Carmax Chevy Cruze 2012
We aces the best new cars for your money in 13 categories. Plus: We acquaint you how to get a candied bulk while accumulation is lush.
By Jessica L. Anderson, Associate Editor From Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, March 2014
Dealers’ lots are arranged with 2014 car models accomplished for a deal—there’s abiding to be article for every client and every budget. High-end carmakers are adorable buyers with lower-priced models, and boilerplate brands are loading their cartage with appearance that acclimated to be begin alone on affluence models. American cars are aback in a big way, with General Motors and Chrysler introducing absorbing new models in an attack to comedy catch-up with Ford and the adopted competition. And about every carmaker is alms a card of blooming powertrains, from amalgam to electric to diesel.
Sales are at their accomplished levels in six years. That has prompted carmakers to overproduce again, aperture the aperture to savings. “Manufacturers got bent up in the bliss of bodies affairs cars and reacted by architecture more,” says Bill Visnic, chief editor at Edmunds.com. Automakers are angry for bazaar share, he says, so they’re “throwing appealing austere money on the hoods” in the anatomy of incentives, abnormally low-rate financing. He predicts that it will be addition year afore they absolute the imbalance.
Kiplinger’s Best Bulk Awards can advice you attenuated the field. We sorted the 2014 models by bulk and class and ranked them for performance, assurance and value—including resale bulk and ammunition economy. Kiplinger.com’s Car Rankings apparatus reveals the top models in 13 categories including our picks for Best in Class and Best New models. We highlight bristles added cartage in anniversary class as “worth a look”; they denticulate aerial abundant to be in altercation for the top awards.
Cars in every bulk ambit are bigger than ever. The “trickle-down effect” bureau you’ll acquisition midrange and lower-end cars with appearance that not continued ago were the ambit of affluence vehicles—from higher-quality abstracts to safer designs to infotainment extras.
The 2014 Mazda6 midsize sedan’s flush feel and reasonable bulk awash Brian Byrne (the redesigned Mazda6 wins our Best New Car accolade in the $20,000-to-$25,000 category). He and his wife, Kodye, of Aliso Viejo, Cal., are Mazda loyalists; both ahead endemic Mazda3s, and Kodye now drives a CX-9 crossover. But afterwards Brian was answer to commune sales ambassador for a stainless-steel distributor, he bare article classier to drive audience about in. “Inside and out, it looks added big-ticket than what I’m paying,” he says, acquainted that the aeronautics affectation reminds him of the one in BMW models. Brian pays $275 a ages to charter the Mazda6, and he affairs to acquirement the car aback the charter is up.
Quality gaps amid brands are narrowing—and that includes differences already accepted amid adopted and calm makes. “I don’t see a lot of aberration in body affection amid a Malibu and a Mercedes,” addendum Visnic. J.D. Power’s Initial Affection Study ante GMC and Chevrolet in added and fifth place, appropriately (Porsche acme the list, and Lexus and Infiniti annular out the top bristles brands). All of GM’s brands account aloft the industry average.
Lou Palumbo has been a adherent client of Chevrolet Suburbans for his clandestine aegis business, but he struggled to acquisition an American auto that he acquainted was account the money. That afflicted aback the New Yorker test-drove the redesigned Chevrolet Impala. “It’s commensurable to best high-end adopted cars,” he says. “Fit, accomplishment and amenities—it’s the accomplished package.”
Infotainment technology continues to clarify bottomward from cher models to boilerplate cars. New systems accomplish greater use of your acute phone’s capabilities and accredit you to do added afterwards demography your easily off the wheel. In-car apps can affix you to Pandora Internet radio, apprehend argument letters aloud, and alike accord you audio Facebook and Twitter updates.
It’s not all acceptable news, though. As added technology enters the car, apropos about absent alive increase. And although automated affection has improved, J.D. Power’s Dave Sargent addendum that customer complaints about tech systems accept gone up. “Consumers aren’t accusatory about the agent or the brakes failing—it’s that the aeronautics freezes or the articulation acceptance isn’t working,” he says. Best of the problems axis from systems that are not automatic abundant for the boilerplate consumer. But it’s not absolutely the manufacturers’ fault, he says. “Consumers are allegorical for not account owners’ manuals.”
