We test a lot of cars here at Roadshow. Fromto , nearly every new vehicle you can buy comes through our collective garage at some point or another. Over the course of a decade, that makes for a huge number of automobiles.
Yet here we are, on the verge of the next decade, and it's time to reflect on the cars that impressed us most over the past 10 years. This isn't a list of the most significant products, or even our highest rated. Instead, these are the ones that keep us up at night; the ones we think about when we close our eyes and daydream (not that we'd ever do such a thing during a workday).
These are Roadshow's favorite cars of the 2010s.
2016-present McLaren 570S
I've been lucky to drive a fair few of the most choice supercars on the road today, and while there have certainly been plenty that were quicker or more capable than, most suffer from one key flaw: they make your favorite roads feel completely, totally and utterly boring. They're so capable that you need to push to some multiple of the speed limit to have a good time. That's not the case with the 570S.
Though outrageously fast in its own right, with 562 horsepower coming from a turbocharged, 3.8-liter V8, it's the feel and the overall experience that sets the 570S apart. The combination of forward seating position and low nose creates an experience almost like flying, a sensation redoubled by steering so sharp it's almost twitchy. With the 570S you always feel like you're on your toes, and that feeling is properly addicting.
The McLaren 570S starts at $192,500, plus $2,500 destination, placing it in the same range as a. Yes, the Turbo S would probably out-run the 570S in most situations, and it would also be easier to live with on the day-to-day, but I guarantee on those roads you seek out on Sunday afternoons, the 570S will be the more rewarding. It'll also turn a lot more heads at your local cars-and-coffee meet, if you're into that sort of thing. On most days and most roads, I'd even take the 570S over its big brother, the . It's that good.
-- Tim Stevens
2011-2012 Lexus LFA
There are halo cars, and then there's the Lexus LFA. Teased for so many years throughout the early 2000s and finally made into a reality in 2009, the first production cars made their way to owners in December of 2010. Even today, the LFA sports some tantalizing specifications.
Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic makes up the vast majority of the supercar's body, and a whopping 4.8-liter, naturally aspirated V10 sits under the hood. Unlike some sports cars today that perhaps share too much with a development partner (rhymes with "bupra"), the LFA was all Toyota, all the time. Even though Yamaha was largely responsible for engine development, this was perhaps more Toyota's brainchild than any of its sports cars sold afterward.
Not only did the LFA lay the groundwork for Lexus' eventual F performance division, it downright created an icon. It's perhaps overshadowed by other supercars still on sale today, but I implore you to get up close to one someday. If you can't, spend a few minutes listening to the V10 scream all the way to 9,000 rpm. This decade brought us some good sounding stuff, but boy, not always LFA-sounding.
-- Sean Szymkowski
2013-present Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 (aka Scion FR-S)
As a frequent track-day participant and someone who used to schlep cones at autocrosses on a regular basis, the arrival of theand twins was significant when they landed for the 2013 model year. It was the answer to people's prayers for a Mazda MX-5 Miata-like coupe that never came to fruition for worldwide consumption.
For a mid-$20,000 price tag, the BRZ and FR-S (which later became the) offered enthusiasts an affordable coupe with a lightweight and nimble chassis and snappy steering response. A 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine and fluidly shifting six-speed manual transmission provided ample motivation, but with only 200 hp on tap, the Toyobaru twins were momentum cars -- ones you can easily wind out without hitting crazy speeds. Today, these cars are common sights at open track and autocross events.
While the rumored turbocharged BRZ never came, Subaru did go on to offer a more performance-focused version of the rear-wheel-drive coupe when it rolled out the. A massaged suspension, Brembo brakes and, most importantly, stickier 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires helped the BRZ become track-worthy right off the showroom floor.
-- Jon Wong
2016-present Mazda MX-5 Miata
In this business, we're fortunate enough to drive incredibly powerful and expensive cars that regularly triple -- if not quadruple -- the power output and cost of the humble fourth-generation. So why do I love it so much? In a word: communication. About as well as any car on the road, the ND Miata tells you what's going on with the business of driving and makes you the central, indispensable axis in that act. You feel the road. You feel the wind in your hair. Your inputs are heard and responded to with absolute precision and joy.
