Fox Car Report's Favorite Five of 2010

2010 was quite a year for the automotive industry. But overshadowed by all of the trials and tribulations filling the headlines was perhaps the best batch of new vehicles ever assembled. From the dawn of the electric car to sports cars that practically defy physics, the past 12 months were anything but dull.

Once again Fox Car Report has clicked through all of our reviews from the past year and picked our Favorite Five. We set no particular criteria. No cost restrictions are considered. These are simply the five vehicles that stick out most in our memory for one reason or another, but often many.

Chevrolet Volt

Put aside politics and price and it’s impossible to deny the Volt for what it is – a milestone in automotive history. A genuine breakthrough in engineering, you only have to look at how many other automakers have similar “extended-range electric cars” on the drawing boards to know that there’s more to this little compact than its unassuming looks. Even at $41,000, Chevy will sell all it can build in 2011 – which amounts to about 15,000 units. Whether or not it takes off from there is yet to be seen, but the impact of this car has already been made.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

It still boggles the mind how the most beleaguered automaker in America – and perhaps the world – could turn out a class leading vehicle in one of the toughest vehicle classes. The Grand Cherokee is equally at home off-road and on, and offers a combination of capability and luxury that’s tough to match. Fully loaded with a HEMI V8 and adjustable air suspension, it’s priced at about $45,000 and will make you think twice about spending twice as much on a Range Rover.

Infiniti M

The Infiniti M is a car that appeals to geeks and gearheads alike. The curvaceous, smooth-riding sports sedan carries enough technology on board to open a booth at the Consumer Electronics Show. Drift from your lane? It will steer you back into it. Same thing if you try to turn and another car is alongside. Active cruise control takes care of avoiding vehicles in front of you, and if you set it to Eco mode it will forcibly push back on the gas pedal when you try to burn to much fuel. Buy one with the 420 hp V8 and you’ll find yourself fighting the urge often.

Lincoln MKT

It’s not likely that you’ll find the Lincoln MKT on any other car of the year lists, but we’ll sing its praises from the rooftop any chance we get. Yes, it may look like the humpback whale that ate the cheese, but get past its unique exterior design and into its sumptuous interior and you’ll find yourself behind the wheel of perhaps the ultimate American luxury car. Better yet, let someone else drive and enjoy one of the finest second rows in the business - complete with a refrigerator. This car was made for cross country cruising and with a powerful twin-turbo V6 on the options list you can set a course for the first star on the left and not stop until morning. When you do, the thing even parks itself. Need proof of its passenger carrying prowess? Lincoln has deemed the MKT its replacement for the Town Car as the company’s limousine of the future.

Ferrari 458 Italia

Few will get to drive one, let alone buy one, but for those that do the quarter of a million dollar price tag will seem like a bargain. The ultimate result of billions spent in Formula One, the 458 Italia is perhaps the most complete Ferrari ever made. As exciting as its 200-plus mph top speed sounds, it’s the way that the V8 engine sounds revving at an unheard of 9,000 rpm that is the siren song of this mid-engine coupe, as its race-developed stability control system makes you look like a hero behind the wheel, even if you are anything but.