Auto best buys

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 100 views 

Consumers Digest reviewed about 240 car and truck models for 2010 and selected 36 for its closely watched “Best Buy” rating.

“We really feel for the people across the country who are suffering through some tough times financially,” Randy Weber, Consumer Digest publisher, said in a statement. “We also know that some of them will have to purchase a new vehicle soon, and we hope that they take advantage of the work we have done on their behalf so that they get the most value possible out of their purchase.”

Consumers Digest considers automotive value to be based on purchase price and ownership costs relative to quality, performance and subjective factors like comfort and design. Performance characteristics evaluated include starting and acceleration, shifting, steering, handling, braking, ride quality and fuel economy.

Best Buys awarded to U.S. automakers increased to 31 from 24 a year ago for the 2010 model year. Best Buys for vehicles from Asian automakers decreased by eight, to 14 Best Buy models from 22. Seven brands — all U.S. — saw their totals increase. Chevy has seven Best Buys for the 2010 model year (up from five for the 2009 model year), and Ford has seven (up from four). Buick, Cadillac, Lincoln and Mercury have an additional Best Buy versus the 2009 model year awards. Mercury has three Best Buys, the others two each.

Following are the winners in 10 categories reviewed by Consumers Digest.
• Five "Small Cars" received Best Buys: Honda Fit, Kia Soul, Mazda3, Nissan Versa and Toyota Corolla.

• Seven "Family Car" Best Buys are: Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan and Toyota Camry.

• Four "Luxury Cars" received Best Buys: Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Genesis sedan and Lincoln MKS.

• Five "Sporty Cars" Best Buys are: Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, MINI Cooper/Cooper Clubman and Nissan 370Z.

• Four "Pickups" and five "Minivans" earned Best Buys: Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Dodge Ram 1500, Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra 1500 are the top pickups, and Chrysler’s Town & Country, Dodge’s Grand Caravan, Honda’s Odyssey, Kia’s Sedona and Volkswagen’s Routan are the best minivan values.

• Six "Compact SUV" Best Buys include: Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Mazda Tribute, Mercury Mariner and Nissan Rogue. Five "Midsize SUV" Best Buys include: Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Flex, GMC Acadia and Mazda CX-7. "Full-size/Luxury SUV" Best Buys include: Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Volvo XC60.

• Three "Hybrid" Best Buys include: Ford Fusion Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid and Toyota Prius.