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The group of vehicles loosely referred to as small crossovers is currently the hottest-selling segment in the U.S.
Statisticians refer to groups of similar-value data points as clusters. In fact, there is a field of study known as cluster analysis, which looks to identify common threads linking cluster elements to each other.
We’ve been using the word fastest to describe the best-performing rides tested by Consumer Guide in the past. The word we really should be using is quickest. Technically, a fast car has an impressive top speed, and without a test track, and situated in the Chicago suburbs, top speed was never a metric CG attempted to measure.
Our 1973 list of fastest cars is very different from our 1972 list. The primary reason for the disparity has to do with the variety of vehicles tested by Consumer Guide in the early Seventies.
Fast is a relative term. For 2017, there are a number of vehicles that will make the mad dash from a dead stop to 60 mph in three seconds or less. Count the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Ferrari 488 GTB, and Porsche 911 Turbo among them.
From page 3 of Consumer Guide: Auto Test ’72:
The general auto-buying public is still intent on knowing “how does it run?” And that is what this 1972 Road Test issue of CONSUMER GUIDE is all about. So if you are in the market for a brand new 1972 model, and you want to know how it handles on the highways, how it rates for fuel economy, roominess, quietness, ride or brakes, you have come to the right place.
Depending on who defines it, the automotive “malaise era”—the period of time during which vehicle performance declined steeply, mostly as a result of emissions issues—ended in the early Eighties. That said, what was considered quick by 1983 standards seems pretty quaint today.
Here’s an eye-opening then-and-now comparison for you. The 1981 Lincoln lineup’s sole engine choice was Ford’s corporate 5.0-liter V8. In Lincoln trim, it produced a tepid 130 horsepower, and in the Town Car, it returned a leisurely 14.9 second 0-60 time. Fast-forward 35 years, and Lincoln’s largest sedan, the MKS, scoots to 60 mph in just over five seconds when equipped with the available 365-horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.
Cadillac’s performance-oriented CTS-V has been around for more than a decade now, but the 2016 model shown at the Detroit Auto Show is by far the hottest yet.
Even in this new age of muscle cars, it’s still surprising that one of the quickest and fastest of them is a 4-door sedan. And that the 4-door sedan in question costs just $70,000.
But that’s the story behind the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.