• May 11, 2007


Isn't it obvious who won?

Bringing together the best of the best handling cars from various price classes and axeing those with exorbitant price tags to keep things relevant for those of us in the peanut gallery, Motor Trend came up with a list of 32 contenders for the title of Best Handling Car in the World. After a vigorous battery of road tests, they narrowed it down to just 10: the Honda Civic Si, Mazdaspeed3, Mini Cooper S with the John Cooper Works package, Mitsubishi Evolution IX MR (both from 2006 as the 2007 versions haven't hit the pavement yet), the Honda S2000, BMW 335i, Porsche Cayman S, Lotus Exige S, Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and Porsche 911 GT3.

The folks at Motor Trend feverishly tracked on-center feel, skid-pad testing, step-steer, lane-change/swerve stability and ride quality, using gadgets to measure results precisely and not allowing looks, reputation or even emotion get in the way of their final verdict. It's perhaps the most thorough and objective comparison test we've ever seen performed, and as such, it offers a lot of data for the reader to digest. Almost too much, actually, as evident by the graph at the article's conclusion that tries to encapsulate every bit of data for each car in a siezure inducing spider graph (shown above).

Which car won the battle? We don't want to ruin it for you, so click through to find out. [Hint: the winner can be found on page 8 if you're like us and hate surprises]

[Source: Motor Trend]



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  • 40 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      The graph is meaningless if you're colorblind.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Max Agelleli is a great driver.
      I would take his asessment into account for front, rear, or all wheel drive cars. He's not some joe blow car tester.
      I do agree though that they should have provided a panel of drivers.

      The RX-8 should have been included.
      Heck a lot of cars should have been included.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't really get the point of this... aren't comparissons of various cars supposed to answer an unknown question? who in the world thought that a mazdaspeed 3 could compete against a 911 GT3!?!?!

      Did anybody who read the lineup of cars being compared this for a second that it would be any other car then either the 911 or Lotus?! Couldn't they have taken it down to just 2 or 3 cars and spared us all the lengthy read and suspense?!

      This is why I stopped reading Motor Trend....
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have a brain, and I like to use it. Good job MT!
      • 7 Years Ago
      If you guys read any of the article, you'd realize that they picked a couple cars from each drivetrain style. The Civic, Mini and Mazdaspeed 3 are in as the nicest Front-Front cars they found. The Evo fits Front-AWD. The Corvette, S2000 and BMW are the Front-Rear contenders, and the Porches and Exige are Mid/Rear-Rear.

      I bought this copy of MT just for this article and it really is a wonderful collection of information. All the numbers can make pretty graphs, but they also did some road and track testing for human drving experience stuff.

      If you're short on attention, trying skimming the text and just reading the captions and comments of the graphics. And that web graphic is easier to read when they're all seperate. Then you see that the GT3 is almost perfect all around, but it needs discipline to stay controlled, where as the Cayman is perfectly balanced and still pretty damn good.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Didn't Car and Driver have a two part article about ten years ago.
      Best handling car under 30K & over 30K

      and Road and Track had and article about five years ago that showed a thermal image of the tires after doing about five laps of the skidpad.

      and MotorTrend should stop saying what's best, and say What's best for me.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm astonished that no one else has commented on this bs article. Only Mt could write a comparison test like this. They took the lap time and instead of using the time as a quantifier, they go by 1 drivers inputs and feelings! If I like Fwd cars more that rwd, I could sling the car around the track and make the data look erratic. The fact that the vette did it in 140 should mean a lot more than what it what they accounted for. I guess you have to make the Honda data look good some how since its not fast enough to pull a sick who@@e off the toilet! I can't wait for the time when its hip to make fun of Japanese garbage.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You guys are a joke! Who would ever take a Morris mini cooper and put it in the same category as as a corvette for handling. Why don't you move to Germany and work for VW!
      • 7 Years Ago
      OMG OMFG!111oneone!!!! corvette iz teh bestest!!!!
      y didnt it win??!!?! american cars r teh bestestest!!!
      how can NE one elese exept amerika win a C0ntest!!!wwow
      haXXX
      • 7 Years Ago
      dude, the Porsche 911 GT3 was derived from its racing counterpart: the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. It was designed SPECIFICALLY to have good handling. You may even classify the GT3 as a supercar, right up there with the heavyweights.

      The Honda Civic was designed for buying groceries. It was designed for economy, functionality, city usage, fuel efficiency. So was the Mazda.

      There was No Doubt that the Porsche 911 GT3 won. It was quite a surprise that the Cayman beat the everyone in chassis control though.

      Porsches are amazing, even though this study of handling is a bit outrageous. If you're going to study the handling of cars, then pit sports-racing vehicles against other vehicles of their kind, not against family cars!
      • 7 Years Ago
      And does anyone who buys any of these cars drive them like MT drives them? Do any of you drive your cars like MT drives in these tests? Chances are slim that you do. And thus, these tests are meaningless for the average driver.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Superzapper Recharge!
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