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The Ultimate Automobile Buying Guide of 2009

We’ve spent the last few months pouring over reviews, rants, and raves from just about every major car produced over the past year, and combined the info to give you, the car buying public, the ultimate car-buying list of 2009. Whether you’re hurting from the recession and need to watch the dimes, or feel like splurging on a sexy fast chick magnet, you’ll find the best of the best right here.

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Most Economical:

Since the government has finally recognized that we’re in a recession and have been for a year (big surprise), it only makes sense that economical vehicles are of interest. Though we have seen gas prices drop, we still are looking at vehicles that cost less.

1. Smart Fortwo

Priced from $11,600 to $13,600, the smart for two is the most economical vehicle of 2009. The smart fortwo comes in a coupe or convertible (a convertible – really!) trim level and any style has a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder in-line engine. It’s definitely not built for speed, but it gets 36 mpg. Though gas prices have gone down now, they were a bitch in 2008 and we can’t bank on the fact that they’ll  stay down. You can also guess that the smart fortwo is not a family car- it’s easy to tell that it only seats two.

2. Toyota Yaris

Like the smart fortwo, the Toyota Yaris is also a compact car, but can seat four people. They’re priced between $11,500 and $14,650 and come in either a sedan or hatchback style. Though the hatchback style may be more practical, it doesn’t look as nice as the sedan. Any trim level is available with an automatic or manual transmission and the EPA rating is between 31 and 32 mpg depending on your choices. No matter what style(s) you choose, the Yaris only comes equipped with a 1.5-liter I4 engine.

3. Kia Rio

The Kia Rio is one of the most attractive of the compact and economical cars of 2009. Priced at between $10,900 and $14,715, if comes in a sedan style or a 5-door hatchback. The base level only comes equipped with a manual transmission, but with all other trim levels you have a choice between manual and automatic. Again the engine is small at 1.6 liter and it’s an I4, but the gas mileage is decent at 20 mpg.

4. Hyundai Accent

Like the Kia Rio, the Hyundai Accent gets 29 mpg, but it’s ranked one notch below the Rio in our top economical vehicles for 2009 because it costs a little more than the Kia Rio at between $10,800 and $15,770. The engine is the same size as the Kia Rio too, so you’re not getting any benefits there either.

5. Honda Fit

The Honda Fit costs from $14,000 to $16,000 and comes in a base or sport trim level. Of course, like all of these vehicles, the engine is small at 1.5 liters and is and I4. The Fit’s estimated EPA rating is 29 to 31 mpg.

6. Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla is a great small car and economical too. Priced from $14,400 to $16,400, it sports a 1.8-liter, I4 engine and gets from 29 to 31 mpg. You have four trim levels to choose from too: CE, S, LE, and Sport.

7. Nissan Versa

The Nissan Versa is priced about the same as the Toyota Corolla, but the mileage is a little less on the Versa as it only gets between 28 and 29 mpg. It’s still economical, but not quite as good as the Toyota Corolla.

8. Pontiac Vibe

The Pontiac Vibe costs a little less than $17,000 and get about 29mpg. However, the engine is a little larger than the vehicles mentioned previously with a 1.8-lite, 4 cylinder engine.

9. Dodge Caliber

The Dodge Caliber can be anywhere from very economical to only adequately economical depending on which options you were to choose. It’s priced anywhere from $15,000 to $23,400 and has and estimated EPA rating of 22 to 26 mpg. The one thing that all options and trim levels of this vehicle has is a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which enables the vehicle to go through an infinite number of gear changes, allowing for optimum fuel efficiency and at the engine’s most efficient revolutions per minute.

The Caliber has an option of three different engine sizes: the 1.8-liter, in-line 4 cylinder (I4), which is available on the SE or SXT; the 2.0-liter I4, which is available on the SE and SXT trim levels; and the 2.4-liter I4, standard in the RT and SRT4 trim levels. You can imagine that this is where the different in the cost of the vehicle and the fuel efficiency would come in.

10. Jeep Patriot

Cool! An SUV made it on the list. It may not be the most fun SUV, but it’s a SUV nonetheless. It’s priced from $16,500 to $22,900 and gets 24 to 25 mpg. That’s not bad for a SUV. The Jeep Patriot also has a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Most of the trim levels come equipped with a 2.4-liter I4 engine. The only exception is the Patriot Sport with front wheel drive (as opposed to four wheel drive). This one has a slightly smaller engine at 2.0 liters.

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Greenest:

Today’s generation is more concerned about our environment than ever before. I only think that the concern will grow as we move through the 21st century. We are finding more and more what we can and need to do to protect our planet, so one way is to drive vehicles that are ecologically sound. Car makers are becoming extremely innovative on designing new cars of the future. The process is slow and though we’ve seen changes, there isn’t much practicality in some new fuel alternative ideas.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has devised a few of different methods of rating the ecological value of a vehicle. Of course, we all know about the estimated miles per gallon (mpg). There is also a rating for air pollution and another for a greenhouse rating. Each of these is on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the best. What you’ll find on this list are not only fuel efficient vehicles, but more importantly ones that scored high on the air pollution and greenhouse ratings.

