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US News Car Rankings for Best Upscale Midsize Cars- What were they thinking?

Posted by on April 7, 2013 in Comparisons, New Cars, News, Reviews - 3 Comments

us-news-best-carsAccording to the US News Car rankings report for 2013, the highest rated upscale mid sized car is the Caddilac ATS, which is pretty ridiculous considering the awesome BMW 3-series which has won rewards from almost all of the ratings including Car and Driver, Motortrend and Automobile magazine. Now the Caddilac ATS is a good car, and it deserves to be in the top 5 best cars in the mid size luxury class, that is a given, but to rank the Cadillac above the BMW does not make sense, and has no justification. The ATS is plenty good; it corners well, has acceleration that is adequate unless you opt for the highest trim level engine, in which case it wakes up and can be considered “powerful”, has passable fuel economy, and has class leading interior fit and finish. All of that can potentially make the case that the Cadillac ATS deserves to be in the top 5, or even top 3 in the segment. But the BMW 328i is simply better in every single way; the car has excellent road feel, class leading MPG, impeccable fit and finish, is by far the most fun to drive, and is one of the best overall cars in the mid size luxury segment in the past 20 years.

2013-infiniti-g37What is even more puzzling, however, is how the lethargic and aging Acura TL somehow made it’s way into the #2 spot, ahead of the aforementioned BMW 328i, which comes in at 3rd. It really does not make much sense to rank a car that has slow sales, is catering to a niche audience, and is almost exactly the same car as the Honda Accord. The Acura TL is one of the mid class luxury snoozers, along with the redesigned (and better) Lexus ES350, which offers an excellent hybrid model. The Lexus has been trying to come across as “sport luxury” to hopefully cater to the older, yet playful, crow that they have been cornering so well in the past decade for Lexus sales. The ES350 is definitely not a stand out car, but it is far better than the Acura TL, which excels in no area whatsoever, it is a clear middle of the pack average vehicle that is in serious need of a makeover.

Here are the top 3 mid sized luxury cars according to the US News Car Rankings for 2013

#1 Cadillac ATS

2013-cadillac-atsThe Cadillac ATS is one of the new comers in the ever competitive Mid Sized Luxury Vehicle class where there are some serious contenders such as the BMW 3 series, the Audi a4 and the newly redesigned Mercedes C-Class, which is surprisingly good despite it’s 4 banger (which has become a class staple). Us News seems to like the car a little more than most of the car critics however, and seems too eager to rank the Cadillac as the best car in the mid sized luxury class. Some of the main issues with this car is the slow pickup on most models, the mushy steering feel and the low quality interior materials that stick out like a sore thumb in the otherwise beautifully crafted interior. Oh, and did we forget to mention the cumbersome mid stack where the entire interface is annoyingly touch screen? So much for a user friendly interface for some of the older customers that Cadillac seems to attract.


#2 Acura TL

2013-Acura-TL_SedanThe Acura TL is one of the biggest shockers here in the list; the car is one of the definitions of average, boring and non-standout cars in the class. The TL is one of the most boring, uninspired and aging cars that has recently been updated in 2011, but does not offer anything that the much better competitors offer, including newer technology, a better engine or perhaps fuel economy. We would have put the TL at a comfortable middle of class spot, where there is no serious competitors such as the BMW 3 series or Mercedes C-Class.



#3 BMW 3 Series

2013_BMW_328i_SedanThe BMW 328i and 335i are two of the best cars in the class, period. The Bimmer has won Car and Drivers 10 best cars 22 years in a row, and for a good reason; the car is simply the class leader in almost every way. BMW took a big chance in 2012 by changing the standard v6 engine they offered in in the past iteration and changing it for a Turbo 4 cylinder engine. They also took a big chance by changing the hydro assist steering and substituting it with electric assist, which did admittedly reduce road feel dramatically. Enthusiasts and fans of the excellent road feel are disappointed  but it is yet another restriction from CAFE that is forcing BMW to hit the required fleet average fuel requirements– fuel economy will have to prevail over road feel.

Well, until next time folks.

Yosef Adelman on Google+

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  1. Fred
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I always liked this site due to the unbiased reviews. US NEWS compiles myriad publications and then sums it all up.
    Other reviews are usually based on 1 or more test drivers.
    So why is the author so SUPRISED that the ATS and TL ranked higher than the 3 series.
    I’ve read some other reviews that also didn’t rank the 3 series on top. As a matter of fact in Consumer Reports, the Infiniti G is rated higher than all of the above cars mentioned.

  2. admin
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Because, quite frankly, the ATS and TL are not better than the 3 Series. If you test all 3 (we have) and you read some of the most authoritative reviewers e.g. car and driver, motortrend, they have ranked the 3 series as the best car. Now, as a biased author of an Infiniti G37s, I would concur that it is one of the best choices right now, but you can’t compete with the mix of performance, reliability and efficiency of the new 328i with it’s turbo 4 banger.

  3. Posted May 2, 2013 at 1:35 am

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