Between the Occupiers, Arab Springers, deposed despots, wobbly Euro, Japanese quake, economic stagflation, and the passing of Steve Jobs, 2011 was rocky like Banff. Still, CarEnvy managed to publish over 70 articles and complete a top-to-bottom site redesign. Not bad for a mostly-one-man-show, eh? In that time, we also reviewed 18 cars, a new record for us. So let’s recap the year that was with CarEnvy’s Best and Worst of 2011 including such categories as Worst Car We Reviewed, Best Interview, Best Press Trip, Worst Movie We Saw, and Best Car We Spotted.
Best Car We Reviewed: Porsche Cayman S
Unquestionably, it was the most exciting, engaging, sexy, and expensive car we reviewed this year. It was the one that kicked us in the pants with vitality – as if driving had a purpose beyond the dreary rationality of commuter transport. Of course, it’s the Porsche Cayman S. We had less than an hour behind the wheel, compared to some vehicles we put 1000s of kilometers on, but it immediately established a lofty new benchmark for everything with four wheels.
Worst Car We Reviewed: Scion xD
It would’ve been sensible transport in ’95, class competitive a decade ago, and a bit tired 5 years ago. Today, it’s a whopping whack in the jaw to young buyers. The Scion FR-S and iQ can’t come fast enough for Toyota’s newest sub-brand.
Best Car Video We Watched: Pagani Huayra
The mind-bending active aerodynamic system of the Huarya is quite simply the most jaw-dropping piece of engineering on any new car today. Sure, the Ford Focus and Ferrari 458 Italia have analogous systems, but neither can match the precision and beauty of the tourbillon-like Pagani. That each of the four active panels, two front and two rear, move completely independently yet still in concert, like a razor blade symphony, is pure magic.
Honourable Mention for Best Car Video: Sebastian Vettel
This is what it feels like to fall in love with a pro athlete. He’s so effortlessly affable it hurts. Swoon!
Best Car Movie We Saw: Drive
Ryan Gosling is robustly silent in this cinematic gem. Only this Canadian’s effortless cool could make driving gloves look so right. Despite the title, this movie doesn’t needlessly cut to a chase scene every time the acting is about to go stale – the way the F&F series does – rather, Drive uses the automobile sparingly to enhance the poetic storyline rather than replace it. The electropop 80’s music score was absolutely vivid, helping to tell the story between the sparse morsels of dialogue. Drive was one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated films of the year. No one we talked to much cared for it, yet it was easily one of our favourite movies of 2011, right up there with The Muppets. What was the worst car movie of 2011? Cars 2. A black swan for Pixar if ever there was one.
Best Press Trip: LA Auto Show
Y’know what they say about meeting your idols? Don’t believe it for a second. LA gave us our first taste of a major media day and allowed us to rub shoulders with the finest folks in the business while getting exclusive access to automotive icons like the Aston Martin One-77 (remember your Christmas present from us?). Talk about an honour.
Best Car We Spotted: SLR Stirling Moss
This topless wonder had us sprinting across Potsdamer Platz in Berlin like Usain freaking Bolt. Words cannot begin to describe the utter elation we experienced. It was easily the automotive highlight of our two weeks in Berlin and probably one of the best moments on the whole trip, right up there with our stay at the nhow hotel in funky East Berlin.
Best Interview: Paul Tracy
When you can talk Osama bin Laden, Twitter, Audi at Le Mans, Taylor Swift, and the alimighty NSX with the 2003 Champ Car Champion, you just know you’re in for a treat. And we were. Paul was a gentleman and an average joe all at the same time. We hear he’s decent behind the wheel too.
Most Popular Post of 2011: Ford F-150 Platinum EcoBoost Review
For a car blog based in Alberta’s Heartland, home of the F-150, this should come as no real surprise. We love us some trucks and the new 3.5L twin-turbo engine turns the Platinum into a luxury jetliner for the Prairies. Yeehaw!
That’s all for this year, folks, we hope you enjoyed 2011 as much as we did. Happy New Years and we’ll see you in 2012!