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The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2014: The Nominees

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The summer and fall months this year have been especially busy, as our High Gear Media editors have had to contend with another record year for vehicle launches. While other areas of the economy still might have been sputtering, the auto industry has been speeding confidently ahead—rolling out redesigned versions of familiar nameplates, as well as plenty of all-new entries.

Now, among all that is new, it's time to pick the best—with The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2014.

We've rated and road-tested upwards of 280 new vehicles, assigning scores for styling, performance, utility and comfort, safety, and features—and we even include a mileage-minded green take on each vehicle.

And the Best Car To Buy showcases the results of those ratings; they aid us in choosing the single new-for-2014 model that car shoppers should at least consider before getting their next new vehicle.

How we whittle the field down to our nominees

We've limited consideration to models that are either brand-new, or those that are significantly updated for the new model year.

Then, in order to narrow the field, and home in on the mainstream value and accessible vehicles, we've placed a base-price limit of $50,000—a move that knocks out a few very strong luxury contenders that we otherwise might find irresistible.

One other important requirement is that the vehicles be made available to our editors for a full road test before November 1, 2013, and be available for purchase by April 30, 2014. We won't be able to test the new 2014 Toyota Highlander by the end of October, for instance, so that knocks it out of contention.

The vehicles that remain on the list are then assembled in order based on their overall numeric score, and the highest-ranked simply wins. Any vehicles with the same score are subject to a tiebreaker, subjective or not.

Among all of these, there can be only one, and we'll announce that—our Best Car To Buy—in less than two weeks, on Tuesday November 12. And keep in mind that on the same day, we'll have separate winners (from separate sets of nominated vehicles) from our luxury and performance destination, Motor Authority, and our green-car source, Green Car Reports.

So without further ado, here are this year's nominees for Best Car To Buy 2014:

Acura MDX

BMW 4-Series

Cadillac CTS

Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

GMC Sierra 1500

Infiniti Q50

Kia Cadenza

Kia Sorento

Kia Soul

Lexus IS

Mazda 3

Mazda 6

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

Subaru Forester

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