Doing these roundups is always fun. Flipping through the pages of stories written in a year is kind of like going through a photo album. And this year was full of some wild memories driving amazing cars in astonishing places. I even ticked off a couple of bucket-list items, and was happy to bring you along for the ride. So for one more time this year, let’s play the hits.
Sliding in at the end of the year was a wild whirlwind of a trip on one of the most historic driving routes in the world. And it turns out that the BRZ and WRX are just about perfect for the job, or any sporty job.
This was easily my favorite thing I did this year, and it came at the end of a really excellent week in Tokyo. For years I’ve wanted to visit Daikoku PA, as it’s a hot spot for car enthusiasts to meet and show off in the Tokyo area. It didn’t disappoint. Great cars and meeting a friend all made it a shoe-in for my highlight of the year.
Part of that fantastic week in Tokyo involved experiencing the wildest technological magic trick I’ve experienced. An EV, with a single speed, was drivable, and convincing, as a six-speed manual internal combustion car. I don’t know what practical use there is for it, but it was cool to experience.
Another fascinating prototype I drove from Toyota was one that was fully hand-controlled. It worked impressively well, and seems like a great option for people with limited use of their legs. It also was my first experience with fast-ratio steer-by-wire, and I came away quite liking it.
I’m bringing this up because this was my favorite racing game I played this year. Yes, I enjoyed it more than “Forza Motorsport.” You should give it a try.
Toyota, I want this. You need to build it. That’s why it’s on my list. Build. It.
I graduated from McPherson College, and I was glad to have been able to see the college bring home an award from Pebble Beach. A lot of work went into that car.
Short of an actual (or really good replica) “Herbie,” the yellow Apollo GT or “Thorndyke Special” would be the car I’d want from one of my all-time favorite movies, “The Love Bug.” It was fun to dream a little, and to learn that one of the movie cars still exists.
It feels like the number of really affordable cars is shrinking quickly, especially fun ones. So it was a wonderful surprise to discover that a basic Jetta with a manual transmission is a cheerful little budget machine, and one with enough refinement to feel like it’s not a budget machine.
Auto shows often give us a chance to get familiar with cars that might not have reached our driveways for testing. And that time allowed me to discover some of the more sneaky design details of the Hyundai Ioniq 6, as well as test some theories I had about all those little pixel squares everywhere. And then later, I learned that the 6 is one of my favorite E-GMP cars.