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Five best new cars

Published April 21, 2014

The Toronto Star for Wheels.ca

Best Compact: Nissan Micra

“The Micra may be Canada’s cheapest car, but the only thing cheap about it is the price.”

Base price: $9,998
We’ve not driven the Canadian Micra yet, but this edition is already sold in many other world markets with great praise from critics.

WE LIKE:
The price: It’s at least $2,000 less than the competition.
The features: Even the cheapest version includes a CD player with an auxillary jack.
The options: Automatic and air-conditioning are available for $13,298, Bluetooth and power windows and locks for $13,698.
Engine: 1.6 L inline 4
Power/Torque: 109 hp/107 lb.-ft.
Fuel consumption: n/a
What’s best: A new car for under $10,000.
What’s worst: Not much power.
Value for money: Can’t be beat.

Mid-size: Mazda6

Base price: $24,495
As tested: $28,395
The Mazda6 was named car of the year by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada — it’s considered the best new car on the market.

WE LIKED:
Great fuel economy for a car this size.
Sporty handling and response means it’s great fun to drive.
The high-quality interior feels like a car that costs much more.

Engine: 2.5 L inline 4
Power/Torque: 184 hp/185 lb.-ft.
Fuel consumption L/100 km: 7.6 city, 5.1 hwy.
What’s best: It has everything you want.
What’s worst: Packages sell you unwanted options.
Value for money: Excellent.

Full Size: Chevrolet Impala

Base price: $31,445
As tested: $39,495
The Oshawa-built Impala is a refined and spacious car designed for arriving in comfort. If you want a sporty drive, too, move up to the 305-hp V6.

WE LIKED:
Plenty of room and plenty of comfort.
Noise-cancelling microphones keep the ride quiet.
Very up-to-date technology.
Engine: 2.5 L inline 4
Power/Torque: 196 hp/186 lb.-ft.
Fuel consumption L/100 km: 9.9 city, 6.3 hwy.
What’s best: Very quiet and refined.
What’s worst: Little driving feel.
Value for money: Very competitive.

Minivan: Dodge Grand Caravan

Base price: $19,895
As tested: $24,195
For carrying seven people and a whole load of cargo, it doesn’t get more practical than a minivan, and the Dodge is the best value of them all.

WE LIKED:
Stow ‘n’ Go makes cargo carrying easy.
Comfortable seating for seven, and still space for luggage.
Powerful engine allows 3,600 lb. of towing.

Engine: 3.6 L V6
Power/Torque: 283 hp/260 lb.-ft.
Fuel consumption L/100 km: 12.2 city, 7.9 hwy.
What’s best: Plenty of comfortable space, smooth ride.
What’s worst: Thirsty on fuel if it’s just you in the van.
Value for money: The best-priced minivan.

 

Pickup: Ford F-150

Base price: $18,749
As tested: $23,749
There’s a reason why it’s the best-selling vehicle in Canada every year. The F-150 is solid, reliable, and gets the job done with no fuss.

WE LIKED:
Comfortable drive doesn’t let size overwhelm.
Lots of clever and practical features.
Great starting price.
Engine: 3.7 L V6 and others
Power/Torque: 302 hp/278 lb.-ft.
Fuel consumption L/100 km: 12.4 city, 8.6 hwy.
What’s best: Very solid and capable.
What’s worst: Next year’s model will be even better.
Value for money: Can’t beat the base price.

Others worth considering

Compact: Hyundai Elantra, 2.0 L I4, $25,649 base/as tested: The Elantra is Canada’s second-best-selling car (after the longtime champ Honda Civic) because it’s reliable, good-looking, practical, enjoyable and great value for money. What’s not to like?


Mid-size: Honda CR-V, 2.4 L I4, $25,990 base, $30,224 as tested: Honda’s compact SUV is one of its most popular models, thanks to its proven reliability and practicality. Redesigned for 2013, it improved its already exceptional fuel consumption.


Full size: Jeep Grand Cherokee, 3.6 L V6, $39,995 base/as tested: It can get very expensive very quickly, with a range of engines and options, but for a full-size family vehicle that can go anywhere, the basic Grand Cherokee is great value.


Minivan: Kia Sedona, 3.5 L V6, $28,695 base/as tested: It doesn’t have the Stow ‘n’ Go storage, but the Sedona includes plenty of other features that make the ride enjoyable for everyone in all three rows of seats.


Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado, 4.3 L V6, $26,290 base, $37,075 as tested: Voted North American Truck of the Year for 2014, thanks to its combination of efficient fuel consumption, 2,000-lb. payload and a 5-star safety rating.

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