New cars are often predictable and conservative, but Jalopnik readers managed to find the ten cars that evolved their class or otherwise challenged our assumptions. The ten most important new cars of 2012.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
This year was great for new cars. We have major crushes on the new Viper, the Morgan Three-Wheeler, the new McLaren drop top, and the new big pony cars from Ford and Chevy. There's only so much room on a top ten list, so we left them off. Yes they're fantastic cars, but they didn't change everything.
Our readers also loved the Ecoboost Ford F150, but it didn't get released this year, so we left it off.
If there was a car released in 2012 that you think we forgot about, let us know in Kinja below.
Photo Credit: Scion
10.) Focus ST
Ford is finally bringing us a Euro-style hot hatchback that can outdrive the GTI. It makes noted rear-drive enthusiasts want to hoon the crap out of it. It is what we have been waiting for from Ford for many years.
9.) 2012-to-2013 Honda Civic
Maybe Honda could have gone along well enough with the unrefreshed Civic by selling on name recognition while the competition stepped up on quality, but we doubt it. The 2013 model year Civic showed that a car company can listen to its customers and recognize its failures.
8.) Dodge Dart
Chrysler built a small car that's not terrible. That's noteworthy in and of itself, but the Dart is also the first Alfa Romeo to the US in quite some time. Well, when we say the Dart is an Alfa, we mean to say that they share the same platform. Same difference. Now they just need to sell some.
7.) Cadillac ATS
Cadillac didn't build a competitor to the BMW 3 Series, Cadillac built a 3 Series. The ATS is like the old CTS, in that it shows American automakers can make cars the equal of the Europeans. Now we're just waiting on them to make the Ciel already.
Suggested By: Axel-Ripper, Photo Credit: Cadilllac
The European car market is thoroughly going down the shitter, but there's one low-cost car company that's doing well. Great news! It's Dacia. The Renault-owned Romanian company has been moving its production to former French colonies in North Africa. These are high quality, low cost cars that are so good they could well kill off the slow-moving dinosaurs like Renault, Peugeot and Citroën.
Yes, the Dacia is more than just a Top Gear joke now.
5.) Ford Fusion
Ford put a 1.6 liter motor in a midsize car. Excuse us, but making, smaller, more efficient engines to get high mileage numbers is so much nicer than exceedingly dull hybrids. Also, it looks gorgeous. We wish more family cars were this nice, other than the whole catching on fire thing.
4.) The DeltaWing
After years of doubt, the DeltaWing raced this year and holy shit. The tiny front end doesn't just work, it goes fast. Without a doubt the car is among the most radical car designs (race cars or not) since the bonkers Chaparrals of the 1960s.
We put a car the size of a Mini Clubman on a distant planet. AND IT HAS A FREAKING LASER ON IT. Not only is that the single greatest feature on any vehicle, but it needs to come standard on all new cars. Curiosity is also nuclear powered. And while it's driverless with weird wheels, Curiosity is still a car.
Suggested By: Too.Tired.To.Sleep, Photo Credit: NASA
2.) The Toyobaru Twins
The most boring car company in the world came out with one of the most exciting cars of the year. Toyota and Subaru now make the kind of low-power, fine-handling cars we've lusted after for years. Cheap, rear-drive sporty coupes are back on the market. The FR-S and BRZ show other car companies will see that bigger numbers are not always the right way to make a fun car.
1.) Tesla Model S
As the electrification of automobiles marches on, a small, eccentric American company is showing that they don't have to be terrible. The Model S still has a lot to prove, but we want the Californian seven-seat supersedan to succeed. It's just too interesting.
If it fails it'll be an interesting failure, as well, demonstrating that even the combination of style and performance can't yet shift drivers into EVs. It'll show an entirely new way of selling and building cars won't work. That you can't build a car the Silicon Valley way.
Suggested By: monovich, Photo Credit: Tesla