This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

5 Great 2014 Cars to Check Out

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Car companies began planning their 2014 lineups during the 2008-09 worldwide market crash, but Kelly Blue Book's Jack Nerad says manufacturers nonetheless managed to create some standout vehicles for this model year.

"I think 2014 is a pretty good model year, although what really held the most sway was the idea of keeping things pretty conventional," says Nerad, executive editorial director at the car-pricing giant. "It wasn't deemed a really great time [in 2009] to do a bunch of new stuff that might be risky."

Nerad says foreign and domestic manufacturers have rolled out some 75 new or heavily redesigned 2014s in the U.S. market, an average number of fresh offerings for a given model year.

But with the Great Recession receding in the rearview mirror, he expects the pace of premieres to increase in the next few years. "We think [the number of available models] is going to tick up faster because the industry is on a more solid footing," Nerad says.

Here's a look at five cars and trucks that the expert considers the most noteworthy new or redesigned models of 2014. Vehicles appear in order of manufacturers' suggested retail price, and all dollar figures refer to MSRPs for each model's base version.

Nissan Versa Note
Base price:
$13,990

The new Versa Note from Nissan is a hatchback edition of the $11,990 Versa subcompact sedan, the least-expensive new car in America.

The Note costs $2,000 more than that, but offers an extra 10.4 cubic feet of interior space and a convenient rear hatch instead of the Versa sedan's trunk. The hatchback also offers particularly good headroom despite its small size, as well as an impressive 38.3 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats folded down.

And while the base Note comes with just a 109-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a manual transmission and a spartan interior, higher trim levels offer such high-tech options as Pandora radio and a 360-degree parking camera.

Upper trim lines also come standard with a continuously variable automatic transmission that helps give the Note a solid 31 miles per gallon in city fuel efficiency and 40 mpg/highway.

"I think the Versa Note is a real step forward in the subcompact class," Nerad says.

Mazda Mazda3
Base price:
$16,945

Japanese auto giant Mazda redesigned its sporty Mazda3 compact inside and out for 2014, making what Nerad already considered a good car even better.

"Everything about the Mazda3 is new -- engine, transmission and body -- and it's all good," he says.

Starting at $16,945 for a sedan or $18,945 for a hatchback, the Mazda3 combines sporty interior and exterior styling with surprisingly strong performance for its price.

Base Mazda3s feature a 155-horsepower four-cylinder engine rated at an impressive 29 mpg/city and 41 mpg/highway with manual transmission. Higher trim lines come standard with automatic transmission and a beefier 184-horsepower four-cylinder power plant.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,156.92 +24.95 0.15%
S&P 500 2,001.16 +2.18 0.11%
NASDAQ 4,560.50 +7.7410 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs