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Auto and Road User Journal
Copyright © 1997 by TranSafety, Inc.
April 17, 1997
TranSafety, Inc.
(U.S. and Canada)
(360) 683-6276
Fax: (360) 335-6402

Highway Safety Publications Catalog. Articles on Road Engineering, Road Maintenance & Management, and Injury Litigation. Information and consulting for the Automobile and Road User, as well as for law professionals in accident investigations.
TranSafety's free consumer journal for automobile and road users, three subscription journals on road maintenance, engineering, and injury litigation, and highway safety publications catalog. See our free consumer journal for automobile and road users, three subscription journals on road maintenance, engineering, and injury litigation, and a highway safety publications catalog.

April 1997 Consumer Reports Rates New and Used Vehicles

The "Annual Auto Issue" of Consumer Reports (April 1997) highlights a selection of this year's new sedans (domestic and import), light trucks (minivans, pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles), and sports cars. Also profiled is a potential "car of the future," GM's EV-1, a two-seat, battery-powered vehicle whose disadvantages (including a pricey monthly lease and a four-hour recharge every 70 miles) seem to outweigh its advantages.

The magazine lists nine categories for the overall "top picks" of 1997. Rated best family sedan is the Toyota Camry, consistently reliable and "extensively redesigned." The vote for the best small sedan goes to the Mazda Prot‚g‚, with "an unusually roomy rear seat" and "the comfort and refinement of a larger, heavier, and more expensive car."

Pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), and minivans will account for "nearly half the new-vehicle market in 1997." Picked as the best sport-utility vehicle is the Toyota 4Runner, offering "the best combination of overall performance and cargo space." Toyota also comes out on top in the best small sport-utility vehicle category with its RAV4, distinguished by its "carlike ride and handling, good fuel economy, excellent cargo access, and full-time all-wheel drive." Ford's F-150 pickup gets the nod for best pickup truck, impressive because of its "combination of almost carlike ride and handling and workhorse cargo capacity." The Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series are rated best in the compact pickup category. Chrysler's short-bodied versions of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager get top billing in the best minivan category. Both drive with "the refined road manners of a good sedan."

Considering both new and used vehicles, the overall best, regardless of price distinction, goes to the Mercedes-Benz E320, noted for its "responsive handling" and "quiet and composed ride." The best entry-level car is the 1989 Honda Civic, commended for its reliability, "safe handling, a relatively comfortable ride, and good fuel economy." Toyota again tops the list in the most fuel-efficient car category. In testing, the 1995 Tercel averaged about 39 miles per gallon in city and highway driving.

For car buyers in the market for a used car, pages 68-85 of this issue of the Consumer Reports are devoted to an extensive rating system for used cars, including prices, reliability, and frequency-of-repair factors. A random selection from the best 1989-1995 models includes the Infiniti G20, the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry, the Nissan Maxima, and the Geo Prizm. Making the list for some of the worst used cars of 1989-1995 are the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer, the Jeep Wrangler, the Ford Bronco, the Dodge Grand Caravan, and the Mercury Topaz.

Copyright © 1997 by TranSafety, Inc.

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