The year 2020 will arguably go down as one of the most significant periods in all of human history. In addition to the social upheaval and rapid political changes that took place, the world was also thrusted into the shackles of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges though, we still remained committed to not only bring you world class news content, but also a steady stream of Michigan made reviews. With that out of the way, Here’s our three best and not so best cars of 2020
2020 Lincoln Aviator Black Label
It’s no secret that Lincoln is out to shake up its identity by adding more SUVS into its lineup (sadly cutting all of its traditional luxury car offerings in the process.) But a key void that had to be immediately addressed was the void that would exist between the flagship Navigator and the entry level Corsair.
The company would address this with the 2020 Lincoln Aviator. The Aviator that arrived in the Metro Detroit office matched the polar weather and white snow that was ravaging Michigan at the time of its testing period. However, the up and coming Lincoln would really win us over with not only the sheer amount of luxury that it had to offer, but also the performance that it brought to the table. The plug-in hybrid setup on our tester served as more of a performance aide than a green fuel saving one, but that’s not a bad thing when the 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged V6 makes over 495 horsepower when paired with the electric motor.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
When Jeep revealed that it had plans to bring a pickup truck back into its largely SUV lineup, we were intrigued to see how the Gladiator would fare in this role. Not only did it have to follow the established tire tracks left behind by some of its AMC era ancestors, but also make owning such a thing fashionable to a new generation of Jeep buyers. The Rubicon example that we had the chance to check out back in fall certainly seems to check off all the boxes that Jeep buyers want.
It’s stylish, a flexible canvas for customization, and has the ability to draw stares wherever it goes. While a high price tag and some of the quirks of its Wrangler source code help create some minor quibbles to live with, the feeling of the wind blowing through your hair after you and a friend work together to take its heavy rear roof panel off will certainly make the effort well worth it.
2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT63 S
The third and final entry in our best column goes fittingly to a fire-breathing Mercedes model that not only managed to be the subject of many summer time rumors in the neighborhood where our office is located, but also a paparazzi magnet when driven through various parts of town.
The GT63 S is the answer to a first world problem that few people knew even existed, what would happen if you inject more power into one of AMG’s most potent performance car entries? The answer is exterior styling that makes it look as bold and brash as an Andy Warhol painting, a 600-plus horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0 liter V8 that has more heat than the band 98 degrees, and luxury appointments this side of a Maybach S-Class. Yes the lofty price tag is enough to make most wallets break out in a sweat, but few cars out there can match the sheer lunacy that exists in this red hot Benz and it easily won our Best category for 2020.
Honorable Mention: 2021 Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport
Unlike other iterations of our list, we did have to slip in one honorable mention, with the 2021 Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport firmly securing this spot. While a firm no drive restriction by Bugatti prevented us from going out on the road with it (and kept it from de-throning the Benz in the process) we still had plenty of time to check out some of the other things that makes this Bugatti special.
The exterior styling is a proverbial benchmark in design, with subtle splashes of heritage being mixed in with its ultra modern lines. The interior is a tasteful application of simplicity, with leather accents nicely mixing in with the Alcantara and carbon fiber that are scattered through out the purpose built cabin. While the $3.6 million price tag puts it out of reach of all but the most fortunate of mortals, it still serves as a compelling piece of sixteen cylinder powered art, and perhaps the spark to drive the dreams of future generations.
2020 Lexus RC-F
The Lexus RC-F likes to present itself as perhaps the closest thing that the Japanese automakers have to a pony car. The stylish two door coupe is powered by a 5.0 liter V8 that makes 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. While these are impressive numbers in their own right, it only highlights the fact that there are muscle cars out in the market that make comparable power for far less than the $70,000 plus price tag that our tester had when it arrived for its stay at the office.
Compounding the value problem is an infotainment system that is very frustrating to use, and the limitations of its aging platform make themselves known in handling and weight. Here’s hoping that the entire RC lineup receives some much needed love in the form of technological and structural updates to help it become a more polished entry.
2020 Buick Enclave Avenir
If one were to look up the word underwhelming in the dictionary, chances are good that you will find the Buick Enclave Avenir in it as an example. The exterior styling of the big Buick is certainly very handsome, but it lacked the pop needed to stand out from a few of its rivals.
Things become even more noticeable in the interior of the Avenir. Buick claimed that the elegant sounding name was supposed to bring more noticeable trim and flair to the vehicles that receive it. But slip inside, and there isn’t much that makes it stand out from the rest of the Enclave family which is a shame since that means it doesn’t stand out from the cabins in rivals like the Aviator and the Mazda CX-9.
Add in some interesting decisions (including an unmarked grey square button for the massage seats) and the Avenir falls way short. We’re not giving up hope though, with Buick revealing that the Avenir treatment will be coming to the smaller Envision. Here’s hope that this will mean a big step up in what the trim will bring to the plate for consumers.
2020 Lexus UX 250h
The Lexus UX 250h is the perfect representation of a two sided coin. Drive it in the city, and it morphs into a respectable urban commuter that can tackle the biggest challenges that city living brings to the table. However, drive it on the freeway and it all comes crashing down like a gap ridden Jenga tower. The engine is underpowered, the CVT rigidly sticks to a fuel economy focused program that saps the urgency needed for freeway passing maneuvers, and visibility for said maneuvers leaves alot to be desired.
The interior is also a mixed bag, with the comfortable seats and storage options being eclipsed by a cramped rear seat and befuddling ergonomics for some controls (including the infotainment system.)
Here’s to next year!!!
That concludes our annual list for 2020. This year might have brought newfound challenges to the world, but it also showed that the drive to succeed and the human race’s ability to think outside the box could weather even the fiercest blows that COVID-19 had to offer. We hope that everyone has a safe New Years Eve/Day and stay tuned to Car-Revs-Daily for the latest in content as we throttle our way towards 2021 and a clean slate of reviews and newfound adventures that aim to be found at the end of the tunnel.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.