This has been a banner year for automobile manufacturers. Many new models have been released, and many more traditional models have been redesigned or retooled. While several models stood out, only a few deserve to be called the best cars of the year. The following vehicles are our picks for the four best cars of 2011.
The Jetta sedan was given a complete overhaul for the 2011 model year. It may be the single best car of the year. The higher trim levels vehicle are supremely well-equipped, while a stripped-down base model is also available for those who want to get the legendary German engineering ingrained in these cars without paying the high price tag. The diesel engine gives you up to 42 miles to the gallon. The Jetta has four and five-star crash test ratings.
The Mazda 3 is the zippiest car on our list. This little car is really fun to drive. It is also inexpensive; the sedan’s base price is $23,000, while the hatchback version is even less expensive. Both manual and automatic transmissions are available. Despite its sportiness, the M3 is also a great family car; it is easy for even the smallest of children to get in and out. The M3’s estimated fuel economy is 22/29, and the vehicle has good crash test ratings. It comes standard with antilock brakes, an electronic stability system that also has traction control, and side/curtain airbags.
Hyundai gave the Sonata a complete make-over for the 2011 model year, and the results are nothing less than stellar. The car looks much more expensive than its $19,000 base price would suggest. The cabin is comfy, and the car has plenty of room in the trunk. The ride is smooth. The Sonata scored four and five-star crash test ratings. The EPA gives it an estimated 35 mpg on the highway. It comes with Hyundai’s lengthy warranty. On the downside, the optional V6 has been eliminated, and taller drivers may not have enough headroom.
The 2011 Toyota Corolla remains a great car for young families and anyone interested in buying a less expensive and reliable sedan. With a base MSRP of only $15,900, the Corolla is highly affordable. Toyota revised the styling this year but otherwise left this successful model alone. All trim levels come with side/curtain airbags, traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system. It also has impressive gas mileage and can get up to 40 mpg on the highway.