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The Most Important Cars of 2013

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On: Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 2:36PM | By: Teddy Field

The Most Important Cars of 2013

There are many significant, game changing events in a person’s life.  The birth of a child, meeting that ‘special someone’, getting the job that launches a career. Such events can alter the course of a person’s life. So how do we parallel something as important as the birth of a child, with a story about new cars? Two words: ‘Creative License’.

2013 Ford Fusion

In order to qualify for this list, a car has to be significant enough to alter the course of the car company that made it, or the market itself. The 2013 Ford Fusion qualifies by utilizing Ford’s new global design language, to create a family sedan that elevates the bar for the entire midsize sedan market.

If you’re into cars, then you undoubtedly recognize the Fusion’s front fascia as a blatant copy of an Aston Martin. And that’s perfectly fine. Aston Martin is responsible for some of the world’s best looking
SuperGT’s. So emulating their design on a midsize family sedan is brilliant. Sort of like making all school cafeteria lunch ladies look like Halle Barry. Who would complain?

By so deftly using this design, Ford has created a mainstream human-hauler that makes everybody steal a second glance. Sure, it’s available with a gutsy turbo-4, in place of a V6. And there are even several uber-efficient electric / gas-electric versions. But this car looks good from any angle, and you can’t say that about any other cars in the Camry Class.

2013 Mazda CX-5

Once upon a time, Mazda vehicles looked like knock-off Pokemon characters. Then Mazda fired all the ex-cartoonists in the design department, and hired some new guys that came up with the stunning new Kodo design language. The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is the first implementation of Kodo, and it’s also the first Mazda vehicle to feature a full array of the new SkyActiv drivetrain components.

Now you’re probably thinking that the 2013 Mazda CX-5 made the list because of its looks, but you’d be wrong. The reason that this little crossover made the grade is because of the brilliance of the SkyActiv drivetrain. Instead of employing multi-dimensional turbos, and computers that allow it to cruise down the highway on 1 cylinder, Mazda engineers focused on mechanical efficiency.

To that end, the normally aspirated 2.0 liter-4 has cat-whisker tolerances, a 13:1 compression ratio (that’s insanely high, and allows the engine to squeeze every morsel of energy from a drop of fuel), and the SkyActiv transmissions have even been designed to reduce weight and improve efficiency. The result is 31 highway MPG with All-Wheel drive, and a base (FWD/MT) curb weight of just 3,200 lbs.

The 2013 Mazda CX-5 2.0 SkyActiv isn’t particularly quick, but in a world of touchscreen toilets, its mechanical simplicity is a breath of fresh air (pardon the pun).

2013 SRT Viper

Before the Dodge Viper, America’s only claim to supercar fame was the Corvette. Then Lee Iacocca hired Bob Lutz to head Chrysler’s product development, and good ole’ Bob invented the crazy Viper as a way to bring some much needed attention to Chrysler’s rather boring product line.

In the early 90s, Bob Lutz’ barn door engineering was brilliant. He made a snarling, ferocious Ferrari-destroyer, out of a truck engine, and some melted-down K-Cars. But it didn’t age well, and Dodge’s supercar became lost in a sea of carbon fiber monsters.

As Chrysler changed hands to Fiat, the Viper, and other Dodge hot rods were given their own brand (SRT), and Ralph Gilles assumed the mantel of Chrysler Corp’s product wizard. Thanks to his leadership, and Fiat’s connections in the supercar world (they own Ferrari, in case you didn’t know), the 2013 SRT Viper once again became America’s most insane, tire shredding supercar. Well done Ralph Lutz!

So there you have it: If you’ve just had a baby, get a Ford Fusion. If you want to meet someone special, trade your bright blue Yaris for a Mazda CX-5. And if you’ve just gotten that promotion you’ve been waiting for, get an SRT Viper…and an extra tube of toupee glue.

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