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MT COTY Watch #2: What measure is a non-car line and is 10 better than 1?

Illustration for article titled MT COTY Watch #2: What measure is a non-car line and is 10 better than 1?

Welcome to my new series where I armchair-opine about stuff that's already happened (in a massive, poorly-formatted wall of text) and hopefully can be bothered to finish it all before the end of the calendar year. This is Part 2 of what will likely be a three-part series; Part 1 can be viewed here.

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Motor Trend and Car and Driver's 2014 MY Best Of awards have at least one thing in common: they both tested the Fiesta ST against the competition. Oh, and they both have almost nothing bad to say about it.

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So what gives? The Fiesta ST made C/D's 10Best, while the same car is stuck with other MT "contenders," which is MT's way of saying it might as well be Rutledge Wood in the Peel verses Sebastian Vettel (though if any of you choose to debate Wood vs. Vettel on driving merits, I'm not going to disagree). Why the discrepancy? Because apparently C/D and MT care differently about what makes a full car-line. Says MT:

Alas, this is Car of the Year, and a performance variant of the lineup does not a lineup make. We asked Ford for other examples of the 2014 Fiesta family, particularly a version featuring Ford's new 1.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged three-cylinder. Ford was not able to provide us either that car or a Fiesta with the 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four. It's too bad, too, because if the 1.0-liter car is as good an entry-level subcompact as the Fiesta ST is a hot hatch, the Fiesta may well have ended up hoisting the Golden Calipers.

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The specific reasons why Ford failed to provide a normal-spec Fiesta will likely never be revealed, and the reasons are plentiful, but one that's surely to be popular among some is the supposition that Ford knew it had a turkey on its hands and was afraid to play with the big boys. Even against the CTS and 'Vette Stingray, I don't think I have to explain why that reason is simply stupid.

It's possible Ford simply didn't have a press car available to review, or (what I think is most likely) the guys and gals at Ford communicating with the MT staff probably misunderstood MT's judging intent and criteria and so they figure best send the hottest trim with the best chance of snagging the Golden Calipers - not knowing that it's so hot they've essentially disqualified themselves from contention.

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I know the purpose of COTY is to determine the best all-around performer and, as such, takes the whole model range into consideration. But in an automotive world where the Escape realistically competes with both Mazdas and Audis, or where the Mustang both undercuts the FR-S and makes the S4 look like a bargain, is that really fair? Or is there a better way to do it?

For that matter, why limit yourself to just one car? Sure, C/D's 10Best hasn't exactly been mistake free though the years but it at least spreads that ideal balance it's claiming to be looking for across a whole bunch of cars and thus avoiding such ridiculousness as essentially saying the best all-around value of that model year being nearly $50,000, $65,000 or well into the six-figure range.

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Of course, choosing one or even ten best out of dozens of cars is extremely complicated, and that's why Angus Mackinzie and Eddie Alterman and their staff get paid big bucks. But beyond mere fun in pontificating, the layman's opinion out there does matter. Who else is going to defend the 525i Gran Turismo in a sea of CTS-Vs and Stingrays?

Ok, maybe bad example.

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