new car buying guide
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RATINGS & REFERENCE GUIDE SECTION
6 | CHOOSE THE RIGHT VEHICLE 8 Key questions to ask yourself 9 Cars owners love 10 Factors to consider 13 Time to research
14 | STRETCH YOUR FUEL ECONOMY
15 Compare MPG 16 Do hybrids and diesels save money? 18 Plug-ins and electrics 25 Alternative-fuel vehicles
26 | TEST DRIVES 27 Plan your test-drive day 28 Pre-drive inspection 33 Getting on the road 35 After the test-drive
CONTENTS NEW CAR BUYING GUIDE 2015
78 | MODELS BY CATEGORY 80 | VEHICLE RATINGS 96 | GUIDE TO PROFILES 98 | 252 VEHICLE PROFILES
224 | ROAD-TEST HIGHLIGHTS230 | CRASH-TEST RESULTS 236 | VEHICLE DIMENSIONS
ConsumerReports.org/cars CONSUMER REPORTS 7 NEW CAR BUYING GUIDE 2015 1
To navigate the world of leasing you may need to learn a new language.
Biofuels are just one part of the quest for better mileage.
58 Should you trade in your old car... or sell it yourself?
36 | AUTOMOBILE FINANCING37 How much can you afford?39 Understanding your credit score41 Where to shop for a loan42 Get pre-approved for a loan42 Auto financing alternatives
44 | THE NEW FACE OF LEASING 45 The changing landscape 46 Pros and cons 48 Understanding leasing 50 Doing the deal
54 | GET TOP DOLLAR FOR YOUR OLD CAR
55 Whats your car worth? 56 Maximizing your cars curb appeal 59 Trading in: Less effort & money 59 Selling it yourself: More effort & money
62 | DEALING WITH THE DEALER 63 Ready for action? 63 The easy way out 64 Internet buying services 65 Face-to-face negotiations 66 Negotiate effectively 68 The finance office
70 | HOW TO CHOOSE INSURANCE 71 Key elements 72 10 Ways to save on insurance 75 Insurance company Ratings
The Toyota Highlander Hybrids 25 mpg overall is tops among midsize SUVs.
It gets easierLets face it: the car buying process is a major pain. For the majority of consumers, buying a new car is akin to dealing with the IRS, CIA, and an angry spouseat the same time. Even when you know exactly what you want, dealing with the car dealer can feel like crossing a minefield. Its no surprise that people routinely say theyd rather go to the
dentist than go through the process of buying a car.So take a deep breath and relax, because were here to
help. The Consumer Reports automotive staff has created this revised and updated issue of New Car Buying Guide to be your road map through the car-buying jungle of doubt and indecision.
Here youll find the most comprehensive advice we offer in any printed publication. We help simplify the car-buying process with step-by-step guidance on how to determine your budget and price range, find the right vehicle for your needs, set up the most advantageous financing, and get the most from your test drive.
We also tell you about dealer tricks to be wary of, extra-cost items you can live without, and how to get the lowest priceeven if you hate haggling.
Then we back up this expert advice with full Ratings on more than 250 vehicles, guiding you to the best in each category and helping you avoid the worst. We also provide reviews on all major models, as well as reliability info and easy-to-use comparison charts.
For more details on how Consumer Reports is different from all of the other car information available in print and on the web, read about who we are on page 3.
Buying a new car is an exciting event, one that shouldnt be ruined by a bad experience at the dealer. And we would love to share in that excitement with you. So connect with us on ConsumerReports.org or through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and let us know how your next buying experience goes!
Jon Linkov, Cars Deputy Editor and CRs Auto Test team
CONSUMER REPORTS NEW CAR BUYING GUIDE 2015 (ISSN 1044-3045) is published by Consumers Union of U.S., Inc., 101 Truman Ave., Yonkers, NY 10703-1057. CONSUMER REPORTS NEW CAR BUYING GUIDE 2015 is registered in the U.S. Patent Office. Contents of this issue copyright 2014 by Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All rights reserved under international and Pan-American copyright conventions.
The information in NEW CAR BUYING GUIDE 2015 is intended solely for the use of its readers and may not be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose. Consumers Union will take all steps open to it to prevent unauthorized use of its materials, its name, or the name of CONSUMER REPORTS. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part is forbidden without prior written permission (and is never permitted for advertising purposes).
CUs staff operates under a contract between CU and The Newspaper Guild of New York, Local 3, The Newspaper Guild, AFL-CIO. Printed in U.S.A.