With just 181 hp and 151 pound-feet, there isn't much more horsepower here than in a low-grade family sedan, but because the Miata is so small and so light, you make the most out of each pony and unit of torque. The best part is, it's possible to have a great time flinging a Miata around while everyone else is just on their morning commute -- its limits are so low and so approachable that you'll push yourself more often than you would in something with a lot more power and grip.
Starting at $25,730, plus $920 for delivery, the Miata is actually a lot less expensive than the average transaction price of a new automobile. How many sports cars can you say that about? Sometimes, less really is more.
-- Chris Paukert
2018-present Kia Stinger
I'm a big form-over-function kind of guy, so when Kia debuted the spectacular, it blew me away. It was pure concept fantasy, a futuristic, rear-drive four-door the likes of which no one expected could come from Kia. Shockingly, Kia announced a few years later that it was going to actually produce the GT. Then, even more shockingly, Kia debuted the in 2017, the production version of the GT concept. And it looked so, so good -- maybe even better than the GT concept that it was spawned from. Long, low, and aggressive, the Stinger has real presence and is a genuine head-turner.
Thankfully, there's substance to back up the Stinger's abundance of style. Like the concept, the Stinger rides on a new, rear-drive platform, and the top GT models use an awesome twin-turbo V6 that makes 365 hp and rockets the car to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. But even the base, four-cylinder Stingers are quick, and both engines have an almost muscle-car-like approach to the way they accelerate and build speed. The Stinger is great on twisty roads, too, especially in rear-drive form. Oh, and did I mention that it's a hatchback with a ton of space? That's one of many cherries on top.
Every time I see a Stinger on the road, I still can't believe that it's actually real -- and sold at a reasonable price. At just over $40,000 for the V6-powered GT model, which is loaded with tech and convenience features, the Stinger is a hell of a performance bargain. Having given Kia genuine enthusiast cred and further established the brand as style leaders, I think the Stinger is something to be celebrated. With slightly lackluster sales, the Stinger's future is reportedly in jeopardy, but if any new car deserves a second generation, it's this one.
-- Daniel Golson
2016-present Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
Indisputably, one of the most awe-inspiring cars to debut in the last decade hails from Dearborn, Michigan, and is built by an automaker better known for trucks and utility vehicles than track-dominating coupes. Some unscrupulous pundits may attempt to undermine the, deriding it as little more than a gussied-up Mustang, but the Roadshow editorial staff (and loyal audience) knows better. For multiple reasons, this super snake's coolness is self-evident, its future-classic status as guaranteed as death and taxes.
And what makes this car so special is not its tastefully aggressive design, telekinetic steering, fluid manual gearbox or a combination thereof. No, it's what's nestled between those broad front fenders that enables the GT350 to transcend expectations. Motivation is courtesy of a naturally aspirated, 5.2-liter V8. A member of Ford's fine modular engine family, this unit nonetheless was the recipient of numerous upgrades, not the least of which is a cross-plane crankshaft. This, and other carefully optimized internals, enables it to spin to an astronomical 8,250 rpm. The result of all that revving is a stout 526 hp and 429 lb.-ft. of peak torque.
But even with that many kibbles and bits, this Shelby is not the fastest thing on four wheels, nor is it the lightest or most engaging car ever built. What matters, however, is the entirety of its driving experience. The GT350 is engaging and spirited like few vehicles are, but the noises it produces are what really set it apart. That high-strung V8 howls like a choir of banshees, building to a deafening crescendo as it rips to redline. It sounds like nothing else with a base price around $62,000 -- or, hell, anything costing three times as much.
-- Craig Cole
2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe
The old 1 Series was the last BMW I really connected with. Sure, BMW has built a number of great cars since then, but none of them have spoken to me quite like the 1 Series. This car felt like it was built specifically for me -- everything just felt right. The 1 Series M Coupe from 2011, then, was the proverbial icing on the cake.
