Monday, November 05, 2007

Consumers Digest Names Best Buys

Consumers Digest Names Best Buys

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Late last week, Consumers Digest released its Best Buy ratings for 2008 model-year vehicles.

Thirty-six vehicles and 13 additional models earned recognition across 10 categories, according to officials.

Receiving honors were:

-Small cars: Dodge Caliber, Honda Civic, Honda Fit, Jeep Compass, Nissan Versa, Scion xB

-Family cars: Ford Fusion, Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan, Mercury Sable, Saturn Aura, Toyota Camry/Camry Solara

-Luxury cars: Acura TL, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti G35, Lexus LS 460

-Sports cars: BMW 3-Series, Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, MINI Cooper, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky

-Trucks: Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra, Toyota Tundra

-Vans: Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Entourage, Kia Sedona

-Compact SUVs: Honda CR-V, Jeep Wrangler, Toyota RAV4

-Midsize SUVs: Buick Enclave, GMC Arcadia, Mazda CX-7, Saturn Outlook, Saturn VUE

-Full-size/luxury SUVs: Acura MDX, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Mercedes-Benz M-Class

-Hybrids: Ford Escape Hybrid, Mazda Tribute Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Toyota Prius

Ratings are derived from test driving, safety ratings, ownership costs, warranty, price, comfort, ergonomics, style and amenities, according to the publication.

Some of the performance values tested are starting and acceleration, braking, gear shifting, steering, handling, ride quality and fuel economy.

"'Value,' as we see it, is based on purchase price and ownership costs relative to quality performance and subjective factors like comfort and design," commented Randy Weber, publisher.

"Few purchases are more important, or require more research, than buying a new vehicle," Weber added. "Our analyses underscore our commitment to ensure consumers are as satisfied with their auto purchase years after making it as they were the day they drove off the lot."

Different this year was the split between midsize and compact SUVs and the addition of the hybrid category, officials noted. The division among SUVs was due to an increase in crossover SUVs, explained Rich Dzierwa, the magazine's editor.

"Consumers gravitated toward the combination of car-like ride and SUV utility that crossovers bring to the table," Dzierwa pointed out. "Not surprisingly, manufactures reacted quickly to grow this component of their vehicle lineup."

Market demands also accounted for the addition of the hybrid category. As Dzierwa notes, a low number of entries kept hybrids out of the report, but now there are 13 hybrids on the market.

"We would still remind consumers that a hybrid carries a price of some $2,000 more than a conventional version of the same vehicle and that it could take six or seven years or more to recoup the sticker prices on gas savings," Dzierwa added.

November 05, 2007

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