How an email headline led us to the ‘Best’ car research website


012315 SC How an Email Headline Led Us to the Best
Photo: ford.com

The email headline grabbed our attention.

“The 15 Best Midsize Sedans 2015 Has To Offer” (base models) online at FindTheBest – which is especially compelling if you’re in the market for a, well, new midsize sedan.

The link turns out to be a portal to more than just a single article, although that’s where it starts.

FindTheBest, indeed, grades midsize sedans on a 100-point scale, starting with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi at a “Smart Rating” of 98 points and finishing with the Nissan Altima at 78 points.

Other cars graded by the website, in order, are: Mazda Mazda6 (97); Kia Optima (96); Subaru Legacy (95); Honda Accord Hybrid, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (94 each); Chrysler 200 (93); Ford Fusion (90), and Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry Hybrid and Toyota Camry (85).

“These 2015 cars have new bells and whistles that are truly representative of the plugged-in, tech-obsessed world that we currently live in, from smarter GPS navigation to cameras that help you safely change lanes,” writes Natalie Morin in an introduction to the ratings.

The FindTheBest ratings are based on expert reviews (72.7 percent), safety (18.2 percent) and depreciation (9.1 percent), with safety reflecting data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

And what of the expert ratings? The list of sources includes Car & Driver, Cars.com, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine, Consumer Reports, JD Power, Popular Mechanics, Kelley Blue Book and more.

But if your interest goes to some other type of vehicle – SUV/crossover, coupe, hatchback, wagon, pickup, convertible or van – this website still is useful. From the default ranking of more than 10,000 base models across 28 years (1990-17), multiple filters provide a powerful, user-friendly search function. (And, no, that’s not a misprint. The list includes 107 mostly unrated vehicles expected for 2016-17.)

To test the site, we did our own search on full-size sedans, which yielded a total of 338 base models, 126 of which received a Smart Rating, ranging from the 2015 Ford Taurus (98 points), 2014 Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon (96) to the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis at 63 points.

The overall list is headed by the 2015 Volkswagen Golf with a perfect score of 100 points, followed by nine cars with 99 points each. That group comprised Volkswagens, Chevrolets, Mazdas and Hondas.

So have some fun while you’re looking for your next new or used car, truck or SUV/crossover.

Then, when you’re ready to buy, check out Santander Consumer USA, which provides indirect financing through 14,000 dealerships nationwide – ask for us among your financing options – or through Chrysler Capital purchase or lease programs or through SCUSA’s direct-to- consumer RoadLoans program.