It’s time to list my favorite cars of 2012.
Now it’s important to point out that this isn’t the ultimate top three cars of the year. Neither I, nor my expansive staff (which consists of me) drove all makes and models. I didn’t even drive one car from every manufacturer. It also includes some 2013 models since new models nearly always go on sale the previous year. So these are just the top cars three cars that came through my world during 2012.
This car wasn’t just a pleasant surprise, it was a complete shock. I had no clue that I was not just going to like a Buick Regal, but actually love it. The GS model delivered on every level. It has a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine pumps out 270 horsepower. More importantly, that power arrives immediately. Nothing worse than pushing the gas pedal and then feeling the engine wind up to power. I want it now! And that’s exactly what the GS did. Brembo brakes (with the big Brembo name showing through the wheels for bragging rights) were great for bringing all that power under control. Inside the car was properly upscale. Read my full review here.
Truth be told, this was my favorite car to drive all year. The only reason I couldn’t name it number one because of the price. While the $58,000 fully loaded SRT8 delivers a lot compared to some of its pricier competition, it’s still more than I think I can part with for my next car purchase. Especially when the outside styling isn’t my favorite. But I never thought about the price each time I drove the SRT8. All I could think about was the 470 horsepower from the 6.4 liter HEMI that came on like a rocket. Throw in a dash display with all kinds of cool stuff (like screens to keep track of 0-60 times or lateral G-force) and it’s a great driving experience. If you miss the muscle cars from the 60s, the Chrysler 300 SRT8 is right for you. Read my full review here.
This 2012 Hyundai Veloster was pure fun. Small and agile it’s the perfect car for someone who wants sporty on a budget. My test car had $4,000 worth of options and still stickered at $21,000. The only thing it lacked was enough horsepower to really kick you in the pants. But Hyundai has solved that problem in 2013 with a turbo version that delivers 201 hp, that’s about 60 more than the normally aspirated version. But even without the boost, the Veloster was great to drive. It also delivers 40 mpg highway and 28 mpg city, which is great for someone who wants fun on a budget. The Veloster also has unusual styling with three doors (one on the driver’s side, two on the passenger side). The Chrysler 300 SRT8 may do a better job kicking you in the butt, but the Veloster delivers more fun for your buck. I just can’t wait to drive the turbo version! Read my review here.
The 2012 Chevy Volt is my favorite of the electric cars. It only gets about 30-35 miles on a charge, but it has a gas engine (that runs a generator) giving it true range. Plus, it’s simply a much nicer car than the competition. Read my full review here.