Which car has the most standard features? The best options? A really good infotainment system, or the latest in safety technology?
The Car Connection reviews more than 250 new vehicles each year, and we rate and rank each of them on a scale of 1 to 10 in key categories: styling, performance, comfort and quality, safety, and fuel economy.
We also give a score to each vehicle for features. Aside from body style and powertrain choices, a car's features can be the most compelling--and confusing--reason to purchase it. Or to turn to another nameplate instead.
Our ratings for features give car shoppers a quick guide to how well-equipped a new car can be. And while our ratings can favor cars in higher price categories, we also find that some very affordable vehicles sort themselves to the top, by way of some very attractive features.
To get our top score in this category, a vehicle must have:
- standard features equal to or better than others in the class
- optional features equal to or better than others in the class, and they must be reasonably priced and packaged
- standard safety equipment equal to or better than others in the class
- optional safety equipment equal to or better than others in the class, and they must be reasonably priced and packaged
- comprehensive or exclusive infotainment options with functionality equal to or better than other vehicles in the class
- "killer app" features that aren't widely available in vehicles in its class
- trim and finish options beyond the usual "cloth or leather" choices
- good value within its class, and among all cars
- warranty coverage and service plans equal to or better than other vehicles its class
By those standards, these are the 2015 model-year vehicles with the best features. In our first group, Audi scores particularly well by offering embedded data services with high-speed connectivity--great for delivering beautifully rendered Google Maps to the car--while the BMW luxury and performance benchmarks bring with them trim and technology features, from M Sport tuning to night vision and surround-view cameras.
In this next group, Chrysler's minivans share a spot thanks to their top-drawer seating systems and best-in-class Uconnect infotainment systems; the Fords offer a sometimes glitchy but comprehensive MyFord Touch infotainment system, as well as multiple drivetrain or seating options, Platinum-level trim, and safety add-ons from blind-spot monitors to adaptive cruise control.
From near-luxury to the ultimate in luxury, this group encompasses the Hyundai Genesis and Equus, both stocked with class-above features--and in particular in the Genesis, very advanced safety features. The Grand Cherokee can be fitted with EcoDiesel and SRT powertrains and truly plush interiors as well as different types of all-wheel drive--while the Range Rovers come standard with four-wheel drive, myriad off-road electronics, and interiors that are truly regal.
Our final group of top scorers includes the Lexus LS and Lincoln MKZ, both of which include hybrid models and advanced safety features, the Lexus coming in long-wheelbase form as well; the same holds true for the Porsche Panamera, while the Ram 1500 wows us with its top Laramie Longhorn trim and its best-in-trucks Uconnect infotainment system. The SL has nifty touches like Airscarf heating and a photochromic fold-away roof--while the new S-Class simply has the most luxurious and high-tech features list we can imagine, everything from exotic interior trim to automatic braking.