Consumers Digest Names Automotive Best Buys For 2004

Nov 01, 2003, 00:00 ET from Consumers Digest

    SKOKIE, Ill., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirty-eight vehicles have received
 Best Buy ratings from Consumers Digest magazine out of 238 total for the 2004
 model year. The ratings, published in Consumers Digest's November/December
 issue, span seven categories: Small Cars, Family Cars, Luxury Cars, Sporty
 Cars, Trucks, Vans, Compact/Midsize SUVs and Luxury/Fullsize SUVs. The Best
 Buys -- based on behind-the-wheel testing, safety ratings, ownership costs,
 warranty, purchase price, comfort, ergonomics, styling and amenities --
 reflect the magazine's assessment of which 2004 vehicles offer the most value
 for the money.
     Six "Small Cars" received Best Buys: Chrysler PT Cruiser, Honda Civic,
 Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix, Suzuki Aerio and Toyota Corolla.
     The five "Family Car" Best Buys are: Buick Century, Ford Crown Victoria,
 Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.
     Four "Luxury Cars" received Best Buy ratings: Acura TL, Audi A4, Buick
 LeSabre and Toyota Avalon.
     Among six "Sporty Cars" receiving Best Buys was the Dodge
 Stratus/Mitsubishi Eclipse, Infiniti G35, Mazda RX-8, MINI Cooper and Volvo
     Three "Trucks" and three "Vans" earned Best Buys. The Chevrolet Avalanche,
 Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra top the list of pickup trucks, and Dodge's
 Caravan, Honda's Odyssey and Toyota's Sienna are recognized as the best van
     Consumers Digest divides SUVs into compact/midsize and luxury/fullsize
 models. Of the former, five Best Buys were announced: Ford Escape/Mazda
 Tribute, Honda Element, Suzuki XL-7 and Toyota Highlander. Luxury/fullsize SUV
 Best Buys include the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon, Infiniti FX35/45 and
 Volkswagen Touareg.
     "'Value,' as we see it, is based on a vehicle's purchase price and
 ownership costs relative to more subjective factors, like performance and
 design," says Randy Weber, publisher, Consumers Digest.
     Among design factors considered, Weber says, are interior ergonomics,
 seating, accessories and cargo space. Performance characteristics evaluated
 include starting and acceleration, shifting, steering and handling, braking,
 ride quality and fuel economy.
     Insurance-industry ratings, crash-test results and government findings
 contribute to the magazine's assessment of vehicle safety.
     The automotive Best Buys appear in a special center-section of the issue.
 Accompanying photos of the vehicles and their "list" and "invoice" price
 ranges are features and performance traits that support the models' Best Buy
 selection in the collective opinion of the magazine's veteran automotive
 editors: Jim Gorzelany, Kevin Kelly and Jay Koblenz.
     "Few purchases are more important -- and require more solid research --
 than buying a new automobile," says Weber. "Our comprehensive analyses and
 careful evaluation of information 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 1959, is designed to 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 that lead consumers to exceptional values in today's complex

SOURCE Consumers Digest