The results are in, and Consumer Reports has given its Top Picks for 2014 vehicles in 10 categories. If you’re in the market for a new car, read on, and feel free to take your notes with you to the dealership.
Most surprising is the car that has been announced in the “Best Overall” category, the 2014 Tesla Model S luxury sedan.
The styling, handling, and persistent presence of innovation in every feature have flung this not-so-humble offering to the front of the pack.
With good reason? Maybe. But at a price.
Before we get into the full results, let’s observe a couple of the sparks of novelty of this heretofore-unique announcement by the largest non-profit consumer research group in the U.S.:
- The 2014 Tesla Model S is the first all-electric car to appear in any Top Picks list for Consumer Reports, much less as the “Overall Top Pick”. This represents an undeniable leap forward in market attitudes toward green cars in general, and all-electric models specifically. It might not be time to start pricing installation for a 240-volt J1772 charging station at your house just yet, but it’s probably not far off.
- The 2014 Tesla Model S, as tested and awarded the honor, has an MSRP of $89,650 (though the base MSRP is $69,900), making it a purchase out of reach of most buyers. To mitigate the hefty price tag, Tesla’s marketing does a great job of pointing out that the true cost of ownership, after government incentives and decreased “fuel” costs is closer to the upper budgetary range of a more typical vehicle buyer.
To round out their Top Picks for 2014, Consumer Reports gave kudos to the following vehicles in each of the following categories:
- BEST OVERALL: Tesla Model S electric luxury sedan ($89,650).
- MIDSIZE SEDAN: Honda Accord with four-cylinder engine ($23,270).
- COMPACT CAR: Subaru Impreza (sedan, $21,345; hatchback $22,345).
- GREEN CAR: Toyota Prius ($26,750).
- LUXURY CAR: Audi A6 ($56,295).
- SPORTS SEDAN: BMW 328i ($43,195).
- SMALL SUV: Subaru Forester ($26,814).
- MIDSIZE SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe ($36,290).
- MINIVAN: Honda Odyssey ($36,830).
- PICKUP TRUCK: Ram 1500 ($42,810).
So, with so many great 2014 vehicles to choose from, the field is full, and the competition is tight. But is the electrifying frontrunner worth the hype or the money? Time will tell, but the future looks bright for Tesla, the direct-to-customer, exclusively all-electric vehicle manufacturer who continues to galvanize the automotive marketplace.
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