Nowadays, talking about cars without talking about technology is telling half the story. No longer are cars merely platforms to display optional gadgets. Tech is woven into the automobile just as much as any other component, from laser headlights to digital gauge clusters, collision detection, and looming autonomy. There’s a lot to keep track of as the landscape of cars evolves. If it seems too much to grasp, fret not: Digital Trends’ stalwart crew of car journalists blends its passion for burgeoning tech with its love of the engineering marvels that make up the vehicles we love.
We have the opportunity to drive dozens of amazing cars each year, but without driving them back to back, determining the best in each class is nearly impossible. The Digital Trends Car Awards both celebrate the best cars we’ve driven this year, and give us a chance to see what they’re made of — on equal footing.
This year, we brought 15 of our favorites to Portland, Oregon, where the crew reacquainted themselves with these standout vehicles. We each took turns driving the nominees through the bustling city, along winding highways, and down narrow country roads. Our performance cars even got to stretch their legs beyond the legal limits on Oregon Raceway Park’s twisty track.
For assistance we called on former All Pro Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch — better known as Beast Mode to his friends and fans. Sure, his car of choice is an ’86 Civic, but cut him some slack: Marshawn Lynch loves cars. And we invited Tim Walbridge, president of luxury custom car retailer 503 Motoring and a longtime DT friend, to join the crew.
Picking a winner for each category was still no easy task. With plenty of deliberating to do, the DT Autos team did what we always do when not driving — we poured some drinks, and sat down to argue.