The 1M took the solid 1 Series and made it even better. More power, a wider track, a limited-slip differential and a standard six-speed manual transmission were all part of the package. Combine that with one of BMW's best steering racks and well-tuned chassis, and you have a recipe for success. I can't recall another car that was so incredibly perfect to drive.
BMW ended up producing just over 6,000 of these worldwide, making them incredibly rare and collectible today. In fact, for a time, the 1 Series M Coupe was selling for more money than its initial selling price, less than a decade after its launch.
I will never forget this car. I even remember the license plate of the test car I drove for two weeks in 2011. I would love to own one someday. Though given how good all 1 Series cars are, I might settle for a well-kept 135i Coupe instead.
-- Steven Ewing
2017-present Audi RS3
Audi's smallest performance car is powered by a 2.5-liter, turbocharged, five-cylinder engine making 400 hp and 354 lb.-ft. of torque. You'd think that'd be enough for this smol boi, but rumor has it that Audi has understated the output and the littlest RS may actually make more power than the automaker claims. Enthusiasts clocking sub-4-second 0-to-62-mph sprints seem to back up that theory.
While I'm a tad sad that the US market doesn't get the hot hatch RS3 Sportback, I was actually very happy with the sedan. The rear seat is basically useless, but the small footprint makes urban motoring a breeze. Plus, Quattro all-wheel-drive grip and a very nicely sorted suspension really make the subcompact chassis dance on twisty backroads.
Equally impressive is the RS3 (and the A3 upon which it is based) are entry-class models that roll out with flagship level dashboard tech. Audi's dashboard infotainment and digital instrument cluster technology is second to none, even at this smaller scale. Driver aid tech is equally impressive for this class, but you'll have tofor more details about that.
-- Antuan Goodwin
2015-present Dodge Challenger Hellcat
When your vehicle platform is aging, the only prudent thing to do is add gobs of horsepower to appeal to the old-school muscle car fans, right? Well, Dodge thought it was a good idea, and shoved the now-infamous 6.2-liter, supercharged Hellcat V8 engine under the hood of the 2015 Challenger. This reignited the horsepower wars between America's automakers.
The Hellcat engine produces 707 hp and 650 lb.-ft. of torque -- actually, make that. All that power goes to the rear wheels as God intended through a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. The 2015 Hellcat also saw the introduction of driving modes to dial in preferred transmission, throttle and traction control parameters.
The only issue with the Hellcat Challenger is its relatively skinny tires. The car is offered with Pirelli P-Zero tires sized at 275/40ZR20 that are just too small to handle all that power.ups the tires to 305/35ZR20, providing more lateral grip and more composed launches. It's still a car for the brave, however. The Hellcat is eager to break loose, so a bit of prudence and training is required to get the most out of this amazing powerplant.
-- Emme Hall
2015-present Genesis G80 (aka Hyundai Genesis)
The first generation Hyundai Genesis wasn't my cup of tea for a variety of reasons, but the second one quickly hammered home the fact that Korea's luxury-car competency had grown in leaps and bounds in a very short period of time. Here it was, a surprisingly affordable sedan that didn't feel out of place alongside German competition.
While the entire package is commendable, I'm especially a fan of the Genesis sedan's aesthetics, which weren't as "out there" as the Sonata of the time, opting for a more conservative yet still fresh look that, again, came as a breath of fresh air in a segment typically dominated by Europe.
was definitely a value, but its powertrains still left plenty of room for excitement within that price constraint. With the 5.0-liter V8 under the hood, it was a budget 'bahn-blaster with the composure to match.
-- Andrew Krok
2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring
Porsche's GT3 has been a sports car high-water mark since it was introduced in 1999, but fans of the formula started to get nervous when its manual transmission disappeared for the 991 generation in the quest for lower lap times at any cost. Theis Porsche's response to the backlack from fans around the world who longed for the visceral thrill and engagement that a stick-shift brings, as well as a slightly more subdued look with the deletion of the standard GT3's big wing. The result is staggering and may be as close to a perfect car as I've yet experienced.
