5 Most-Improved Car Models for 2014

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- The Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series after finishing last in their division in 2012, and the Chevrolet Impala has arguably made a similar "worst-to-first" move in the auto world this year.

"The new Impala is a really, really strong car that replaced a pretty badly outdated one," says Joe Wiesenfelder of auto-buying site Cars.com, which recently included the sedan on a list of the industry's Most Improved Cars of the Past 15 Years.

The editor says automakers often make only minor changes to a car from year to year, but sometimes vehicles undergo revolutionary transformations.

Wiesenfelder says that's because smart manufacturers know they've got to make redesigned vehicles really stand out from the crowd, as automakers only heavily revamp a given model every six years or so.

"They can't just redesign a car and make it competitive with other models," he says. "They need to leapfrog it ahead of the competition."

Still, standouts don't account for all of the models on Cars.com's rundown.

Wiesenfelder says that while he and other Cars.com experts called out some models from great redesigns, "some winners were just a case of the older car being terrible and the newer one being good."

Read on to check out the five vehicles at the top of Cars.com's rankings.

All price figures for used cars refer to Kelley Blue Book estimates for each vehicle's various trim lines. Used-car prices also assume you'll buy the vehicle from a dealer rather than from a private seller, and that the dealership will have "fully reconditioned" the auto before sale.

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