1. Honda Civic GX NGV

The Honda Civic GX NGV is an innovative vehicle that runs on natural gas. This makes it the cleanest running vehicle on the market to date. The problem with this vehicle is practicality. There are only a few natural gas fueling stations. The alternative is to get a fueling station for your home; however, that costs about $4,000 initially. With the price of gas plummeting, it’s hardly worth it to go through all of that trouble when there are more practical vehicles that a re environmentally friendly.

2. Toyota Prius

As you probably realize, this vehicle has gotten possibly more publicity than any other hybrid car, as it should. The estimated EPA is 48 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway. The 2009 Toyota Prius scored a 9.5 on the EPA air pollution ratings and a 10 on the greenhouse rating. So what’s the price for being ecologically sound and purchasing a Prius? Not too much. Prices start at around $22,000.

3. Honda Civic Hybrid

As far as the environment goes, Honda makes some kick-ass cars. The 2009 Civic Hybrid is no exception. It’s actually as good for the environment as the Toyota Prius with an air pollution rating of 9.5 and a greenhouse rating of 10. The gas mileage is also the same for highway miles at an estimated 45 mpg, but the city miles proves that the Prius is a little more energy efficient since the Civic Hybrid only gets 40 mpg in the city. It’s also priced at about $1,000 more than the Prius, but still a good buy.

4. Honda Civic

The Honda Civic with the 1.8-liter, 4 cylinder engine has an EPA air pollution rating of 9.5 and a greenhouse rating of 9. The estimated gas mileage for this Civic is 24 mpg (city) and 36 mpg (highway).

5. Toyota Camry Hybrid (TIE)
5. Nissan Altima Hybrid (TIE)

Both of these vehicles have EPA air pollution ratings of 9.5 and greenhouse ratings of 9 and each car is just as fuel efficient though the numbers vary slightly. The estimated EPA for the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid is 33 mpg (city) and 34 mpg (highway) as opposed to the 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid which has an estimated EPA of 35 mpg (city) and 33 mpg (highway). This makes them pretty even, but it would depend on your driving habits. Both of these vehicles are a little more expensive than the aforementioned, but still not bad with prices starting around $25,000.

7. Mazda Tribute Hybrid (3-way tie)
7. Ford Escape Hybrid (3-way tie)
7. Mercury Mariner Hybrid (3-way tie)

These three vehicles are evenly matched in being environmentally friendly. They all have air pollution ratings of 9.5 and greenhouse ratings of 9. They also have the same fuel efficiency with an estimated EPA of 34 mpg (city) and 30 mpg (highway). The prices are about the same too. The Tribute is the most expensive as prices start at around $25,000. As for the Mariner and Escape, the Mariner starts at about $23,000 and the Escape starts at about $22,000.

10. Pontiac G-5 (Manual transmission; 5-speed)

Check it out. You can be conscientious about the environment and sporty too, but only if you get the Pontiac G-5 with the manual 5-speed transmission. If you get the automatic, the EPA ratings go way down. For the manual transmission 2009 G-5, the air pollution rating is 9.5 and the EPA greenhouse rating is 8. This vehicle gets about 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. It’s also the least expensive car on this top ten list with prices starting at a little over $15,000.

Quality:

No matter what’s going on with the economy or society, everyone can agree that quality is important. It’s true that we may compromise a little for other features that are important, but overall, we want the quality of our vehicles to be good. Since each class of vehicle is so different, the list is separated into class. Here are the top three for each.

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Compact Cars

1. Honda Fit

J.D. Power & Associates rates the 2008-09 version of the Honda Fit as the “highest ranked subcompact car in initial quality”. Its predicted reliability is among the best in its class. The Honda Fit also scored among the best in overall quality as well as in overall mechanical quality, power train quality, and the quality and design of the accessories and features.

2. Kia Rio

The 2009 Kia Rio is above average in predicted reliability, but it does not sit with the best like the Honda Fit. However, the Kia Rio is ranked among the best in overall design quality and the design quality of the features and accessories.

3. Hyundai Accent

The 2009 Hyundai Accent is only rated average in predicted reliability, but what makes it worthy of being in the #3 spot for quality among all 2009 compact cars is the mechanical quality of the vehicle’s features, the mechanical quality of the interior of the car, and the design quality of the features and accessories.

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Small Cars

1. Honda Civic

As far as quality and reliability go, the Honda Civic rocks! It rates among the best in predicted reliability, interior and overall design quality, the mechanical quality of the interior, the accessories and features, and the overall mechanical quality. It’s no surprise that J.D. Power & Associates says that the Honda Civic is the “highest ranked compact car in initial quality”.

2. Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius was also rated almost as high as the Honda Civic in 2008. It’s was rated the best in predicted reliability and is among the best in every aspect of mechanical quality and the power train design quality.

3. MAZDA3

The 2008-09 MAZDA3 was ranked among the best in the design quality for the features and accessories of this vehicle. It also ranked as above average in predicted reliability and the mechanical quality of the interior of the vehicle.

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Mid Size Cars

1. Chevrolet Malibu

The 2009 Chevy Malibu is ranked among the best in every aspect of overall quality and every aspect of design quality with the exception of the interior, which is ranked as average. It’s also ranked among the best in predicted reliability. It’s no surprise that J.D. Power & Associates awarded the 2008-09 Chevy Malibu as the winner in initial quality for mid-size cars.

2. Ford Fusion

The predicted reliability in the Ford Fusion is among the best as is the overall initial quality, the overall mechanical quality, and overall quality design. You will find that the overall consensus is that the Fusion has a better quality interior design than the Chevy Malibu, but the Mailbu matches or beats it in all other areas of quality.

3. MAZDA6

The MAZDA6 ranks among the best in the quality design of its features and accessories as well as the overall quality design. It’s reported as having above average handling and a smooth ride.

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Large Cars

1. Mercury Sable

The 2009 Mercury Sable is among the best in its class for predicted reliability. It has a very roomy trunk and plenty passenger room in the interior. It’s an awesome family car in that it’s reliable, durable, and “strong”. However, reviewers also argue that it’s “unexciting”. So, if you’re looking for quality, the Mercury Sable was the best for 2009, but if you want more pizazz, you’d be better off looking elsewhere.

2. Pontiac Grand Prix

J.D. Power & Associates ranks the 2008-09 Pontiac Grand Prix as the “Highest Ranked Large Car in Initial Quality”. It’s also true that it’s among the best in its class of large cars for predicted reliability. However, the interior design is only average and is nothing to brag about. Also, the engine doesn’t run as smoothly as some of its competitors and its handling is unimpressive. Therefore, though J.D. Power & Associates may not agree, I’m putting this vehicle in the #2 spot for quality among large cars.

3. Toyota Avalon

The reputation of Toyota’s reliability is not diminished by the 2009 Avalon as its ranked above average in predicted reliability. It’s a strong performer on the road and has awesome handling. It’s also among the leaders as far as passenger room goes for its class. Overall, the quality of this vehicle all around is above average to among the best in its class.

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Sports Cars (Affordable)

1. Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 Miata was ranked at the top of its class in initial quality. In addition, its has superb handling and a quite a kick in the acceleration. It’s ranked at only slightly above average in predicted reliability, but the real down side to the MX-5 Miata is the cramped space in the interior.

2. Pontiac Solstice

While the predicted reliability of the 2009 Pontiac Solstice is rated as only average, the high points of this sports car are in its appearance, both inside and out, its features and accessories, as well as its overall handling. This vehicle has been reported to have extremely accurate steering and excellent handling.

3. Honda S2000

U.S. News reports that the Honda S2000 has “race car-like performance”, which is the general consensus all around. Its predicted reliability is rated as above average, but the cabin space is very cramped. So, where the vehicle shines is in its overall performance, acceleration, and handling.

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Compact SUVs

1. Honda CRV

If you get a chance to look into a Honda CRV, it will be no question as to why J.D. power & Associates ranked this vehicle the “highest ranked compact multi activity vehicle in initial quality. The practical interior is among its many outstanding attributes and is also reportedly among the fastest SUVs of 2009. The predicted reliability is also among the best in its class.

2. Toyota RAV4

Though the Honda CRV is ranked slightly higher in quality than the Toyota RAV4, it’s a pretty close race, and the RAV4 is by far more attractive on the outside. The interior is said to be very roomy and comfortable. It also has good handling and excellent predicted reliability. The biggest shortcoming in this vehicle is the cargo door, which can be a little awkward to handle.

3. Subaru Forester

The Forester is said to be extremely fun to drive and have excellent acceleration. Its above average rating in predicted reliability is a good indication that there won’t be too many problems with it. It’s very room for its size as well. The down side to the 2009 Forester is that the exterior is kind of boring. All in all, the Forester would be a good choice for ownership and is why it’s ranked at #3 for compact SUVs.

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Mid Size SUVs

1. Toyota Highlander

The 2009 Toyota Highlander is family friendly and easy to operate. The vehicle is among the most practical in its class. It’s got excellent get-up-and-go and is ranked among the best in predicted reliability. However, it’s also said to be not as roomy as to be expected for its size.

