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Car and Driver’s Best Photos of 2020

Why did the last 366 days feel like 366 weeks? We all know why, but it’s almost over now. So rather than dwell on the the worst, let’s remember the best parts from 2020 by going through our very own Car and Driver photo album.

This year we delivered 12,000 calories worth of food to hungry DoorDash subscribers. We tested the quickest production pickup ever. We ferried to remote islands in Michigan’s Great Lakes to test all-terrain vehicles. And although it wasn’t too hard to pretend the world was ending, we debated the best way to spend the last gallon of gas. Here’s what the year looked like, either from behind the camera, or illustrated.

2020 Land Rover Defender 110 SE vs. Drummond Island, MI

Dad might have joked about a man out standing in his field, but photographer John Roe was out standing in Lake Huron to get this shot. The Land Rover Defender 110 trekked across Drummond Island like it grew up there, only to take a freshwater bath in between trailheads. We didn’t tell John about the Upper Peninsula Piranha until after the photoshoot. Or maybe those were just sunfish. We’re not Field & Stream after all.

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2021 Toyota Supra 2.0 Instrumented Test

Toyota sells two versions of its sports coupe. A 382-hp 3.0-liter inline-six like our long-term test car, and a 255-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four. The Supra 2.0 is 1.0 second slower to 60 mph, but it’s $8000 cheaper, and the smaller diameter wheels give it a better ride. But isn’t a four-cylinder Supra a Celica?

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Making Money with DoorDash and Uber Eats Isn’t Easy

Don’t panic, print director Eric Tingwall isn’t actually engulfed in flames, that’s just his shirt. The matching 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse sitting behind him is his daily driver. At least it was the day he earned $8.75 an hour delivering for various apps like Roadie, Uber Eats, and DoorDash. “I bring death to people’s doors: a steady stream of cheeseburgers, pizza, and macaroni and cheese. In just five trips, I move more than 12,000 calories. A TGI Fridays order of onion rings, French fries, and macaroni travels 0.8 mile in the Eclipse’s passenger’s seat. Two macaroni and cheese entrees with a side of macaroni and cheese? I delivered it.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Is This Real Life? E-Racing Takes the Wheel

In the 1990s, NASCAR Legend Dick Trickle smoked cigarettes in his car during caution laps. This year, Formula 1 driver Lando Norris competed in a virtual 24-hour endurance race wearing socks and pajamas. With the majority of this year’s racing red-flagged, both fans and professional drivers raced to Twitch to watch or compete. Life finds a way.

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Mustang Shelby GT500 vs. Camaro ZL1 1LE vs. Challenger Hellcat Redeye

This is what 2207 horsepower looks like. A 797-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody versus a 650-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE versus a 760-hp Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. During a 400-mile trip we averaged, at most, 14 mpg in this group. The smoke in this photo is just the world burning, it’s fine.

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Porsche Taycan Turbo S vs. Tesla Model S Performance: Electric Flattery

Warm Bodies: Vehicles Living Well Past Their Expiration Dates

Some automakers refuse to breathe new life into older models, leaving behind an experience that’s as nostalgic as dial-up internet. The Dodge Journey is fitting example of such rotten goods. Before being discontinued this year, it was still cruising around as a 2020 model powered by a 2.4-liter inline-four with a four-speed automatic.

The Greatest Cars of All Time: 1995 Porsche 911

Our list of the Greatest Cars of All Time celebrates the best since 1955, the same year our magazine was founded as Sports Cars Illustrated, because you can’t be the greatest of all time without having been the greatest in your own time. The 993-generation 911 from the nineties made the cut as it’s the perfect benchmark between beginning and end, a wonderful mix of new and old.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Our Long-Term 2019 Volvo XC60

We covered over 40,000-miles in the China-built 2019 Volvo XC60 to find out what the partnership between Volvo and Chinese automaker Geely had wrought. This XC60 was the first Car and Driver long-term test car built in China. Any concerns over its “Made-in-China” label were eventually silenced by $0 spent in unscheduled maintenance visits.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

BMW 4-Series: Renal Swelling

It’s not the first time BMW has launched a controversial design, and we suspect the nose job on the second-generation BMW 4-series won’t be the last. The historic vertical kidney grille has grown to the size of a liver, and that has made some stomachs ache.

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Our Long-Term 2019 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon

We started our long-term Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon test by completely destroying it. That was new. A not-so-fragile moving company caused $9200 of damage to our parked wagon, and so instead of repairing it, Mercedes-Benz replaced it with an updated 2019 E450 wagon. We couldn’t stop driving it, going as far as 1100 miles south to Daytona Beach, Florida in January to attend the Rolex 24 endurance race at Daytona International Speedway.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

What’s New For 2021: Ford Bronco

Between a global pandemic and a wild presidential election, neither of which we’re sure has ended yet, the world threw everything it could at us this year. But no matter how big a shadow, one bright Cyber Orange off-roader stood out. Of course we’re talking about the highly-anticipated Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport. This was also our cover for the October 2020 print magazine. Look how close everyone parked next to us, just to get a closer look.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon vs. 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD

The expression apples to oranges applies here, only it’s more pepperoncini vs Carolina Reaper where the Toyota RAV4 and Jeep Wrangler Rubicon are concerned. We wanted to find out how far off-road, or in this case, into that pond, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road could go. Surprisingly the RAV4 could take the heat.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

How Kids Become Adults Obsessed with Machines

According to Joyce Alexander, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University, children younger than two years old don’t understand a toy car represents a real-world object. But they’re still drawn to it, and some of those kids grow with that obsession. All of these kids work here.

