Road & Track’s 2020 Performance Car Of The Year Had A VERY Surprising Winner

As the year draws to an end, all shorts of “car of the year” competitions start to pop up. Many of them come from publications, and one of the most interesting is the one conducted by Road & Track.

To crown their 2020 Performance Car of the Year, the editors brought 11 contenders to California’s Thunderhill Raceway Park circuit. After driving them on the track, they cut them down to six, and took them on a road trip through the Sierra Nevada twisties, by the end of which they declared the winner.

By the way, this year they did things the other way round, as usually they performed the road trip first and ended up with the track test – but, in any case, they all got to sample some of the finest sports cars currently available. Mind you, no hypercars were included, although in the past that rule was bent occasionally, as last year they brought along a McLaren Senna.

Related: Road & Track Names The McLaren 720S The 2018 Performance Car of The Year

Nevertheless, it was a motley crew, with prices ranging from $30k (the Hyundai Veloster N) to $332k (the McLaren 600LT Spider) and power outputs varying wildly, from 181 to 630 HP! So, here’s the list of these year’s participants, in alphabetical order.

BMW M2 Competition
Chevrolet Corvette
Hyundai Veloster N
Lamborghini Huracan Evo
Lexus RC F Track
Lotus Evora GT
Mazda Miata RF Club
McLaren 600LT Spider
Nissan GT-R NISMO
Porsche 911
Toyota Supra

The criteria are way more than sheer speed and track lap times (although they do count); driver feedback and being enjoyable to drive both on the road and the circuit also play a big part in ranking the contenders and, eventually, picking a winner.

Now, every petrolhead would be more than happy with any one of these, but we reckon most would go for something exotic, like the McLaren or the Lambo, or perhaps something more accessible to the average driver, like the Toyota Supra – and let’s not forget the new, mid-engined C8 Corvette that surely has many mouths watering.

In the end, though, there could only be one winner, and we’re willing to bet you’d never guess that this one would take the crown – we know we didn’t anyway. In fact, given the quality of the machines that were competing this year, it is a very big surprise; and you can find it out in the following video.

  • Bash

    Nice, I’m not surprised though. Although the list is very short, many nice cars are missed, but it’s understandable that he can not just -bring them all-!

    • Jason Miller

      At the beginning of the R&T article they explain why several other cars didn’t make the cut.

      • Bash

        Barely!

  • ErnieB

    A classic story of David vs. Goliath where David wins.. beautiful! A win for the underdog!!

    • Six_Tymes

      Hyundai hardly an “underdog”

      • Jason Miller

        Tell that to the “but it’s still a Hyundai” crowd.

  • I’ve driven over half of those cars, most hard on track. The Hyundai I had as my co-pilot Hyundai’s own Mike O’Brien (Product guy). Nice tidy little package, for SURE… but my nod has to go to another/different car that the “N”, to be honest. The Huracan is the most visceral

    • Jason Miller

      But a pain to live with on a daily basis, which is their point.

      • Depends how one arranges one’s day. If you have a Huracan, stand a good chance of NOT commuting to some crappy job… perhaps do as you please. I can “LIVE WITH” the life that enables me to drive a Huracan. 🙂

  • TheBelltower

    What’s a “Road & Track”?

    • Bash

      There is Trim at Dodge line up called Road & Track. I guess its the same thing here. lol, Dodge should sue him. lol

  • db

    I hope I’m not hurting anybody’s feelings at Road & Track but of the eleven contestants here, this would be my last choice to park in my driveway.

    • javier

      i dunno i dig it, there is no way i’m spending big on another car been there done that, it’s not worth it. Waiting for the dsg veloster n, runs hides

      • db

        Knock yourself out, I certainly won’t get in your way.

  • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

    Shame it looks like a dogturd sculpted with a butterknife.

    • Emoto

      LOL

  • Aeromann

    Of course! Its called greenwashing greenfriendly!

  • Carlos Gamarra
  • Knotmyrealname

    Apart from the main story, why is the car seemingly bouncing during the walkaround at the 0:45 second mark?

    • Jason Miller

      Because the person is walking around it?

  • At least they had the Veloster N, unlike Motortrend….Anyway, I would had picked the Tesla Model 3 Performance.

  • Giziclown

    Mazda MX-5 RF as a performance car… RX-7 maybe, oh it hasn’t been in production for 20 years.

  • Ben

    That Mazda RF is a looker. Just needs a procharger and slightly stiffer springs. Another vehicle that’ll add nicely to my “Wait for depreciation list” including Lexus LC500 and Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage.

    • db

      Having had a “regular” Miata in the past, I would say you’d never regret the experience of having one. Driving one is probably the most fun a person can have leaving their clothes on.

      • Stigasawuswrecks

        After owning a 92 Miata with an LS3 swap I can honestly say that I should’ve kept the stock motor in it. I loved revving the nuts off of the motor and not having to worry about speeding compareto worrying about going sideways if I applied more than quarter throttle.

        • db

          Absolutely bang on. As the old saying goes: its more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.

          I recall white knuckle driving, bringing the revs up, then taking a peak at the speedo and I might be, 5 miles over the limit.

          I truly regret selling that car but my wife was scared of it because of its diminutive size. It wouldn’t be so bad if their weren’t so many d*amn pickups and full sized SUVs on the road.

          • Stigasawuswrecks

            Amen to that!

          • db

            Amen…

      • FFEMT6

        And even more fun when driving it naked. 🙊

        • db

          Seatbelt tan lines?

  • TheBelltower

    Always been a fan of the Veloster. It’s like a modern-day CRX Si. Good for Hyundai.

  • db

    Don’t ever pull in and “test-drive” a Miata without meaning to buy one. I know I couldn’t and didn’t.

    • FFEMT6

      The Miata’s seating capacity is the best kind of birth control.

  • europeon

    What did Vice do you? Why aren’t they on your list?

    • If you look back, Gavin Mcinnes Origins still linger

      • europeon

        You’re not proud enough.

        • Is that some kinda “hidden” joke? I don’t like Proudboys, faci ist.. NO KKK in Our streets!

  • Axel Cortez

    from that list I would take home the 911 any day of the week

  • Eric

    The Veloster N is no joke: it lapped VIR something like 4.5s quicker than a Golf R during Car and Driver’s Lightning Lap event this year.

  • drc

    laughable.

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