In addition to the manual transmission and the deletion of the big wings, the GT3 Touring gives up nothing to its racier-looking sibling. It still packs the howling, maniacal, 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated, flat-six engine and its stratospheric redline, as well as the standard GT3's four-wheel steering system. At the same time, like all 911s, it's still got plenty of space for all your stuff in the frunk, lots of room for driver and passenger, and build quality that would make some Swiss watchmakers jealous. It asks for very little sacrifice from its owner in order to use it every day.
-- Kyle Hyatt
2014-2017 Chevrolet SS
At the rate the industry is moving, this very well could have been Chevrolet's -- and maybe General Motors' -- last rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered sedan. Our heavily electrified future beckons.
While there's no use protesting progress, there's value in underscoring what a delight thewas when it debuted, and still is today. It's an analog automobile that exists in a digital world. While technology is abundant, this is an old-fashioned machine at the end of the day.
A lumpy 6.2-liter V8 (with pushrods, gosh darnit) is under the hood, and you could have it connected to a six-speed manual transmission. A big car it may be, it still managed to punch above its weight in so many respects. In fact, I liked it so much that I bought one three years ago. No regrets, as they say.
-- Sean Szymkowski
2018-present Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
I get asked the question, "What's your favorite car?" a lot, and of course, a question like that can't be answered without some important qualifications (budget, intended use, etc.). But, if it had to be one car, just one car for every day and every purpose, lately my answer has been the.
This is a car that is so remarkably good at just about everything it's almost unfair to anything else in this segment. For starters, it looks good, the current Panamera a huge step forward over the last generation, and the Sport Turismo takes it even further in my opinion. Then there's the performance, the car capable of sprinting to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. Finally, there's the practicality, a proper long-roof sports car with almost all the usability of something like a.
But, of course, all that comes at a cost. The Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo starts at a tick over $193,000 including destination, meaning it's knocking on the door of many supercars when it comes to pricing. Few supercars will be able to out-run it in the real world, and even fewer can manage a typical commute emissions-free. The Panamera can, and deliver surprisingly good fuel economy the rest of the time. It's a remarkable achievement and it's still my answer.
-- Tim Stevens
2011-2015 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
I remember the first time we published spy shots of one of these. It was around 2007, and Daimler was using mutilated Dodge Viper panels to cover up the body of what would become the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. When this car debuted, I couldn't get enough of its super-long hood, clean rear end, perfect stance and, yes, those gull-wing doors.
Then I drove one. The SLS AMG was born before the days of mass-market turbocharging, and thus it used one of the greatest engines ever created: Mercedes' M159, 6.2-liter, naturally aspirated V8. With 563 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, power was effortless. And the high-revving V8 sounded absolutely amazing when you wound it up toward redline. This V8 is one of the finest engines I have ever tested.
The subsequent Black Series model upped the ante even further, and I loved the low-slung proportions of the SLS Roadster, even if it did away with the gull-wing doors. Hell, Mercedes even made an electric version with 805 horsepower.
More than anything, the SLS set the tone for AMG for the rest of the 2010s. There are some exceptional products coming out of Affalterbach these days, but I'll never forget the SLS.
-- Steven Ewing
Today, Mazda's engineers pride themselves on balancing driving fun with a premium feel. But back in the days of Mazdaspeed, they were a bunch of speed-crazed madmen. The ultimate expression of that madness was the Mazdaspeed3: a 263-hp hot hatchback that put 280 lb.-ft. of torque through the front wheels.
The Speed3's 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-banger was a treat, building power dramatically enough that Mazda's engineers had to limit boost in first and second gear just to keep the wheel slip and torque steer in check. And it still might jerk the wheel out of your hand if you weren't paying attention. That may seem like a big ol' con, but that "holy crap" feeling of wild off-the-line acceleration is a huge part of this car's appeal.
