Best automotive buys for 2013

Posted on Jan 31 2013 - 7:00am by Lacey Russell

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.

Courtest Mazda Motor Corporation 2013 Mazda CX-5

Courtest Mazda Motor Corporation
2013 Mazda CX-5

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.

Courtesy Ford Motor Company 2013 Ford Shelby GT500

Courtesy Ford Motor Company
2013 Ford Shelby GT500

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.

Quentin Winstine | The Daily Mississippian 2013 Ford Fusion

Quentin Winstine | The Daily Mississippian
2013 Ford Fusion

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.

Susie Holt | The Daily Mississippian 2013 Mazda Miata

Susie Holt | The Daily Mississippian
2013 Mazda Miata

Honorable Mention: Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