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The Top-Ranked Vehicles in the JD Power 2014 Initial Quality Study

It doesn't always depend on how much you spend.

by on Jun.18, 2014

The Hyundai Accent scored second only to the Porsche Panamera among all 207 models included in the 2014 JD Power Initial Quality Study.

While the typical 2014 model posted a “somewhat unusual” dip in quality, at least according to the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, there were a number of stellar performers on the list – including some significant surprises.

Porsche led the list among 32 brands covered by the 2014 IQS, while the German maker’s 4-door sports car, the Panamera, had the “single-lowest” number of problems among any of the 207 models the annual survey of U.S. owners covered.

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Even more surprising, perhaps, was the fact that Korean carmaker Hyundai came in fourth overall, and was the highest-ranked of all mainstream makers, beating out such familiar quality leaders as Toyota and Honda. And the little Hyundai Accent, at the other end of the price spectrum from the Porsche Panamera, was the second most problem-free vehicle, the new J.D. Power study found.

“You have some very expensive cars at the top,” noted Dave Sargent, Power’s lead automotive analyst, “and very inexpensive ones.”


Ford Tops Other Makers on List of Best $10K Cars

Website offers up its choices for used car buyers.

by on Mar.18, 2014

Ford has three cars on's list of best used vehicles for around $10,000, including the 2009 Focus.

Not everyone can afford a new car or truck, but fortunately there are some great deals in the used car market. released, its list of top buys for around $10,000 and though it is dominated by Asian makers, Ford actually has the most cars on the list with three.

The 2009 Ford Focus, 2008 Ford Fusion and 2008 Ford Taurus all got approvals from the website. The Focus and Fusion were lauded for their handling while the Taurus received kudos for its large trunk and back seat as well as its ride and handling.

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Today’s cars and trucks are more expensive than ever, averaging just more than $32,000, which prices many buyers out of the new vehicle market. (more…)

Luxury, Japanese Brands Top Consumer Reports’ Top Vehicles List

Lexus named top brand but Tesla Model S is called Best Overall vehicle.

by on Feb.25, 2014

CR puts Chrysler on its Top Pick list for the first time in 16 years with the Ram 1500 pickup.

Luxury and Japanese brands dominate as Consumer Reports lists its top vehicle list for 2014 – but there were a few models among the influential magazine’s picks, including the first Chrysler to make the grade in 16 years.

But domestic brands Ford and Chrysler took some hits in the annual list of top picks, Ford and Cadillac hammered for problems with their glitch-plagued infotainment systems. Caddy dropped six spots in the 2014 rankings, landing in the bottom five, the worst of any General Motors brand.

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On the other hand, Toyota’s high-line Lexus brand was the top pick this year – repeating its performance in 2013.  It was followed by Honda’s upscale Acura and German luxury maker Audi.  But a relative newcomer to the industry showed up its more established rivals, the Tesla Model S being named Best Overall vehicle.  Consumer Reports editors cited the battery-electric sedan’s “exceptional performance,” as well as its “many impressive technological innovations.”


The 21 Best Cars for the Money

Great cars aren’t always a great deal.

by on Feb.12, 2014

The 2014 Ford Fiesta was one of U.S. News' Best Cars for the Money this year.

With and more cars, trucks and crossovers flooding the market each year it seems like buyers have an almost endless list of choices. And today’s cars are increasingly well-equipped, with even base models adding air conditioning, satellite radio, keyless entry and electronic stability control – features that would’ve been available only on more upscale products a few years back.

But while there are plenty of great cars they aren’t always a great deal. So, the editors at U.S. News set out to find the new models that are not only feature-laden but also are both critically well-reviewed and offer a great value for the money. They’ve come up with a list of 21 that qualify as the Best Cars for the Money among 2014 models.

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“Finding a great car that’s also a great deal is a challenge,” said Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars. “Our awards are designed to help consumers identify great value cars that have also received critical acclaim and high safety and reliability scores. A good value car doesn’t have to be boring – cars with the latest features, great performance and comfortable interiors can also be smart financial choices.” (more…)

GM Lands 3 of 6 Finalists for North American Car, Truck of the Year

Mazda, Jeep, Acura also up for honors.

by on Dec.10, 2013

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is one of three GM models among the NACTOY finalists.

Capping a strong week that included the naming of its first-ever female CEO, General Motors landed three of the six spots in the final round of judging for the coveted North American Car and Truck of the Year awards.

But it has some stiff competition as the NACTOY jury – made up of 48 U.S. and Canadian journalists – prepares for the final round of balloting before the two awards are handed out next month.  Other brands among the contenders are Acura, Jeep and Mazda.

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“Our goal is to select cars and trucks that set new benchmarks in their segment,” explained Joanne Muller, a long-time automotive journalist and NACTOY jury member during a meeting of the Detroit Automotive Press Association, where the finalists were announced.