What I love most about Mazda (and by extension, the Mazdaspeed3) is that the brand has proven itself a master of creating experiences. With the MX-5 Miata (elsewhere on this list), that experience is simply driving purity. The Mazdaspeed3's experience is, "Holy crap, hold onto your butts!" With a 0-to-60-mph time in the 6-second ballpark, it wasn't the quickest car of its day, but with just the right amount of drama and driving engagement, with its well-matched chassis and powertrain, dropping the hammer felt absolutely amazing every time.
-- Antuan Goodwin
2017-present Ford F-150 Raptor
The truth is, I don't need this truck. You don't need this truck. But despite all reason and logic, I'm here to tell you that in no uncertain terms, you want this truck. Thejust sort of has this effect on people. It's a completely ridiculous, absurdly capable and utterly magical dirt-flinging device, whether pounding through the desert at high speeds, clambering over boulders or just delivering a load of sheetrock.
Powered by Ford's EcoBoost turbo V6 tuned to deliver 450 hp and 510 lb.-ft. of torque, the Ford Raptor is a formidable alloy ally on or off the pavement. It's even quick enough to hit 60 mph in about 5 seconds, better than many hot hatches. It can do all of that, and yet still be as perfectly livable every day as any full-size pickup.
When it first launched (literally and figuratively) in 2010, the Raptor single-handedly created a new segment of the full-size pickup truck market. A decade later, they still haven't caught up. In today's pickup-truck-obsessed America, in many ways, the Ford F-150 Raptor is nothing less than 'Murica's supercar, and I can't get enough.
-- Chris Paukert
2017-2018 Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4 Squared
Take an already capable Mercedes-Benz G-Class, add portal axles for over 17 inches of ground clearance and massive tires, plus $130,000 more in price, and that's the 4x4 Squared. Even though most of its owners won't venture past a graded road to their ski chalet, make no mistake, this rig can go virtually anywhere, and it goes there in luxury.
Under the hood is a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 pushing out 416 hp and 450 lb.-ft. of torque. Portal axles mean all that ground clearance is available pretty much the entire width of the truck, not tapering off towards the wheels as with traditional axles. Combine that with three locking differentials and it can climb over rocks that would make even a lifted Jeep weep.
The G550 4x4 squared was only available for 2017 and 2018 model years. As such, it's built on the older G-Class platform, with its vague steering and lack of modern tech. Oh, and it's big. It stands 7 feet, 4 inches tall, and is pretty much just as wide. It's a lot of vehicle, but then again, for $250,000 what did you expect?
-- Emme Hall
2017-present Honda Civic Type R
As a Honda enthusiast, prior to a couple of years ago, bellyaching about thenot being available in the US was a common thing to do. Sure, we had the Civic Si, but reading about the king-of-the-hill Type R was flat-out painful. Of course, that finally changed when Honda released the 2017 Civic Type R and brought it to the States.
Was it worth the wait? It sure was, with a potent, 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine making 306 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. That works exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission routing power to the front wheels. Amazingly, putting the power down isn't an issue at all, making the Type R quick from a standstill and out of corners.
Thanks to adaptive dampers, the Civic Type R's handling character can be tightened for track work and backroad hustles, with responsive steering and grabby brakes. The hot hatchback, however, is also a compliant enough daily driver. A softer damper setting turns provides sufficient give to smooth out bumps and is still surefooted enough to make the daily commute entertaining.
-- Jon Wong
2018-present Tesla Model 3
didn't necessarily turn out to be the nail in the coffin of the legacy car industry that Elon Musk hoped it would be, but holy hell, is it something special. While it had an incredibly public and painful gestation, the end result is a vehicle that, for me anyway, redefined what practical transportation should be.
The Model 3 does nearly everything and does it all very well. It's fun to drive, comfortable, has lots of storage and great range, and is a pleasant place in which to spend time. And while it does that for a price that's not as cheap as we were promised, it's not eye-watering either.
There's no doubt that the Big T was aiming incredibly high when it came up with the Model 3. The idea of an electric people's car that doesn't look or feel like a penalty box was a pretty noble goal, and the fact that Tesla has been able to come as close to its mark as it has is incredible. Despite its flaws, the Model 3 is still the best EV I've ever driven.
