Cadillac CTS finishes first in our list of 2011’s best cars. This luxury coupe had close competitors in the Mercedes Class C, Ford F-Series, and Lincoln MKT.
2011 was a great year—for cars. It was a time when customers were hungry for affordable, technologically advanced vehicles and automakers delivered—the result: A selection of vehicles, appetizing from any angle.
To walk you through the best makes of 2011, we've has created this handy guide. From angular track stars to smooth SUVs, here are the best cars of 2011.
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The best cars of 2011
From show-stopping coupes to tree-hauling pick-ups, 2011 came with no shortage of automotive delights and surprises. Here are the top seven cars of 2011.
The best car of 2011: Cadillac CTS
KBB fair market range: $4,133 to $11,040
Powertrain: 3.0-liter V6, 270 hp at 7,000 RPM
An affordable, nimble, luxurious mid-sized car might seem like a pipe-dream for most auto enthusiasts, but the 2011 Cadillac CTS truly delivered on all fronts. A powerful engine, roomy interior, and unbeatable handling make it a no-brainer for the top spot on our list.
Cadillac's first modern venture into the low-end luxury sedan came with excellent safety ratings and a refined interior design—but that's not all! The 270-horsepower V6 engine made for exhilarating driving, while the optional hatchback design offered a luxurious load of space.
A $35,345 asking price kept the CTS in the range of competitors like the Acura TL and BMW 5 series. Still, if you ask us, nothing beats the athletic prowess and design of the CTS.
The best luxury car of 2011: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
KBB fair market range: $9,828 to $10,947
Powertrain: 3.0-liter V6, 228 hp at 7,000 RPM
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class gave drivers more than just luxury stylings, plushy interiors, and advanced (for the time) technology—it was also (and still is) undeniably fun to drive. The C-Class came with two available engines: a 3.0-Liter V6 and a 3.6-Liter V6. While it’s worth mentioning for its extra horsepower, either engine supplied enough power for a punchy drive.
The C-Class offers everything you’d expect from a luxury vehicle—plus unmatched refinement. This midsize sedan may have been built over a decade ago, but you could probably get half a century out of it.
The best SUV of 2011: Mazda CX-9
KBB fair market range: $4,235 to $12,458
Powertrain: 3.7-Liter V6, 273 hp at 6250 RPM
When you think Mazda, you think of fun, stylish, and engaging vehicles, a few things not often associated with Crossovers. Luckily, the 2011
Mazda CX-9, with its sporty performance and sturdy build, didn’t just come to play—it came to win.
Stylistic choices like the “smile grill” gave the CX-9 loads of personality, while the 3.6-Liter v6 engine gave drivers plenty to smile about. The 2011 model also improved fuel economy over past iterations, expanding the CX-9’s longevity.
The best luxury SUV of 2011: Lincoln MKT
KBB fair market range: $13,966-$16,779
Powertrain: 3.7-Liter V6, 268 hp at 6250 RPM
Lincoln MKT offered new advantages while harkening back to the golden years of Lincoln luxury. The Three-row SUV came with a laundry list of high-tech, powerful, and custom options—like an optional twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine.
At the time, $45,000 was a steep asking price for base MKT. Times have changed, though. Now's the best moment to pick up this competently luxurious crossover.
The best family car of 2011: Toyota Rav4
KBB fair market range: $5,820 to $15,299
Powertrain: 2.5-liter, 179-horsepower DOHC inline-four
Toyota Rav4 didn’t come off the line with many new additions to the subcompact SUV formula. Nor did 2011 buyers rush to the dealership to test drive one. That's a shame, though. While the 2011 Rav4 didn’t have as many flashy upgrades as its competitors—it was refined like no other.
This incredibly affordable family car offered best-in-class reliability when many automakers prioritized chasing what’s hot. Roomy seating and a spacious cargo area make the 2011 Rav4 an easy recommendation for those with lots of small items.
The best sports car of 2011: Porsche Boxster Spyder
KBB fair market range: $13,981 to $31,941
Powertrain: 3.4-Liter Flat V6, 320 hp at 7,200 RPM
With serious revisions to Mazda Miata, BMW Z4, and Mercedes Benz-SL, 2011 was undeniably the year of the roadster. What tops this chart? For us, there’s no competition for the 2011
Porsche Boxster Spyder.
This slick, highly customizable road-warrior debuted at a slightly lower asking price than the previous model. However, drivers received the same top-notch performance, sublime steering, and luxurious interior they expect from the Porsche brand.
The Porsche Boxster may be the best roadster on the road, but the 2011 model is arguably the best Boxster released this past decade. With so many used options, you’re bound to get a good bang for your buck.
The best truck of 2011: Ford F-150
KBB fair market range: $5,777 to $29,214
Powertrain: 230 hp 3.3-Liter V6
By all accounts, the
Ford F-150 is an excellent all-around full-sized pick-up. It’s got a handsome figure, innovative design, and lots of room for customization. What the F-series didn’t have until 2011 was a great performance.
In 2011, Ford upgraded the F-150 engine. For starters, drivers were given a new 302-horsepower 3.7-Liter V6 engine—V8 and twin-turbo V7 upgrades available. The Ford F-150 has always been a best-selling pick-up, but 2011’s engine upgrades launched the F-series beyond competitors like the
Chevy Silverado and
GMC Sierra 1500.
What cars came out in 2011?
Our list highlights the best cars of 2011—most of which, like the Ford F-150 and Toyota Rav4, were tremendous redesigns of automotive classics. However, 2011 brought plenty of new cars into the running too. Below, we’ll cover the best new vehicles of 2011 that didn’t make our list.
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