Best & Worst Of 2019 – Michigan Edition – By Carl Malek

Another year is drawing to a close, and that means it’s time to reflect on the good and not so things that defined the year in general. In our case, it’s time to reflect on some of the good and not so good cars that we reviewed during 2019. Like last year, the Michigan branch had a very busy year reviewing some of the best cars on the market today, and we even managed to add some new brands to our list of visitors as well. Like last year’s list, eligibility begins during the first week of January, and ends on Christmas Eve, with all the vehicles featured having to have been reviewed during that time frame, with three being picked for each category. With that out of the way, let’s grab some egg nog, sit by the fire, and start things off with the Best Category for 2019.


2019 Acura NSX:

When we had the chance to slip behind the wheel of the reborn NSX, we were very keen on finding out whether it succeeded in reviving the legendary NSX nameplate while also bringing new heights of performance to eager supercar buyers. While the NSX’s sales figures have not quite lived up to Acura’s initial expectations, the car itself proved to be the greatest surprise of all. With blisteringly fast acceleration, excellent handling, and styling that leaps boldly into your visual cortex, the NSX is certainly a very compelling thrill ride for the senses. While our experience was limited to the winding twists and turns of Road America, we hope to eventually take the NSX onto our favorite back roads to see if it can go full circle in its performance ambitions.


2017 Ford GT:

2019 was a strong year for exotic car coverage here in the Metro Detroit office, so when a rare opportunity to slip behind the wheel of the Ford GT presented itself during the Woodward Dream Cruise, we were more than eager to accept the invitation. Built originally as a skunkworks project deep in the bowels of Dearborn by a small team of Ford engineers, the current generation GT is perhaps the symbol of the 2010s thanks to its sleek yet functional styling, as well as the incredible amount of performance that lurks beneath the surface. Whether out on the track or on the mean streets of Woodward, the GT will always be a potent conversation starter no matter where it goes, and as a result, it was only fair to give it top honors in our Best of 2019 list.


2019 Rolls Royce Cullinan/Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge:

The first double mention to take the third and final spot in this years list, the Cullinan and the Dawn play unique but very key roles for Rolls Royce as the brand tries to prepare itself for the new decade. The Dawn Black Badge is a stylish four seat convertible that aims to bring more performance and exclusivity to Rolls Royce buyers. The Cullinan on the other hand is a trailblazer for Rolls, and is the first SUV offering that the storied British luxury car  maker has ever offered for purchase. While our exposure to these two was limited to brief 30 minute jaunts around town, it was enough to learn a lot about them and in the case of the Cullinan, discover why other luxury SUV makers should take notice of its equipment arsenal and the surprising capabilities hidden beneath its imposing flanks.


Worst Of 2019:


2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT Double Cab:

When the Chevrolet Silverado arrived during Woodward Dream Cruise week, we had questions about how a turbocharged four cylinder would feel in a truck this big, and also how effective the interior and exterior redesign would be. After our time with it, we came away with a sense of wishing it had more to offer. The exterior styling was rugged looking, but also disjointed, while the interior reeked of cost cutting and questionable ergonomics. With rumors swirling that GM is preparing a far more extensive refresh for both the Sierra and Silverado, we look forward to seeing if more time in the fitting room will allow the Silverado to truly bring the fight to both the Ford F-150, and the Ram 1500.


2019 Lexus UX200 F-Sport:

Typically it’s not wise to judge a book by its cover, but in the case of the Lexus UX, it’s wise to avoid saying that once you look at the finer details that lurk beneath its athletic sheet metal. The interior lacked cohesion, and in an age where ergonomics and technology have rapidly become key hallmarks in this growing segment, the odd placement for some of the controls as well as the absence of Android Auto helps keep the UX from standing out in its current form against a crop of potent luxury contenders like the Volvo XC40.


2018 Lexus RX350L:

What happens when you enter a segment without a solid game plan, and instead choose to quickly come up with something out of the blue? Typically it does not end very well, and that was echoed perfectly with the Lexus RX350L that visited the Metro Detroit office. Lacking any usable leg and headroom, the third row of our tester proved to be more of an achievement in strategic marketing on the part of Lexus’s advertising department versus being good in the real world. With plenty of other offerings that feature superior third row accommodations and were designed from the very beginning to accommodate such an option, the Lexus is unfortunately an outsider looking in, and that easily helped it earn the title of being the worst of 2019.


We look forward to reflecting here again at the end of 2020, but in the meantime here’s to a happy new year, and we look forward to bringing new and exciting content to you the fans.