-- Kyle Hyatt
2019-present Mercedes-Benz G-Class
If you know me, you know I love the Mercedes G-Class, or "G-Wagen", as it's known. I love them all, from the original 1979 model to the gray-market 1990s imports to the modern AMGs and special models like the G63 6x6. So when Mercedes announced that it would be introducing a truly brand-new G-Class in 2018, I was worried. Would they mess up the styling? Would it still be good off-road? Would it still feel like a G-Wagen when you drove it? Then I was present for the reveal of the new G, which involved pyrotechnics and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and all my fears were assuaged..
In terms of styling, the new model stays true to the original while modernizing and refining pretty much everything. It still looks just like the old ones without looking, you know, actually old. The interior is now befitting of a car that costs upwards of $130,000, and it has tech and amenities to match other high-end Mercedes models. Classic G-Class interior cues like big grab handles are still present, too. But the real magic happened under the skin. A completely revamped chassis with independent front suspension make the new G finally drive like a modern vehicle. It still rolls in corners and isn't exactly athletic, but it's no longer scary. The ride is better, the steering is better, the brakes are better, the handling is better -- I could go on. But best of all, it still feels like a G should.
I haven't even gotten to theyet. It's an absolute monster, with a 577-hp, twin-turbo V8 that enables a 0-to-60-mph time of under 4.5 seconds. In a massive SUV shaped like a box. The G63's side-exit exhaust announce its presence from what seems like miles away, making the best sorts of snorting, snarling, angry noises. While the G63 is complete overkill and the standard G550 is really the better of the two, the AMG is the one I want. Oh, and most importantly, the new G-Wagen's doors still satisfyingly slam shut and the locks still make a rifle-bolt noise. The new G is simply perfect.
-- Daniel Golson
2020 Jeep Gladiator
Another blockbuster vehicle that debuted over the last 10 years is. If ever there was an automotive no-brainer, this midsize truck is it. For decades, enthusiasts have been crying out in vain for a pickup; well, at least since 1992 when the Jeep Comanche was discontinued. And at long last, for model-year 2020, FCA has reentered the segment. In basic terms, Gladiator is a four-door Wrangler Unlimited with a cargo box grafted on the end, but underneath that classily rugged bodywork, it's far more complicated.
Yes, this rig shares countless fundamental components with the Wrangler, things like powertrains, an interior and many body panels, but there have been some important changes. For starters, its high-strength-steel frame -- the vehicle's very backbone -- has been extended by 31 inches, providing a large-enough footprint to accommodate a 5-foot-long bed. The Gladiator's wheelbase has also been stretched a commensurate amount, extended more than 19 inches. Additional hardware includes a five-link, coil-sprung suspension at the back end; third-generation Dana 44 axles are found front and rear.
Just like a Wrangler, this midsize truck is a beast off road. When properly equipped, it can drive through up to 30 inches of water; provides superb approach, breakover and departure angles; and it offers more than 11 inches of ground clearance. If you can think of a place on planet Earth, the Gladiator can probably get you there, along with a few friends, a load of camping gear and maybe even a dirt bike or two. If you're curious, this truck has a maximum payload rating of 1,600 pounds and can tow up to 7,650 pounds, too.
-- Craig Cole
2015-present Mercedes-AMG GT
Sure, the SLS was a fun mix of throwback aesthetics (sort of) and monster 21st-century power output, but I think its slightly more restrained successor is also worthy of praise as one of the best cars of the decade.
Theon-road prowess doesn't just make it one of my favorite cars of the decade, but of all time. Even in its least expensive, least powerful form, the GT is entirely unflappable, using its low, wide stance to make for some exciting corner carving. Combine that with some excellent steering and monster brakes, and boy howdy, you've got quite a stew in that pot.
If all you care about is track driving or just looking like a goon, then it's worth the effort to bypass the entire lineup and shoot for the top. Thesilly wing out back hints at the fact that it's built to produce downforce like a factory working overtime, making for quite the exciting ride on the track.
-- Andrew Krok
Originally published Oct. 17.