American cars get a bad rap, still. Even though the U.S. automakers are putting out much better product than they have in the past, they're still struggling to improve their credibility. So we at AOL Autos and Autoblog have picked our 10 best American cars, the ones that show that the U.S. companies really do know how to make great vehicles.
Price: $13,200 - $17,500
MPG: 28 City / 37 Hwy
What Makes It Great: The pint-sized sporty car shows that Americans know how to make great small cars, too. Critics agree that it's one of the best small cars in the world. It's fun, comfortable, and its interior feels upscale.
Its Three Top Import Rivals: Mazda2, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris
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Chrysler Town & Country
Price: $30,260 - $39,160
MPG: 17 City / 25 Hwy
What Makes It Great: Chrysler invented the minivan segment, and continues to lead it. The interior is comfy, spacious and innovative. While other minivan makers allow you to fold the third row down, Chrysler lets you also fold the second row down completely flat and into the floor.
Its Three Top Import Rivals: Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest
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Price: $49,045 - $110,300
MPG: 16 City / 26 Hwy
What Makes It Great: It's a Corvette -- do you really need to know more? Get behind the wheel of one and you'll never wonder why people love it. Even in garish yellow, it's like a basement-bargain Ferrari. It hugs the road, makes a vicious growling sound, and is simply one of the most fun-to-drive cars ever made.
Its Five Top Import Rivals: Porsche Boxster, Audi TTS, Nissan GT-R, Audi R8, Jaguar XK
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Ford Mustang Boss 302
MPG: 17 City / 26 Hwy
What Makes It Great: Considered by many to be the best muscle car ever. The new one is modeled after the high-performance Boss sold in 1969 and 1970. This one comes with a 5-liter V8 engine and 444 horsepower.
Its Two Top Import Rivals: Nissan 370Z, BMW M3
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MPG: 95 City / 90 Hwy
What Makes It Great: The Chevy Volt is the first mostly-electric car to hit the market. It gets up to 40 miles on battery power alone, and then uses a gas generator to keep going, so drivers don't have to worry about a charge. The car is quiet, fun to drive, and innovative. And could be a game-changer.
Its Top Import Rival: Nissan Leaf
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Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
MPG: 14 City / 19 Hwy
What Makes It Great: Even if you don't have kids or a ton of stuff to haul around, you're going to want this car. It's fast. And strong. You understand what they mean when they say a car feels "athletic", because this car makes you feel like you could leap over a building and run a marathon.
Its Only Rival: Mercedes E63 AMG wagon
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Jeep Grand Cherokee
Price: $30,215 - $42,295
MPG: 16 City / 23 Hwy
What Makes It Great: It's a great balance between upscale SUV and rugged off-roader. Critics say the new redesign, which came out as a 2011 model, makes it one of the best SUVs on the market. It's not a sissy crossover, which looks like an SUV but behaves like a car. This is all Jeep, with two off-roading options, but enough space to be a viable family car.
Its Three Top Import Rivals: Nissan Pathfinder, Land Rover LR4, Toyota 4Runner
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Price: $22,045 - $29,820
MPG: 15 City / 19 Hwy
What Makes It Great: Designed for the troops in World War II, the Wrangler is still the best off-roading vehicle around. It can scale muddy hills, boulders and snowy lanes. May not be the best vehicle for commuting, but that's not what the Wrangler was made for.
Its Top Import Rivals: Toyota FJ Cruiser, Nissan Xterra
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Price: $16,525 - $22,225
MPG: 26 City / 36 Hwy
What Makes It Great: The Cruze replaces the Chevy Cobalt, and with new interiors and a more stylish exterior, critics say they really like the car. People say it feels more expensive inside than the price tag should allow. It's quiet, comfy, and fuel efficient.
Its Three Top Import Rivals: Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, Volkwagen Jetta
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Price: $28,360 - $39,535
MPG: 17 City / 25 Hwy
What Makes It Great: The Ford Explorer has been one of the most popular SUVs since the SUV boom began in the late 1990s. The new version has an optional Eco-Boost engine, which makes it more fuel efficient and takes some of the sting out of high gas prices. It's more of what Americans want -- something they can drive on bumpy dirt roads and also to the mall, not something they plan to scale mountains in.
Its Three Top Import Rivals: Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Santa Fe
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