Is it Time To Buy An American Car or Are They Still Subpar?

American automakers and their once sterling legacy vehicles have been consistently losing market share across the board to their Japanese and European counterparts for decades, based mainly on failing design concepts and lack of popularity among younger drivers.

Japanese production models like the Toyota Camry have built their reputation around reliability and practicality, while European brands like the BMW M3 have always clung onto prestige and innovation. The American equivalents are often few and far between with only a handful of popular models still capable of competing with foreign vehicles.

Fuel efficiency was an early defeat for most American automakers with some Japanese models doubling and sometimes even tripling the standard miles per gallon ratio with their sedans in the 1970s. European companies then chipped away more market share when they introduced aerodynamic car designs and lighter frames with guaranteed rust corrosion protection in the 1980s.

It seemed American car manufacturers have been playing a losing game of catch up right up until their bailout in the late 2000s. Displaced by rising fuel costs, many drivers were discouraged from purchasing pickup trucks and full-sized SUVS (the flagship models for most American automakers) and instead chose the more compact sedans and coupes from foreign manufacturers.

Has 2013 changed the grim future for American cars?

Is the future still bright for those looking to purchase American ingenuity and longevity? Automobile manufacturers in the United States have definitely paid attention since their bailout and focused on providing more fuel efficient options. While still offering their staple rugged and hardworking pickup trucks and SUVs, American automakers also have many more compact and coupe designs than ever before. Sure, it’s an uphill battle against titans who know how to innovate and create bold designs, but the United States is not known for giving up so easily.

Here are five recommendations from American automakers that just might convince to love domestic brands again.

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Ford has been on a trailblazing streak lately by incorporating many hybrid options into their fleet of cars, and it’s been showing in their sales numbers by steadily increasing every year. The 2013 Ford Fusion is an amazingly fuel efficient sedan with just enough unique features like elongated headlights to make it a knockout in the pretty department.

For some of the premium models, you can also snag yourself a LCD touchscreen for elegant one button changes to your car’s interior. Concerned about quality? Ford has tweaked the engine on their 2013 hybrid version for up to 47 mpg in the city and highway, almost doubling most other sedans in its class. Seriously, if you’re looking for an American car that embraces Japanese practicality and German innovation, you cannot go wrong with a hybrid sedan like the Ford Fusion.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

For a more affordable option with some minor interior leg room issues, you might want to check out the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. This midsized sedan is in direct competition with Japanese compact cars so it has been an uphill battle for the General Motors brand. While not doing particularly well in the sales department, Chevy is a globally recognized automaker with many designs in the sports racing circuit.

This fascination with aerodynamics provides some amazing concept pieces that are refitted onto consumer production models for truly smooth driving. Its fuel economy is standard across the board and perfectly capable of matching any Japanese model in terms of raw engine power and handling. If you’re looking for a smaller sedan made with genuine American parts, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will not disappoint.

The 2013 Ford Edge

For the more fuel conscious driver, all midsized SUVs are off the table except for the 2013 Ford Edge because it can get up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway. Yes, an amazingly designed sport utility vehicle with EcoBoost technology for increased engine power and torque without using more fuel or emitting more greenhouse gases.

Seriously, just take one look at its massive chrome-plated front grille and you’ll fall in love with a powerhouse SUV with the heart of a hybrid. While not technically a full-fledged hybrid engine, the EcoBoost technology proudly shows off Ford’s commitment to new technologies capable of producing similar results with a major increase in price. The Ford Edge is definitely another winner alongside the Fusion as a strong reminder that American automakers still have innovation and creativity when it comes to producing automobile technology.

The 2013 Buick Regal

Honda Civics have been a mainstream staple in the sports sedan market for a very long time, often eclipsing the sales figures of other competitors on reputation and sheer style alone. The 2013 Buick Regal, while not as fuel efficient as the Civic, comes with an impressive list of sporty features built for premium drivers looking for something a little more unique than Japanese practicality. With two turbo engine and one hybrid option, there’s a perfect choice for all Americans.

In the looks department, the Buick Regal may appear like a typical midsized sedan. But look closer and you’ll find many refining features along the surface to make it a standout knockout when it comes to design. From its beefy front grille and wide headlights to its more distinguished frame, the 2013 Buick Regal is a luxury sports sedan meant to be drooled over.

2013 Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevy Corvette is a mighty sports car and one that has never lost its prestige or sex appeal in the eyes of American drivers. If you can afford one of these powerful and iconic speedsters, you’ll know the United States has not lost touch with innovative design.

There is simply no substitute for the feel of a Chevy Corvette and when you’re barreling down the highway on a 430 horsepower engine, many foreign competitors will be jealous. Arguably the best performance per dollar, this agile sports car never goes out of style. If you’re looking to make a statement about the current state of American automakers, the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette is a good conversation starter.

So should you try an American car?

If we’re going purely on reputation at this point, the efforts in conceptual design and technological advancements made by Ford surely puts it in the same category as other Japanese and European automakers. While they’re still overall recovering from their decades long losing battle, American car manufacturers appear to be making a strong comeback. Competition is finally returning to a market dominated by foreign cars and 2013 seems to be an optimal year to buy American again.

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