THE TEN BEST OF 1990 PART 2
TOM: We named the Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager "Best Minivan." We named the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable "Best All Around Sedan." And we named the Toyota Camry the "Other Best All-Around Sedan."
RAY: We should remind you that we're not looking for cars that accelerate so fast that they smear your make up. We're looking for cars that are practical, fun to drive, worth their price, well designed, well put together, and reasonably easy to service. My brother was also influenced by how full the gas tank was the test car arrived.
TOM: So here, in no particular order, are the next three winners (the reason we didn't order them is because we had enough trouble just agreeing on which ones were the ten best!).
MOST FUN FOR THE MONEY: Mazda Miata.
TOM: There is nothing more fun (apologies to my wife, here) than coming out of the house on a beautiful summer day, getting into a Miata with the top down, and just driving around.
RAY: My brother just likes driving this car because it's the first time girls under 30 have looked at him since the end of World War II!
TOM: The magazine writers who say this car isn't fast enough are confusing near-death experiences with driving pleasure. They don't know what real driving fun is all about. The Miata feels like fun, it looks like fun, it sounds like fun. If it went too fast, all your friends and neighbors might not be able to see you having all that fun.
MOST FUN FOR A LOT OF MONEY: JAGUAR XJS V-12 CONVERTIBLE (DARK BLUE).
TOM: The greatness of this car has nothing to do with acceleration or swerving around corners. Jaguar simply set out to build a car that makes you say to yourself "it doesn't get any better than this." I drove the XJS Convertible for two weeks this summer, and for two weeks, I didn't stop smiling.
RAY: I'd like to give you my thoughts of the car, but my brother never let me near it.
BEST NOT-TOO-SMALL SPORTS COUPE: FORD THUNDERBIRD
RAY: The engineers who designed the Thunderbird (and the Mercury Cougar) were supposed to come up with a car that was lighter and more economical. When the car came in overweight and over priced, they were all dressed down and sent to bed without dinner.
TOM: But they made some great mistakes from our point of view. The T-Bird turned out to be a great personal car. It's terrific looking, it's comfortable, and despite a distinctly American feel (heavy), it handles well. It's also powerful enough with the standard engine, so there's no need to fool around with the over-powered Super Coupe (unless, of course, you subscribe to Road and Flack).
NEXT WEEK: THE FINAL FOUR: BEST SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE, BEST SMALL CAR, MOST AWESOME CAR, AND THE OTHER MOST AWESOME CAR.