• Mar 24, 2010
Click above for high-res gallery of AAA's Top Commuter Car Picks

The American Automobile Association of America (AAA) has revealed its top picks in commuter vehicles, with an eyebrow-raising potluck of conveyances from which to choose. Judged on "practicality, safety, comfort, fuel efficiency and affordability" the Honda Insight comes in first, one of three Hondas in the top ten. They are joined by the Ford Fusion at number two, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI at three, and a Chevy, Mazda, Hyundai, and two Subarus to round it out.

The expanded list that includes vehicles that offer more than just commuting pleasure, namely the Chevy Corvette and Mercedes GL. Perhaps it isn't really surprising, but not a single Toyota appears on the list. You can read the entire rundown and the reasons in the presser after the jump, or check out the top picks in the gallery below.



[Source: Auto Remarketing]
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ORLANDO, Fla., March 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AAA released its top vehicle picks for commuters today. Long commutes have become an increasingly common daily activity for many Americans, and having the right vehicle for those long drives is key not only to saving money and being environmentally-friendly, but also staying safe and comfortable during many hours on the road.

The average motorist spends about 41 minutes a day traveling about 22.5 miles roundtrip to/from work in personal vehicles, according to the National Household Travel Survey.

AAA Auto Buying's team of experts, who test drove and reviewed hundreds of vehicles for the AAA AutoMaker vehicle research web site (AAA.com/AutoMaker), have compiled a list of their top vehicles picks for commuters based upon practicality, safety, comfort, fuel efficiency and affordability.

AAA's Top Picks for Commuter Vehicles

Honda Insight: This car is among the ultimate in gasoline fuel economy while being reasonably comfortable for the driver and front-seat passenger. It's also less costly and more fun to drive than some of its hybrid competitors.

Ford Fusion: Four-cylinder versions offer an appealing combination of power, riding comfort and handling competence. The Hybrid offers even more economy, but the fuel savings come with a major bump in the purchase price.

Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Everything that you ever hated about diesels has been exorcised in this latest version of the Volkswagen diesel engine. It is quiet, with just a trace of diesel clatter at idle; peppy, especially when underway; and every bit as economical as the most miserly hybrids. It also is great fun to drive. Comfortable front seats are a plus.

Hyundai Elantra: The new Blue edition is good for 35 miles per gallon. This fourth generation Elantra also is reasonably accommodating for a driver and three passengers with the interior nicely done. The 10-year/100,000-mile warranty suggests that you could keep this car in the daily commuting grind for years.

Subaru Legacy/Outback: These new models with their horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engines perform very well, and with their redesign for 2010, they now offer much better fuel economy and enhanced rear seat leg room. And for commuters facing snowy rides to work, the all-wheel drive helps ensure they will make it to work every time.

Honda Civic: Affordable, dependable, economical and comfortable, the Civic is one of the better performing compacts for a wide range of uses, including commuting. For drivers who want to enjoy the trip even more, the 197 horsepower Si sedan deserves a careful look.

Chevrolet Malibu: Stylish inside and out, the Malibu also is a competent performer on the road. Four-cylinder models offer more than enough power for the daily commute and promise decent fuel economy. The passenger cabin is nicely finished and roomy, both in the front and rear, making it a good choice for carpooling.

Honda Accord: Good for the commute and good for family transportation, the Accord is roomy, solid and economical when equipped with the four-cylinder engine. It also offers road manners that are beyond reproach.

Mazda3: The body for 2010 may not be to everyone's taste, but there is no arguing with its crisp handling and above average power for the compact field. Fuel economy also is good. The ride can be a little flinty, so commuters facing long stretches of neglected urban highways may want to look elsewhere. However, for people who enjoy driving, the handling will more than make up for a few abrupt ride motions.

Commuters Vehicles Offering Efficiency and More

Practicality is an important factor that many commuters look for when seeking the ideal vehicle for long commutes. However, AAA Auto Buying experts understand that some want a vehicle that can serve dual purposes such as an efficient commuter vehicle that addresses needs for family or recreation or desires for luxury or fun. Because of this, AAA offers their picks for vehicles that can help address consumers' secondary needs while still providing a smart choice for long commutes.

Mini Cooper: A premium subcompact, the Mini is both sporty and economical with fuel. Few cars are as much fun to drive. Commuters will be able to take one passenger only and the purchase price is higher than you might expect, based on size alone. However, few cars are as enjoyable on the road or offer as many safety features. Commuters might even choose to take the long way home.

Chevrolet Corvette: Who says the drive to work has to be boring? The Corvette is anything but, and when driven appropriately, it can even return near-compact car fuel economy of around 26 mpg on the highway.

Buick Enclave: Handling the commute for up to eight people, the Enclave combines an exceptionally quiet ride with competent handling and surprising room in all three rows. It makes for a smart choice for those seeking a large family vehicle on the weekends.

Mercedes-Benz GL: Roomy seating for seven, unexcelled refinement, all-wheel drive and the option of a surprisingly economical (for the vehicle size) diesel engine make this a highly desirable commuter for multi-adult carpools.

Volkswagen GTI: Sporty, fun to drive and able to return mid- to upper-20 mile per gallon fuel economy results with the 200-hp turbocharged engine, the GTI is full of surprises. Even the rear seat is good for two adults and the cargo area is surprisingly roomy. Four workers can easily store large laptop carrying briefcases in the rear and then be quite comfortable for the ride to and from work.

