Drivers’ Choice – On 2nd Thought
In 1983 we started our annual MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards. So named because the winners in each category are the models we like driving the best. Still, it’s impossible to be 100 percent correct 100 percent of the time. So here are a few of our more memorable hits and misses.
JD: Our most prolific winners have been the Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager and Chrysler Town & Country, racking up a total of thirteen victories as best minivan. Not surprising, since they invented the class. But truthfully, most of our choices have been right for the time, and generally have stood the test of time.
Yet, as the car market and buying habits have changed, so have our categories. In fact, the only category to be included on every award list since 1983 is best luxury car. Cadillac has taken top honors there with 4 different models, including the odd-duck, and very forgettable Catera in 1997.
A few categories have been “one-year wonders” like “best technology” ,“best example of the automotive art” and 1984’s “best automotive oddity”, the Monte Carlo SS.
Our oddest pick so far is arguably the ragtop Dodge Dakota pickup as best convertible for 1990. Dodge described it as the ultimate fun truck, and we agreed…then… but we can honestly say we’ve seen one since.
But for our clear misses, we’ll nominate Chrysler’s 1988 Eagle Premier, the 1989 Peugeot 405, and the 1991 Mercury Capri. We proclaimed them best in class... and then watched as their sales tanked and all three were just as quickly axed without remorse.
Hey guys, no hard feelings?