Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars, 2012 IV

For our final installment, Jody Victor®  has saved the best til’ last. Here he is with the rest of the best quality cars for 2012 from J.D. Power and Associates.

Jody Victor®: I think you may be right, Joe. There’s some great all-around vehicles in this last part from an article by Cliffor Atiyeh of

Top Large Crossover/SUV: Ford Expedition

This is a weird choice, considering that the Expedition has been long forgotten in the Ford lineup in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs. For its sheer towing capacity, living-room size and brute strength, it’s hard to argue with an Expedition or its luxury cousin, the Lincoln Navigator. We’d like to think that better, more modern V8-powered 3-row SUVs are available.

Top Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV: Lexus RX

Lexus pretty much invented the luxury crossover segment with the first RX 15 years ago. It had a level of quality and style that other automakers couldn’t match for many years. Today, it’s still one of the best. The RX’s ride is quiet and smooth, and the interior is posh. The mouse controller on the infotainment system is almost impossible to use, though.

Top Large Premium Crossover/SUV: Cadillac Escalade

This old-school Cadillac is huge and dripping with chrome all the way down to its 22-inch rims. It’s not even as nice as it could be inside for its $80,000 price tag. But high-tech features such as magnetic suspension give this rig outstanding poise for its supersize weight. Choosing an Escalade means you have little concern for gas prices or getting your car stolen, which insurance companies agree is likely to happen.

Top Large Pickup: GMC Sierra 1500

Tough construction, good reliability and above-average resale value make full-size General Motors pickups easy choices. Plus, they come in many configurations and styles to fit any budget and occupation. Denali models are especially well-trimmed and chromed without being gaudy. Plus, a natural-gas option is now available for those who have access to the cheap fuel.

Top Midsize Pickup: Nissan Frontier

American manufacturers aren’t paying much attention to smaller pickups anymore, so it goes without saying that Nissan has a good — if extremely basic — truck for this segment. The Frontier is short on refinement, but it offers a spacious bed and enough torque for most jobs. It’s a prime example that keeping things simple can pay off in the long run.

Top Minivan: Nissan Quest

If you can live with its funky, upright design, you’ll find the Nissan Quest perfectly capable for minivan duty. Folding seats, an under-floor cargo bin, available DVD entertainment systems, power doors, a dual glass moon-roof — it’s all here. That Nissan has beaten its more popular van rivals from Honda and Toyota is impressive, although we’re still partial to the Odyssey.

 Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check some of these out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Cars for Summer Sports II

Summer is just around the corner so if you have a favorite activity you like to do all summer long you may want to choose your vehicle to match your sport. I aksed Jody Victor  to tell us more about it from an article by Claire Martin of MSN Autos and

Jody Victor: Hey Joe, it certainly makes your activities a lot more fun when the vehicle you use gets you there and back with ease. Here’s the last five that could make your weekend fun, even more fun!

Kayaking | Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen

The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is watertight, thanks to a special hot-wax treatment that fills in the tiniest nooks and crannies, which means no rust, even if you routinely expose your car to saltwater and sea air while traveling to your favorite kayaking destinations. Heavy-duty floor mats and a trunk liner keep your wetsuit and other gear from wetting down the fabric or carpeting after a paddling session. Roof rails accommodate an aftermarket kayak rack, and the panoramic sunroof lets your passengers keep an eye on your boat while you drive.

ATV Riding | Ford F-250 Super Duty

Few pickup trucks have beds long enough to accommodate an all-terrain vehicle without the tailgate down. The F-250 Super Duty, with an 8-foot bed, is one such vehicle. This allows you to load your ATV with several inches of room to spare. The F-250’s V8 engine also makes it well-qualified for towing, if that’s your preference. Telescopic rearview mirrors let you keep an eye on your trailer. A 6-speed automatic transmission helps you navigate the diciest of terrain as you make your way to sand dunes or desert flats.

Rock Climbing | Subaru Forester

The Forester has just the right amount of room for ropes, carabiners, shoes and a cooler to store après-climb refreshments. The extra ground clearance is essential for when you tackle dry riverbeds or seemingly vertical mountain roads to get to the best climbing spots. The car’s symmetrical all-wheel drive (as opposed to a front-wheel-drive car with added rear-wheel capabilities, or vice versa) provides peace of mind along the way.

Sailing | GMC Yukon Denali XL

When you’re hauling boats, you need the extra horsepower of a vehicle such as the Yukon Denali XL. With a 6.2-liter V8 engine that provides 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque, you won’t have to worry about whether it can handle your diminutive Sunfish sailboat or a bigger yacht. With a cargo area that’s 81 inches long and that boasts 109 cubic feet of storage space, you’ll have plenty of room for your sailing gear and other accessories. An integrated trailer-brake controller helps you apply the appropriate amount of brake force when you have a boat in tow.

Fishing | Ram 1500

Fishing is dirty business. You need some serious cargo space for rods, tackle, buckets, bait and all the other gear for a day out on the water, and you want it to be ventilated — fish stink. And if you’re going fly-fishing in some remote locale, you’ll need something pretty rugged to find the most productive fishing holes and tackle the dirt roads leading to them. The Ram 1500 is perfect. It is one of the most versatile half-ton pickups on the market, with plenty of power from the all-new 305-horsepower Pentastar V6, which is 20 percent more efficient than previous engines, a smooth ride on or off road, and slick styling. Plus, Ram offers some cool truck-bed storage options.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check them all out!

Joe Victor