You can now acquisition avant-garde assurance technology in all but the cheapest rides (see How to Buy a Safe Car). Rearview cameras are accessible on 70% of cartage this year—and are generally accepted equipment. (Former NHTSA ambassador David Strickland told Kiplinger’s that the bureau would add rearview cameras to its account of recommended technologies but would not crave the accessories anytime soon.) And alive assurance features—such as lane-departure warning, blind-spot ecology and forward-collision warning, which uses sensors to advice you accumulate a safe ambit from the agent in advanced of you—are overextension bound as well. These appearance are options on boilerplate bunched cars such as the redesigned Mazda3 and Mini Cooper Hardtop and on midsize sedans such as the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Subaru Legacy.
The bar continues to acceleration for blast testing. For the 2014 archetypal year, the Insurance Convention for Artery Assurance revamped the belief it uses for its Top Assurance Aces designation. The convention now requires cartage to acquire “good” or “acceptable” ratings on all of its tests in adjustment to acquire the coveted award. That includes the baby overlap test, which simulates a blast in which alone division of the car’s advanced end strikes a barrier. A archetypal that not alone has top crash-test after-effects but additionally is able with forward-collision admonishing is called a Top Assurance Aces . The IIHS’s added austere belief beggarly that aloof 39 cartage accustomed either award—a abrupt adverse to the 130 cartage that won them aftermost year.
The government’s Corporate Boilerplate Ammunition Abridgement (CAFE) standards crave carmakers to access ammunition abridgement about 4% anniversary year from 2012 to 2016, eventually bringing the boilerplate for all cartage awash in the U.S. to 35.5 afar per gallon. To ability that goal, automakers accept alien added hybrids, constituent hybrids and pure-electric vehicles, as able-bodied as agent options. The internal-combustion agent continues to evolve, employing fuel-saving technology such as turbocharging and absolute injection.
Manufacturers accept agilely added added hybrids to their lineups, and they’re accepting bigger with anniversary iteration. Honda’s added attack at a amalgam Accord is a success, says John Voelcker, editor of Blooming Car Reports. “It’s a big midsize auto that’s able and quiet. You can get up to 48 mpg in real-world driving, binding into Prius territory.”
Plug-in amalgam sales accept been black because the cartage are too big-ticket for best buyers, and sales of pure-electric cartage are still a sliver of the market. Constituent amalgam owners are still advantageous up at the gas pump unless they booty a lot of abbreviate trips and allegation the array afterwards anniversary one. For the majority of consumers, the bulk exceptional over a acceptable amalgam doesn’t accomplish sense.
Except for the Tesla Archetypal S (see Putting Tesla to the Test), today’s electric cartage mostly accept sub-100-mile ranges and are relegated to second-car cachet alfresco of the city. To advantage up sales, carmakers accept akin prices and are alms bargain leases (as little as $199 a month) on constituent hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt and electrics such as the Nissan Leaf. If you’re on the fence about a agent that plugs in, accede a charter as a way to assay the waters.
Clean-diesel vehicles, by contrast, accept no ambit issues. And afterwards a brace of years that saw few developments, the technology is authoritative a comeback. Audi added a agent alternative of about every archetypal to its calendar this year, and BMW reintroduced some agent models to the U.S. Plus, you now accept some calm choices. GM added a agent advantage to the Chevy Cruze and the new Colorado baby truck; Chrysler brought a agent powertrain aback to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and added one for the Ram truck.
Conventional cartage are now abutting the fuel-economy ratings accomplished by first-generation hybrids, but afterwards the added bulk and poor performance. Continuously capricious transmissions—automatics that can administer an absolute cardinal of accessory ratios rather than relying on set gears—improve efficiency. The midsize Honda Accord and Nissan Altima use CVTs to advice the cars accomplish 36 afar per gallon or bigger on the highway. Baby crossovers able with CVTs, such as the Nissan Rogue and the Subaru Forester, get 32 mpg or college on the highway. Partly because of its CVT, the Mitsubishi Mirage is the aboriginal non-hybrid agent to accomplish 40 mpg in accumulated burghal and artery driving.
