First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles
First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles
2014 Canadian International Auto Show & 2014 Montreal International Auto Show. Click image for the article

Assembled by Andy Lin

July 1st marked more than the anniversary of our nation’s founding, it was also the day when the Autos.ca editors had their semi-annual throwdown to determine the best articles of the past six months. Among the events this year were interpretive dance, perpendicular parking, and whitewater goat-floating. The competition was fierce, and at times downright dirty; but by golly, we persevered. So imagine our shock when the call came in and instead of deciding a winner, we discovered we’d blown through our budget for the next six months (most of it on the goat rental).

Appropriately chastened, we borrowed a time machine from the IT guys, rewound the previous 48 hours, and compiled the list you find below, being the most viewed articles of the year so far.

Previews:

Auto shows offer a glimpse into the future. Sometimes it’s a concept vehicle that’ll never see production as shown, but will see its design and technologies trickle down into the manufacturer’s other offerings. Most often though, it’s where all-new vehicles and complete refreshes are first announced.

The 2015 Acura TLX was announced as a prototype at NAIAS in Detroit – but was essentially production ready. Another prototype – the Lexus LF-NX shown off in 2013 – is entering production as the 2015 Lexus NX.

Indeed, it seems it was all hatchbacks and crossovers: the performance-oriented 2015 Volkswagen Golf R and the refined 2015 Subaru Outback.

Want more? Check out our top picks from the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, and the Montreal International Auto Show.

First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles
2015 Acura TLX, 2015 Lexus NX, 2015 Volkswagen Golf R, 2015 Subaru Outback. Click image for the article

First Drives:

First drives are where months of speculation come to a head. Sure, it looks good on paper and is impressive on stage, but how does it drive?

Lesley Wimbush got the first crack at the 2015 Porsche Macan, intended as a more compact, more inspiring sibling of the Cayenne. Mission accomplished, on both accounts. More recently, Brendan McAleer was lucky enough to drive the Macan S and Macan Turbo trims, playing tag with a 911 Turbo around the California countryside, giggling all the while.

The crossover love continues with the 2014 Nissan Rogue (check below for more coverage on the Rogue). But if refinement is the word of the day, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class “rocks down a curvy road like suntan lotion on Sofia Vergara.” Well, the vehicle itself is refined.

Fret not, hatchback fans: we’ve driven the 2015 Volkswagen GTI not once, but twice (this time with feeling).

Other honourable mentions in this category:
Audi A3 – psst, Jonathan’s got the 2015 for the summer
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class – all-new best of class contender
2014 Subaru Forester – senior editor Jonathan Yarkony put out the Subaru kool-aid over a year ago, but you just can’t stop drinking it
2015 Subaru WRX STI – don’t hold your breath for a wagon; not without driving the redesigned sedan first
2015 Volkswagen Golf – intended market: “anyone with a pulse”
2015 Hyundai Genesis – the exterior turns heads and the interior shatters minds preconceptions

First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles
2015 Porsche Macan, 2014 Nissan Rogue, 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, 2015 Volkswagen GTI. Click image for the article

Comparison Tests:

In a comparison test, impressions are fresh and untempered by arms-length retrospection; ingrained assumptions are challenged – or not – sometimes a reputation is rightly earned. Comparisons are by far the most popular stories on Autos.ca and they’re also our favourite articles to write, offering our normally reclusive writers the rare opportunity to interact with other human beings.

First up is the grudge match between the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Of course, we’d be remiss if we neglected to mention the excellent Mazda3 vs Corolla comparison. Little league alert: there are no losers; everybody wins, especially you, the consumer.

The most popular article of the past six months was actually published in 2013: the Compact Crossover SUV Comparison. It’s true: people love CUVs (XUVs, SAVs, tall wagons, dinkyvans, embiggened hatchbacks, Sporty-looking Utilitarian Vehicles, etc.). But if we’re going by sheer volume of vehicles, that crown goes to the Compact Car Mega Comparison which featured the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, 2013 Dodge Dart GT, 2013 Ford Focus Titanium, 2013 Honda Civic Touring, 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT SE, 2014 Kia Forte SX, 2014 Mazda3 Sport GS, 2013 Nissan Sentra SR, 2013 Subaru Impreza Sport, 2014 Toyota Corolla, and 2014 Volkswagen Jetta (phew!).

Lest you think we’ve only had two worthy contests this year, here are the best of the rest:
Mid-Size Sedans – Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry
Mid-size Crossover SUVs – GMC Acadia, Dodge Journey, Ford Flex, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Hyundai Santa Fe XL
Honda CR-V vs Toyota RAV4 – the Toyota–Honda rivalry meets the crossover segment
Honda Accord Hybrid vs Toyota Camry Hybrid – ditto, but for hybrid mid-size sedans
Honda Civic vs Hyundai Elantra GT – Honda vs Hyundai, sedan vs hatch
Audi Q5 vs Volvo XC60 – in which an Autos.ca editor drives a car and loses a shoe

First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles First Half Report: The Best of Autos.ca from 2014... so far top picks opinion auto articles
Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 vs Corolla comparison, Compact Crossover SUV Comparison, Compact Car Mega Comparison. Click image for the article