2. Dodge Durango

The 2009 dodge Durango is known as the “highest ranked mid-size multi activity vehicle in initial quality”; however, it only ranks as average in predicted reliability. It’s rugged and handles well. In addition, it has precise breaking, for a vehicle of its size and a great roomy interior.

3. Toyota 4Runner

The 2009 4Runner has excellent reliability and fantastic durability. The handling is good on the vehicle is good too, but where it excels is in its off-road capabilities. If you want a great off-road vehicle, check out the 4Runner. Don’t expect much cargo space though as this is its shortcoming compared to others in its class.

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Large SUVs

1. Chevrolet Tahoe

Though J.D. Power & Associates doesn’t recognize the 2008-09 Chevy Tahoe as the leader in its class in quality, other would disagree as the Tahoe is labeled as Motor Week’s “Best Large Utility” vehicle and is also awarded as an ItelliChoice “Best Class Winner”. It’s dependable and easy to handle, and has a very comfortable and roomy interior. However, if you want something for hauling, the Chevy Tahoe may not be what you are looking for. There are others that are more suited for those needs.

2. Chevrolet Suburban

The Suburban had an above average predicted reliability rating and has excellent handling for its size. The cabin area is spacious and has a high comfort level.

3. Ford Expedition

Great for hauling, the Ford Expedition was also rated at the top of its class for passenger and towing capacity. Though it’s roomy and very comfortable, the driving experience is uneventful. There’s nothing really wrong with the driving experience, it just doesn’t stand out. However, for hauling, towing, and cargo practicalities, this would be a good choice.

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Small Pickup Trucks

1. Toyota Tacoma

As far as the features and accessories, the 2009 Toyota Tacoma can’t be beat. The interior quality and comfort are also top notch. It also has awesome off-road abilities. However, most reviewers agree that it runs and rides like a truck, which takes away from the quality. Overall, this is the best vehicle in quality in its class.

2. Dodge Dakota

Unlike the Toyota Tacoma, the Dodge Dakota handles like a car. However, where the Tacoma shines, the Dakota is lacking. The poor comfort and the cheap interior materials may have kept the Dakota from being #1 in quality. If they could combine the good aspects of both of these vehicles, then we’d have an unstoppable winner among quality in small pickups.

3. Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger is as rugged as you can get in a small pickup and it’s awesome for off-road activities. However, the interior quality is no match for the Tacoma and the ride and performance is no match for the Dodge Dakota. But, due to its awesome off-roading capabilities, it ranks as #3 in this list.

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Full Size Pickup Trucks

1. Chevrolet Silverado

Reviewers have a tough time saying anything bad about the 2009 Chevy Silverado, which makes it a perfect choice for #1 on this list. J.D. Power & Associates named this truck the “Highest ranked large pickup in initial quality”. In writing about this vehicle, reviewers all have one word that they all use in their description: tough. The vehicle is also reported to have very responsive handling, easy to operate and can handle tough situations. It’s also among the best in predicted reliability.

2. Toyota Tundra

Like the Chevy Silverado, the 2009 Toyota Tundra is among the best in predicted reliability, holding true to the Toyota name and the overall mechanical and design quality is excellent. The Tundra leads its class in towing capabilities and it’s no wonder with the powerful 5.7-liter V8 engine, which can handle almost any job. There’s also plenty of cabin space and plenty of versatility with different cab size options. However, where the Tundra is lacking is in the quality of materials in the interior. So, as far as performance goes, this is definitely a good car, but if you’re looking for a higher grade interior, you may be better off with the Silverado.

3. Ford F-150

As the biggest seller among large pickup trucks in 2009, it’s comforting to know that the F-150 rated among the best in predicted reliability and also rated among the best in the design and mechanical quality of the accessories and features. However, the F-150 doesn’t have the power that the Tundra or the Silverado do, and though the interior materials are better quality than in the Tundra, the exterior quality is lacking compared to other large pickups.

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Vans

1. Ford E-series (Econoline)

The Ford E-series vans are among the best in overall design quality and was named by J.D. Power & Associates to be the “highest ranked van in initial quality”. Though the interior is spacious and has an awesome design, the comfort has a lot to be desired leaving the competition as more desirable in comfort.

2. Nissan Quest

Thought the mechanical quality of the power train and the quality design of the interior are among the best, everything else about he Nissan Quest is pretty middle of the road, so to speak. It has average comfort and average reliability, maybe above average space, but that’s about it. Nothings really wrong with it; it’s just rather unimpressive in some areas.

3. Chevrolet Express

The Express can seat up to 15 people, so in passenger capacity and overall use of space, this vehicle is among the top of the line. However, the reliability of the vehicle is only average and the quality of the interior has a lot to be desired. All in all, I’d say that this van is only fair. Sadly, there aren’t many out on the market, so because of its good qualities, it makes #3 on the list.

