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Well, Spies.

It's the beginning of an all-new year, which means if we're doing things right here we should be giving you the download on our favorite rides in 2014. As I typically have a steady flow of press vehicles, I wanted to divulge my Top 007 of 2014 as I see it.

This is completely subjective and based on vehicles I actually had the opportunity to drive. If I didn't drive it, guess what, it's not included. To me, that's just conjecture and that's not what AutoSpies is about when it comes to providing guidance on automobiles.

We take pride in the fact our thoughts are based on experience and not bias.

That said, here we go:




1) Porsche Macan
2) Chevrolet Corvette
3) Land Rover Range Rover LWB
4) Mercedes-Benz C400
5) Honda Accord Hybrid
6) BMW M3/M4
7) Ford Fiesta ST


1) Porsche Macan: These days it's becoming harder to find vehicles that really are groundbreaking. Although you may look at a Macan and discount it as a "baby Cayenne," and you may sit inside and think "Man, it's just like every other Porsche" with its raised center console, it drives unlike any other sport-utility vehicle on the road today. It destroys the Cayenne that feels too lethargic and it easily out drives the competition when it comes to comfort AND sporting intentions. If its a bit too pricey to get into the Turbo model, the Macan S has more than adequate power to get you off to your destination. If I were a betting man, I'd expect another base powerplant to come along and lower its barrier of entry. I have already advised several people to purchase Macans and they're happy as can be with their latest acquisitions.

2) Chevrolet Corvette: I NEVER thought I'd say this, but Chevrolet has got its act together with the Corvette. If I were shopping for a Porsche 911 or Jaguar F-Type, I'd be hard pressed to NOT buy the Corvette. It's that good. It took long enough, but General Motors stepped up to the plate and outfitted the vehicle with an outstanding interior — including the standard seats. The engine is brilliant, the seven-speed manual gearbox is a joy to row and the clutch pedal is a cinch in stop and go traffic. You can daily this vehicle and laugh all the way to your destination. Let me put it to you this way: When Agent 001 was deciding between a 911 and a Corvette, I told him to go with the 'Vette. Personally, if you're in this market I think the only decision you actually have to make is whether to get the Stingray or Z06.

3) Land Rover Range Rover LWB: If you're in the market for a large luxury sedan, hold your horses. You really should actually take a look at the all-new Range Rover LWB. Now that the big daddy Range shed some pounds it gets decent gas mileage — 17 mpg for the Supercharged Autobiography I drove — and it drives just as good as today's S-Class, 7-Series and A8. Except it's better. This is because you have a better field of vision AND it's more comfortable. Oh, and it's unstoppable off-road and in the elements. As I was recently driving the Range Rover in an awful torrential downpour, the vehicle was completely stable, quiet and confidence inspiring. The world could have been ending and I would have been humming along to my music with my massaging seat switched on.

4) Mercedes-Benz C400:
This is a last-minute entry here. I just drove the C400 last week and it thoroughly blew my mind. First things first, its interior is class leading but that's only the beginning. Its ride is also class leading. If you were thinking about an Audi S4, BMW 335i, Lexus IS350 F Sport or Cadillac CTS, just forget about them all. Nothing is as good, end-to-end, as the all-new C400 when equipped with the air suspension. It rides, literally, as good as the all-new S-Class BUT can be dialed up to be nimble and sporting. No one in this class can hold a candle to the all-new C-Class. You heard it here first. This is what I will now be telling everyone to check out until all-new competition debuts.

5) Honda Accord Hybrid: Last year I named the Ford Fusion Hybrid as one of my top picks and I didn't think it could get much better than that. Well, if efficiency is your primary objective, it turns out it can. The very spacious Honda Accord Hybrid actually netted MORE THAN 45 mpg in my week of driving. I wasn't even trying. That's better than the 40 mpg I found in the Fusion Hybrid and better than the 44 mpg I obtained in the Toyota Prius. Mind you the Accord is much more spacious than a Prius and looks classy. Personally, I think Honda really needs to rethink its center stack and ergonomics, but aside from that the Accord is a brilliant buy. Go Honda!

6) BMW M3/M4: In terms of sports cars, the BMW M3 is the go-to benchmark. Now the legendary coupe has been reborn as the M4 but who cares? It's only a name. Simply put, the Bavarians really outdid themselves when creating this all-new M car. Frankly, it may even checkmate the M6 as it's just as capable and can be had with just about all the same options. To me this is the BEST BMW the company has made since the 2011 1M. While some may bicker about its six-cylinder soundtrack, I love it. My only advice, if you want the BEST experience, option it as a "stripper" and go with a six-speed. While the dual-clutch 'box will get you closer to driving the car at 10/10ths, the six-speed transmission is literally the best from BMW I've ever experienced. A bonus: The vehicle definitely sounds MUCH more raw than when equipped with a DCT. Loved the burbles and pops I heard when I drove a variety of manuals at Road America in Wisconsin.

7) Ford Fiesta ST: This gets not one, but two nods from me. First, it's the sleeper of the year. Second, it's the biggest surprise of the year. I didn't see this coming a mile away. In good fortune, there was a miscommunication with Ford's press fleet team and when I landed from the M3/M4 launch I was greeted with this. Best mistake that's ever been made in the history of autos — no hyperbole there ;). This may sound crazy but this is completely true: As I was working my way up the West Side Highway at midnight, I actually had MORE fun in the Fiesta ST than the BMW M cars I just drove in Wisconsin. Yes, you read that correctly. You know the old adage "it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow?" It applies here. Simply put, it's the most fun you can have for less than $25,000 without taking your clothes off. The sacrifice? The back seat is great if you're only transporting torsos and if you pack light the trunk space is adequate. Spacious, it is not.

Happy New Year!

Looking forward to driving the latest and greatest in 2015!



00R Lists His Top 007 Of 2014 — FAVORITE Rides Of The Year

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