2013 Volkswagen Golf / GTI
So well-rounded, if quite boxy.
Volkswagen's testosteroid Golf R did its more common kin a favor this year, even though we left the pricey black sheep of the family off our list as too much of an outlier. Volkswagen's venerable hatchback will be replaced in 2014 by an all-new model, and that made its 10Best berth vulnerable. Yet, after we drove the most powerful and expensive Golf ever to grace our shores, the R merely reinforced how complete the Volkswagen Golf experience already is. Offering nearly perfect fundamentals in base form, thrift in its TDI (turbo-diesel) variant, and an obscenely high fun-per-dollar ratio from the GTI, the Golf upends the underachiever's excuse that you can't please all of the people all of the time.