Toronto Star


- Norris McDonald

Our experts make their picks in the first of three special sections to help you find the best new vehicle. Today: small cars and family haulers,

Welcome to Toronto Star Wheels’ Best New Vehicles 2016, in which our writers select the best of the new cars and trucks on sale in Canada.

This is the first of three Special Sections in which Wheels will rank the top “best for your buck” autos in 12 categories. Today, we are featuring the Best Small Cars Under $21,000, the Best Small Cars Over $21,000, the Best Family Cars Under $30,000 and the Best Family Cars Over $30,000.

I often talk about how readers can trust evaluation­s of people who contribute to Toronto Star Wheels. I frequently boast that they are the best in the country.

This is because they haveto be the best. Hundreds of thousands of people come to the Toronto Star each week for news, informatio­n and advice. In order for Wheels to suggest that a certain car or truck is the best in its category, the people doing the evaluating had better know their stuff. Trust me, they do.

Led by chief auto reviewer Jim Kenzie, who writes today about why it’s better to purchase a new car rather than one preowned, our “Best of” team this week consists of former Wheels editor Mark Richardson, who presents a Buyer’s Checklist to follow when you first start thinking about a new car, and Gerry Malloy, who traces the evolution of high tech, from prestige cars to the affordable autos many of us drive today.

Brian Early, who has been writing for Wheels for years, is a licensed mechanic — in fact, it’s his day job — and he’s picked the Best Small Cars Under $21,000. Gary Grant, a freelance journalist and food expert, among other things, has driven all the Best Small Cars Over $21,000 and delivers his verdict today on which ones he judges to be a cut above.

Talking about day jobs, Peter Bleakney plays bass guitar in the orchestra for the Broadway play Kinky Boots (he was Anne Murray’s bass player for close to 25 years), but what he really likes to do is to drive cars and to tell Wheels readers all about them. He’s judged our Best Family Car Over $30,000 category.

And Kathy Renwald, who worked for years alongside the late Dick Beddoes at CHCH-TV in Hamilton, has evaluated and ranked the Best Family Cars Under $30,000 for us.

Next week, we’ll examine and rank the Best Luxury Cars Over $50,000, the Best Sports Performanc­e Cars, the Best Prestige Cars Over $100,000 and the Best EV and Fuel-Cell cars. In two weeks, we’ll wrap things up with a critique and selection of the Best Pickups, Best SUVs Under $30,000, Best SUVs in the $30,000-to-$60,000 range and Best SUVs Over $60,000.

We hope you enjoy these new-car sections. If, by chance, after reading today’s, you send it off to recycling, fear not. The whole package will be on autos for the next year.

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