Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011's Most Improved Awards

As seen in previous posts Kill It With Fire likes to reward improvement, so with that in mind lets reward some of 2011's most improved vehicles with some virtual awards. Keep in mid that this is not a list of 2011's best cars but rather a list of a few cars that have made great strides compared to their previous generation.

Most Improved Sales: Volkswagen Jetta

Even though the Jetta has been Volkswagen's best selling model for many years running its overall sales were just a fraction compared to its better known mainstream competition. In fact the Jetta often struggled to find true competition as it was too upscale to compete with most compacts but wasn't much of a premium product either (see Buick Verano). For the sixth generation Volkswagen created downmarket variants of the Jetta and priced them closer inline with the competition. The result has been a sales improvement of 70% on the year. While many have chided VW for taking a "step back" with the Jetta, the public has certainly rewarded VW. The cheaper base price has helped sales, the Jetta's new crisper styling has likely helped as well.

New Jetta sales are up 70%

Most Improved Design: Hyundai Accent (5 door)

Hyundai has been making some noise over the past few years with greatly improved products with better engines, interiors and styling. The Sonata and the Elantra are perhaps the most well known examples of Hyundai's new styling direction. However while these two models have certainly elevated Huyndai's design game, the new five door Accent is actually Hyundai's best design to to date. The hatchback Accent features excellent styling, rarely seen in the compact category, without the over-styled elements seen in the Sonata and Elantra. The new Accent simply blows the old one out of the water style-wise, even the not as good looking sedan is miles ahead of the previous generation.

The Accent went from this shapeless figure

To this stylish design

Most Improved Technology Update: Chrysler 300 8 speed Automatic

The second generation Chrysler 300 debuted to generally good automotive praise as it represented a good update on its groundbreaking design, new more powerful V6 and a significantly more luxurious interior. Perhaps the biggest complaint was the 5 speed automatic gearbox that was holding back the 300 when compared to competition with their 6 speed gearboxes. Enter the new 8 speed automatic that adds 4 additional mpg on the highway (31) and improves acceleration as well that makes the 300 a significantly more competitive product.

New 8 speed auto with new shifter

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