2013 Volkswagen Golf Wagon, 2013 Ford Focus ST, 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT. Click image to enlarge
Like the Focus, this is one versatile vehicle. The Volkswagen Golf can be had as a 3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, wagon, diesel, gasoline, front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, automatic, manual, DSG, turbo, naturally aspirated, 4 cylinder, 5 cylinder, and so on. It doesn’t hurt either that the Golf and its GTI hot-hatch variant is a fun vehicle to drive as well as being sophisticated for a compact.
The Focus has proven since its inception that it is a serious player in the compact car segment. With segment-leading technology and a punchy 2.0L engine, the Focus is a compact that looks great, is fun to drive and is practical. Then there is the Focus ST which is making us rethink what a front-wheel-drive performance vehicle is capable of.
The Elantra nearly dethroned the Honda Civic in 2011 as the bestselling vehicle in Canada, and for good reason. The all-new Elantra is the most stylish vehicle in the compact segment, and for 2012 things have only gotten better with the addition of a coupe and hatchback (Elantra GT) model. It doesn’t hurt either that the Elantra is a feature-packed great value.
For years manufacturers have been trying their hardest to equal the Accord’s combination of comfort, refinement and efficiency while still providing a sporty drive. Well, a new Accord is here for 2013 and it is back to the drawing boards once again for the competition. The new Accord continues to be one of our favourite mid-size sedans and the 6-speed manual V6 coupe is a blast to drive.
2013 Honda Accord, 2013 Ford Fusion SE. Click image to enlarge
The Fusion has redefined style for the mid-size sedan market. Yes, it may look like a baby Aston Martin, but is that a bad thing? With the choice of three regular engines and a fantastic hybrid option, the Fusion brings the substance to back up its gorgeous good looks.
2013 Subaru BRZ, 2013 Scion FR-S. Click image to enlarge
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Like its FR-S twin, the BRZ is the real deal. Sure we could have lumped these two cars together, but both Scion and Subaru deserve individual recognition for making these cars happen. Not only has it brought along another budget performance car to the masses, but it is one focused on driver feel and engagement above all else. Low power and Prius tires only make it easier to explore the car’s limits safely.
One of the most talked-about vehicles in recent memory, the FR-S has lived up to the insane hype. With steering, response, and control second only to cars costing twice or several times as much (and even then, we are talking a small handful), the FR-S has brought back fun-to-drive and rear-wheel drive to budget-conscious consumers.
The Boxster has stepped into the prime time for 2013. No longer will the Boxster hide in the shadows of its bigger brother, the 911, thanks to one of the best looking exterior designs we have seen in years. But that is only half the story; the Boxster also features an intuitive, neutral driving experience that would make any novice driver look like a professional on a race track.
We shouldn’t really have to defend this choice. The 911 could quite possibly be the most recognizable sport car in history, the world over. It doesn’t hurt that the basic shape of the 911 hasn’t changed since the 1960s, but that is a testament to its iconic status. All new last year, the 911 has only gotten better and the 7-speed manual Carrera S is especially entertaining to drive.
2013 Porsche Boxster, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge