another benchmark vehicle that has consistently achieved stable sales, without yoyoing all over the chart. The amazing thing about the Accord is that it has achieved its sales stability from a combination of excellent quality and cutting edge design. Equally amazing is the fact that Honda has made three major model design changes since 2003.
Honda would maintain that each change was just a natural extension of the earlier models but if you look closely you would see the changes in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 are major and mark the Accord as a major player in the $20,000 to $30,000 price range. Just the design alone, the organic feel of the placement of all the major components and the intuitive feel of the interior mark this as an important vehicle.
Other key vehicles:
- Honda Civic
- – New design in 05 with streamlined lines and stepped tach and speedometer display
- Acura RL – New design and all-wheel-drive
- Lincoln MKS
- – New technology and design and adaptive headighting system as well as blindspot radar warning system
The number of important cars built in the last 10 years is legion and would require a lot more space than we have available. We’ll discuss more later.