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Luxury Small Cars

1. Infiniti EX

Ranked by J.D. Power & Associates as the best small premium vehicle in initial quality, the 2009 Infiniti EX is awesome all around. Its reliability is top notch and its handling is exquisite. There’s just no beating the Infiniti EX.
2. Infiniti G-35

The G-35 is almost as reliable as the winner in this class, the Infiniti EX and its got a sleek design that anyone would be proud of. The overall design quality is untouchable. However, the transmission can be a little temperamental and the cabin area isn’t extremely spacious, so this could be a problem for larger passengers.

3. Volvo S40

The reliability in the Volvo S40 is above average, but the Infiniti EX and G-35 are better in reliability. Overall, the design is great, both inside and out – very attractive. There are also amazing safety features on this vehicle which make it a secure experience. Where the S40 lacks the most is in the options for storage. There’s not much versatility there.

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Luxury Mid Size Cars

1. Mercedes-Benz E Class

The Mercedes-Ben interior and exterior design are superb with all of the perks and benefits you would want in a luxury car. The appearance definitely reeks of class. The performance is amazing with precise cornering, a smooth ride, and incredible acceleration. Where we run into a small problem is in the seating room for back seat passengers. Larger passengers would feel very cramped and I would imagine that it would even be comfortable for smaller back seat passengers on long trips. Also, the cargo room has a lot to be desired; very small.

2. Infiniti M

The Infiniti M has awesome performance and tremendously reactive brakes. It’s among the most reliable in its class. I would definitely say that this vehicle is a wonderful mesh between luxury and performance. However, the biggest downfall in the Infiniti M is the rather bland and uninteresting exterior.

3. Lexus ES

Along with an extremely quiet ride, the Lexus ES is by far the most reliable mid size luxury vehicle of 2009. The vehicle has adequate handling, nice luxury features, and very good comfort. The features are certainly impressive and compete well with other vehicles. The exterior is attractive, but rather plain. Also, if you’re looking for a vehicle that’s fun to drive and is on the sporty side, look somewhere else. The ES certainly doesn’t handle like a sports car, but does offer a nice, smooth ride.

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Luxury Large Cars

1. Lexus LS

The Lexus LS is certainly the most reliable of the large luxury vehicles and it has a quiet smooth ride as well. The interior is extremely comfortable as you can tell you’re in a luxury vehicle. There’s even an option, the Executive Class seating Package, that makes the seating even more comfortable and roomy. However, the acceleration is okay, but unimpressive and the exterior is kind of plain and outdated.

2. Mercedes-Benz S Class

The Mercedes-Bens S class flourishes with its exquisite interior design and with its amazing performance. Though it’s a large sedan, it handles like a sports car. There really isn’t much negative to say about the S class Mercedes-Benz. However, it’s number 2 in the list due to it’s slightly above average reliability compared to the amazing reliability of the Lexus LS.

3. Cadillac DTS

Powerful: That’s the best way to describe the 2009 Cadillac DTS. The overall performance is adequate, but the power and braking ability really stand out. The DTS is very reliable and is also very spacious. It seats up to six adults and has plenty of cargo space. The downside is that it only comes with a 4-speed transmission and doesn’t have some of the advance features that its competitors offer.

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Luxury Sports Car

1. Porsche Cayman

What would this list of awesome cars in 2009 be without a Porsche? First of all, you’ll be stunned by its sexy exterior. Second, you’ll love the awesome performance and a really fun ride! Then there’s the reliability – very reliable, near the top of its class in reliability. I’d say the only thing you may find wrong with it is that some of the interior controls can be a little fussy and difficult to use. Other than that it’s an awesome car with awesome quality.

2. Lotus Exige

If you want a unique look that says “sporty” and “class” at the same time, take a look at the 2009 Lotus Exige. The performance of this vehicle is top notch as well as it has the best slalom time in its class. The overall handling is awesome, very responsive. What you won’t like is the difficulty in getting in and out and for all that the exterior is cracked up to be, the interior is a different story – nothing to write home about, that’s for sure.

3. Mercedes-Bens SLK Class

What can I say? It’s a Mercedes-Benz. That being said, you would only expect a smooth ride that is really unlike a sports car. It also has an impressive interior appearance with all kinds of amenities. Where it lacks is in the cabin space. It’s a bit cramped; and cargo? Forget it. It’s not happening in this car.

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Luxury Mid Size SUVs

1. Lexus RX

True to its Lexus name, the RX is top notch in reliability and beats out all competitors in its class. The interior is nice with plenty of room. The performance is decent; however the transmission can be a little slow on the response time when shifting gears. Also, this vehicle is not for off-roading, so don’t even think about it.

2. Lexus GX

Unlike the RX, the Lexus GX is great for off-roading, but doesn’t skimp on luxuries. Like the RX, though the Lexus GX is extremely reliable. The only criticism that I would give it is that the exterior is very plain and outdated.