President & CEO Marta TelladoChief Operating Officer Richard Gannon
Vice President Print Products & Digital Editions Brent DiamondVice President, Integrated Content Creation Liam McCormack
Senior Director, Content Strategy & Development Diane Salvatore Director, Auto Testing Jake Fisher
Director, Auto Test Operations Jennifer StockburgerSenior Director, Product Testing Mark Connelly
Director, Consumer Safety & Sustainability Urvashi Rangan
CARS CONTENT DEVELOPMENT Cars Content Development Team Leader Mark Rechtin
Cars Deputy Content Editor Jon Linkov Cars Deputy Content Editor Jeff Bartlett
Senior Editor Gordon Hard Senior Associate Editor Eric Evarts
Senior Associate Editor George Kennedy Associate Editor Jim Travers
MAGAZINES & NEWSLETTER PRODUCTS Design Director Timothy LaPalme
Design Manager Rosemary Simmons Senior Art Director Lisa Slater
Prepress Color Associates Frank Collado, Mark Linder Contributing Photographers John Walsh, Tracey Kroll
Editorial Production Associate Terri Kazin Associate Director, Editorial Research Jane Healey
Assistant Decarris Bryant
Auto Test Center Erik Dill, Facilities Manager; Anita Lam, Data Program Manager; Eugene Petersen, Tire Program Manager; Gabriel Shenhar, Program Manager, Special Publications; Thomas Mutchler, Program Manager, User Interface; Shawn Sinclair, Automotive Engineer; John Ibbotson, Workshop Supervisor; Michael Quincy, Auto Content Specialist; Seung Min Mel Yu, Automotive Analyst; Mary Reed, Business Manager; Donna Johnson, Administration; Michael Bloch, Frank Chamberlain, Michael Jascot, Chris Jones, Ryan Pszczolkowski, Edward Smith, Joseph Veselak
Content Strategy & Development Nancy Crowfoot, Associate Director, Scheduling; Diane Chesler, Associate
Content Operations David Fox, Director; William Breglio, Manager, Content Production; Anthony Terzo, Content Production Coordinator; Wayne Lizardi, Imaging Associate; Eugene Chin, Project Leader, Content Production; Dawn Yancy, Associate
Content Quality Management & Planning Frank Iacopelli, Director
Statistics Michael Saccucci, Director; Keith Newsom-Stewart, Martin Romm, Program Leaders; Yunxuan Chang, Statistician
Survey Research Steven Witten, Director; Donato Vaccaro, Associate Director; Simon Slater, Survey Research Associate
Consumer Insight Ed Farrell, Director; Michelle Leonard, Andrew Vogel, Karen Hoffman, Senior Research Associates; Robert Huerster, Dirk Klingner, Senior Research Analysts
Print Product Management Patricia McSorley, Associate Director, Newsstand Marketing
Purchasing Steven Schiavone, Associate Director, Publishing Operations
Communications Ofce Douglas Love, Associate Director; Charles Fields, Senior Communications Counsel
Executive Staff Vice Presidents Rahul Belani, Chief Technology Officer; Ricardo Castro, Executive Vice President; Eileen Hershenov, General Counsel; Robert McEwen, Communications; Christopher Meyer, Public Policy & External Affairs; Eric Wayne, Chief Financial Officer
NEW CARBUYING GUIDE 2015
2 CONSUMER REPORTS 7 NEW CAR BUYING GUIDE 2015 ConsumerReports.org/cars
Consumer Reports:Who we areWe are Consumer Reports, the worlds pre-eminent, independent, nonprofit, consumer-product testing organization. Results of our tests and surveys appear on ConsumerReports.org, in Consumer Reports magazine, across social media, and in books like this one, the 2015 New Car Buying Guide.
This book not only helps you choose what car to buy, but advises how to buy it. Inside youll find a wealth of information about the 2015 cars, SUVs, and trucks: what models are available and how they compare in performance, reliability, fuel economy, and safety. We also give you expert advice on how to determine what you can afford, the best ways to shop, and how to get the most for your moneyeven if you hate haggling.
Consumer Reports stands out from the crowd in a number of ways:
We dont accept outside advertising. Our income comes from subscriptions,
sales of books like this one, and dona-tions from individuals. This way we can call it like we see it, rather than how advertisers want us to see it.
We think for ourselves. We rely solely on our own evaluations and direct experience. Manufacturers claims and enthusiast reviews dont sway us.
We buy our own test cars. Just like any other consumer, we buy from dealers and bargain for the best price. That way we dont have to depend on freebies from carmakers, as most other car reviewers do.
State-of-the-art test facilities. Our auto test track allows us to evaluate and test every car under similar conditions, and to safely drive them to their extreme limits.
Unique reliability data. Our reliability Ratings are derived from our Annual Auto Survey; with data on more than 1.1 mil-lion vehicles its the largest