Firstly, the award keeps with one of The Car Connection’s core facets, in recognizing mainstream value and accessibility; so as in previous years, we’ve placed a base-price limit of $50,000. That in turn knocked two of our top-rated vehicles, the Bentley Mulsanne and BMW M4, out of contention. After all, that's the domain of our luxury and performance obsessions over at Motor Authority, and their own Best Car To Buy award.
Secondly, our BCTB picks have to be all-new, extensively redesigned, or repositioned in a way that's radically different, or transformational. From those models that aren’t all-new for 2015, both the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Ford Fusion deserves high honors. They stand as our highest-rated models from the luxury and mainstream groups, respectively.
2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
The flagship S-Class has long laid claim to the top of the luxury-sedan ladder, and we think the current S-Class stands as a special sort of value, for those who can afford it—especially with the addition of a new S-Class Coupe for 2015.
Likewise, no other mainstream, family-size sedan has quite served up the combination of stunning good looks, top-notch safety, good fuel economy (including a Hybrid variant), and uncompromised interior space as the Ford Fusion—and two years after choosing it as our 2013 Best Car To Buy it remains one of the top picks on the market.
Several other models managed to earn excellent scores that would have put them in the running, potentially, but for various logistical reasons we couldn’t get a critical mass of our editors into them for driving time. Examples here included the BMW i3, the Audi S3, and the new Ford F-150.
At TCC, our ratings system was conceived with the market at large in mind, and in nearly all categories—Styling, Performance, Comfort & Quality, Safety, and Features—we assign ratings relative to a model’s competitive set. The Green section is the only area graded absolutely, on federal EPA fuel economy numbers.
That said, our ratings on some high-end luxury and performance vehicles admittedly do show a price-related bias. We present to you a list of luxury and sports cars that aren’t new—and thus aren’t nominees for this year’s award—but have some of our highest Overall Rating numbers. All of these models, in addition to the S-Class, achieve a 9.0 Overall Rating or better—all technically higher than all of our 2015 Best Car To Buy Nominees.
But of course, every single one of those models would fail to make our $50k cutoff anyhow. With that bit of potential bias disclosed and the mainstream market back in fine focus, we’ll be focusing in on a different nominee each day, over the next week and a half.
Stay tuned; it’s going to be an interesting ride up to the big announcement November 10.