The Porsche Taycan, Chevy Corvette Stingray, and Kia Telluride are Insider's 2020 Car of the Year runners-up
- From a list of 16 finalists, we selected three 2020 Car of the Year runners-up: the
Porsche Taycan 4S, the Chevy CorvetteStingray, and the Kia Telluride.
- Porsche's all-electric high-performance super-sedan, the much-anticipated mid-engine Corvette, and Kia's incredible combination of value and features in a near-luxury SUV made this trio stand out.
- Come back for our 2020 Insider Car of the Year winner on December 30.
We're getting close to awarding the big trophy for our Insider 2020 Car of the Year! From 16 finalists, our team has now chosen three runners-up: the
This is the seventh year we've undertaken our annual award program, and while we once again checked out more than 50 cars, trucks, and SUVs, for 2020 we decided to slim down to three runners-up from our traditional five, and reveal them all at once.As a reminder, our methodology for selecting Car of the Year finalists is based on a handful of simple questions.
- Is there a strong business case for the vehicle? We are a business site, after all.
- Did our reviewers agree that the vehicle should be included? We have to come to a consensus, even though we might disagree on some particulars.
- Was the vehicle objectively excellent? There has to be a wow factor of some sort.
- Did the vehicle stand out from the sea of competition, particularly when it comes to technology? A Car of the Year finalist has to be special, and we're also a technology site.
- Can we strongly recommend buying or leasing the car? We need to know whether we'd buy the vehicle ourselves if we had the resources.
And to qualify as a runner-up, a vehicle must distinguish itself as being extra notable. In 2020, the three that made the cut were all driven by both senior reporter Kristen Lee and senior correspondent Matt DeBord.We'll reveal our 2020 Car of the Year winner on December 30, but for now, here they are: The 2020 Insider Car of the Year runners-up.
The Porsche Taycan: a magnificent electric car that's every bit a Porsche
In her review of a $144,000 Taycan 4S, Kristen enjoyed the Porsche-fication of the whole electric-car concept. Oh, how far we've come from pokey Nissan Leafs and the early 2010s!"I liked the Taycan quite a bit," she wrote. "It's not built on an internal-combustion engine platform that's been repurposed for an EV, so there aren't any glaringly obvious passenger or cargo room compromises. Sitting in the back does not give you the distinct feeling that you're astride a battery pack." She added: "The Taycan weighs more than two tons, but it conducts itself like a very planted sports car. The optional rear-axle steering helped with maneuverability in tight spaces. It cruised quietly and smoothly on the highway when it wasn't gluing my passengers to their seat backs." Matt didn't convey any passengers into the future, but he did sling the Taycan around a New Jersey highway-interchange configuration adjacent to MetLife Stadium, and he was filled with joy by the experience.
We all knew that when Porsche made its big move into the all-electric action, directly confronting Tesla, it would have to vastly exceed expectations.
And the Germans did just that with the Taycan, immediately delivering the best-driving EV on the planet with a combination of speed, handling, and minimalist luxury that showed Tesla what was possible when an obsessive engineering culture turned its attention to fully electrified thrills."It's a damn fine first crack," Kristen concluded.
The Chevy Corvette Stingray: The mid-engine supercar Corvette fans have been waiting for
Both Kristen and Matt achieved brief celebrity status while they were savoring
"The person walking their dog pumped a fist triumphantly into the air upon seeing my Rapid Blue 2020 Corvette loaner drive by," Kristen wrote in her review of an $80,000 version of the car, which can be had for a base price of just $58,900."So did a driver in their brand-new Corvette, going the opposite way on I-80," she added. "Another driver in an oncoming red Ferrari 488 flashed their lights in greeting.
For Matt, it was more of the same. The owner of a brand-new red C8 pulled up while Matt was shooting some photos and proceeded to chat all things Vette for a socially distanced half an hour."With a starting price of under $60,000, it's tough to find a better bargain out there than the C8 Corvette," Kristen concluded. "You get a 500-horsepower, mid-engined supercar for less than the price of the new BMW M3, and none of the pretentiousness of a Porsche or Ferrari.
"This is America's Sports Car, after all. The car with home-team advantage. If you don't like it, you're a dirty Commie"
The Kia Telluride: The best new SUV to hit the market in yearsMatt sampled the wildly popular Kia Telluride in late 2019, and even then, he knew the South Korean automaker had a winner. "We have a year to go before we name the 2020 Car of the Year, but I'm pretty sure the Telluride will be near the top of my list," he wrote. "For now, I'll simply say that this is the best three-row SUV that not a lot of money can buy."
Kristen took a specially-equipped $47,000 Telluride camping, thanks to a roof-mounted collapsible tent ($3,400), so it's fair to say that we put this SUV through all of its paces.
"Kia is clearly doing something right here," she wrote in her review."It's given people a midsize SUV option that's handsome, has a great interior and is aggressively priced," Kristen added. "To those of you feeling hesitant merely because the Telluride wears a Kia badge, put that aside. Go sit in a Telluride. Nothing in there would indicate it's the Kia you once turned up your nose at - whether fairly or not.
"Kia is carving out a permanent space for itself in the market. And it brought a giant, Telluride-sized shovel for the job."
The proof of Telluride's impact on the SUV market - which, alongside pickup trucks, defines sales in the US - has come over the course of 2020. When Matt checked out the vehicle, it was still new to the stage. But through the next year, Kia encountered so much demand for its sweetly priced ute that it hasn't been able to build enough vehicles.That's a good problem to have if you're trying to cut into one of the most competitive segments in the auto industry. We have no difficulty understanding why everybody, it seems, wants a Telluride.
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