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2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S Manual Instrumented Test

Porsche expects roughly 20 percent of U.S. buyers to buy the manual version of the 992-generation 911. During our acceleration tests the dual-clutch PDK could shift between first and second gears in as quick as 0.1 second, beating our quickest hands with the manual. The manual 911 is still more fun, even if our test equipment is unable to measure by how much.

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2020 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 vs. Porsche 718 Cayman GT4

Last Gallon of Gas: 2020 Honda Talon 1000R

How would you burn the last gallon of gas on earth? Our senior online editor Mike Sutton chose the 104-hp Honda Talon 1000R as the thrilling way to forever remember fossil fuels by. Fuel range is all about miles per gallon, but in the 1000R it’s also important to consider at how many feet in the air.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV vs. Death Valley Range Anxiety Test

Technical editor Dave Beard put the Chevrolet Bolt’s EPA-estimated 259 miles to the ultimate test–from the bottom of Death Valley up to Whitney Portal. Beard tried everything to avoid failure, from driving 5 mph under the speed limit, to taking his sneakers off to better articulate the gas pedal. His little foot sausages were getting sweaty, having opted to keep the air condition off and the windows up for maximum efficiency.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Fightin’ Dirty: President Donald Trump vs California

When the Clean Air Act was established in the 1970s, the EPA set national standards for air pollution. It also allowed California to set its own stricter rules, which 12 other states have since decide to adopt as well. When President Trump set out to roll back Obama-era federal fuel-economy targets to boost sales, to the surprise of no one, the lawsuits began. As state and federal governments exchanged blows, carmakers and the industry’s future hung in the balance.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

2020 Audi A6 Allroad vs. Beaver Island, MI

Being somewhere remote like Beaver Island is a little like owning a station wagon like the Audi A6 Allroad in the U.S. You won’t see many other people doing the same thing, which is entirely the point.

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Ice Racing In the Austrian Alps

The tow hooks on cars at the GP Ice Race aren’t just for yanking folks from snow banks, they’re also for pulling skiers around the 2000-foot course. 138 cars entered the event, ranging from a Mazda 323 GTR to a Porsche Taycan Turbo S.

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Porsche Museum Motorsport Coordinator Armin Burger, Keeper of the 917s

Armin Burger has a pretty awesome job restoring and maintaining 120 historic race cars, 10 of which are 917s, for the Porsche Museum. The 917K Burger is using as a seat won the 1970 24 Hours of Daytona and the 1971 1000 Kilometers of Spa-Francorchamps. An absolute dream job for any racing enthusiast, and especially one who’s also excited about Porsche’s winning history.

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2021 Ram 1500 TRX vs. 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew

2020 Cadillac CT5-V Instrumented Test

No, the Cadillac CT5-V isn’t a replacement for the 640-hp supercharged V-8 powered CTS-V, but it’s still pretty great. The 360-hp twin-turbo sedan is more of a CTS Vsport replacement, only it’s starting price is $14,000 cheaper, and it’s only 0.4 second slower to 60 mph.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Instrumented Test

This is the back of a 414-hp Porsche Cayman GT4. It’s powered by a naturally-aspirated flat-six engine that revs to 8100 rpm. The front axle is from the GT3, as well as many parts of its rear suspension. It’s a raw driving experiencing, free of any interruption from turbos or automatic gear selection. How good is this thing? Well, it was on the cover of the June 2020 magazine.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

The Art of Replicating Hollywood’s Famous Rides: Bluesmobile

Two men on a mission from God meet a cast of tinkerers who replicate the coolest cars from Hollywood hits. When you’re in the Smoky Mountains, you do smoky burnouts in the Bluesmobile of course.

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Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody Instrumented Test

The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody is the vape pen of the automotive world, and when we tested one in California we couldn’t help but to blow fat clouds. Dodge has spent the last five years putting 700-hp engines into vehicles and it’s hard to see the haters through the burnt Pirelli P Zero-flavored smoke.

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Autonomous-Vehicle Development

Public roads are the new proving ground for development as automakers test how safe their autonomous vehicles are for the public. We’re the guinea pigs at the beginning of a driverless world.

READ MORE ABOUT AUTONOMY HERE

Parts Car: Building The Perfect Car

What if the world was modular and you could simply pluck the best powertrain, brakes, suspension, seats, and engine from every car to combine what would be the perfect modern car? We did that.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

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