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 S60R/V70R. 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 values. 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 marketplace.
SOURCE Consumers Digest