Cooley's Top 5 Cars of 2013 (so far)

Auto Tech
People ask me all the time Ã?whatÃ?s your favorite car youÃ?ve driven lately?Ã? ThatÃ?s a real tough question because to me a great car succeeds at what it set out to do, not some industry-wide popularity contest. ThatÃ?s why IÃ?ve put the Ford Transit Connect and a BMW 335is on the same list in the past. But here are my Top 5 favorites IÃ?ve driven in first half of 2013 based on that essential litmus test. LetÃ?s give the Miata a rest for a minute and shine a light on the all new Mazda6. It went from 0-60 in terms of styling, both inside and out. Once one of the dopiest looking cars in its class, its now about the most handsome and comfortable. The SkyActiv engine tech is smart, if a little hard to explain to consumers in less than a half hour, and its not a standout as a sporting car but I think would drive right past Toyota and Honda if I was in the market for a mid size sedan. I love the 750Li because its a big car that gets smaller when you press it: At one moment this big pompous, opulent thing that says Ã?Uh huh, IÃ?ll make more money in the time it takes you to key this car than you than youÃ?ll make all dayÃ? to a quick, nimble road machine at a momentÃ?s notice -- and the back again. They styling has been sexier and the price lower, but the long 750 is a car for all seasons. IÃ?m a big enough man to admit I love the new new Beetle - the ragtop no less. I was expecting a disaster like the VW EOS, but instead found a really nice driving car with real drivable power, great audio, a convertible top that makes you laugh at the weather and the styling it should have had from the beginning. ItÃ?s a fun car without being silly. VWs cabin tech remains nothing to write home about, but the coming iBeetle from VW and Apple should change that. The BRZ is a simple proposition: ItÃ?s meant to zip along twisty roads, making a great noise, hanging its rump out one in a while and inviting you to use all of its oomph, which isnÃ?t much at 200 HP and 151 ft-lbs of torque. But thatÃ?s what sports cars are all about, being a little bit less so you connect with the road a little bit more. The cabin has none of the charm of classic sports cars, and if youÃ?re over 30 everyone with think youÃ?re borrowing your kidÃ?s car, but for $25 grand or so youÃ?ll have enough left over to buy a Mazda 6 as well. (but as you shift down and turn up that mountain road, you get the last laugh.) Cadillac has for a while had an inferiority complex about the Europeans. Really, the Germans. Its a neurosis recent CaddyÃ?s have been healing, but never quite able to wash off the stink of the Tommy Bahama set. The ATS is somehow the first really honest Cadillac, completing a path to redemption that started in 1999 and not just existing in comparison to something from Germany. CUE is one of the most promising cabin tech platforms out there, two of the three engine choices are really modern and the ATS dials down CadillacÃ?s Ã?creased and chromedÃ? look to great effect. I can live without the driverÃ?s seat that vibrates nonsensical warnings but in general, Cadillac can stop seeing its shrink. To stay on top of ALL my new favorite cars, go to cnet on cars dot com. I am Brian Cooley, thanks for watching.

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