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Auto blogFri, 22 Feb 2013 15:44:00 EST
The U.S. News Best Cars for the Money Awards picks winners by looking at the average transaction price, five-year total cost of ownership, the regard a car has from the automotive press, reliability figures from J.D. Power and Associates and safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The result, according to the magazine, is "the best combination of critical acclaim and long-term value."
Ford nabbed six of the 21 categories that received awards this year, the Focus, Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Taurus, Escape and Edge getting trophies. Toyota and its Lexus and Scion sub-brands took another five, the Tacoma and Tundra owning the two categories given to pickup trucks. The other ten awards were split between Honda with three, Buick with two, and one each for Subaru, BMW, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Mazda.
Follow the link to see all the winners and read about why they were chosen.
The whole "SUVs as dinosaurs" trope has become something of a threadbare cliché among auto writers, but that doesn't mean the wider world of consumers has caught on to the Jurassic nature of our line of thinking. That's what General Motors appears to be betting on, at least. Just check out Buick's first television spot for its 2013 Encore, the tiny crossover that is pushing the Tri-Shield into territories unknown while looking to outrun the brand's reputation as a refuge for elderly clientele.
Set to air this weekend on ESPN during the NCAA college basketball tournament, the ad plays up the Encore's maneuverability and surprising interior space by setting the baby Buick amongst a herd of lumbering CG dinosaurs created by Tippett Studio, the folks behind Hollywood blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Ted, and the Twilight series of films.
We can't help but snigger a little - while the Encore is indeed surprisingly roomy, nimble, and composed, our first drive found it to be glacially slow, too... not unlike a certain prehistoric race of animals. Check out the commercial below and judge for yourself.
Although the current Buick Regal hasn't even been on the market for very long, General Motors is using the New York Auto Show to unveil an updated version of the sedan in a similar fashion to what we saw yesterday with the 2014 LaCrosse. Like the LaCrosse, all 2014 Regal models will be getting a new look both for the exterior and interior design, but the big news takes place under the sedan's skin.
Except for the base Regal eAssist, the Regal Turbo and Regal GS will both be adding the benefit of all-wheel drive, but there is no word as to how much weight this system will add to each car's curb weight. The Regal Turbo's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder has received a decent bump in output from 220 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque to 259 hp and 295 lb-ft; unfortunately, these same figures are carried over to the Regal GS, which means that car drops from 270 hp. Both turbocharged models (Regal Turbo and Regal GS) will now be offered with all-wheel drive and the ability of sending more than 90 percent of the engine's torque to the rear wheels.
In terms of styling, the 2014 Regal gets similar styling changes found on the updated Enclave and LaCrosse, including reworked fascias, scalloped headlights and a full-width chrome strip spanning between the new LED taillights. Inside, key changes were made to the Regal's cabin technology, such as the instrument gauge cluster and infotainment system. On the Regal and Regal Turbo, a new 4.2-inch color display is available for drivers to see information for the vehicle, navigation and audio systems, but the Regal GS' cabin is slightly different with an eight-inch configurable gauge display. One of the best changes may be the overall reduction in buttons on the center stack, creating a cleaner-looking and easier-to-use cabin.