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Old 10-29-2013, 02:46 PM   #1
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Exclamation 2014 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year award goes to the 2014 Corvette

Go Team Corvette!

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For the 2014 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year, the editors corralled 16 models from an unprecedented surge of new cars, trucks and SUVs hitting our roads this model year. While this distinguished group from the United States, Europe and Asia all had their merits, and a few really grabbed our reviewers by the collar, one stood out: the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, a laudable and unignorable revival of a classic American sports car.

Before we begin to wax lyrical about this year’s victor — which inherits the Yahoo Autos crown from 2013's winner, the Tesla Model S — we must note that unlike last year's runaway verdict, several models nipped at the Vette’s preposterously wide heels.

Had it not been for the Corvette's rebirth, Mazda’s elegant Mazda3 would have taken top spot, impressing our team with its Miata-inspired “Zoom Zoom” zest — and with an as-tested price of $24,335, offering a value-for-money proposition impossible to ignore. Close behind was Jaguar’s nimble, elegant and heart-revving F-Type rag top, which had its considerable podium chances weakened by a $104,620 window sticker. All of which telegraphs why the Corvette shot between those two standouts to grab our checkered flag: at a price of $71,720 with the 3LT Preferred Equipment Package — off a base of $53,800 — it possesses the wonderfully crazy flair of a supercar for, comparatively speaking, sane money.

A few words about our methodology: You'll have to look elsewhere for physics-class style analytics and G-force inducing skid pad tests. In contrast, our testers used the computers between their ears (not to mention the one that connects to the seat) to rate each car’s interior design, exterior styling, power delivery, ride and handling. Using window stickers we assigned a value to value, and with information about fuel efficiency and carbon emissions gave points for each car’s friendliness to the atmosphere. (Our plans for some higher-speed runs were cut short due to the U.S. government shutdown, which arrived during our scheduled visit to NASA's Moffett Field airstrip.)

Throughout, we kept one thought in mind: How would our readers approach these cars with their hard-earned money at stake?

By no means perfect, the new Corvette won on a number of fronts and was never far from the top in any given category. The plaudits were loudest over its looks; no other car had so many people stopping and gawking on the street. Our testers were not immune, often jostling for the iconic Chevy’s keys.

The large but vaguely defined exterior of recent Vettes has been replaced by sharp, creased lines that disguise the machine’s considerable bulk and bring to mind cars like the new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, which costs as much as four of our test Stingrays. Of particular note are the rakish slats just ahead of each door, and a commanding if somewhat polarizing two-tone rear end punctuated by four centrally located exhaust tips. “Looks like a supercar, sounds like a muscle car,” raved one reviewer, while another said “it has the ‘it’ factor, soaking up attention from all around you.”

The performance of the new Vette was also a subject of some chatter, as well as a simple outburst: “3.8 seconds to 60 mph for around $50,000 base? Sold!” The 6.2-liter V8 under that sculpted, slotted hood pulls like a freight train though some lamented not having a stick (of all the cars requested, only the Mazda3 arrived so equipped.) “Easily the most fun I’ve had in a long time, (but) if it had a manual transmission it would have been even more fun,” said one reviewer. Others disagreed, calling the six-speed automatic "neat and smooth.”

For a company just four years removed from near-collapse, Chevy has upped its game with the Stingray, a halo car if there ever was one. No where is that effort more on display than inside the two-person cockpit. While it may not yet be in Mercedes-Benz S-Class territory in terms of materials and fit and finish, the Stingray leaps beyond previous-generation Corvettes. “Interior is much improved over the C6 Vette and they have fixed the terrible freeway drone of that car,” said one tester. The heads-up display “may look like something you would find in a video game, but it works on this car.”

The perfect coda for this Detroit symphony of machismo was one simple statistic: 20. That’s the car’s estimated combined mpg, which splits to 16 city and 28 highway. For a vehicle with damn-the-torpedoes looks, those are some impressive numbers that allow you to motor in style while not constantly hunting for the next gas stop.

In the end, there were both less and more expensive cars in our sweet 16 fleet than the Corvette Stingray. But if you do have around $50,000 to realize a childhood fantasy that involves speed, looks and other less definable daydreams, our 2014 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year strikes an amazing balance, providing supercar performance and looks for less than its European rivals while offering a welcome reminder that a bona fide legend of the American roads has no intention of pulling over.

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Old 11-05-2013, 02:29 AM   #2
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That's why I bought one!!!!
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