3. Mercedes-Benz M

The Mercedes-Benz M is ranked among the highest in safety and it has great performance, as you would expect in a Mercedes-Benz. There are plenty of amenities that either come with it or are optional. However, the reliability of this vehicle could be better and though spacious, the middle and back row seating re uncomfortable.

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Luxury Large SUVs

1. Cadillac Escalade

While the reliability is only about average for its class, the Cadillac Escalade has so much more to offer. It’s classy appearance shines through inside and out and the performance is unbelievable. The acceleration is amazing! The only thing that kind of sucks is the low third row seating. It may be uncomfortable for passengers on long road trips.

2. Lincoln Navigator

The 2009 Lincoln Navigator is primarily #2 on the list because of its incredible reliability. There’s been a lot of success with these vehicles. It’s also very spacious and comfortable, everything you would expect in a large luxury SUV, plus some. However, the handling isn’t as good as some of its competitors and the interior materials could be a higher quality.

3. Toyota Land Cruiser

I’m partial to the Land Cruiser over the other two higher up on the list because of the off-road capabilities of the Toyota Land Cruise with many off-road-friendly features such as the Crawl Control. It’s got a lot of power to back it up and tremendous towing capability. The Land Cruiser is extremely reliable too. What keeps it from being in the #1 or #2 spot is the fact that the interior and exteriors in the other two appear to be of higher quality.

Safety:

Safety is always a factor in a vehicle. If you’re single or love adventure, it may not be on the top of your list, but you wouldn’t tell a car dealer to give you the least safe car on the market either. If you have a family, then safety is probably one of the most important factors when considering a vehicle. Note: All of these top ten, along with others have been awarded with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick recognition.

1. Audi A6

Features that help the Audi A6 to exceed standards would include the electronic stability control, traction control, daytime running lights, and advance air bag features. The electronic stability control system reacts in an impressive .02 seconds by monitoring wheel speed, slip angles and steering wheel position during a potential collision.

2. Ford Taurus

To help prevent accidents from occurring in the first place, the 2009 Ford Taurus has an optional AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control System and rear parking sensors. In the event of an accident, the Taurus is equipped with Ford’s Safety Canopy System.

3. Honda Pilot

The 2009 Honda Pilot has an optional rear view camera so that there are virtually no blind spots. But, the Pilot also has plenty of standard features as well that make it a safer vehicle than most such as the traction control and the electronic stability control.

4. Chrysler Town & Country

The Chrysler Town & Country also has the electronic stability control and a rear view camera (standard only on the limited; optional on other trim levels). There are crush zones on the vehicle to absorb the impact in case of an accident, and it has one safety feature that I love. It’s a response system that flashes the car’s lights when it’s disabled so that other drivers can see it.

5. Chevrolet HHR

On the automatic transmission models, as part of the anti-lock brake system (ABS) package, you also get Electronic Traction Control on the Chevy HHR. Also, you have an option of the Stability Control feature. These are all items that can help to prevent you from getting in an accident. However, in the event that impact does occur, the HHR has the head curtain side airbags and the optional On-Star response system.

6. Honda Odyssey

For accident prevention, the 2009 Honda Odyssey comes standard with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control, Brake Assist, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and Immobilizer Theft-Deterrent System. Also, a rear-view camera is included in the optional navigation system, available for the Odyssey EX-L and the Touring trim levels.

7. Chevrolet Suburban

Any trim level of the Chevy Suburban comes standard with the StabiliTrak stability control system as well as a tire pressure monitoring system. Also to better the safety in a Suburban, the 2009 models were made with a stiffer frame than previous model to better ensure safety in case of impact.

8. Volvo S80

Volvo has some innovative technology on safety and the S80 is among the vehicles that are equipped with the new safety features. There’s an optional Blind-Spot Information System (BLIS) which has cameras attached to your side mirrors and tells you what’s in your blind spots. Also, in case of an accident, the Volvo S80 comes with five padded head restraints and the Whiplash Protection Seating System.

9. Audi A3

The Audi A3 is among the vehicles that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety names as a Top Safety Pick. It’s just all around sturdy and each of the five seats is equipped with three-point seat belts, adjustable head restraints, and automatic seat belt tension.

10. Honda Accord

The accord has Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure, designed to disperse crash energy away from passengers. The Accord also has Honda’s new dual chamber airbags, which protects the passenger’s pelvic area as well as their torso.

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Sexiest Vehicles:

This is more for the vanity in you. If the purpose of your car is to make you look good, for status, or to attract the opposite sex, then you’ll appreciate this top ten list. You can be assured that you will find sports cars on the list, but they’re not all sports cars. Take a look…

1. Cadillac XLR-V

The sleek look with the dramatic shape of the 2009 Cadillac XLR-V is sure to turn heads. The hard-top retractable top only adds to its attraction.

