My Favorite Vehicles of The Victory & Reseda Era

The last Victory & Reseda 10th Anniversary Favorites Lists were tough ones to compile. 

You can imagine how many contenders were for each year. Selecting one was tough, but I also did not want to repeat myself year-after-year with the same vehicle or brand. That was how the last list was set up. 

In this list, I’m going for it. These are the absolutely my favorite vehicles ever published for Victory & Reseda. 

If you’re a longtime reader of this website, you may have already guessed which vehicles will make this list. There may be some surprises, but that’s all a part of this work. Sometimes a vehicle will surprise you. 

This is it. No turning back. The celebration continues with this list. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2012-2014 ACURA TL: This was the car that evoked an old relationship with a brand. This mid-sized luxury sedan may have been softened for some audiences, but I found a lot of the spirit of my old 1991 Integra behind the wheel. Even in this more luxurious package, the kinship with the brand came alive for me. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2019-Current ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE: This is as far from James Bond as you get. Yet, it is the right turn for the company that brought us the iconic DB5 of 007 fame. This car represents the solution to a physics challenge – to create a true center of gravity by pushing the engine towards the cabin. The result is the best lateral handling ever engineered in years. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2015-Current DODGE CHARGER: This is a car that continuously deliver on performance satisfaction and overall happiness. The big, brutish sedan continues to engage Moparians to its charms, whether it is a Pentastar V6-powered, all-wheel-drive model or one powered by the Hellcat engine. I found this car to help frame this work with one loud exhaust note – simply music to my ears!

Photo by Randy Stern

2015-Current FORD MUSTANG: This is an American icon that went global. I felt that we benefitted from the car’s globalization, by balancing the wants of the rest of the world without compromising what Americans wanted from it. The result is an icon that was – and continues – to satisfy the dreams of many car enthusiasts. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2015-2020 HYUNDAI GENESIS/GENESIS G80: It is the car that launched a spin-off brand. The second generation Genesis established a new design language for a brand that Hyundai have been considering at the time of its launch. Little did we know that it would take off the way it did. With five models under its own brand, we can thank this luxury sedan for everything. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2021-Current KIA K5: The Optima this sedan replaced was already a very good mid-size family sedan. The design was advanced for its time, while accommodating 4-5 people inside of it. The K5 took this idea to the next level. They showed a new design philosophy to go with its new brand image. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable car behind the wheel. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2019-Current KIA TELLURIDE: It won every award possible – including our own #VOTY19. For good reason. If families wanted the perfect three-row SUV without resorting to something bigger, this is it! It is not about space, comfort, and performance. Rather, overall execution. It is the reason why there is still a high demand for one – even right now.  

Photo by Randy Stern

2017-2020 LEXUS GS F: There was a time when I debated between this sedan and the RC F coupe. This also makes this list because it exuded all of the qualities of the performance coupe, but in a larger sedan. The result is a smoother ride through its longer wheelbase, a more relaxed driving position, with all of the great qualities that were found on the RC F. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2011 LEXUS IS: You never forget your first review vehicle. This one set the tone for these past ten years in terms of expectations and benchmarks. While some enthusiasts would focus on the IS F of this generation, if you have never driven any Lexus before, the IS 250C would be a great start. It was ten years ago. Who knew it would launch dozens of ships from there?

Photo by Randy Stern

2013-2017 LEXUS LS 460: The first Lexus was already in its fourth generation when I fin ally got to drive it. It was worth the wait. Pure luxury from a sedan that encourages you to relax at speed. It was so soft, so smooth, so quiet…just as I always imagined a luxury flagship should always be. Sometimes you have to spoil yourself to experience this kind of elegance. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2015-Current LEXUS RC F: One car provided a moment of when this website – and career – pivoted for good. This was the benchmark for accessible and attainable performance. This performance coupe combined muscle-car performance with a classic coupe profile and Japanese engineering and technology. The result can be best described as phenomenal. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2019-Current MAZDA3: Going upmarket means having to say good-bye to the “Zoom-Zoom” legacy of this compact car made for enthusiasts. What I found in this Mazda3 was the effort towards engaging premium small car buyers was beyond all expectations. I found this car to be the right combination of all things that drive’s one ambition towards higher status.

Photo by Randy Stern

2014-Current MAZDA6: This was a pivotal car for the Hiroshima-based brand. It combined the principles of KODO, Skyactiv, and “Feel Alive” and melded it into a touring-type mid-sized sedan that pushed design and driving dynamics boundaries for the class. In return, it provided absolute driving satisfaction every time I took the wheel of one. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2017 PORSCHE 911: I have driven Porsches for publication over these ten years. However, there is a certain model that one must experience before they leave this planet. The iconic 911 went through various iterations, while retaining its signature shape. When I finally got to drive one, it was on the 991.2 generation. Say what you will about that generation, I simply enjoyed the experience. 

Photo by Nathan Lawatiec/Nathan Lawatiec Photography

2012-Current RAM 1500: For two generations, this became a pickup truck that demonstrated its ability to push the boundaries of the genre. A pickup truck that offers four-wheel independent suspension with available air ride and load leveling. A vehicle with high quality interiors, excellent infotainment technology, and a mild hybrid system that actually works. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2018-Current TOYOTA CAMRY: This was the vehicle that Akio Toyoda began his campaign to create “no more boring cars” with. Not only has it strayed away from being milqetoast, but it also became a “go-to” vehicle when it comes down to traveling anywhere. The comfort, the ride, the fuel economy – all setting benchmarks when it comes to relaxed driving anywhere. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2020-Current TOYOTA GR SUPRA: To some, this may be the best BMW that is not sold as one. To others, this might be an affront to the legend that preceded it. To me, it is one of the best experiences one should have behind the wheel. This is what I always imagined what a sports car should be with its overall performance. That is why you made it #VOTY2020. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2019-Current VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON: For a car that is being sold as a niche model, it has a lot to offer. Think of the combination of performance, practicality, stunning design, and a wonderful driving experience. To be honest, it should be finding more homes. After all, what Volkswagen can say it can strut its stuff and still satisfies the soul?

Photo by Randy Stern

2015-2021 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF: The seventh generation Golf pushed the boundaries of its global success story towards upping its game across the board. The GTI pushed performance upwards in this generation, while maintaining its place as the original hot hatch. The Golf R pushes these boundaries into a new dimension. That is the MkVII Golf in a nutshell. 

Photo by Randy Stern

2017-Current VOLVO XC90: Volvo needed a reboot. With Geely’s money, they executed a strategy to reinvent themselves and their products. It all began with the XC90. This three-row mid-sized luxury SUV set the design language and performance benchmarks for all current Volvo vehicles to follow. The result was absolute excellence. 

These are just the top 20…yes, 20…of my favorite vehicles over these past 10 years. No wonder why compiling such a list has been proven difficult!. But, here they are…some of the vehicles that defined these past ten years for me.

This work continues. The vehicles will get better. The stories will continue to be told.

Cover photo by Randy Stern

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