Thirty-seven vehicles and eight companion models received Best Buy ratings from Consumers Digest for the 2014 model year. The ratings, which are published in CD's December issue (on sale Nov. 1) and are available at ConsumersDigest.com, span 12 categories: subcompacts, compacts, family cars, luxury cars, sporty cars, hybrids, minivans, compact SUVs, midsize SUVs, full-size SUVs, luxury SUVs and pickups. The Best Buys—based on behind-the-wheel driving experience, safety ratings, ownership costs, warranty, price, comfort, ergonomics and amenities—reflect CD's view of which 2014 vehicles offer exceptional all-around value for the money.
2014 Automotive Best Buys
3 "Subcompacts": Chevrolet Sonic, Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta 3 "Compacts": Ford Focus, Kia Soul, Mazda3 7 "Family Cars": Chevrolet Impala, Ford Fusion/Lincoln MKZ, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata/Kia Optima, Mazda6 4 "Luxury Cars": Audi A6, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, Chrysler 300 5 "Sporty Cars": Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Ford Mustang, Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ 3 "Hybrids": Ford Fusion Hybrid/Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Toyota Prius 3 "Minivans": Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey 4 "Compact SUVs": Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 3 "Midsize SUVs": Honda Pilot, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder 5 "Full-size SUVs": Buick Enclave/Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Acadia, Dodge Durango, Mazda CX-9 3 "Luxury SUVs": Acura MDX, Acura RDX, Infiniti QX60 2 "Pickups": Ford F-150 and Ram 1500
"Value, as we see it, is based on purchase price and ownership costs relative to quality, performance and subjective factors, such as comfort and design," said Randy Weber, CD's publisher.
Performance characteristics that were evaluated include starting and acceleration, shifting, steering and handling, braking, ride quality and fuel economy. Design factors that were considered include interior ergonomics, seating configuration and flexibility, accessories and amenities, fit and finish and cargo space.
Of note among CD's Best Buys for the 2014 model year, the automakers from Japan and Korea combined to garner a 10 percentage point increase in the number of Best Buys that their vehicles were awarded (18) over the number of 2013-model-year recommendations that their vehicles received. The 40 percent of 2014 CD Best Buys for the Asian automakers is the largest percentage for the group since its vehicles represented 42 percent of all Best Buys for the 2009 model year.
The percentage of Best Buys that were awarded to 2014 vehicles that were manufactured by U.S. automakers dipped to 53.3 percent from 60.5 percent for the 2013 model year.
Despite the slide by the Americans, vehicles that were made by General Motors received 10 Best Buys. Ford Motor vehicles received eight recommendations, and the Chrysler family of brands received seven.
Consumers Digest's Automotive Best Buys report includes invoice pricing, standard features and performance traits that support the models' Best Buy recommendation in the collective opinion of CD's veteran automotive editors: Dan Carney has reviewed vehicles for Motor Trend and Popular Mechanics, among others, and is a former president of Washington Automotive Press Association; Susan Carpenter has reviewed vehicles for the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register; Jim Gorzelany has served Consumers Digest readers for 27 years; Marlon Hanson is president of Texas Automotive Media Association; award-winning reporter Jim Mateja writes a weekly Chicago Tribune automotive column; Courtney Messenbaugh has written reviews for MotherProof.com and other websites.
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