With nearly every major automotive publication giving out annual awards, every new car on the market probably has a “best in class” award somewhere in their portfolios. But if you take a closer look at each car, you’ll notice there only are a few that actually are deserving of that title.
Although most panels base their picks for the best vehicle in a given class by looking at the same factors, such as fuel economy, standard equipment and advanced safety features, those might not always be the best indicators. Because new vehicles nowadays all are fairly comparable on paper with the other members of their segments, these awards often go to the model that has one or two more standard features.
Cars, however, much like people, have their own personalities, and therefore different things that make them unique. For some, it might be their design, and for others, it could be their power outputs.
Here are six models that, for one reason or another, stand out from the rest of the cars in their classes:
Photo via Ford
The Ford F-150 is the most obvious standout in the entire automotive industry, as it’s been the best-selling pickup in the United States for 40 consecutive years. What’s more, it’s been the best-selling vehicle of any kind in the U.S. for 35 consecutive years. With that level of popularity, naming a “best pickup of the year” seems like a pointless effort, since the public has already made clear their choice.
Dodge Charger/Challenger SRT Hellcat
Photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Dodge’s Hellcat models essentially are the only muscle cars still in production, and they’re some of the most extreme ever made. With 707 horsepower, the Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats offer supercar levels of power for less than $70,000. No other cars on the market can even come close to that.
Photo via Mazda
We’re not huge fans of most of the current subcompact crossovers, but the CX-3 is an exception. All current-generation Mazdas look great, but next to the other vehicles in its class, the CX-3 looks exceptionally good. It looks especially good in white, as the paint contrasts well with the black accents on the side of the car, highlighting the CX-3’s sleek lines.
Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ
Photo via Toyota
The 86 admittedly doesn’t have as much power as many people — ourselves included — would like, but at $26,255, it’s one of the most inexpensive rear-wheel-drive cars you can buy. Plus, until the Supra that Toyota jointly is developing with BMW hits the market in 2019, these are the only rear-drive Japanese imports currently in production.
Honda Civic Type R
Photo via Honda
The Honda Civic Type R is one of, if not the best current hot hatchback, but that’s not why it’s on this list. What makes the Type R unusual is Honda’s decision for it to remain front-wheel-drive. Most manufacturers produce front-drive hot hatches, such as the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI, but opt for all-wheel-drive on the hotter, top of the range variants. Honda, however, still chose to send the Type R’s power through its front wheels, despite the fact that it has 306 horsepower, compared to the Civic SI’s 205 horsepower.
Photo via Honda
The NSX is the car enthusiasts have been waiting 11 years for, and it is almost nothing like the car that proceeded it. The first-generation NSX was an old-school mid-engine supercar, whereas the second-generation of the model is a futuristic all-wheel-drive hybrid. That not only sets it apart from the car it replaces but also its main competitors. Although Ferrari and McLaren both produced hybrid hypercars, Honda is the only manufacturer to bring that technology to the sub-$200,000 price bracket.
Thumbnail photo via Ford