We wrote and you read. 2012 was a busy year with plenty of notable new metal, which we vetted against the competition time and time again. Below, we have compiled the top 10 most-read comparison tests conducted by Automobile Magazine. Unsurprisingly, the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang make more appearances than any other cars.
1. Comparison: Ford Escape vs. Honda CR-V vs. Mazda CX-5
Not every reader was smitten with our goldilocks theme, but everyone seemed pretty happy with our top choice of the “just right” 2013 Mazda CX-5. All three of the compact crossovers are good choices, depending on your tastes, but the CX-5 beat out the 2013 Ford Escape and 2012 Honda CR-V thanks to a comfortable cabin, useable high-tech features, and great driving dynamics.
2. 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 vs. 2013 Ford Shelby GT500
Ah yes, the muscle car wars – the never-ending battle between the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. This time around, it was the battle between the 580-hp Camaro ZL1 and the Mustang Shelby GT500 with its mighty 662 hp and 200-mph top speed. The ZL1 ran away from the GT500 with “well-rounded behavior, both on and off the track, and respectable performance numbers.” Don’t think that the fight is over – Ford will be rolling out an all-new Mustang with independent rear suspension for 2015 that will surely add more fuel to the fire.
3. Sibling Rivalry: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 vs. 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
Luckily for the Chevrolet, there is a new Corvette on its way soon. Why is that? Mainly because the Camaro ZL1 is so good that it’s nipping at the Corvette’s heels. We put the ZL1 up against the Corvette Grand Sport and discovered it comes down to taste – if you want a sports car, you can’t go wrong with either Chevrolet.
4. Four Threes: 2013 Infiniti JX35, 2012 BMW X5, 2013 Lincoln MKT, 2012 Acura MDX
Three-row crossovers may not be the most dynamically interesting vehicles on the market, but they are continually snapped up by buyers across the country. With the introduction of the 2013 Infiniti JX35 this year, we pitted it against three of its closest luxury-crossover competitors to see how the JX stood up.
5. Rivalry Hatched: 2013 Ford Focus ST vs. 2012 Volkswagen GTI
The battle of the hot hatches – after winning Automobile Magazine Automobile of the Year twice (2007 and 2010), the Volkswagen GTI is facing fresh competition in the form of the 2013 Ford Focus ST. While the GTI may be more buttoned-down than the Focus, but the Ford is more fun on a back-road detour. Either way, you couldn’t go wrong.
6. 2012/2013 Compact Sedan Comparison
The 2013 Dodge Dart is little more than an Alfa Romeo under the skin, but does that give it enough of an edge in the hotly-contested compact sedan segment? We were surprised by the Dart’s high ranking in our five-car comparison test, but weren’t surprised the least bit by the Mazda 3′s win.
7. 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE vs 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302
No, seriously, the war between the Camaro and the Mustang won’t be ending any time soon. This time we stacked the Camaro 1LE up against the Mustang Boss 302 and discovered that this comparison was a matter of brain versus heart. “We’d never question someone for making the rational choice of a Camaro SS 1LE, but reason be damned, the Boss 302 is the car we want.”
8. Roadster Roundup: Porsche Boxster S vs. Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG vs BMW Z4 sDrive35is
What could be better than a trio of high-powered roadsters? Sunny weather, that’s what could be better. Despite the rainy weather, European bureau chief Georg Kacher tested the new 2013 Porsche Boxster S against the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG and 2012 BMW Z4 sDrive35is. It turns out that “the Z4 is a strong all-rounder with a lovely engine…the brawny SLK55 AMG is all engine and not enough chassis… [and] the Boxster comes unashamedly close to the 911.”
9. Tiny Funky Turbos: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo, 2012 Nissan Juke, and 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo
Just because a car is fun and funky doesn’t mean that it has to give up on being functional. We took three of the strangest-looking, turbocharged hatchbacks available today and put them to the test. It was a tough choice between the three-door Veloster, bubbly Beetle, and the Cheshire-like Juke, but the Veloster came out on top – ” something of a Swiss army knife: it’s a sports coupe, a practical runabout, and an econobox all in one.”
10. Ducati Streetfighter 848 vs. Fiat 500 Abarth
An unlikely pair, we pitted the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth up against another fun and affordable Italian – a Ducati Streetfighter 848. The two pocket rockets actually had a fair bit in common, from their mellifluous exhaust notes, to their 17-inch wheels, to the level of immediacy provided by their driving positions.