Five Best New Picks for 2012

New models and redesigns bring a breath of fresh air every new year. Typically you pay a premium for these newly minted versions. Not this year, however. The buying service of the non-profit Consumers’ Checkbook organization, to help us search for our Best New picks, they found winners are selected determined by performance, safety and  value, plus our own driving opinions.

Ford Focus

Ditching the drab exterior styling and ho-hum interior of the previous-generation Focus, the redesigned model exudes style inside and out. It boasts more horsepower than most vehicles in its class, and the hatchback has a cavernous 24 cubic feet of cargo space. It also earns Best Resale plaudits.

Subaru Impreza

Subaru’s lowest-price car proves that all-wheel drive doesn’t have to cost you a bundle. A low sticker price is matched by high resale values and stellar fuel efficiency — up to 36 miles per gallon on the highway. Surefooted handling comes baked in.

Toyota Camry

The redesigned Camry features a revamped hybrid system, boosting both power and fuel efficiency. The new 2.5-liter engine puts out 200 horsepower when combined with the electric motor and gets 41 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving — 24% better than the previous model.

Volkswagen Passat TDI

Although it takes styling cues from last year’s Jetta, the all-new Passat has an aura all its own. As clean-cut as a new recruit on the inside, it has ample room for passengers and cargo. The only diesel powertrain in the midsize segment, it gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway and has torque to spare.

Audi A6

Behind the wheel of the redesigned Audi A6, you’ll sit in the lap of luxury, surrounded by technology. Safety gets a boost with standard knee airbags, plus optional rear side airbags and collision-warning system. Getting 33 miles per gallon highway, the A6 also wins Most Fuel-Efficient.

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