2. Cadillac STS-V

Okay, so this isn’t a sports car, but no one says that only sports cars can be sexy. The classic look of this Caddy says allegiance, prestige, and class, with sporty undertones.

3. Mercedes-Benz SL Class

Just to look at the SL Class by Mercedes-Benz, you can tell that it’s going to be fast. That’s all I think of when I see this car is “speed”. The electro-hydraulic retractable hard top adds to its physique.

4. Mercedes-Benz S Class

In the super luxury class, the Mercedes-Benz S Class is exquisite with its rounded, yet classy look.

5. Chevrolet Corvette

This is nothing like the Vette your dad use to drive back in the day. However, Chevy gives the Corvette a new look that enhances its appearance so that you don’t miss the old look.

6. Cadillac CTS

This upscale mid-size car has a lot of style and its sporty tone gives it a sleek, sexy look.

7. Porsche 911 Turbo

Could we have a list on sexy cars and not include a Porsche? Of course not. The 911 Turbo will turn heads more than any other Porsche. The design has changed slightly over the years, but it’s still identifiably a Porsche 911.

8. BMW M6

Good luck affording this vehicle as you will need about $100,000. As the only BMW on the list of sexy cars, check out the sporty appearance in this upscale luxury car.

9. Mercedes-Benz SLK Class

The 2009 models are the first in the Mercedes- Benz SLK Class. It brings us a great new look in luxury cars.

10. Mercedes- Benz CL Class

This is probably the most expensive car on the list as well as it can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 depending on the options you choose. It’s an absolutely stunning super luxury sports car.

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Most Fun:

Here we go! If you have a zest for life and life every moment as if it’s your last, then you’ll love this list. These are the most fun cars of 2009 to drive. Warning: all of these vehicles are guaranteed cop magnets.

1. Dodge Viper

Of course the Viper is #1 on the list. The 2009 Dodge Viper has a top speed of 210 mph, faster than any car on this list and it’s been clocked at going 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 sec.

2. Porsche 911 Turbo

You knew you’d see a Porsche. You’ll see some more Porsches a little later in the list. However, this one has the best 0 to 60 time at 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 193 mph.

3. Lamborghini Gallardo

Of course, we couldn’t forget the Lamborghini. This car has the second fastest top speed on the list at 201 mph and has an acceleration time of 4.0 sec to go from 0 to 60 mph.

4. Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevy Corvette, as always is a solid front runner in this category. It has a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph.

5. Ford Mustang Shelby

Though the Mustang isn’t considered a luxury sports car like these others, it’s still a thrill to drive! Though the top speed is only 155 mph, the 0-60 mph time is 4.0 seconds!

6. Porsche 911 Carrera

Here’s the second Porsche on this list. Though the 0-60 mph time is one of the slowest on the list at 4.7 seconds, it still has plenty of get up and go and also has a top speed of 177 mph.

7. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG has a 4.6 second 0 to 60 time, which isn’t bad. However, there were restrictions put on the top speed, the restrictions being 155 mph. If you want more fun, you can get a kit that increases the top speed to 174 mph.

8. Cadillac STS-V

The Cadillac STS-V has a top speed of 155 mph; fast but not “turbo” fast. However, th0 to 60 mph time is 4.5 seconds – not bad!

9. Cadillac XLR-V

The XLR-V has almost the same speed and acceleration stats as the STS-V. The only difference is that the 0 to 60 mph time is 4.6 seconds.

10. Porsche Boxster

And yet another Porsche. The 0 to 60 mph time is not too impressive for the Porsche Boxster at 5.6 seconds, but this is made up on its top speed of 170 mph.

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Most Popular:

This isn’t always the best judge of what you like, but chances are if the majority of the population likes these vehicles, then so will you. Here are the top ten most popular vehicles in 2009.

1. Honda Civic

It should be no surprise to you that the most popular car in 2008 was an car in the “affordable small car” category. The Honda Civic was the most sought after vehicle due to so many different factors, including cost and fuel efficiency, which were both so important during the huge rise in gas prices in 2008. The Honda Civic was very inexpensive and cost anywhere from $15,000 to around $20,000 depending on the trim level and the options. The fuel efficiency was also pretty reasonable with an estimated EPA rating of 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

I’d say that the best features on the vehicle besides its economical value would have to be its safety features. Next in line would be its awesome reliability. The performance and the exterior appearance are equally rated at above average. All in all, I would rate this vehicle as “awesome”.

2. Honda Accord

An affordable mid-size car is next on the list, and another Honda. No surprises there either. The vehicle was priced in the low $20s, which is phenomenal for a mid-size car. Also, the gas mileage is quite attractive in the Accord with an estimated EPA of 22 mpg (city) and 33 mpg (highway). The best attributes of this vehicle can be found in the “safety” department, followed by performance and the interior performance and quality. Overall, I would also rate the Honda Accord as “awesome”.

