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Jim Kenzie's best and worst of 2008

Jim Kenzie's best and worst of 2008

  • The beginning of morning rush hour, cars on the highway traveling to and from downtown

JIM KENZIE’S BEST

2004 Mini Cooper S JCW

The best single car I have ever driven is the 2004 Mini Cooper S JCW I drove in five consecutive Targa Newfoundlands. Sadly, I won’t be doing that again (see worst experiences next week).

Runners-up: BMW M3 (fast, smooth, beautifully built, beautifully balanced), and Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG (possibly the least politically correct car on the planet but amazingly fun to drive).

… AND WORST

Nissan GT-R, Toyota Tundra

No really bad cars anymore, so I’ll list a couple that were disappointing.

Boy Editor says everyone will be writing “standard puffery” about how wonderful the Nissan GT-R is.

Both Motor Trend and Automobile magazines chose it as their 2009 Car of the Year.

But they are enthusiast mags.

I’m an enthusiast, too, but I think a truly great car should be more than unidimensional.

The GT-R is great on a track, and even on a road when you’re ignoring the threats of Julian Fantino and are really hammering on it.

The other 95 per cent of the time? Hard, hard and hard describe the ride, shift quality and most of the interior trim bits. As the AJAC Test Fest comparison in this category showed, everything from the BMW M3 to the Lexus IS F has this range of attributes much more successfully balanced.

I also had two different shots at a Toyota Tundra pickup, once side-by-side with a new Dodge Ram – when’s the last time a side-by-side between a Toyota and a Chrysler had the Chrysler with a nicer-finished interior? – and side-by-side with the new Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado and, again, the new Dodge Ram. The Toy’s engine is strong, but the flex-frame, lousy ride and handling, terrible fuel consumption and especially the sight of its cargo box darn near falling off on the durability test road showed the Japanese still haven’t figured out full-size pickups.

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