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Motor Trend referenced Chevy Vega in its 2022 COTY article for Lucid Air:

Motor Trend said:
Many judges expressed dire concern that if Lucid fails to rectify the many wonky quirks our prototype suffered, the brand and car could go down in history as a 21st century Tucker or Chevy Vega
Is Motor Trend tacitly implying that their pick for 1971 COTY was a mistake?
 

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Chevy Citation? You mean the 1980 Motor Trend Car of The Year winner?
The Renault-AMC Alliance comes to mind....
Here's what Motor Trend had to say about those two cars:

1980 Chevrolet Citation:
The obvious reason for the selection of the Chevrolet Citation as the 1980 Motor Trend Car of the Year is that its score at the conclusion of our testing was the highest of all the cars nominated. It won on merit.
Underlying the facts and figures, however, was the realization that this car represents a clean break with the past and clearly points to the future of the American automobile. This can also be said of the other X-body cars that we evaluated. But the Citation proved to be first among its equals because it outperformed them in enough categories -- fuel economy and braking to name two -- to take the top spot.

1983 AMC/Renault Alliance:
It's always good to see a winner thoroughly dominate the Car of the Year competition. Besides scotching any doubts we may have harbored, a unanimous result is usually a sign of a completely engineered automobile. The Alliance is the first new product to come from the AMC-Renault product to come from the car's performance; the two partners seem to work well with each other.


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