One of the beats I’ve covered over the last decade is the auto industry, which has given me the opportunity to test-drive hundreds of cars provided to journalists by the automakers. I post regular car reviews on my Tumblr page and write about the industry sometimes for U.S. News. People ask me about cars all the time. Here are some of my answers:
Best car I’ve driven: Porsche 911.
Worst car I’ve driven: Chevrolet Cavalier (circa 2002).
Best car for the money: Volkswagen GTI. Close second: Hyundai Sonata/Kia Optima.
Best two-seater: Mercedes SLK. Close second: Mazda Miata.
Minivans: Are almost irresistibly comfortable. (Or maybe I’m just getting old.)
Best affordable innovation of the last few years: Bluetooth. Second-best: Heated seats.
Always pay for: Every available airbag; stability control; satellite and streaming radio.
Never pay for: In-dash navigation systems; extended warranties; an electric convertible roof unless you can handle some huge repair bills once the warranty expires.
The General Motors and Chrysler bailouts: Were a necessary evil. People who object because the bailouts didn’t represent “pure” capitalism are in denial about this political reality: Any president, Republican or Democrat, would have saved the automakers.
Silliest cars: Smart fortwo; Nissan Murano cabriolet (a crossover convertible?)
Best cars under $20,000: Chevrolet Cruze; Mazda 3; Hyundai Veloster.
Overrated cars: BMW X5 (too heavy and too expensive); every Jeep except the Grand Cherokee.
Underrated cars: Buick Regal; most wagons.
Car I’m happy to see back on the road: Chevrolet Camaro.
What I hope to see in 10 years: Cars that run on hydrogen.