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Consumers Digest Magazine Names 2007 Automotive Best Buys

DEERFIELD, Ill., Nov. 1, 2006 -- Thirty-two vehicles and six companion models out of 253 total 2007 models received Best Buy ratings from Consumers Digest. The ratings, published in CD's December issue (on sale November 1), span eight categories: Small Cars, Family Cars, Luxury Cars, Sporty Cars, Trucks, Vans, Compact/Midsize SUVs and Luxury/Full-Size SUVs. The Best Buys -- based on behind-the-wheel testing, safety ratings, ownership costs, warranty, price, comfort, ergonomics, styling and amenities -- reflect CD's assessment of which 2007 vehicles offer the most value for the money.

Six "Small Cars" received Best Buys: Chevrolet HHR, Dodge Caliber, Honda Civic, Honda Fit, Jeep Compass and Nissan Versa.

The six "Family Car" Best Buys are: Chevrolet Impala, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Azera, Hyundai Sonata, Mercury Milan and Toyota Camry/Solara.

Four "Luxury Cars" received Best Buys: Acura TL, Buick Lucerne, Infiniti M35/45 and Toyota Avalon.

The six "Sporty Cars" Best Buys are: Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, Mazda6, MINI Cooper, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.

The Chevrolet Avalanche, Ford F-150 and Honda Ridgeline are the top pickups, and the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Entourage and Kia Sedona are the best van values.

The four compact/midsize SUV Best Buys are: Honda CR-V, Jeep Wrangler, Mazda CX-7 and Toyota RAV4. Luxury/full-size SUV Best Buys are: Acura RDX, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Mercedes-Benz's GL-Class.

"Value, as we see it, is based on purchase price and ownership costs relative to quality, performance and subjective factors like comfort and design," says Randy Weber, CD's publisher.

The performance characteristics evaluated were starting and acceleration, shifting, steering, handling, braking, ride quality and fuel economy.

Rich Dzierwa, Consumers Digest editor, says that for the first time in years, the number of manufacturers represented reached 20. For the second year in a row, American nameplates (18) exceeded Japanese models (14). After receiving their first two Best Buys last year, Korean nameplates were recognized four times this year. Also for the first time in years, Honda's Accord was not rated a Best Buy. Eight vehicles, however, have been CD Best Buys for 5 years running: Chevrolet Tahoe, Dodge Caravan, GMC Yukon, Honda Civic, Honda Odyssey, MINI Cooper, Toyota Avalon and Toyota Camry.

The Auto Best Buys section includes photos, invoice pricing, standard features and performance traits that support the models' Best Buy selection in the collective opinion of CD's veteran automotive editors: Jim Gorzelany, who has served Consumers Digest readers for 20 years, including through his reports on automotive categories such as crossover SUVs and hybrids; Kevin Kelly, a senior editor of Automotive Design & Production magazine and the former senior editor-Europe for Ward's AutoWorld; Jim Mateja, who writes a weekly Chicago Tribune auto column and has received numerous awards for his auto coverage; and Matt Nauman, auto editor of the San Jose Mercury News and one of the jurors who picks the North American Car of the Year at the annual Detroit auto show.

"Few purchases are more important, or require more research, than buying a new vehicle," says Weber. "Our analyses underscore our commitment to ensure that consumers are as satisfied with their auto purchase years after making it as they were on the day they drove off the lot."

Consumers Digest, launched in 1959, is designed to inform and educate readers so they can buy with confidence, no matter the product or service. The magazine is committed to providing practical advice, factual evaluations and specific recommendations, leading consumers to exceptional values in today's complex marketplace.