American automobiles were the stuff of legends for decades, but a series of bad products and the Great Recession nearly killed the U.S. auto industry as a whole. Things have changed. From revolutionary electric vehicles to new conceptions of classic sports cars, there are over a dozen terrific cars on the road that are produced domestically. Here are five winning awards along with the hearts of reviewers, the five best on the road.
1. 2014 Chevy Stingray Corvette
Already firing off lots across the country, the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray has become the new signature sports car for General Motors (NYSE:GM). Edmunds.com gave the car an “A” rating while noting its searing power and smooth handling; Forbes says it has the best seats in any car on the road; and early driver reviews are as enthusiastic as can be. For now, it’s one of the kings of the road. The base 6.2L V8 model starts at $51,000.
2. Dodge Dart
Dodge (FIATY.PK) and Chrysler have several terrific cars on the road, but the Dodge Dart is scoring big on awards. It landed the Strategic Vision Total Value Award for Most Improved Brand, Kelley Blue Book’s Coolest New Car Under $18K for 2012, and even picked up a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It does just fine in eyeball tests, too, and is a major winner on price: Darts start at $15,995.
3. Ford Fusion
When Ford (NYSE:F) redesigned its Fusion for the 2013 model year, it delivered on high expectations. The new Fusion marked a departure from the boring styling of midsize Japanese sedans while retaining the good fuel efficiency, and the strategy has been borne out in the sales figures. Fusions sales were up 13 percent through July compared to 2012. Yet the numbers only tell half the story. An eye-catching sedan in this class has an even bigger impact on brand perception worldwide. It starts at $21,900.
4. Tesla Model S
How is a juggernaut defined? According to Merriam Webster, it’s a “a massive inexorable force…that crushes whatever is in its path.” This definition works for the Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S on several levels. It was the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year, the 2013 Automobile Magazine Automobile of the Year, and the highest scoring car ever tested by Consumer Reports. It also destroyed safety testing equipment on its way to garnering top ratings from the NHTSA.
That’s enough to call it one of the best American cars of the decade, let alone year. At a base price of $69,900, it’s also an expensive car that appears to give buyers value on every dollar.
5. Chevrolet Impala
Chevy got on the publicity board in a big way when its 2014 Impala scored a 95 from Consumer Reports as it nabbed “best new sedan” honors. It was also the third best score ever (behind a Tesla and a BMW) and the most improved car of the year, jumping to 95 from a score of 63 in its previous test. It is a major achievement for GM, one that marked the first American car to win top honors in over two decades. The new Impala starts at $26,860.
Consumer Reports scores of 95 and 99 would have been unthinkable from a U.S. automaker in 2009. Today, the Detroit Three and the EV King of the West have the industry back on track. Check for these top rides on a road near you this Labor Day.
Like us on Facebook to get the latest from Wall St. Cheat Sheet right in your News Feed.