DEERFIELD, Ill. — Thirty-five vehicles and eight companion models received Best Buy ratings from Consumers Digest for the 2012 model year. The ratings, which are published in Consumers Digest’s December issue (on sale Nov. 1) and are available at ConsumersDigest.com, span 12 categories: Subcompacts, Compacts, Family Cars, Luxury Cars, Sporty Cars, Small Pickups, Full-size 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 2012 vehicles offer exceptional value for the money.
2012 Automotive Best Buy Selections
- 3 “Subcompacts”: Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta, MINI Cooper/Cooper Clubman
- 3 “Compacts”: Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Kia Soul
- 7 “Family Cars”: Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Lincoln MKZ
- 4 “Luxury Cars”: Acura TL, Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300, Hyundai Genesis sedan
- 4 “Sporty Cars”: Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang
- 2 “Full-size Pickups”: Ford F-150 Ram 1500
- 1 “Small Pickup”: Toyota Tacoma
- 4 “Minivans”: Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Volkswagen Routan
- 4 “Compact SUVs”: Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Kia Sorento, Kia Sportage
- 5 “Midsize SUVs”: Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot
- 3 “Full-size/Luxury SUVs”: Dodge Durango, Infiniti QX56, Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 3 “Hybrids”: Ford Fusion Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Lexus RX 450h
Performance characteristics that are evaluated include starting and acceleration, shifting, steering, handling, braking, ride quality and fuel economy.
Of note among Consumers Digest’s Best Buys for the 2012 model year, the American automakers continued their run since the 2010 model year of garnering in total more than 60 percent of CD automobile Best Buys (63 percent for the 2012 model year). Leading the way was Ford and General Motors; each saw 10 of its vehicles under various brands recognized as Best Buys. Most interesting was the eight Best Buys that were awarded to the Chrysler family of vehicles (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat)—an increase of five over the number of Best Buys recommended for the 2011 model year (of course, no Fiat was on the U.S. market for the 2011 model year). This serves somewhat as an indication of positive results from the revamping that’s in progress at the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands under the direction of Fiat, Chrysler’s new Italian parent.
“It will be extremely interesting to see what unfolds for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram in the 2013 model year,” says Rich Dzierwa, editor, Consumers Digest. “New quality strategies put in place by Fiat since it took over control of Chrysler’s operations should genuinely start to kick into gear soon.”
The Auto Best Buys section of the December 2011 issue and at ConsumersDigest.com includes invoice pricing, standard features and performance traits that support the models’ Best Buy recommendation in the collective opinion of Consumers Digest’s veteran automotive editors: Jim Gorzelany has served Consumers Digest readers for 25 years; award-winning reporter Jim Mateja writes a weekly Chicago Tribune auto column; automotive veteran Dan Jedlicka is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury; Marlon Hanson is president of Texas Automotive Media Association; Mark Maynard reports on automobiles for the San Diego Union-Tribune; Steven Cole Smith is the automotive editor for the Orlando Sentinel.
“Few purchases are more important, or require more research, than buying a new vehicle,” says Randy Weber, Consumers Digest’s publisher. “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 publication 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 launched a completely rebuilt ConsumersDigest.com in conjunction with its celebration of its 50th year of serving consumers.