Like the ol' Jalopnik Fantasy Garage, due to size limitations — the agreeably arbitrary "10" of "Best10" — certain vehicles didn't make the cut for one reason or another. That said, here's the SecondBest10 — and why they missed out.
Mazda MX-5: Doesn't quite live up to the original, but it's the only light, cheap, and soulful roadster we have left. Missed the cut because it's grown just a bit too heavy and detached.
Honda Civic: Still light, still sips fuel, still relatively fun to drive. (In other words, still Soichiro.) Has nevertheless moved away from greatness and into everyman competence.
Volkswagen Golf/GTI: A5 and A6 models are better than almost any other small car out there, but oft-depressing build quality bumps them off.
Ford Focus: Ditto what we said about the Golf.
Lotus Elise/Exige: The first Lotus in years to get back to the brand's Chapmanian roots, and fantastically capable, but it doesn't have the emotional warmth of Lotus's 1960s golden age.
Mazdaspeed 3: Would seem like an obvious pick, but the drivetrain feels home-built and both torque steer and understeer are rampant. A numbers-only, test-sheet special.
Honda Fit (2006 – Present): The econobox as done by Honda. Intelligent, durable, and modern. Missed the list because it's not as entertaining as you'd think. (We hold everything up to the standard laid down by the CRX. We are a demanding, irrational lot.)
Nissan GTR: Too fat. Too distant. Too much hype, not enough emotional followthrough. (It may be a cliché, but it's true.)
Bugatti Veyron: An unattainable, invitation-only engineering marvel. It may be the perfect symbol of early-aughts excess, but we have to be realistic: A 200-plus-mph car that's more isolated and user-friendly than your grandmother's worn-out Oldsmobuick? Great. Nice place to visit, wouldn't want to live there. (Also, it's ugly.)
Porsche Cayenne: Kept the lights on in Stuttgart, yes. Amazingly talented, yes. Not that much fun to hammer on, yes. Also, it's a Porsche SUV. Bruce is not concerned with family trucksters.
Ford GT: A supercar that wasn't that reliable, wasn't that relevant, and did nothing but call upon the world's latent GT40 love. We love it, but we have to be honest: It didn't advance the game.
Ford Mustang GT: Like the (supercar) GT, a hell of a machine, and more fun than it has any right to be. But a stick-axled muscle car, great as it is, isn't the way forward. (No pun intended.)
Head back to the Best10 of the decade list to comment: