2003 B.E. auto guide in the driver's seat: shopping for a new car? B.E. offers its best picks for 2003.

Author:Koblenz, Jay
Position:B.E. Auto Guide

WHY DO YOU DRIVE THE CAR YOU DRIVE? PERFORMANCE, FUNCTION, STYLE, comfort, looks, and price are all part of the purchasing equation. And today the options are increasingly broad. Here, we narrow the choices down to five categories and offer our picks for the best in each class. We also found consumers who feel confident about their car choices for 2003.

Elliot Tommy

Owner and designer for The fashion Paige boutique in L.A.


"It's new, innovative, and different. It's fun to drive, roomy, and I like the military edge."

Patricia Wilkins

Courtesy agent at Wal-Mart in Orange County, California

Divorced, mother of four; grandmother of seven

"I always buy Hondas, This time I bought two--one for my daughter and one for myself. It's got plenty of room for myself, my grandkids--who are all into sports--and all we have to carry."

Tchanavia Hall

Human services specialist for Bergen County Board of Social Services in Rochelle Park, New Jersey


"I come from a family of Toyotas. I bought it because of its reputation of being a reliable car. And I really like the model."

Alban Burke, D.D.S.

Dentist in Westchester, NY

Married with two children

"With the same engine as the 7-Series Beamer, the pickup is awesome. It's a quiet drive with excellent independent suspension and the inside is quite luxurious."

for the fashion conscious audi a4 cabriolet Price range: $35,000-$45,000 Body type: 2-door convertible Engine type: I-4 20-valve turbo (late availability), V-6 30-valve Displacement: 1.8, 3.0 liters Horsepower: 170 @5900, 220 @6300 Torque: 166 @1950-- 5000, 221 @3200 Transmission: Multitronic CVT Drive: Front Mileage: 18/25-20/29 mini cooper Price range: $17,000-$26,000 Body type: 2-door hatchback Engine type: I-4 16-valve, I-4 16-valve supercharged Displacment: 1.6 liters Horsepower: 115 @6000, 163 @6000 Torque: 110 @4500, 155 @4000 Transmission: 6-sp. manual CVT Drive: Front Mileage: 25/32 hummer h2 Price range: $50,000-$55,000 Body type: 4-door sport-utility wagon Engine type: V-8 Displacement: 6.0 liters Horsepower: 315 @5200 Torque: 360 @4000 Transmission: 4-sp. auto Drive: Part/full-time 4WD Mileage: Not rated mercedes-benz SL500 Price range: $88,000-$105,000 Body type: 2-door hardtop-convertible Engine type: V-8 24-valve Displacement: 5.0 liters Horsepower: 302 @5600 Torque: 339 @2700-4250 Transmission: 5-sp. auto Drive: Rear Mileage: 16/23 maybach 57 & 62 Price range: $290,000-$350,000+ Body type: 4-door sedan Wheelbase: 132.7", 150.8"...

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