Drive To The Top

Looking for the best car to meet your needs? Stop here for direction.

contender: Nissan’s new Altima. It’s a larger, roomier sedan with more power than the competition, agile handling, and a remarkable price tag.

Manufacturers need to sell a lot of small cars to meet government-ordained CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) targets. As highlighted in the news since the fuel crisis of the 1970s, the government requires that all cars sold by a manufacturer meet a certain fuel economy number. If the brand fails, there are significant financial penalties. To draw buyers to smaller vehicles, the key is to offer more for the money. The Toyota Corolla is practically a miniature luxury sedan that rides smooth and has excellent performance.

Bargains can also be found in unexpected places. Value isn’t just about the price but also what you get for your money. Take the Mercedes-Benz C230, for instance. Starting at around $25,000, it’s not an inexpensive car. But the price tag is surprisingly reasonable for a swift and fun sports hatchback that has all the quality and safety features the Mercedes-Benz brand represents.
Picking the best car for your needs among hundreds of models is no easy task. They’ve all got their own combination of style, function, performance, and value. But as long as you’re in the driver’s seat, you can choose the car that has the right combination for you.

Ready to Ride?
Start your car search by surfing the Web. Sites such as (, which boasts more than 1.5 million listings, allow you to compare models and get valuable information such as insurance quotes, specifications, expert reviews, and pricing. Another site, (, enables surfers to locate dealers, find financing, buy cars over the Web, and determine how much money they need for the car they want to purchase. Surfers can also e-mail dealers directl
y with questions or view dealer showrooms. Just type “car buying” in any search engine for a long list of Web sites and articles. Make the Web connection for the latest information on new and used cars.

Family & Function
Price Range: $24,700 — $31,000
Body Type: 4-door minivan
Engine Type: V-6 24-valve
Displacement: 3.5 liters
Horsepower: 240@5500 rpm
Torque: 242@4500
Transmission: 4 sp. auto
Drive: Front
Mileage (mpg): 18 city/25 hwy

Fashion Statement
Price Range: $33,000 — $39,000
Body Type: 2-door sports hatchback,
Engine Type: I-4 20-valve turbo
Displacement: 1.8 liters
Horsepower: 180@5500, 225@5900 rpm
Torque: 173@1950 — 4700, 207@2200
Transmission: 5-, 6-sp. manual
Drive: Front, AWD
Mileage (mpg): 22/30 — 20/28

Most for the Money
Price Range: $16,800 — $29,000
Body Type: 4-door sedan
Engine Type: I-4 16-valve, V6 24-valve
Displacement: 2.5, 3.5 liters
Horsepower: 175@6000, 240@5800 rpm
Torque: 181@4000, 246@4400
Transmission: 5-sp. manual, 4-sp. auto.
Drive: Front
Mileage (mpg): 19/26 — 23/29

Luxury & Extravagance
Price Range: $47,000 — $49,000
Body Type: 4-door SUV
Engine Type: V-8, V-8
Displacement: 6.0 liters
Horsepower: 320@5000 rpm
Torque: 365@4000
Transmission: 4 sp. auto
Drive: AWD
Mileage (mpg): 14 city/18 hwy

Sports & Performance
BMW M3 Coupe
Price Range: $46,000 — $50,000
Body Type: 2-door coupe
Engine Type: I-6 24-valve
Displacement: 3.2 liters
Horsepower: 333@7900 rpm
Torque: 262@4900
Transmission: 6-sp. manual
Drive: Rear
Mileage (mpg): 16 city/24 hwy

Adventure Travel
Cheverolet Avalanche
Price Range: $31,000 — $42,000
Body Type: 4-door pickup/ utility vehicle-
Engine Type: 5.3L, V-8
Displacement: 6.1 liters
Horsepower: 285@5200 rpm
Torque: 325@4000
Transmission: 4 sp. auto
Drive: Rear, full/part-time 4WD
Mileage (mpg): 14/18 city — 13/17 y

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