Fast food giant McDonald’s may have sold billions and billions of hamburgers. But does that make the Big Mac the best-tasting hamburger money can buy? Many would say, probably not. The Canadian new car market is much the same.
Just because a model makes the best-sellers list, that doesn’t make it the “best” car you can buy. Alphabetically, here are the worst of this year’s best-selling vehicles:
More: Comparing Canada’s top-selling passenger cars
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The Dodge Caravan (as well as its Chrysler Town & Country and Volkswagen Routan mechanical minivan companions) doesn’t drive as nice as a Honda Odyssey, isn’t as luxurious on the inside as a Nissan Quest and has suffered in the past by inflicting reliability and quality woes on their unsuspecting customers, creating some of the worst depreciating vehicles you can buy new.
Apparently though, that didn’t stop Canadian new car buyers from making the Dodge the second best-selling new vehicle in the country, only behind the also confoundingly popular (see below) Ford F Series pickup.
With 12, 619* examples sold through the end of July, so far this year, the Fusion is the best-selling family sedan in Canada. Now perhaps it’s the seemingly endless purchase incentives that Ford Canada incessantly offers. Or the sheer number of Ford dealers across this country. But despite its popularity, the Fusion is outclassed by many of its rivals.
For example: the dynamic Korean duo of the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima offer nicer interiors, more sophisticated drivetrains — and in the case of the Optima — much more athletic driving characteristics.
Ford F Series, Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra, Ram
This quartet of full-size pickup trucks represents four of the 10 best-selling new cars in Canada. Now, if you need such a device to make your living, say as a contractor, plumber or landscaper, you’re off the hook in my book. And from what pickup truck makers tell me, commercial sales are now the majority.
But for the minority of pickup customers who buy these gas guzzling, ill-handling, Neolithic era-engineered dinosaurs as personal transportation, please, trade in the Stetson, shuck the cowboy boots, and make the leap into the 21st century — buy a “normal” car!
For the past 13 years, the compact Honda Civic has been the best-selling car in Canada. It still is. But only by the slimmest of margins. So far in 2011, it’s hanging onto that crown by outselling the Hyundai Elantra by all of 923 units — 29, 974 to 29, 051.
Now Honda can blame the natural disaster in Japan in March that created a crisis in car and parts manufacturing for the lack of Civic sales. But the reality is, the so-called “all-new” 2012 Civic does not move the engineering, styling or feature yardsticks far enough from essentially the same Civic that you could have bought in 2006. The Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Mazda3, and Volkswagen Jetta are simply better cars in the Civic’s class. Go buy one, people.
Now let’s be clear: I’m writing about the soon-to-depart third-generation Accent, the runt of Hyundai’s litter that’s been on sale since 2005. Not the all-new 2012 version that just went on sale, a car that in some ways is a better vehicle than its big brother Elantra.
Like Mickey D’s Big Mac, the outgoing Accent has been sold mainly due to its lowball pricing. So while much more fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive and feature-laden subcompact rivals like the Honda Fit, Ford Focus and Mazda2 have been available, Hyundai has managed to move 13, 638 Accents this year, making it the best seller in its class. Go figure.