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TheStreet Open House

Cars.com Lists Top Ten Most Improved Cars Over The Past 15 Years





CHICAGO, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cars.com, the premier online resource for buying and selling new and used cars, has released a list of its editors' picks for the most improved cars from the past 15 years. The list includes cars that have been substantially redesigned and significantly improved.

"Some redesigns and new models replace a onetime star that lingered well past its freshness date, while others are the successor to a car that was doomed from the get-go," said Patrick Olsen, Cars.com editor-in-chief. "Redesigns and new car launches are expensive undertakings for automakers, which makes getting them right important. Our list includes cars that nailed the redesign and are good options for a variety of car shoppers."

The top 10 most improved cars over the past fifteen years according to Cars.com experts are:

  1. 2013 Dodge Dart: Dodge resurrected a decade-old nameplate in the Dart. Its predecessor, the Caliber was in need of a makeover, and the new Dart came with better looks and better driving ability.
  2. 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee: The 2005-2010 Grand Cherokee wasn't bad, but the 2011 redesign took it to another level with its handsome cabin, impressive ride quality and characteristic Jeep off-road ability.
  3. 2011 Chevrolet Cruze: The Cruze got impressive quietness, a roomy cabin and nimble steering, all qualities lacked by its predecessor, the 2005-2010 Chevy Cobalt. The Cruze makes Chevy competitive in the small-car category.
  4. 2014 Chevrolet Impala: The new Impala has taken the car from one of the least desirable in the full-size car segment to one of the very best options. It hits the sweet spot between ride and handling, with the balance of a small car but comfort and features of a big sedan.  
  5. 2011 Hyundai Elantra: Much like the Grand Cherokee, the Elantra was always a good car, but it keeps getting better. The redesigned 2011 version made strides in fuel efficiency, safety and styling.
  6. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic: The Sonic was a much-needed boost to GM's small-car reputation after the disappointing Aveo. The Sonic improves on the Aveo's low crash ratings, competes well on fuel efficiency against other small cars, and most important, like any good subcompact, it drives like a bigger car.
  7. 2011 Kia Sportage: The Sportage's 2011 redesign took the car from a truck-based SUV platform to a true crossover with improved drivability and an inviting cabin.
  8. 2004 Toyota Prius: The 2004 Prius was a car ahead of its time, a hybrid hatchback whose combined 46 mpg would impress even today's shoppers. Pop culture hasn't always been kind to the Prius, but the iconic second generation cemented Toyota's image as a green automaker.
  9. 2005 Ford Mustang: With looks plucked from the 1964 original, the fifth-generation Mustang inspired a wave of retro styling across several other automakers. The new Mustang boasted a brash V-8 option, a retro twin-cowl dashboard and an available Shaker stereo that blasted an impossible 1,000 watts.
  10. 1999 Honda Odyssey: The 1999 Odyssey brought Honda into the minivan big leagues, replacing the undersized, wagon-like model from overseas. This redesign replaced swinging doors with the traditional minivan sliding door, gave it a much more powerful engine and the cargo room expected of any minivan.

"Sometimes changes to these cars were as simple as a fresh interior and new parts under the hood, and sometimes the outgoing model of a car was so poor that automakers gave the new version an all-new name," Olsen said. "Regardless of why changes were made, all of these improved cars earn our seal of approval and should not be overlooked by shoppers."

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