Consumers Digest Magazine Names 2008 Automotive Best Buys

    DEERFIELD, Ill., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirty-six vehicles and 13
 companion models received Best Buy ratings from Consumers Digest out of
 some-240 total 2008 models. The ratings, published in CD's December issue
 (on sale November 1), span 10 categories: Small Cars, Family Cars, Luxury
 Cars, Sporty Cars, Trucks, Vans, Compact SUVs, Midsize SUVs,
 Full-Size/Luxury SUVs and Hybrids. The Best Buys -- based on
 behind-the-wheel testing, safety ratings, ownership costs, warranty, price,
 comfort, ergonomics, styling and amenities -- reflect CD's assessment of
 which 2008 vehicles offer the most value for the money.
     Six "Small Cars" received Best Buys: Dodge Caliber, Honda Civic, Honda
 Fit, Jeep Compass, Nissan Versa and Scion xB.
     Eight "Family Car" Best Buys are: Ford Fusion, Ford Taurus, Honda
 Accord, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan, Mercury Sable, Saturn Aura and Toyota
 Camry/Camry Solara.
     Four "Luxury Cars" received Best Buys: Acura TL, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti
 G35 and Lexus LS 460.
     Six "Sporty Cars" Best Buys are: BMW 3-Series, Chevrolet Corvette, Ford
 Mustang, MINI Cooper, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.
     Four "Trucks" and five "Vans" earned Best Buys. Chevrolet Silverado,
 Ford F-150, GMC Sierra and Toyota Tundra are the top pickups, and
 Chrysler's Town & Country, Dodge's Grand Caravan, Honda's Odyssey,
 Hyundai's Entourage and Kia's Sedona are the best van values.
     Three compact SUV Best Buys include: Honda CR-V, Jeep Wrangler and
 Toyota RAV4. Five midsize SUV Best Buys include: Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia,
 Mazda CX-7, Saturn Outlook and Saturn VUE. Full-size/luxury SUV Best Buys
 include: Acura MDX, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
     Four hybrid vehicles rose to the top to earn CD Best Buys: Ford Escape
 Hybrid, Mazda Tribute Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid and Toyota Prius.
     "'Value,' as we see it, is based on purchase price and ownership costs
 relative to quality, performance and subjective factors like comfort and
 design," says Randy Weber, CD's publisher.
     Performance characteristics evaluated comprise starting and
 acceleration, shifting, steering, handling, braking, ride quality and fuel
 economy.
     In contrast to the magazine's tradition of combining compact and
 midsize SUV segments, this year the two categories were split. Rich
 Dzierwa, CD's editor, explains that the decision was based on expansion of
 crossover SUVs. "Consumers gravitated toward the combination of car-like
 ride and SUV utility that crossovers bring to the table. Not surprisingly,
 manufacturers reacted quickly to grow this component of their vehicle line
 up."
     The Consumers Digest Best Buy rating was also applied to hybrid autos
 for the first time. "In the past, we didn't rate hybrids due to a minimal
 number of entries," Dzierwa says. "But today there are 13 true hybrids
 coming off auto makers' production lines. We still would 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 difference in sticker prices based on gas savings."
     The Auto Best Buys section includes photos, invoice pricing, standard
 features and performance traits that support the models' Best Buy selection
 in the collective opinion of CD's veteran automotive editors: Jim Gorzelany
 has served Consumers Digest readers for 20 years, including reporting on
 automotive categories such as crossover SUVs and hybrids; Kevin Kelly is
 senior editor of Automotive Design & Production magazine; Jim Mateja writes
 a weekly Chicago Tribune auto column and has received numerous awards for
 his auto coverage; Matt Nauman served as San Jose Mercury News' auto editor
 and is one of the jurors that picks the North American Car of the Year at
 the annual Detroit auto show.
     "Few purchases are more important, or require more research, than
 buying a new vehicle," says Weber. "Our analyses underscore our commitment
 to ensure consumers are as satisfied with their auto purchase years after
 making it as they were on the day they drove off the lot."
     Consumers Digest, launched in 1960, is designed to inform and educate
 readers so they can buy with confidence, no matter the product or service.
 The magazine is committed to providing practical advice, factual
 evaluations and specific recommendations, leading consumers to exceptional
 values in today's complex marketplace.
 
 

SOURCE Consumers Digest

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