3. Toyota Corolla

I’m sure you knew it was only a matter of time before you saw a Toyota on the list of most popular vehicles for 2009. With the Toyota name combined with the awesome fuel efficiency, this vehicle is near the top of the list. Though overall, I would only rate this vehicle as “adequate”, it was popular due to its cost efficiency. The Corolla was priced around $14,000 and got gas mileage of around 28 mpg (city) and 37 mph (highway).

4. Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is among the leaders in reliability and the price was definitely right with this vehicle as it was priced in the low to mid 20’s, not bad at all for a compact SUV. The fuel efficiency is awesome for an SUV as well at 20 mpg (city) and 27 mpg (highway). The CR-V has awesome safety features and wonderful performance. This was a great compromise between practical uses and economical uses for the consumers. Overall, I would rate the 2009 Honda CR-V as “awesome”.

5. Toyota Camry

You really can’t beat the affordability of the 2009 Toyota Camry, which is priced in the low 20s. For a mid-size car, that’s incredible. The gas mileage made this vehicle fairly attractive to buyers as its estimated EPA rating is 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The safety features are among the Camry’s best qualities, followed by the quality and design of the interior and the reliability. Overall, I would rate the Toyota Camry as “awesome” for 2009.

6. MAZDA6

The MAZDA6 has an awesome economical value for a mid-size car. However, the price can range anywhere from the upper teens to the mid 20s depending on the trim level and options. The gas mileage is outstanding for a mid-size car with an estimated EPA rating of 29 mpg on the highway y and 21 mpg in the city. The MAZDA6’s best attributes include its safety features and its exterior appearance. The performance of this vehicle is definitely above average as well. I would rate this vehicle overall as “decent”.

7. Honda Fit

Though the Honda Fit is extremely economical, in some situations it’s not very practical due to its small size. This would explain why it’s only #7 on the list. However, if you want something economical and highly reliable, then this is your car. Priced in the mid teens, this vehicle gets about 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Along with extreme reliability, the Honda Fit has an awesome safety rating, performance rating, and great interior quality and design. The only shortcoming that the vehicle has is its exterior appearance, which still isn’t bad at all. Overall, I would definitely rate this vehicle as “awesome”, taking into consideration that it’s not for everyone because it’s so small.

8. Toyota RAV4

Hooray! Another SUV is on the list. At least we know the country hasn’t wimped out on us completely. As far as reliability goes, you can’t find better. The gas mileage is pretty decent at 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg in the highway; not bad for an SUV. It’s only priced in the low to mid 20s, which is also very reasonable. Aside from the awesome reliability, I would say that the RAV4’s next best attributes are in its safety features followed by its outer appearance. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t really look like a lot of other compact SUVs. It actually look tough instead of “soccer-mommish”. Overall, the RAV4 gets an “awesome” rating from me.

9. Acura TL

At least we know that America will still stick with prestige, somewhat. The Acura TL is considered an upscale mid-size car. However, it’s very reasonably priced for its class as its range is in the mid 30s. The gas mileage isn’t great, but not horrible at 18 mpg (city) and 26 mpg (highway). The vehicle’s attributes are pretty evenly matched. It’s a solid performer, it looks nice on the inside and out, it has impressive safety features, and it’s fairly reliable. Overall, I give this vehicle a rating of “very decent”.

10. Honda Odyssey

It’s interesting how minivans are being phased out, but we still have one in the top ten most popular cars in 2009. However, we are talking about the Odyssey. The safety features are among the best in its class and the performance of the Odyssey is superb. Perhaps most people like its versatility and roominess on the inside. I’d say that the only downside to the Odyssey is that the reliability has only been rated as mediocre. Overall, I would still rate the Odyssey as “awesome”.

Leave a Comment

  1. Andre says:

    Not a bad list, but I don't fully agree. It says nothing about Diesel cars (such as the VW Jetta TDI).

  2. Jim says:

    The Honda Odyssey is the auto world's most dastardly best kept plague to be stricken upon man. Recently a 2001 well maintained Odyssey with regular trips to the dealership we bought used suddenly developed 2 broken motor mounts, a snapped hood latch cable, and worn timing belt costing $1900.00 to fix. Three days later the transmission dropped without warning and of course the catalytic converter miraculously went out. This time $3900.00 to repair and we find out now from the dealer that this particular vehicle has had not one but two warranty recall transmissions already. Reliability at mediocre my BUTT!! The dealer even pulled us aside and told us we HAD to go find a different vehicle because these suck.

  3. Hearst says:

    I heard Toyota is currently recalling most vehicles with gas pedal troubles . My next door neighbor drives a Toyota, can the vehicle be driven before the repair?