It’s become de rigueur to declare driving dead. If we are headed for autonomous transport, ask the pundits, why bother having fun behind the wheel? Just clamber into your soulless people hauler, select “Stultifying Ambient Tedium” on your Pandora playlist, and tune out.
At Motor Trend, dear reader, we are not ready to give up the fight even if the morning commute is more slog than slalom, more torture than torque. We contend that a schlep through shoreline traffic should not extinguish individuality.
Driving great distances because you can is a deep-rooted American tradition. It is the declaration of independence of the industrial revolution. It is our automotive destiny. We embrace the decreasing-radius corner, the back road’s unexpected undulation, the hairpin with a dusting of gravel at the apex.
At a time when the formulaic commoditization of cars is not only expected but also a standard feature, we rebel. We are not ready to relegate our cars to the status quo of an A-to-B anachronism of conveyance. We believe in the necessity of passion and finding your heart’s desire. There is still time—time to instill joy, lust, rivalry, and good cheer.
For those who won’t settle for ubiquity, we present the 2018 Motor Trend Car of the Year: the Alfa Romeo Giulia.
No less a luminary than Henry Ford, the inventor of the mass-production automobile, once said: “When I see an Alfa Romeo go by, I tip my hat.”
Mr. Ford knew there was something special about the car that carries the cross-and-serpent badge, the company where Enzo Ferrari proudly got his start in racing before hanging his own shingle.
The Quadrifoglio version then eviscerated its rival BMW M3, Cadillac ATS-V, and Mercedes C63 S super sedan entrants in a four-way comparison on streets and at the racetrack.
And in Best Driver’s Car against 11 supercars, sports cars, and six-figure grand tourers, the Quadrifoglio (the lone sedan) finished in a respectable sixth.
Each successive time we drove the Giulia, through summer’s ripening breath, our enthusiasm grew.
But those are minor points. Our peckish panel of judges had similar quibbles with every car in this year’s field. The Giulia was the only vehicle whose essence enraptured the jury with its charm and unbridled zeal for driving. Nearly every judge uttered the word “love” when describing this car. “I would be so happy if every day I got to be in this car,” senior features editor Jonny Lieberman says.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo told us that his shimmering Juliet “doth teach the torches to burn bright.” And so we compare thee, beautiful, passionate Alfa Romeo Giulia—your styling, road manners, and sheer sensuality of driving.
After we had tested all the finalists, we deliberated their attributes. MacKenzie noted, even to those who might not vote for Giulia in first place: “Look at all the smiles. This car makes you smile.”
A Car of the Year should evoke such strong emotion. For those who feel that the journey is as important as the destination, your chariot awaits.