The cars we most enjoyed driving this year
Unsurprisingly, the life of an Autoblog editor involves driving a lot of cars. We get several through the office every week, and many of us travel to far-off locales to drive even more cars. And of course, some of these cars we love, and some we loathe.
To kick things off on a positive note, let's discuss the ones we didn't want to part with when the test drive was over. You know, like the McLaren 720S. We definitely didn't loathe that, but did one of our editor's fall in love with it enough to be deemed their favorite of 2018?
Click through to find out and see our favorites. Oh, and stay tuned for the gallery of cars we'd rather forget.
2018 Jaguar XF SportbrakeI drove a lot of hot metal this year. Crazy horsepower, tons of capability, breath-taking style — all of it. But I’m landing on the 2018 Jaguar XF S Sportbrake as my favorite, simply because it’s a gorgeous Jaguar wagon. Put a 380-horsepower supercharged V6 under the hood teamed with all-wheel drive, and I’m sold. It felt quick. It sounded right. The chassis was excellent. The proportions were spot-on. I could have picked the McLaren or some monster truck we had through the office, or even the ritzy Maserati Levante Trofeo I drove in Pebble Beach. But a spring drive in this Jaguar stood out for me. - Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore
2019 Acura NSX
I hadn’t driven the Acura NSX prior to the refresh, and I wasn’t too upset about it. We got one into the office after the update, though, and it blew my damn mind.
The power is instant, thanks to the low-end torque from the electric motors, and seemingly never-ending on account of the two turbochargers forcing air down the gullet of the 3.5-liter V6. The NSX feels perfectly equipped to handle that power, too, having no trouble putting it neatly and firmly to the tarmac. This thing absolutely rips its way through spacetime, and it feels glorious.
Its handling is razor-sharp, too. I had heard groans about the steering in the NSX pre-refresh. Whatever Acura did for this update fixed it. I felt superheroic in my ability to control this car. I’d love to get it to a track as Zac Palmer did, since it inspires such confidence in its ability to respond to inputs, and it feels glued to the ground and stable in corners. At the same time, it’s a comfortable car to drive calmly, sacrificing little in terms of ride and creature comforts.
Put the 2019 Acura NSX up among the best cars I’ve ever driven, alongside the Porsche 911 GT3 and Ferrari 458 Italia. I can’t wait for another turn. - Senior Editor, Autoblog Green, John Snyder
2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder
I drove a couple of supercars in 2018, and two of them stand out as excellent. As much as I loved the McLaren 720S, the Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder gets the vote as my favorite.
It doesn't have Lambo's classic scissor doors, but it does have a super high-tech aerodynamics system, and it's covered in a compressed carbon fiber material that is both beautiful and functional. Oh, and I felt really cool driving it, which always helps. - Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski
2018 Volvo XC40
The 2018 Volvo XC40 is stylish and solid. It does not feel like a compact (in a good way). In our review, we said it was as charming as its siblings, even though it's 16 inches stubbier, 6 inches narrower and 5 inches lower than an XC90. And it's 600 pounds lighter, so the 2.0-liter turbo is a decent match.
I drove the R-Design T5 in white with black roof and mirrors. Inside were aluminum inlays, vivid Lava Orange carpets and door pockets, Volvo's great seats, driver assists, pano roof, Harman-Kardon sound. It was filled with clever design touches like a built-in trash can (why don't all cars have built-in trash cans?) and the nifty Swedish flag on the hood seam (we hope Volvo dealers stock replacements for flags eaten by anti-Scandinavian car washes).
The XC40 is great-looking from most angles, from the eager raked grille to the chiseled hexagonal flanks. We drove faster, more expensive cars this year. But compact crossovers are hot, and this is a car I could see owning, though it would be a tough choice between this and the new V60 wagon. - Managing Editor Greg Rasa
2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt
But my favorite? No pondering needed, this one is easy: the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt. I think the effusive praise I heaped upon it in my Quick Spin should fully explain it, but in short, it's the perfect Mustang and a car I could see myself owning forever. And it's green. - Contributing Editor James Riswick
2018 Chevy Corvette Stingray Z51
To be honest, the 2018 Chevy Corvette is the second-best car I've driven this year, but I've already waxed poetic about the Porsche 911 GT3, so I'm giving my nod to Chevy this time around. For me, Corvettes are more than just cars. They're part of my family history and a fundamental part of why I love automobiles and what led me to writing about them for a living.
The Z06 and the ZR1 are ridiculously fast, but you don't need a supercharger to get a feel for what the Corvette is about. The base Stingray still has a fire-breathing engine that sounds so distinctly American it might as well play the sound of a screaming eagle and "The Star-Spangled Banner" every time you crack off a shift. Even several years after it debuted, nothing else at this price point can touch its all-around performance. I've driven plenty of Corvettes over the years, and few vehicles on the road can consistently put a smile on my face. - Associate Editor Reese Counts
2018 Porsche 911 GT3
There are many ways I can sum up how amazing it was to drive the Porsche 911 GT3, but I think this illustrates my love the best: This was a year in which I got to drive the McLaren 720S, but the 911 GT3, a car that's about half the price, was far more fun and exciting to drive. Basically, not only is it an amazing driver's car, but it's a monster deal.
That's just the overview, though. The details that make this car so special are many, but the highlight is the naturally aspirated flat-6. It's a snarling howling beast, and the sound refuses to stop with the 9,000-rpm redline. And it's a sound that won't just excite you, but the people around you, too. I drove through a tunnel on I-696, and got a huge thumbs-up through the sunroof of a Lexus LS ahead of me. And besides the sound, the engine feels exciting and powerful even low in the rev band when just cruising around town.
Coupled to the engine is a snappy, flickable six-speed manual to tie your nerves closer to that glorious engine. And the whole car is as communicative and eager as any other 911. It's even reasonably comfortable to use on a daily basis. If I could only have one car for the rest of my life, it might be this. - Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale
2019 Acura NSX
I wouldn’t just consider the 2019 NSX my favorite car of the year. No, it is my favorite car ever. From the moment the NSX was announced as a hybrid supercar I had my doubts as to how pure of a driving machine it could be. Consider me convinced. Spending some quality time in the refreshed version of the NSX has me wondering why more supercars aren’t hybrids. Instantaneous shove from the electric motors make turbo lag a non-issue. In today's turbo-everything-era, the NSX has a unique advantage over many of its more expensive competitors. Plus, I was able to consistently get 22 mpg while commuting. Not that fuel economy should matter if you’re purchasing a nearly $200,000 supercar, but it was just another amazing quality that made this car my favorite of 2018. - Assistant Editor Zac Palmer