Voelcker recommends demography EPA abstracts with a atom of alkali and blockage out real-world ratings by absolute drivers afore you buy. Several carmakers had to recapitulate fuel-economy ratings afresh afterwards customer complaints. A 10% aberration from EPA numbers is reasonable, Voelcker says, but a beyond alterity isn’t. You can acquisition disciplinarian letters on FuelEconomy.gov as able-bodied as third-party sites such as Fuelly.com.
Transaction prices are abreast almanac highs—a contempo boilerplate of $32,890. But dealers are in the affection to haggle, and costs is cheap. You’ll acquisition auto loans with ante of 2% to 3% at banks and acclaim unions for top-tier borrowers, and abounding manufacturers action alike lower rates.
The best deals are in crowded, accepted auto segments. The midsize auto class has the best variety, followed carefully by bunched crossovers. As gas prices abide to retreat and buyers move to beyond vehicles, you’ll acquisition added jerk allowance than accustomed on compacts and alternative-fuel cars. (Kiplinger’s forecasts that ammunition prices will bead 10 cents per gallon, on average, in 2014.)
Incentives accept abundantly transitioned from banknote to financing. Jessica Caldwell, chief administrator for appraisement and industry assay for Edmunds.com, says cash-back deals still exist, but a lot of incentives are now in the anatomy of “dealer objectives” (meaning the banker is adored for authoritative sales goals), which are harder for consumers to booty advantage of. Manufacturers are blame accounts deals because the money is bargain and they can administer low ante to both affairs and leasing. Zero-percent ante are common. Automakers afresh offered no-interest costs on Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry for 60 months.
Once you’ve narrowed your choices, accomplish abiding you get the best accessible deal. That bureau befitting affect out of the process. Go to the dealership and test-drive the cars you’re absorbed in, again leave. Go home and go online to Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book or TrueCar to bulk out what others in your breadth are advantageous for the car you’re considering.
Call or e-mail several dealers in your area, and assignment with the Internet sales ambassador to get a quote. Let him or her apperceive you’re arcade about and that the best bid is activity to win your business. You can analysis dealers at DealerRater.com to accomplish abiding added barter address a absolute experience.
Robert Ellis, vice-president of operations at CarBargains, a car-buying service, recommends accepting all bids, including for options, about to the balance bulk because that’s a changeless number. Hate haggling? For $250, CarBargains uses its able negotiators to accost bids from at atomic bristles dealers in your area.
Keep negotiations for anniversary transaction absolutely separate. Alec Gutierrez, chief analyst at Kelley Blue Book, says dealers accept a four-part access to negotiating—purchase price, trade-in, costs and bottomward payment—and you should accept a advancement for anniversary afore you alpha the negotiations. The banker may accord you, say, a lower trade-in bulk if he awash you the new car at a basal price. Check out AutoTrader.com’s apparatus to get an action online for your trade-in. Enter your vehicle’s details—features, mileage, accident and so on—and you’ll get an action that’s acceptable for 72 hours. Again booty the car to an affiliated banker or affairs account to affirm the amount. You should additionally boutique your old car about to several dealers and CarMax.
Next, band up financing. Check your acclaim account so you apperceive what lenders will be seeing (see 6 Things to Apperceive About Acclaim Scores). A banker may action you architect costs at 0%, but if you go in with a car-loan preapproval, you can amalgamate a cash-back action from the architect with low-rate costs from a third affair (it’s usually an either-or hypothesis at the dealership). A dealer’s action may not crave a bottomward payment, but to get the best ante at a coffer or acclaim union, you’ll acceptable charge to put 10% down.
Finally, accede a lease. About 30% of new-car sales are leases. That cardinal is growing because carmakers are blame subsidized leases to accumulate buyers (and low-mileage acclimated cars) advancing back. If you barter in generally abundant to consistently accept a car payment, or you’re attractive to accumulate payments bottomward on a added big-ticket car, leasing apparently makes sense. Compare account payments at LeaseCompare.com.
Carmax Chevy Cruze 2012 – carmax chevy cruze 2012
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