Lorne's Top Five Best Cars Of 2014
Metroland automotive journalist Lorne Drury shares his top five best cars of 2014.
Of the 70-odd cars, trucks and SUVs I’ve driven this year, I’m hard pressed to actually pick my top five favourites because the vehicles being produced today just continue to get better and better.
There’s something to like about all of them.
And when you consider the vehicles I drove ranged from a top-end Porsche 911 Turbo S (with a sticker of $218,000) to a Nissan Micra (at $15,333), the range in prices is astounding. Throw in some hybrids, a couple of all-electric cars like the Kia Soul EV and the Smart fortwo electric drive and then a few pickups and you have an eclectic mix of vehicles from which to choose.
But, in the interest of fun, here goes with my Top Five Best Cars for 2014.
Gone are the days when Subaru was simply a niche player in the market with ‘quirky’ vehicles that sold to die-hard customers because of their reliability, durability and four-wheel drive platforms.
The Forester is a prime example of the mainstream offerings now available from Subaru.
It’s also an important one because it accounts for about one-quarter of all Subaru sales in Canada.
For 2015, this compact SUV still has Subaru’s trademark Symmetrical all-wheel drive along with a bolder exterior look and a bigger, more handsomely-finished cabin.
While the compact SUV market is an extremely competitive one, the Forester sits in the front row with the other class leaders as it has become mainstream without losing the attributes that has made it popular since launching in North America in the late ’90s.
4. Lincoln MKC
Another compact crossover SUV, the 2015 Lincoln MKC competes in the entry luxury area, a step up from the Forester.
From a styling standpoint, I think Lincoln has hit a home run with its first compact crossover, a five-passenger utility vehicle that has its origins with the hot-selling Ford Escape.
Built in Kentucky, the MKC is destined for worldwide consumption and it is the first vehicle designed from the ground up in a dedicated Lincoln Design Studio. It joins the MKZ sedan as the first Lincoln vehicles to go on sale in China as the brand makes its debut there.
Lincoln’s goal is to attract a younger demographic and the MKC should do just that with its sleek and sculpted styling that gives it almost a coupe-like look in a crossover.
At the recent Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) 2015 Car/Utility Vehicle of the Year judging, the MKC finished second to the Toyota Highlander in Best New SUV/CUV ($35,000 to $60,000).
3. Audi S4
Whenever you see the “S” designation in Audi’s lineup, you know you’re talking about the performance version of a particular model.
That’s what differentiates the S4 from the A4, Audi’s entry-luxury sedan that has been a popular fixture in the lineup over five generations.
In most respects, the cars are identical, but when it comes to performance the S4 definitely has a leg up on its more docile sibling.
With a supercharged 333 hp 3.0-litre direct injection V6 engine, the 2014 S4 moves along quite nicely thank you with acceleration of 0-100 km/h in 5.1 seconds, according to Audi.
This car also comes with a big ticket with pricing coming in at $66,450 for my test vehicle.
But it is worthwhile if you have the money— the S4 is quick and agile and handles like a much lighter car than it is. With Audi’s famous quattro all-wheel drive, the S4 can be a four-season car when you switch to proper winter tires. And as with all Audis, it has one of the best cabins on the market.
In short, the S4 is an outstanding package for drivers who crave performance in a vehicle that can be comfortable and docile until the need for speed arises.
Sure its price tag is a whopping $154,900 and it really only seats two people, but if I won a major lottery, this would be the second car (see Favourite Ride # 1) I would add to my stable.
Voted Best New Prestige Car (over $75k) for 2015 in AJAC voting, the S550 Coupe is in contention for Car of the Year.
It’s been said that the S Class sedan is the best car in the world, and if that’s the case, this coupe might be the second best.
It just does everything well and has gorgeous styling. With a 0-100 km/h time of 5.0 seconds in AJAC testing, it also offers a touch of performance in a luxurious, sporty package.
It is quite simply the most spectacular looking car on the market today.
Designed by stylist extraordinaire Ian Callum, the F-Type Coupe R rivals one his other designs, the Aston Martin DB9 as two of the most gorgeous cars ever produced.
Others have said the F-Type Coupe looks fast just standing still and that’s certainly the case. But it also sounds fast when you hear the melodious sound from the specially tuned Active Sport Exhaust System and the 550 hp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine.
The F-Type Coupe is not without its faults.
At my advancing age, getting in and out is a bit of a chore.
And it may not be the fastest or the best-handling car on the market, but it’s a car that dreams are made of— at least in my mind.