Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Top 5 Picks for 2015
If you’ve been following this small blog since it launched in 2011, you’ve always known that we cap off the year with our annual Top 5 Picks (see 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011). And unlike other award-giving body, we don’t categorize entries based on performance, price, or any other parameter. For this list, we’re grouping everything together.
In order to be included for consideration, the requirements are simple: first, we should have driven it in the past year (full test drive, not first drive). Second, it should be fairly mainstream with no SRP above P 4-million. And lastly, we should have loved every minute of it.
2015 is a year where we’ve seen competitive segments. In fact, there are a lot of great new cars out there and only a few not-so good ones. However, only five can make it to our list. So without further delay, let’s get on to our Top 5 Picks for 2015.
#5: Honda Odyssey
Generally, MPVs are hard to get excited about because you do expect a chauffeur to drive it for you. But not so with the Honda Odyssey. Thanks to manageable proportions, we actually enjoyed piloting it around town even if we rarely had more than two occupants at any given time. What’s more, it pushes all the right enthusiast buttons: it’s nicely designed, well-finished, and actually sporty. It also gives the traditional executive sedan a run for its money by giving much more tech and space for just about the same price.
Full review here.
#4: Volkswagen Golf GTI
Admittedly, we were on the minority when we weren’t smitten with the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Aside from the high price tag (we even quoted horsepower per peso as a measurement), it had a laggy infotainment system and chintzy tartan fabric seats. However, we sort of take it back. We’re largely forgiving most of the shortcomings of the Golf GTI primarily because it’s a good all-rounder. If you want a car that can do the mundane like grocery shopping as well as track days, this car has it pat. The engine is down on power for sure, but the cohesiveness of the entire drivetrain makes it a standout.
Full review here.
#3: Ford Ranger
This year is the year of the pickup truck. We’ve seen everyone launch or substantially upgrade their offerings giving class-leading this or that. The reason is the Ford Ranger. It was the first to deliver a full-on smart and premium approach to the once beast of burden. It has effectively transformed pickups into lifestyle vehicles. The 2016 update continues that trend. Though it can’t claim class-leading numbers or specs in everything now; compared to all other trucks out there, the Ranger by far, is still the most convincing. It’s the easiest to drive, the most sophisticated in design and execution, and definitely unbeatable in value.
Full review here. And here.
#2: Mazda MX-5
It’s hard for any car with a 25-year nameplate to outdo its legendary originator, but the 2015-2016 Mazda MX-5 does just that. This is a car that manages to nail everything so convincingly well that we actually considered selling a kidney to get one. In Soul Red. Compared to any other car this year, it’s one that’s packaged so well in everything: from drivetrain to features to pricing. It’s pretty hard to beat this in terms of pure driving fun, and we would have loved to name it our Top Pick of the Year. However, it’s just too much of an extrovert’s car and we just can’t take the added attention on the road.
Full review here. And here. And here.
#1: Mazda6 Sports Wagon
We just can’t give enough love for the Mazda6. We loved that it’s always veered away from the executive car norm for something only driver-owners would love. But now? With the appearance of this 2015-2016 model with a sexy wagon body to boot? Everything is perfect. The automotive gods have spoken and the planets have all aligned to give us a lovely, fun-to-drive, tremendously capable, well-finished, and surprisingly frugal executive wagon. It’s everything we need. Among all the cars we drove in 2015, we added the most to its odometer in the week we had it: 800-plus kilometers. If that’s not enough to show our love for the Mazda6 Sports Wagon, we don’t know what is.
Full review here.