There are still two months left in 2013, but the introduction of many 2014-model-year vehicles has drivers looking toward the future. Each year, Consumers Digest conducts rounds of intense evaluations to select the best vehicles for a given model year. However, these options are much more than just fancy automobiles: They are value-driven options that could work for motorists on a budget.
Searching for value
The idea behind the list of best buys is to find the options that provide the ideal blend of high-quality and affordable costs. Consumers Digest set out to evaluate the 2014 offerings with these elements in mind, specifically focusing on acceleration, shifting, steering, braking and fuel economy. The journal was also looking for automobiles that could offer drivers easy scheduled maintenance, allowing owners to focus on things other than auto repair.
"Value, as we see it, is based on purchase price and ownership costs relative to quality, performance and subjective factors, such as comfort and design," said Randy Weber, publisher of Consumers Digest.
In total, 37 vehicles were recognized for their value, but some trends stood out on the final list. For example, Japanese and Korean automakers saw their inclusions jump 10 percent from 2013. All in all, 40 percent of the vehicles on the list are from Asian manufacturers, which is the largest percentage for the group in five years. On the other hand, cars from American producers made up about 53 percent of the list, down from approximately 60 percent last year.
The winners for 2014
Selections were made across multiple segments, including family cars, hybrids, pickup trucks, compacts and more. The Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 were named the winners of the pickup sector, while some of the top full-size SUVs were the GMC Acadia, Dodge Durango, Mazda CX-9 and Buick Enclave. Other sport utility vehicles to land on the list were the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda CRV and Acura MDX.
Much of the list was comprised of compact and subcompact cars. Those include the Ford Focus, Kia Soul, Mazda3, Chevrolet Sonic, Fiat 500 and Ford Fiesta. Of course, these options are a bit more standard than the luxury and sporty cars that Consumers Digest recognized. With automobiles ranging from the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette Stingray to the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion, there was something for every type of driver and budget.