More Cars to Be Thankful for
For Thanksgiving week, we brought you a collection of cars we are thankful for. Certainly the global economy has limited our expectations, and it may well have stunted your own economic picture. There is no doubt it has cut a huge swath through the car companies themselves, yet many vehicle manufacturers are still bringing us cars that get our juices flowing … in fact, so many cars that we didn’t have room for them all last week. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are more cars to be thankful for:
1. Ford Fusion Hybrid
It may be the best hybrid sedan we’ve ever driven, and it doesn’t come from a Japanese manufacturer. The new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid not only turns in eye-popping mileage numbers -- 41 miles per gallon in the city and 36 miles per gallon on the highway, to be exact -- but it’s also a sweetheart to drive. While other hybrid sedans have their idiosyncrasies, the Fusion Hybrid seems just like a typical car. The interior is nicely crafted, and the animated electronic dash layout is perhaps the most imaginative we’ve ever seen.
2. Honda FCX Clarity
The talk about hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles is a lot like an extended weather forecast. The proof lies somewhere in the future -- at a time when we might not remember what was predicted in the first place. But the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle is in the here and now. The model is currently being leased to consumers and is so pleasant to drive that it spoils you for even the best conventionally powered cars. From its avant-garde exterior design to its well-equipped, bio-friendly cabin, the FCX Clarity is a joy to live with.
3. Jaguar XFR
It’s so drop-dead gorgeous, it’s hard to believe it’s a sedan. And on top of that, it’s fast. Jaguar describes its all-new XFR as “the ultimate Jaguar sports saloon.” We’re right with them on that, although we would call it a “sports sedan,” and it happens to be a sedan with the luscious good looks of an upscale coupe. But in this case, the XFR’s beauty is more than chrome deep. What really sets the XFR apart is its performance potential. An all-new 5-liter, direct injection, supercharged V-8 delivers 510 horsepower and massive amounts of torque, and the quick-to-spool supercharger means instant acceleration is just a tweak of your right foot away. The interior oozes Jaguar class while offering whimsical touches like the Jaguar Drive Selector that pops up to welcome you after you hit the start button.
4. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
If you can get over the fact that the C63 AMG is significantly smaller than a Honda Accord in every dimension that matters, yet it costs about twice as much, you can really begin to appreciate this jewel of a sedan. There’s just something about 451 horsepower in a car this agile that can make you fall in love with driving all over again. That serious dose of horsepower comes from a sweetly smooth 6.3-liter V-8, and it turns a very good car into one of the most satisfying sedans we’ve driven in years. Inside, you won’t lack for luxury amenities, and the power-actuated front seats are nothing short of superb.
5. Volvo XC60
Volvo has long been known for auto safety, so when it says its XC60 crossover is the safest model ever, you have to pay attention. Looking at the vast array of safety features, the XC60 has a right to that claim, especially because it is the first vehicle to offer Volvo’s new City Safety system, which can prevent crashes at speeds of up to 9 mph and mitigate the damage from crashes at speed up to 19 miles per hour. The XC60’s styling is smoothly contemporary while at the same time unmistakably Volvo, and the performance from the 3-liter, 281-horsepower, turbocharged six-cylinder engine is more than adequate, aided by the six-speed “geartronic” automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
Driving Today Contributing Editor Tom Ripley writes about the auto industry and the human condition from his home in Villeperce, France. This year, he is again thankful to be alive.