Best Cars – And Worst Cars

best car dealsBuying a new or used car can be an overwhelming task when trying to buy the best car for your needs. There are simply too many choices.

Which are the most reliable? Which are the safest? Which are the best values for the money? Which have the most comfortable ride and handling? How about price comparisons?

Which used cars have a history of good reliability? Which are recommended? Which are specifically not recommended? What kinds of problems can I expect from specific makes and models?

What tires are best, have best wear and performance, and are the best values?

For many years now, Consumer Reports magazine has come to the rescue, in their annual Auto Issue in April each year.

It’s the largest selling issue of the well-respected monthly magazine and is considered by many to be the “bible” for smart car buyers.

The new April 2015 issue (available on newsstands now at the time of this writing) is no exception. In fact, the issue seems to get better and more useful every year.

A couple of things that makes Consumer Reports unique is that the organization thoroughly tests (over 50 different tests) all the new vehicles they report on, as well as conducts a huge national survey of vehicle owners. This allows them to publish results about each vehicle such as handling characteristics, performance, safety, fuel economy, build quality, and reliability.

They score and rank car brands, as well as individual models and styles, based on overall evaluations and test results — and then make recommendations. Any prospective new car buyer would be remiss if they didn’t consult with Consumer Reports as part of their pre-purchase research process.

And it’s not all about brand new cars. Used cars are covered too. There’s a comprehensive table of used-car reliability results based on actual owner experience reports. It covers the last six year models of most vehicles and breaks down problem data into specific areas such as Engine, Transmission, Cooling System, Fuel System, Brakes, Climate System, Electrical, Suspension, Paint/Trim, Body Hardware, Power Equipment, and Audio System. It’s easy to quickly determine, at a glance, what to expect if buying a used car that is reported in the results (not all makes/models are covered if insufficient data was collected). They make recommendations of the best used cars in various price categories. There’s even a “Used Cars to Avoid” section.

In addition to new and used car data and recommendations, there are articles that offer important advice on topics such as “Do You Really Need a New Car?”, buying tires, and how to assess car “infotainment” systems.

In summary, smart car buyers — whether it’s new or used — would be wise to have a copy of the April Consumers Report magazine as a key part of their pre-purchase research strategy. It is data and advice that is simply not available any place else. It’s totally unbiased (they are not sponsored nor do they accept ads for their magazine) and they secretly purchase all of their tested vehicles from local dealers. The price of the magazine ($6.99) is a small price to pay for such a valuable collection of information.

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