Tesla, Ford were among 2012's best in autos

The Tesla Model S was the breakout car The Tesla Model S was the breakout car of 2013. Photo Credit: Tesla

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Automobiles occupy an outsized chunk of my time. When you drive as many as three new cars a week, every week, slamming doors, pinching leather, evaluating gas mileage and figuring out how the radio works, the small stuff matters. I love the smart, outrageous and practical; and am exasperated by the wrongheaded, timid and abstruse.

Looking back on the past year, I rarely remember what happened in any given month. Instead I recall the first time I stepped inside the Tesla Model S (good) or tried to use Cadillac’s Cue infotainment system (not so good). Here are a few of the cars and features that I liked, and some I didn’t.

Breakout of the Year: The Tesla Model S.

An all-electric sedan with good range, it’s fast and handles well, even on a racetrack. It seats five adults comfortably and has a gorgeous cabin.

The well-optioned model I tested came to $102,000, about the same as a decently-optioned Porsche Panamera. For that you get a suite of gee-whiz electronics, including the most advanced touch-screen system I’ve ever experienced.