As used car prices skyrocket, it’s not as bad an investment as it used to be to buy a new car. However, before you throw down 30 grand or finance the car for what seems like 20 years, it would be wise to do some research, and this guide is a great start.
The vehicles of 2013 are organized by class and rated on both objective (price, performance, etc.) and subjective (comfort, appearance, etc.) scores.
And the winners are:
Crossover/SUV: Mazda CX-5
This is the first year to have an award for best crossover/SUV. The highlight of the CX-5 is its SKYACTIV technology, which includes the 155-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine that, when put with the six-speed automatic and available all-wheel-drive, gives a fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon, which makes it the one of most fuel-efficient SUVs on the market.
Honorable Mention: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Muscle Car: Ford Mustang
The Mustang returns for a third straight year on the list, and the Mustang’s 2013 styling refreshment puts it even further in the lead with a sinister front end and new LED taillights. The GT500’s new engine is also 0.4 liters larger than the 2012. Of course, on top of that 5.8-liter DOHC V-8 is a huge, 2.3-liter supercharger that gives the GT500 662 fear-inducing horsepower.
Honorable Mention: Chevrolet Camaro
Full-Size Car: Dodge Charger
The Charger is a typical American car. It delivers impressive fuel economy for a large car of 19 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, thanks to the ZF eight-speed automatic that was instituted last year and is currently only available on the V6.
Honorable Mention: Hyundai Genesis
Mid-Size Car: Ford Fusion
The midsize car segment is the highest-selling segment in the industry and, therefore, the most competitive. The exterior design is by far the most attractive in its segment with Aston Martin-esque design cues. The attractiveness continues inside, where Ford used quality materials and soft, supple leather on the seats and steering wheel.
Honorable Mention: Nissan Altima
Compact Car: Ford Focus
The Focus returns for a second year because it still has the best overall package. The interior is the best in its class with quality materials and textured surfaces with seats that are both supportive and relaxing for the long haul. The direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine performs well in red light situations and performs well at the pump with up to 40 mpg.
Honorable Mention: Hyundai Elantra
Sports Car: Mazda Miata
If I could, I would give this award to both the Mazda Miata and Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ. They both do without frilly technology such as adaptive suspension or climate control and replace them with a feeling of man and machine being one. The FR-S has the edge in power with 200 horsepower from its flat four-cylinder, compared to the Miata’s 167. But as great as both cars are, the Miata gets the title again because of a more attractive interior, and you can put its top down.
Honorable Mention: Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