Top 5 Vehicles Driven for 2012 – Car Pro Commentary

This is always a tough task for me. I formally reviewed well over 50 new vehicles in calendar year 2012, and drove twice that many for anywhere from a day to several days. It has been an interesting year as America continues transitioning to more fuel-efficient vehicles as more become available. That does not mean small necessarily, it just means that if someone trades a two to three year-old car for the same model, the odds are great that the new car will get substantially better fuel economy.
As is tradition, below you will find the Top Five vehicles I reviewed in 2012. They are the vehicles that had the most dramatic effect on me, and their automaker. I will also tell you what I remember best about them, and why they made this list. These are not ranked by any measure; the list is in alphabetical order by manufacturer.
2013 Cadillac XTS. I was eager to drive the XTS when I reviewed it. For me, it was a turning point for Cadillac and a sneak peek into the future of GM’s luxury line. This car also gave me a glimpse of the new infotainment system called CUE, which worked great. The future of Cadillac looks bright with well-refined interiors and exceptional exterior styling. This is the car that vibrates your seat when you stray out of your lane. This car is a contender with German cars that cost a lot more.
2013 Ford Escape: We all want better fuel economy, but some people like or even need an SUV. The success of the Ford Ecoboost V6 has turned the heads of auto industry followers. The question was, how would the 4-cylinder Ecoboost be? My review of the Escape answered that question, and the overwhelming answer is that it is a hit. The power of the Escape engine was remarkable. Combine that with almost 30 MPG, and you have yourself a winning combination. New features and technology abound in the Escape. Most memorable was a feature that allowed you to wave your foot under the rear bumper to open the tailgate.
2013 Honda Accord: If you want an immediate increase in business, just take a car with a stellar reputation for quality and fuel-efficiency, make it look great, make it use less gas, and add some cool technology. This is what Honda did with the new Accord. With the V6, you get 278-horses and 34 miles per gallon. The Accord is solid, it’s quiet, and it has a much nicer interior than previous versions. Honda mounted a camera in the right outside mirror, so when you go to change lanes, the screen on the dash give you a birds-eye view of everything to your right. The 2013 Accord is the most important car Honda has launched in years, and they did it right.
2013 Lexus GS350: Lexus quality has never been called into question. If there was a downside to the previous GS versions, it was that the car wasn’t overly excited. Toyota changed all that for 2013 by keeping the things the same that made it a great car, but added some fun to the ride and drive by stiffening the suspension, making the car wider, and giving it a spectacular update to the exterior. The new Lexus interior would appeal to anyone, and the 12” color monitor in the dash is spectacular. You even hear the roar of the engine when you step on it. As you have come to expect from Lexus, they made all these changes while improving their already great quality.
2013 Nissan Altima: For many years, Altima has been one of the most popular midsized cars on the road, and this 5th generation version takes it to a new level. The car is much refined on the outside, and the inside with a much nicer interior. In fact, Nissan got NASA to help them design the seats. Steering and suspension were tweaked for a much more pleasant ride and drive. With the V6, you get 270-horses and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The combination of the V6 and the continuously variable transmission makes this car a real joy to drive and a game changer for Nissan.
The ALMOST made it list! I was certain the 2013 Ford Fusion would make the list, but since I have not done a formal review on it, it was not eligible. Almost making the list were Chevy Malibu Eco, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Volvo S60 R-Design.

  1. Larry Baker 5 years ago

    Bought my wife a 2013 Escape which she liked a lot till the recent “recall.” They said they fixed the problem which involved the recall but now the car is only getting 16 mpg in the city. Before the recall it was getting 20 mpg in the city. Do you have any knowledge about this???

    • Author
      Michele Sanders 5 years ago

      Larry, sounds like the computer may have gotten reset. Give it a little time and if you can, check it by hand. There’s nothing in the recall that should affect the mileage.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

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