Jurors Pick “Short List” for North American Car, Truck of the Year

All six new GM offerings make list – more than any other maker.

by on Oct.07, 2013

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is one of six GM models to make the NACTOY "short list."

Whatever the polls may say, you have to wait for election day to be sure who’s going to win the big prize. And that goes for the annual North American Car and Truck of the Year balloting which started out with 45 different models in contention – 29 passenger cars and another 16 vehicles in the truck/utility category.

But the 49 U.S. and Canadian journalists who make up the NACTOY jury have held their equivalent of a primary ballot, cutting the original list down to an even two dozen vehicles – and there are a number of surprises in the initial results.

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For one thing, there’s not a single Ford Motor Co. model in either category. But cross-town rival General Motors not only dominated the list this year but landed all six of its new 2014 products in the so-called short-list, among the best showings by any maker in the more than two decades since the widely followed North American Car of the Year program debuted.


Mercedes ML is the “Ideal Vehicle,” Says New Study

Ford best maker at targeting customers – despite quality issues.

by on Aug.15, 2013

The Mercedes-Benz ML was the highest-scoring model in the new Ideal Vehicle study.

If any single vehicle nails what American motorists want most, it’s the Mercedes-Benz ML luxury crossover, or so says the latest in a series of annual studies by California-based AutoPacific, Inc., designed to identify the most ideal vehicles on the market.

The Ideal Vehicle study emphasizes what industry types like to call “things-gone-right,” rather than “things-gone-wrong.” Motorists, it suggests, are willing to suffer through the occasional defect if a vehicle delivers enough surprise-and-delight features such as great design, good interior space, unexpected performance or the latest in high-tech equipment.

According to that formula, the top premium brand is Porsche, with Chrysler’s Ram taking the lead among mainstream brands. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. vehicles led in four individual product segments, more than any other brand, noted AutoPacific founder and lead analyst George Peterson.

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“That means they are doing the best at targeting customers’ needs,” Peterson said, despite the hits Ford has taken in recent quality-based studies. The Detroit maker has had some well-publicized problems with its Sync and MyFordTouch infotainment technologies, while small back seats in models like the Focus and Fusion sedans have also generated criticism.


Tough Battle Ahead as Nearly 50 Models Vie for North American Car, Truck of the Year

Japanese models dominate both lists.

by on Jul.29, 2013

The new Toyota Corolla is one of 24 Japanese and Korean models up for the two NACTOY awards - half the total list.

Nearly 50 new cars, trucks and crossovers will compete for one of the most closely watched awards of the year. Make that two awards as a panel of U.S. and Canadian journalists begin the long process of winnowing out the winners for the North American Car and Truck of the Year.

The two trophies will be handed next January during the opening of the 2014 Detroit Auto Show’s media preview. It will mark the 21st year for the competition which inevitably triggers a slew of press releases and advertisements as manufacturers race to promote the winners.

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A total of 48 vehicles have landed on the NACTOY long list – though the final number could yet be tweaked. Japanese and Korean carmakers dominate the first-round contenders with a total of 24 models. In an unusual turnabout, the Asians have 10 of the truck and crossover nominees compared to just six Detroit models and two Europeans. The Asians also have 12 passenger car models in the running, tying the Europeans and doubling the number of domestic candidates.


Consumer Reports Names Top Picks

Lots of new models and brands.

by on Feb.27, 2013

Honda returns to the CR Top Picks with three models - including the new Accord sedan.

With 100s of cars, trucks and crossovers on the market and scores of new models making their debut, picking the right vehicle can be something of a daunting task.

Sure, many buyers are loyalists who will trade in for the some product over and over again, but more and more consumers are willing to look elsewhere if it means getting a safer, more reliable, more attractive and more affordable vehicle. And with fuel prices nudging record levels, buyers seem more willing than ever to consider a switch.

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And many of them turn to the non-profit publication Consumer Reports for guidance, especially when the magazine issues its annual Top Picks. Though its list of choices in 10 categories won’t reach print until the April auto issue, CR editors have given a heads-up on what models it they have chosen, models CR declares are “as close as it gets to no-brainers.”


Downsizing Doesn’t Mean Downgrading, Says J.D. Power’s New APEAL Study

“Better vehicles than we’ve ever seen.”

by on Jul.25, 2012

Chevy wins three awards for products including the Sonic and the Volt, shown here.

American motorists no longer need worry about what they’ll have to sacrifice trading in a larger vehicle for a smaller one.  A new study by J.D. Power and Associates finds that, “across the board,” manufacturers are offering small car buyers the sort of features and amenities they might not even have found in larger vehicles of a decade ago.

And from the most basic transportation all the way to the most expensive and exotic, the industry is delivering far more than ever before, according to Power’s annual APEAL study, which looks at automotive performance, execution and layout.

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“Automakers are designing better cars than we’ve ever seen,” said Dave Sargent, Power’s director of global automotive operations. “It’s not just one or two manufacturers.  It’s across the board, which means that for consumers it’s a great time to be in the car market.”