Best Car To Buy 2013: Missed It By That Much

November 21, 2012

In the run-up to our annual Best Car To Buy awards, our editors drive hundreds of cars on the three coasts--East, West, and Gulf. Along the way we choose some favorites, and figure out why some other new vehicles don't quite live up to their billing.

But to actually name our winner, we run the list of new or significantly changed vehicles through a few steps to narrow the field. This year, that puts our final count at 17 new cars, crossovers and trucks. (Well, truck.)

The first cut we make eliminates new vehicles that don't meet our pricing guidelines, of $50,000 or less in base configuration, including destination charges. This year, that eliminates vehicles like the new Range Rover and Mercedes GL, and two other tantalizing possibilities: the 2013 Porsche Boxster misses by the cut by just $450 (that is, if you can find a base model), while the 2013 Tesla Model S with the 40-kWh battery pack has an estimated price of $57,400, which nets out to $49,900 when all of the available federal tax credit of $7,500 is counted. Not every buyer will qualify to claim that credit, however.

Another group of vehicles have been eliminated simply due to their ratings. Thus far--with some crash-test scores still yet to be reported--these new cars and crossovers all have earned ratings lower than an 8 out of 10, which puts them out of reach of the top-rated vehicles we've scored for the 2013 model year:

Finally, two vehicles have missed the final cut--one by only a very narrow margin--due to timing. The 2013 Buick Encore will be introduced to the press in December, after our cut-off date for press drives. As of yet, we've been unable to arrange a review of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ.

Stay with us as we dive deeper into the pool of candidates for the Best Car To Buy 2013, which we'll announce on December 10, 2012.


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