Every year hundreds of new-car models are introduced and enter the research process for millions of car shoppers. The dizzying number of choices sometimes shrouds from the masses what are good cars.
Here are 10 cars that Cars.com's editors agree are overlooked due to no fault of each vehicle's own substantial merits.
The Mazda6 is one of the rare family sedans that is both fun to drive and fuel-efficient; it's rated as high as 28/40/32 mpg city/highway/combined with an automatic transmission and the optional GT Technology Package, which includes regenerative braking and active grille shutters. But even the base automatic gets 38 on the highway. Good cabin quality, intuitive controls, comfortable seating and a striking design also fall into the Mazda's favor.
"To be good, a small luxury SUV needs to be a family car, a utility vehicle and a commuter car, and the reworked 2015 Volvo XC60 does all that. It provides an upscale environment and a dash of surprise — both on the window sticker and under the hood," said Cars.com reviewer David Thomas. Check out Thomas' review for more.
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears
Since its debut for the 2013 model year, the Mazda CX-5 has proved itself a formidable contender among compact crossovers. It particularly distinguished itself in the fun-to-drive category, where the CX-5 only improved when it returned for the 2014 model year with a more powerful 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine option. Not a lot has changed for 2015: The CX-5's base price has increased a mere $150, including destination, and for the purposes of car seat installation, all backseat passenger-room dimensions remain identical to the outgoing model.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
"The 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the best version of the three-row SUV, with strong, smooth power and excellent fuel economy — as long as you can afford its steep price," said Cars.com reviewer Jennifer Geiger. Read the review for more.
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears
Most significant changes: Display audio system, 7-inch screen, backup camera now standard
Price change: RX 350 and 450h $1,035 higher, and the RX 350 F Sport $1,085 higher; effective with September 2014 production those prices will increase $175
On sale: Since April
Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2015
The RX crossover SUV is the best-selling Lexus model, so there was little need to make major changes for 2015. Besides the standard backup camera and 7-inch display screen, other changes are minor. LED fog lamps are included with optional high-intensity-discharge headlights, the turn signals add a three-flash lane-change feature and the Enform app suite adds Slacker radio.
The lineup includes front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the RX 350 with a gas V-6 and the RX 450h V-6 hybrid, plus the front-drive F Sport model that adds a firmer suspension, more aggressive exterior trim and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The F Sport is a decent attempt at adding some zest to the RX line, but most buyers are more interested in the comfort and convenience features of the other models.
Most significant changes: Updated continuously variable transmission; Pathfinder Hybrid on hold for 2015
Price change: TBA
On sale: October
Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2014
When the Pathfinder was redesigned for 2013 it switched to a car-based unibody platform from a truck-based body-on-frame design, gaining fuel economy, interior space and ride comfort while losing some towing capacity and a V-8 engine option. For 2015, all models come with a 3.5-liter V-6 and CVT, and buyers have a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
The Pathfinder carries over four trim levels; S, SV, SL and Premium for 2015. The higher-level SL and Platinum trims add blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. Four-wheel-drive versions of any trim gain hill descent control, and the standard CVT gets D-Step Shift logic that enables it to behave more like a conventional step-gear automatic.
"The 2014 Hyundai Tucson is a stylish, comfortable, surprisingly agile little SUV, but its size deficiency, mediocre gas mileage and worrisome crash-test ratings keep it from being a top choice," said Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman. Check out Bragman's review for more.
Cars.com photo by Aaron D. Bragman
Today Volkswagen officials announced a new midsize SUV would be built at its Chattanooga, Tenn., plant, where the automaker currently produces the Passat sedan. While officials call the new vehicle a "midsize SUV," it will be based on the CrossBlue concept we first saw at the 2013 Detroit auto show; most would consider the concept a three-row crossover. The company did confirm it would seat seven.
Production of the new SUV won’t begin until the end of 2016, so we wouldn't expect to see it on sale until early 2017.
The announcement signals an increased investment by VW in the U.S. of not only an additional $900 million into the facilities but also 2,000 new jobs as well. The company also announced there will be a new research center in Chattanooga to ensure new products meet the needs of U.S. car shoppers.
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears
Vehicles Affected: About 1,870 model-year 2014 Ford Escape crossovers manufactured between Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, 2013, at the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky
The Problem: The panoramic roof glass may have an improperly cured urethane bond between the glass and the attaching bracket. This could result in noise, water leakage or separation of the glass panel from the vehicle, increasing the risk of an accident. Ford said no accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of the problem.
The Fix: Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front roof glass panel. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.
What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332.
Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.
KickingTires Search Results for
Search Kicking Tires