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Old 07-04-2005, 08:09   #1 (permalink)
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US:Car-smart consumers say which are the finest rides on the road today

2005 America's Best: Car-smart consumers say which are the finest rides on the road today

AUTOWEEK

Every year we set off Fourth of July fireworks by celebrating what is right about this country, automotively speaking. You, the car-smart AutoWeek readership, tell us what cars you deem America’s Best in several categories, and we hand out the awards.

For many years now all makes of vehicles sold in America—where your freedom to choose is the distinguishing characteristic—have been eligible. That is one source of the fireworks. Another is evident in how close the voting was in several classes this year.

We made some amendments to the categories in response to your suggestions after last year’s poll, splitting the sports car category in two (to give exotics their own class) and refining the lists of eligible vehicles appearing on the survey.

All polling was done electronically via our website and the determination of the voters is final.

Closing the polls has never stopped Americans from arguing over what the results should have been, but you have made your choices. So let’s salute this year’s crop of America’s Best vehicles for the way they fire up your automotive passions.. -AutoWeek editors



2005 America's Best exotic: Ford GT
AUTOWEEK
FORD GT
POWER: 5.4-liter, 550-hp V8
BASE PRICE: $141,245
FORDVEHICLES.COM



A new category this year, Best Exotic looks above and beyond the more run-of-the-mill Corvettes and Vipers. We’re talking the likes of a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti and F430, Bentley Continental GT and the Lamborghini Murciélago—not a cheap car in the lot. It is unfair to compare such a car to a Miata; hence the Exotic category.

When the votes were tallied, you picked Dearborn’s own Ford GT, narrowly edging Porsche’s almighty Carrera GT and trumping that F430.

The GT is a nod to the ’60s racers that won Le Mans, and Ford designed it to celebrate the firm’s centennial. That was a good idea; a better idea was the decision to put the GT into production. Based on your votes, you couldn’t agree more.





2005 America's Best coupe/convertible: Ford Mustang
AUTOWEEK
FORD MUSTANG
POWER: 4.0-liter, 210-hp V6
BASE PRICE: $19,770
FORDVEHICLES.COM



The Ford Mustang didn’t even finish in the top three last year. This year shows just what an all-new car can do: The Mustang trounced the BMW 6 Series and the Infiniti G35 coupe (last year’s winner).

When Ford re-created Mustang, it made no secret of wanting a car that drives like a modern muscle car with styling that blends old and new. Now that we’ve driven Mustang in its various guises, we can say Dearborn succeeded: The straight-line performance is marvelous and the chassis is better tuned than ever before. The styling, as one of our testers put it, is “sweet—retro, but not too retro.”





2005 America's Best truck: Ford F-150
AUTOWEEK
FORD F-150
POWER: 4.2-liter, 202-hp V6
BASE PRICE: $20,975
FORDVEHICLES.COM



Will the F-150 ever lose as your choice for best truck? Not this year, as Ford’s—and America’s—bestseller takes its eighth straight America’s Best win, this time over the Dodge Ram and Nissan Titan (those two positions were reversed last year).

All new in 2004, the F-150 offers more powerful engines, more room for passengers and cargo, and standard issue tough-looking sheetmetal that really resonates with the faithful. There are enough body styles and option choices to outfit an F-150 any way you want. So the F-150 win wasn’t a big surprise, but here’s something that was: Honda’s new boy, the Ridgeline, finished fourth, only a few votes shy of the Titan. Look out next year.

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Old 07-04-2005, 08:09   #2 (permalink)
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Re: US:Car-smart consumers say which are the finest rides on the road today



2005 America's Best economy car: Mazda 3
AUTOWEEK
MAZDA 3
POWER: 2.0-liter, 148-hp I4
BASE PRICE: $15,090
MAZDAUSA.COM



Sometimes as a driver you don’t need to be spoiled. Sometimes air vents with little, powered covers aren’t necessary. There are times when cloth seats will suffice, and pushing one button actually changes the radio station.

That’s what this ultra-competitive, ultra-penurious category is all about. And it is stuffed full of excellent cars. This is where the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus beat on each other for small-car glory. But we have another repeat winner: The Mazda 3 finished solidly ahead of the Civic and just-introduced Audi A3.

Why do you—and we—love this little 3? We love it only because it is a great car to drive. It’s responsive, the gearbox is snappy, its 2.0-liter four-cylinder is powerful enough. Mazda 3s come as a sedan or hatchback, and the five-door hatch just makes it more versatile. That’s why the 3 wins.

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