No one knows cars like Jeremy Clarkson, formerly of Top Gear and the star of the much-anticipated Amazon original series The Grand Tour. Monday, the English auto fiend released his top 10 favorite cars of 2016, in an article for Driving, a section The Sunday Times.
The list features cars in a wide range of categories, from the American economy variety, to traditionally acclaimed high-end Italian sports cars.
The biggest winner? Ford. The popular stateside outfit earned high marks for two of its vehicles: the Ford Mustang Fastback 5.0 V8 GT and the Ford Focus RS.
While the former isn’t too much of a surprise given it’s a historical popularity in the car world, the Focus getting some love is a huge coup for the American manufacturer.
Then again, buttering up to Clarkson does go a long way for Ford.
“Plainly, someone at Ford in Detroit was given an atlas for Christmas, because after 50 years or so of making the Ford Mustang, the company has decided to put the steering wheel on the correct side of the car and to sell it in the hitherto unknown Great Britainland,” Clarkson said.
The Alfa Romeo 4C coupé got similar levels of praise, albeit for different reasons. Clarkson gave the ‘Ferrari puppy’ just two stars on an objective scale, but spoke glowingly of the two-door Italian on the emotional attachment scale.
“I’ve never driven any mainstream road car that generated quite such an outpouring of affection as the Alfa Romeo 4C,” Clarkson said. “Not ever. It was like I was whizzing about in a reincarnated blend of Gandhi and Diana, Princess of Wales.”
That’s quite the analogy, and proves that sometimes the most enjoyable car doesn’t necessarily have to be the most practical. And yet, the rest of Clarkson’s favorites were very much on the sensible side, praised for their power, handling and overall driving experience.
Here’s the full list of Clarkson’s favorites, sorted by rating but in no particular order:
Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Recaro (5 stars)
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi Tech Line (5 stars)
Mercedes-AMG GT S (4 stars)
Ford Focus RS (4 stars)
Ford Mustang Fastback 5.0 V8 GT (4 stars)
Volvo XC90 D5 AWD (4 stars)
BMW M2 (4 stars)
Ferrari 488 GTB (4 stars)
Lamborghini Aventador (4 stars)
Alfa Romeo 4C coupé (2 stars)
Ferrari, Lamborghini and BMW aren’t newbies when it comes to top lists, and it’ll be interesting to see who joins them next year.
By that time, Clarkson will have driven a whole lot of cars on TV. His new show, The Grand Tour, is expected to debut for steaming on Amazon Prime this fall, featuring Clarkson and his former mates from Top Gear, Richard Hammond and James May.