Total Car Score’s list of the top 10 new models includes vehicles that are either all-new nameplates or existing models that have been completely redesigned for the 2013 model year.
“The average American consumer is driving an 11-year-old car. A huge slice of the public has held off on replacing their vehicles because of economic uncertainty. That means an unprecedented level of pent-up demand,” said Karl Brauer, Editor in Chief of Total Car Score. “This will eventually lead to a flurry of sales as consumers replace their worn-out cars with new ones.”
Brauer added, “Automakers are well aware of this situation, and know the rising pressure on consumers will inevitably break loose with a flurry of buying activity. When this happens, every carmaker wants to be positioned to capture new vehicle shoppers with enticing cars, trucks and SUVs.”
The 2013 model year marks a significant effort by automakers to reinvent volume products, as well as introduce all-new cars, in a bid to capture market share. The following 10 vehicles represent the most significant models landing in dealer showrooms this fall, according to the editorial team at Total Car Score.
- Ford Fusion — MSRP: $22,000-$30,000
The restyled and re-tooled 2013 Ford Fusion looks to be a compelling choice. Available engine options range from a 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder to a plug–in hybrid. The new Fusion also offers extensive in-car technology and head-turning style. It could be a game-changer in the high-volume family sedan segment.
- Honda Accord — MSRP: $21,000-$28,000
While the Fit, Civic and CR-V are big sellers, the 2013 Accord is the most important car in the Japanese manufacturer’s line-up. Having overcome recent natural disasters, Honda still faces market challenges related to mediocre fuel efficiency and conservative styling. The new Accord must address both issues.
- Ram 1500 — MSRP: $27,000-$40,000
An all-new base engine, an 8-speed automatic, Start-Stop technology and an optional air suspension give the 2013 Ram 1500 a high-tech pedigree. Throw in updated styling and numerous interior enhancements and this Ram (don’t call it a Dodge) should be a player in the competitive large truck category.
- Nissan Altima — MSRP: $21,500-$30,080
The current Altima has been a critical model for Nissan, with strong sales throughout its lifecycle. For 2013 it weighs 100 pounds less than the outgoing version and can achieve up to 38 MPG. These traits should make this mid-size family sedan appealing to a broad spectrum of buyers.
- Chevrolet Malibu — MSRP: $22,000- $30,000
After mixed success with previous attempts, Chevrolet needs to get the 2013 Malibu right. The latest version represents an opportunity to not only leverage a re-energized nameplate but to do so with a hybrid “Eco” model and a powerful, turbocharged four cylinder that replaces the V6 option.
- Ford Escape — MSPR: $22,000-$32,000
The compact SUV segment is increasingly important for volume brands, and within that segment the 2013 Ford Escape features several important developments. The top-line, 2.0 liter EcoBoost version, with 240 horsepower, is fast with confident handling. High-tech features further elevate this small crossover.
- Cadillac ATS — MSRP: $33,000-$47,000
Cadillac’s ATS represents America’s most enthusiastic effort yet to usurp the European stranglehold on the luxury and sport sedan market. An advanced suspension and steering system put it on par with ultimate driving machines, while its CUE in-car interface is arguably the best in the business.
- Dodge Dart — MSRP: $16,000-$23,000
Dodge is re-entering the hotly contested compact car segment with the all-new Dart. As a replacement for the questionable Caliber, the Dart should draw young buyers to Dodge showrooms while potentially boosting sales and market share through its personalized option packages and stylish exterior.
- Hyundai Santa Fe — MSRP: $24,000-$30,000
The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe comes in two flavors: the 5-passenger Sport and 7-passenger extended wheelbase model, the latter of which will hit showrooms in January. The new crossover represents Hyundai’s effort to raise sales volume in the profitable large SUV market.
- Scion FR–S/Subaru BRZ — MSRP: $24,000-$25,000
The Scion FR-S, and its Subaru BRZ twin, represents a new approach to what are increasingly risky products: niche-market sports cars. However, by keeping the design goal focused and straightforward the FR-S/BRZ is affordable and dynamically engaging, with a splash of style and personality thrown in.
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