's Editors Pick Our Five Favorite Cars Tested in 2013

By Jacob Brown | Photos By Jason Davis, | December 31, 2013
We don't hand out any trophies at the end of the year or push big marketing or PR budgets. But we've driven hundreds of cars in 2013 over hundreds of thousands of miles, and we have a pretty good idea of what out there's worth the hype. So sorry, automakers, we can't give you more hardware to line your lobby display cases with, but we can give you a pat on the back and let you know which of you are on the right track. For our favorite cars of 2013, we limited our choices to cars we either have a Road Test or Quick Drive review of since those oftentimes allowed the majority of our staff to get behind the wheel of them. So, even though one of staffers throughout the year enjoyed time behind the wheels of cars that are ridiculously opulent, blindingly quick, or not even on sale yet, those weren't part of our pool of contenders. Then, we had to narrow it down to just five cars. So while we enjoyed vehicles like the Subaru BRZ and Ford Focus ST immensely, they didn't quite make our cut. Here's what did, however, in alphabetical order to keep things fair:

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

This really ought to be the only no-brainer of this entire piece. It's not every day that the world receives a new Corvette, and it's not every day that we get to bask in its effervescence, staring at the car until we're senile, driving it until we're just as loony with joy. Yet, when we received a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray for a week, we took full advantage of its presence and roadtripped it. We drove it, and we drove it, and when we were finally filled in mind and body with Corvette love, we drove it some more. With 460 horsepower and all-American ingenuity, we couldn't help but fall in love with one of the more consistent pieces of Americana over the last 60 years, even if it did have an optional six-speed automatic instead of the car's standard seven-speed manual. We can't wait to come in contact again with this 190-mph pastime.

2013 and 2014 Honda Accord Lineup

2013 Honda Accord Nose
Are there midsize family sedans that are more fun? Yeah. Achieve better fuel economy? Perhaps. Even more stylish? Sure. But where the 2014 Honda Accord lineup has its competitors beaten is its unmatched lineup of engines, equipment levels, and technologies at a great value. And it's among the most well laid-out and comfortable cars in its class. Every 2014 Honda Accord model comes equipped with Honda's new Honda Link infotainment screen, whether or not it's optioned with a navigation system. If the driver is making a right turn, the screen displays a camera showing the driver's blind spot. Other technologies include LED headlights in some versions, active cruise control, and a refined two-motor hybrid powertrain. Whether opting for the four-cylinder, V-6, coupe, sedan, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid, there's seemingly an Accord for everyone. And all of them do the job just fine by us.

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S

2014 Jaguar F Type Profile Action
Talk about sex appeal, about somehow making a combination of aluminum, steel, plastic, cloth, and rubber come together into something with an animated sense of personality. For 20, maybe 30, years, there have been talks to revive a true sports car for Jaguar. With as much anticipation as we could have, there's no way the actual product could match the lofty expectations set before it. Except it did. Holy cow, it did. The $97,000 Jaguar F-Type V8 S had 495 supercharged reasons for us to love it, and all of them came wrapped in the most gorgeous sheetmetal we've seen this century. On top of that, we couldn't keep our fingers off a button on the center console that opens baffles in the exhaust system to make the car snap, crackle, and pop. Even with an automatic transmission, even weighing two tons, this car is perhaps the best demonstration of how passion is far from dead in the auto industry. Kudos, Jag, and keep up the great work.

2014 Mazda3

Sure to cause faint controversy, our only review of the 2014 Mazda3 so far is a First Drive, yet we included it on this list of our five favorite cars we drove this year. Yes, that breaks our own rules, but we actually sampled the car for a week at our office, and praise for the 2014 Mazda3 was universal. So how could we really leave it off the list? We couldn't. We just couldn't. It's just that good. Coming powered by a 155-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 2.5-liter unit with 184 horses, both engines achieve exceptional fuel economy numbers. But more than that, the 2014 Mazda3 feels high-quality throughout, is stylish, well-built, and is comically fun to drive. If this is what Mazda's SkyActiv engineering philosophy has left us, we can only imagine how much further the automaker could take it to give us driving thrills on the relative cheap.

2014 Subaru Forester

2013 Subaru Forester Front 34
The 2014 Subaru Forester is the official crossover SUV of "Can Do No Wrong." Initially, when we drove the 2014 Subaru Forester XT, we were bowled over by its fantastic turbocharged power delivery and Eyesight active cruise control. Later, when we compared a Subaru Forester 2.5i to the most popular compact crossovers out there, it walked away with the competition, delivering one of the more enjoyable, refined driving experiences, the highest as-tested fuel economy, and a comfortable interior. With standard all-wheel drive and one of the most practical interiors in its class, we wish Subaru continued success with the Forester. It's simply an unbeatable combination for the money.