Looking back at the top (and bottom) cars of 2004 | Drive Flashback

Drive team reveals the best and worst cars of 2004

It’s that time of year again, when the Drive team gets to hand out gongs to the best and the worst cars that have graced our roads. After testing over 300 cars in 2004, the team cast their verdict on what they thought was the most impressive and disappointing of the bunch. From a plethora of cars spanning across different categories and price ranges, a definitive list was compiled: “Ten of the Best.” Mazda took the spotlight in 2004, with three of their cars making it to the top 10. Today, we look back 20 years ago to see what the top cars of 2004 were.

Top Cars of 2004

Honda dominated the light-car category for 2004, with none good enough to remove the reigning champion, Mazda 2. Meanwhile, in the Soft-Roader category, Toyota’s Kluger took the crown, taking all one could throw at it off the beaten track. For the Best Mid-sized Car, the Mazda 6 stood out, providing sedan, hatch, and wagon options, as well as offering good value. The Best Large 4WD was given to Mitsubishi for its Pajero, which has continued to impress. In the Small Car category, Mazda’s strong-selling 3 was crowned as the best for its base 2.0-liter four. The Best Luxury Car title went to BMW’s 5-Series, which was praised for its brilliant engines and dynamics, while the Best Prestige Car award went to the Volvo S40/V50 for its cabin quality and strong driving dynamics. Finally, the Porsche 911 was celebrated as the Best Performance Car for its sheer brilliance.

Most Disappointing Cars of 2004

While Drive lauded these standouts, they also didn’t hold back on highlighting the not-so-impressive aspects of 2004’s car offerings. Among the most disappointing cars identified by the Drive team was the lack of interesting offerings from Citroen back in 2004 due to limited availability for test drive.

Top 5 Dumb Things, Top 5 Back-Flips, Top 5 Most Annoying Features

The Drive team listed the Top 5 Dumb Things, the Top 5 Back-Flips, and the Top 5 Most Annoying Features in the 2004 automotive landscape. The Dumb Things, to name a few, included the absence of tow hooks being an optional feature in the Ford Territory and Honda Odyssey having a sash-only seatbelt in the center seating position, which is a big safety compromise. The Top 5 Back-Flips included the Victorian Government finally admitting that their speed cameras had falsely accused drivers of speeding. Meanwhile, the Top 5 Most Annoying features listed irritating things such as key remotes that have the same button for lock and unlock, making it difficult for the driver to determine the car’s locked or unlocked status.

Closing Thoughts

As we look back on the top cars of 2004, it is fascinating to see how the automotive landscape has shifted over the past two decades. These cars may have been at the top of their game back then, but new technologies, advancements, and consumer preferences have since reshaped the industry. The team’s honest and detailed evaluation of the best and worst cars of 2004 provides a fascinating insight into how much the automotive market has evolved over the years.