2010 was an incredible year in the auto industry. Leading was a resurgence of hatchbacks and subcompacts and hybrids as well as solid performance from American cars that have closed, if not surpassed, public perception that Honda and Toyota beats the likes of Ford and Chevy in the reliability department.
Here is our list of the Top 5 Cars of 2010.
The Ford Fusion catapulted to the top of the midsize car rankings, winning the Motor Trend 2010 Car of the Year, the 2010 North American Car of the Year, and a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. With three engines (a 175 HP 4, a 240 HP V6, and a 263 HP V6) and a hybrid model averaging 41 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, these stats are only overshadowed by the highest technology in its class with the SYNC system that allows drivers to control Bluetooth devices with voice and its SmartGauge system which tracks fuel efficiency.
Chevrolet has steadily climbed in the small car category, slowly stealing the thunder from the ol´ boy Honda Civic and the bland Corolla with a sleek combination of style and power. Replacing the Cobalt, the new Eco model rates at 42 mpg highway. Plus, it holds a record for most airbags with 10. Might as well consider the Cruze a small fortress!
Arguably the most improved car brand in 2010, the Sonata leapfrogged over the Accord and Camry in many ranking lists for good reason. Among its highlights: a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder offering as much power as a V6, its leading 34 mpg highway, and luxury features (Bluetooth, XM satellite radio) as standard and priced lower than the baseline Accord LX. The future also looks good with a hybrid model set for 2011 which should keep the Sonata up for this year´s Motor Trend award.
The third generation Prius remains largely unchanged from the last generation with the exception of a minor aerodynamic restyling to reduce drag, more power, and better fuel efficiency at 51 mpg city and 48 mph highway. However, this year will bring more competition than ever as drivers look to replace their family sedans with hybrids with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the cheaper Honda Insight hybrid costing $3000 less.
This past 2010 North American Car of the Year nominee is one of those cars that makes you wonder how they´ve managed to pack so many high technology features in a $16,000 car. Oft-compared to big brother Toyota Prius, the Insight gets comparable fuel economy (40 mpg city/43 mpg highway), has a more breakthrough feel with a futuristic dashboard display, and all around value.