The American Automobile Association last month unveiled its picks for the best commuter cars.
AAA’s auto experts test-drove and evaluated hundreds of vehicles over the last year, according to spokeswoman Cynthia Harris. The cars were judged on their practicality, safety, comfort, fuel efficiency and affordability.
The winners – and why – are:
• Honda Insight. The ultimate in fuel economy, the Insight is also comfortable and fun to drive.
• Ford Fusion. The four-cylinder version has plenty of power, comfort and handling. The hybrid version offers more fuel economy, but it also costs more.
• Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The clean-diesel Jetta is quiet, peppy and economical. The comfy front seats are a bonus.
• Hyundai Elantra. The Elantra’s 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty is reassuring. It features a spacious interior for the driver and three passengers. The new Blue edition gets 35 miles per gallon.
• Suburu Legacy/Outback. Redesigned for 2010, it now offers improved fuel efficiency and increased rear-seat legroom. The standard all-wheel drive is a comfort for those facing a snowy commute.
• Honda Civic. Affordable, dependable economical and comfortable, the Civic is among the best-performing compacts for a wide range of uses – including commuting.
• Chevrolet Malibu. Good for carpools, it’s stylish inside and out. The four-cylinder model offers decent economy and ample power for the daily commute.
• Honda Accord. As a family sedan, the Accord is a cut above – roomy, reliable and economical.
• Mazda3. Boasting crisp handling, it has above-average power for the compact field.