By James Bergeron

2009 Nissan GT-R
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Some very interesting cars, trucks and SUVs cycled in and out of my driveway in 2008. I have gone through the list of Day-by-Day Reviews from November 2007 to November 2008 and compiled my list of Top 10 vehicles from the past year (in no particular order).

First on the block is the 2009 Nissan GT-R. “The GT-R is a supercar for the playstation generation. It has been dubbed that for quite some time now with the success of the Grand Turismo racing game. To those that do not know the car, it could be mistaken for a 350z and passed by without a second glance, but to those that do know the car, there is no mistaking their enthusiasm — and at $81,900 this car sets a new bang-for-the-buck metric in Canada.”

2008 Infiniti EX35
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Next up, the 2008 Infiniti EX35. “The EX35 starts at $40,400 and comes standard with its sharp looks, powerful engine and ATTESA E-TS All-Wheel Drive system. Also included as standard is Infiniti’s Scratch Shield paint that is supposed to prevent swirl marks and small scratches; as well, there is the usual flurry of acronyms such as: EBD, TCS, ABS, BA, TPMS and VDC.”

This next car I tested almost one year ago. At the time, I said it would be on my top 10 list, and even with the many excellent cars I enjoyed this year, it is still here. This one is the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe V6

2008 Honda Accord Coupe
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“Powered by Honda’s 3.5 litre V6, the Coupe V6 puts 268 hp and 248lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. My tester is equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission (A 5-speed automatic is also available for no extra cost on the V6 model).

If you are familiar with Honda’s option packages, throwing out the letters EX-L NAVI will tell you pretty much all you need to know. For those who aren’t familiar, this is the top of the line Accord Coupe with power leather seats, automatic climate control, navigation system, XM satellite radio, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, traction control with VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist), 270-watt AM/FM/CD Premium audio system with seven speakers (including subwoofer) and much more.”

2008 Nissan Versa 1.8S
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With the bevy of sports cars and luxury cars I drove throughout the year, you may think me nuts to add this next car to my list, but with the 2008 Nissan Versa‘s versatility (as the name suggests), space and comfort, I’d be crazy not to add it.

“It turns out the only changes for 2008 are a Sport Package, now available on the 2008 Versa Sedan 1.8 SL model (previously offered on Versa Hatchback 1.8 SL). The Sport Package adds a higher level of performance styling with a rear spoiler (roof-mounted for hatchback, decklid-mounted for sedan), lower body side sill extensions, power glass moonroof, unique front and rear fascia (hatchback) and chin spoiler (sedan) and fog lights.”

2008 Cadillac CTS
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Back to the luxury cars: the 2008 Cadillac CTS is next. “A base CTS starts at $38,900; with the direct injection 3.6Liter engine the CTS is priced at $41,400. My tester adds all-wheel drive for $4,325; a DVD-based navigation system for $3,900; 18″ polished aluminum wheels for $695; the sight and sound package for $1,735; the comfort and convenience package for $2,735; the performance package ($1890); the double sized ultraview power sunroof ($1660) and last but not least wood trim for $465.”

How about throwing another sensible family sedan in the mix? The 2009 Mazda6 GS-I4 had to be one of the quietest cars I have ever driven. Even with the windows down, tire and wind noise were nil.

2009 Mazda6 GS-I4
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“Unlike many testers I receive, this model isn’t decked out to the nines with every option in the book, which gives me an even better perspective.

I was actually impressed when I first sat behind the wheel of this car. It’s well-designed interior comfortable — what’s not too like? Then I started investigating what exactly I was driving — a base model with comfort package I determined — and with a starting price of only $22,495, this car really appealed to me quickly.”

2008 Audi RS4
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Looking back over the year, I certainly did drive my fair share of fast and luxurious cars! My next addition to the list is the 2008 Audi RS4. It also wins the “most expensive tester of the year” award.

“The RS4 pretty much comes with everything you would need or want as standard, with the only options being: a $500 rear side airbag package; a $6,300 premium package which includes, DVD Navigation and a few other goodies; a bluetooth link for your mobile phone for $650; and an Audi Exclusive Package from quattro GmbH for another $4,700.”

2009 Ford Flex Limited AWD
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I may not be a huge minivan or SUV fan, but the next vehicle on my list impressed in every way. The 2009 Ford Flex Limited AWD might look a little odd — some like it, others don’t — but overall, it can’t be denied that this is one great people hauler.

“The 2009 Flex comes in four trims: SEL FWD/AWD and Limited FWD/AWD, with pricing starting at $34,999 for the SEL FWD model. My tester is a Limited AWD model with a base price of $42,999, but my tester is also loaded with $6,680 in options to really impress.

The more expensive additions to my tester are items most people could live without, such as: the panoramic roof for $1,700, the navigation system with rear backup camera for $2,500, and the family DVD entertainment system for $1,200.”

2008 Audi A5
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It was certainly another banner year for the engineers and designers at Audi. The 2008 Audi A5 really gets your heart racing when you see it in person. It is a true work of art that is accessible to the masses… if you can find one.

“Word on the street is this car is so hot that buying one means waiting lists of 12 months. Worldwide demand is well beyond Audi’s initial expectations. With a base price of $51,850 for a car that certainly does not need many upgrades, and of course the sleek lines that invoke sensual emotions, this writer can relate to the buying public’s lust for this machine.”

2008 Porsche Boxster
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Okay, I’m cheating perhaps, as the last car on my list is actually two cars. The 2008 Porsche Boxster & Boxster S rounded out a great year of motoring!

“The standard Boxster I am testing this week comes in a very alluring red, otherwise known as “Guards Red”, starting at a base price of $58,100 this Boxster is not optioned up too much but still totals out at $65,525 including the $1,450 market adjustment. Options on the Boxster include: Automatic Climate Control, the Bose High End Sound System, Heated Front Seats (there are only front seats…), Bi-Xenon Headlamps and a few other odds and ends.”

I hope you enjoyed the list — what’s on your top 10 for the year? You can view all the Day-by-Day reviews here: All the Blogs

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