Consumers Digest Magazine Names 2011 Automotive Best Buys

Nov 01, 2010, 08:00 ET from Consumers Digest

DEERFIELD, Ill., Nov. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirty-five vehicles and seven companion models received Best Buy ratings from Consumers Digest out of over 250 total 2011 models. The ratings, published in CD's December issue (on sale November 1), span 12 categories: Subcompacts, Compacts, Family Cars, Luxury Cars, Sporty Cars, Full-size Pickups, Small Pickups, Minivans, Compact SUVs, Midsize SUVs, Full-size/Luxury SUVs and Hybrids. The Best Buys—based on behind-the-wheel assessment, safety ratings, ownership costs, warranty, price, comfort, ergonomics, styling and amenities—reflect CD's view of which 2011 vehicles offer exceptional value for the money.

2011 Automotive Best Buy Selections

  • 3 "Subcompacts": Ford Fiesta, MINI Cooper/Cooper Clubman, Scion tC
  • 3 "Compacts": Honda Fit, Kia Soul, Mazda3
  • 5 "Family Cars": Buick Regal, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Sonata, Suzuki Kizashi
  • 4 "Luxury Cars": Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS sedan, Hyundai Genesis sedan, Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • 4 "Sporty Cars": Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, Porsche Cayman
  • 2 "Full-size Pickups": Ford F-150, Ram 1500
  • 1 "Small Pickup": Toyota Tacoma
  • 4 "Minivans": Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan/Volkswagen Routan, Toyota Sienna
  • 4 "Compact SUVs": Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain, Honda CR-V, Kia Sorento
  • 5 "Midsize SUVs": Buick Enclave/Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Acadia, Ford Flex, Honda Pilot
  • 3 "Full-size/Luxury SUVs": Infiniti QX56, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lincoln MKT
  • 4 "Hybrids": Ford Escape Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid

"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 include starting and acceleration, shifting, steering, handling, braking, ride quality and fuel economy.

To better serve its readers as the market shifts, Consumers Digest revamped its automotive Best Buy categories. For example, the previous "Small Cars" category has been redefined as "Compacts" and "Subcompacts." Automakers are in the throes of introducing more small passenger cars, and separating them into two distinct categories will benefit shoppers. Also, Consumers Digest opted for the first time to split the hybrid selections into one passenger car and one SUV, given the greater availability of the latter. Further, the publication dropped the number of minivans and full-size pickups to 2 from 3. Finally, for the first time, the magazine now offers a small pickup recommendation as well.

This year's Best Buy lineup includes 17 vehicles that did not receive Best Buy ratings the previous model year.

Another evolution of the magazine's effort was its addition of two automotive experts to the project team, bringing the total number of panel members to six. Expanding the number of experts that contribute to Consumers Digest's evaluation process ensures that more time behind-the-wheel and more depth is applied to our assessment, which improves the quality of the system of judging vehicles overall. New to the team are: Marlon Hanson, who is president of Texas Automotive Media Association; Mark Maynard of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Steven Cole Smith of the Orlando Sentinel. They join Jim Gorzelany, who has served Consumers Digest readers for 22 years as an automotive writer, Jim Mateja, who writes a weekly Chicago Tribune auto column and has received numerous awards for his auto coverage, and Dan Jedlicka, who has written about autos for 41 years and is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury.

The Auto Best Buys section of the December issue includes photos, invoice pricing, standard features and reviews that support the models' Best Buy selection.

"Few purchases are more important, or require more research, than buying a new vehicle," Weber says. "Our analyses underscore our commitment to ensure that 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 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 that lead consumers to exceptional values in today's complex marketplace. In 2011, Consumers Digest will celebrate its 50th year of serving consumers. One of the notable improvements being introduced at the beginning of Consumers Digest's 50th anniversary will be the publication of its New Car Guide two months sooner than it has traditionally. By making the Guide available on newsstands by February 1, 2011, CD will be putting consumers in an even better position to negotiate the best deal possible on the purchase of a new automobile.

SOURCE Consumers Digest