Late last week, MotorTrend announced which cars are finalists in its 2021 Car of the Year competition. We still don’t know which one is the winner, but we do know it will be one of these six: the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, Hyundai Sonata, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Nissan Sentra, or Porsche Taycan. Talk about variety.
Regardless of which car eventually earns MotorTrend‘s 2021 Car of the Year award, all of the finalists are worth taking a closer look at. What did the in-depth testing turn up? What did the reviewers think? Let’s start with the 2020 Porsche Taycan.
What the Porsche Taycan gets right
It’s been on the horizon for years, but Porsche’s first long-range electric car is finally here. And the good news for Taycan fans is that there really is a lot to like here. Reviewers loved the styling (both inside and out), the fact that it actually handled like a real Porsche, and how insanely quick it was. A quarter-mile time of 10.3 seconds at 133 mph? Yes, please.
“What a fantastic car,” said one reviewer. “The acceleration, the handling, the steering — it all makes sense. It’s the car I want to continue driving for hours. It’s the one that gives you confidence at the wheel to keep going for more.” That’s tall praise for any car, but it’s especially rare for that kind of praise to be directed at an EV.
Another reviewer also made that point better than we could. “Despite all the corporate speak about ‘Our DNA,’ most electric vehicles don’t feel anything like the automaker that built them. If anybody was trying to create a seamless transition from internal combustion to electric, Porsche has succeeded,” they wrote.
What the Porsche Taycan gets wrong
Even after all that praise, the reviewers ended up having several criticisms of the Taycan. First, it’s very expensive. At $146,000, it’s expensive even by Porsche standards, it’s expensive. It also gets a surprisingly low MPGe rating and comes up short on overall range. Granted, you’ll probably go further than the EPA range in real-world driving, but still. If you care about range, Teslas are still the EVs to beat.
One reviewer was especially critical of the Taycan’s efficiency, saying, “You are looking at the least efficient fully electric vehicle currently produced today, period. You shouldn’t get a prize for just showing up.” On the one hand, we want to push back and say no one criticizes a Ferrari for poor gas mileage. But on the other hand, the EPA rates the least-efficient Tesla Model S at 97 MPGe. The most-efficient Taycan, meanwhile, is only rated to get 69 MPGe. That’s a big difference.
As far as range goes, MotorTrend didn’t just take the EPA at its word and leave it at that. They were able to show the Taycan has a better real-world range than it would seem. But as the review says, “Now, we know the EPA range ratings are off — we achieved 254 miles twice in two tests — but even that result is 100 miles less than you’d get with that Tesla. Also, we all hate the shadeless glass roof.”
We’ll admit we still haven’t driven the Taycan, but from the sound of it, you’re all but guaranteed to love it if you want a ridiculously quick electric sport sedan. You just have to be OK with using a little more electricity to get to the store, having to recharge more frequently, and paying six figures for the privilege.