BMW 3-Series: The first sports sedan remains the best by many measures. What more enjoyable way to get to work and then return home? The engines are impressive for their power and refinement, the handling is top notch and the build quality is excellent, as would be expected for the price.

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a weird list. Not really seeing what their methodology could have possibly been.

      Mazda 3, Civic, tC, Prius, Fit, and Elantra should be on there.
      Joani
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm unnerved at the fact that there are so many rude, snotty snobbishly ignorant people that enjoy sharing their short sightedness with the world anymore.

      Not all of us are poor, not all of us are rich. Those that I know (and I am proudly in this category) need reliable transportation to get to our lives and jobs that don't pay enough to afford a brand new, much less newer USED car although I'm certain some of us work twice as hard for one third the money. I find it pitiful that so many people think of their transportation as an extension of who they are.

      Thank God for Honda and Toyota (and others) that are reliable and run and run. The several that have a stick in themselves should be grateful too. Us "underlings" in are old cheap ugly cars contribute to society, and I'm quite sure many of this populace has had a hand in building you car & parts, cleaning, maintaining, insuring, delivering the fuel to keep it going....and on & on.

      I'd love to throw in a few nasty things, but that would be making me look like the know it all you several think you are. I'm glad my brain doesn't work that way.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Really... the Insight? Personally I don't feel that the horrible ride quality is overshadowed by the fuel efficiency. If I had to drive that to work every day I'd drive it off a bridge.
        • 4 Years Ago
        +1
        Not to mention it's uncomfortable as what and doesn't even have enough gumption to get up to highway speeds. I once took it up Fargo St. in LA, and it couldn't even maintain 10mph all the way to the top...stopped dead halfway. What a terrible automobile.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It appears that Toyota unintendedly accelerated right off that list.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow... I love AAA list of cars.

      I am a zipcar member in NYC and I used to own cars until I moved into the city. But I really enjoy driving the Honda Insight I drove Toyota prius just a week before I drove the new Insight. ( I was shocked that I have new Honda Insight in my local zipcar) I usually get the Mazda3 cuz they are darn fun car to drive. I sometimes also get the BMW 325 and BMW 328 because they really are great car to get if there are no other cars to get in zipcar. Many review said Insight drive pretty dull and boring and slow but when i was amazed when I drove Insight in FDR drive in the city how it handle and eventhough it doesnt have 300+ hp but i still fun to drive.

      + Buick Enclave (I have not drive one but I may in test drive it in future)
      + BMW 3-series (M) ( I drove BMWs not the M one but heck they are really fun to drive)
      + Chevy Corvette ( I really want own this before I die)
      + Mazda(Speed) 3 ( Same like BMW the stock 3 is already fun car to drive add power and OHH YEAHH)
      + Mini Cooper (S) (Drove one when my gf and sister curious about this little car. Yes zipcar also carry the stock Mini great handling but harsh drive very hard suspension drive this in the city that has alot of manhole potholes is not a good thing)
      + Subie Legacy (GT) & Outback ( Okay yet another car that zipcar carry in its fleet I drove the Outback version its very luxurious the boxer engine abit loud and suspension abit too soft because its the outback version but overall its a very nice car to own)
      & *no* Toyota crap ( hahahah zipcar does have matrix but it felt so boring I rarely get this car)
      • 4 Years Ago
      We all know the MINI Cooper is such a horrific penalty box to try to commute with.

      AAA=idiots.

      I have huge advantages over these "tanks" during my morning commute in my MINI.

      They must mean "highway" commutes, because none of these offer much in the way of inner-city advantage, except the hybrids, I suppose.

        • 4 Years Ago
        MINI WAS on there? I tried to view the list, but I sure didn't see it. Well, good! It ought to be on the list. It's the perfect commuter car in many ways. In fact, it's the perfect car in most ways, unless you need to cart a large family around.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jetta tdi.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The American Automobile Association of America (AAA)"

      Wait..."American Association of America" doesn't make sense to me. It's redundant.
      Like a "Chinese Army of China", or a "French Television of France".


      Also, http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/AAAAAAAAA!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Option A: They are refering to the whole continent and them the country.

        Option B: Is because the are so proudly American that they have to say it twice.
        • 4 Years Ago
        umm... they're AAA because that's what makes them show up first in phone books, the actual words they used to fill that acronym are second to it's placement on top.
        • 4 Years Ago
        AAA is actually a federation of regional organizations that interlink to provide mutual support, which is why you join AAA of Michigan, AAA of SoCal, etc. AAA of America means it's national vs regional.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No Toyotas.
      Diaper Dandy
      • 4 Years Ago
      TQM
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not a single Toyota? I thought vanilla transportation applicances made to move single zombie-like commuters from their suburban home to their desk job and back were Toyota's forte?
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is AAA, not Consumer Reports.
        • 4 Years Ago
        AAA usually reviews cars that are not liable to be on the average consumer's short-list ever. I get the magazine.

        This list is at least more realistic than their typical palette.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wouldn't be surprised to see a number of organizations now hesitate to recommend a Toyota out of fear that they'll be sued if someone wrecks or that some new scandal emerges and they'll be sued for lost resale value.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Toyota Prius- Guaranteed to get you there faster than you wanted to be.


        I jest, all in good fun.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would go with the Jetta TDI with heated leather seats and love that 45 mpg on the highway. I got a normal one digging the 30 mpg.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I work all day out of my Fusion and it is a nice place to be and I can get around 36 miles to the gallon on the highway. I would also consider a VW TDI.
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