The 'Vette has long been a standout based on the performance-per-dollar metric, and the sixth-generation C6 continues that trend. It's very primitive in some ways---the pushrod engine with 2 valves per cylinder, most obviously---but very advanced in others. Even the base 'Vette offers pavement-wrinkling torque, exceptional handling, beautiful styling, and respectable fuel economy.
I'd go with the Z06 model unless I had cash to burn, in which case the ZR1 would be the only way to go. Even Jeremy Clarkson says you should buy a ZR1 over the Audi R8 V10, because it's a worse car.
Ford Europe has long offered cars that were superior to the Fords we've gotten in the US, at least from the enthusiast's perspective. The Euro Fiesta and Euro Focus were prime examples of this pattern. The aforementioned Mr Clarkson found the UK-market Fiesta to be the perfect vehicle for...certain activities.
Ford has recently decided to bring some of these European products to this side of the Atlantic, and the 2011 Fiesta, scheduled to arrive in the summer, is the first of those. The front fascia was only slightly uglified on the trip across the pond, and the suspension, though re-tuned, is alleged not to be as noodly as previous American products from the Blue Oval. One recent review indicated that the Euro version of the Focus is a better driver's car than the class-leading and fun-to-drive Honda Fit, though not quite as clever with its use of space. Let's hope the US Fiesta live up to that comparison.
I'd choose the 5-door hatchback, of course, though I'm hoping a Focus ST with about 160 BHP is in the pipeline. Actually, this is the Fiesta I really want. Failing that, I'll take this one.
(By the way, the Fiesta shares a platform with the Mazda2, which is coming Stateside in the summer. Cross your fingers that the Mazdaspeed2 is waiting in the wings.)
The CTS is certainly the standout in Caddy's line-up. The sedan has offered luxury, performance, and space comparable to BMW's 5-series, but at 3-series prices. The high-zoot CTS-V, powered by a detuned version of the supercharged LS-series V8 in the Corvette ZR1, even set the fastest time for a production sedan around the Nurburgring. James May certainly enjoyed his time with the CTS-V , even after bemoaning how it rode like a sports sedan, rather than a "proper," floaty Cadillac.
But wait; there's more. More CTS variants, that is. Caddy just began offering a "sport wagon" version, and a coupe configuration will be on sale in a few months. There is expected to be a -V coupe before the end of the year, but I wouldn't hold out hope for a -V wagon. The coupe is gorgeous, although I suspect rearward visibility will be poor.
Sign me up for the CTS-V coupe.
I had to think for a while to come up with a Chrysler vehicle worth owning. Then I remembered the Wrangler. The original Jeep certainly doesn't make a good road vehicle, but it's ideal for four-wheelin'. In my opinon, the entire Jeep line-up should be trimmed down to the Wrangler---in regular and Unlimited (four-door) forms---and a production version of the Wrangler JT pickup concept. I might even include the Grand Cherokee, assuming it had been refocused from soft-roading to off-roading.
Since the JT isn't for sale, I'd take the base 2-door Wrangler; it has everything you need to hit the trail and nothing you don't, all for 22 grand.
This list should not be interpreted as an exhaustive listing of all the worthwhile domestic cars. For example, Chevrolet's Malibu and forthcoming Cruze are reported to be quite good vehicles, and Ford's Fusion, especially the hybrid, may be the best car in it' class. And, speaking of the Blue Oval, the F-150 SVT Raptor certainly offers a unique set of features in stock form.