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Best cars for Commuters
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Top Picks for Commuters

Lower on the corporate ladder are the workaday stiffs, ourselves included. From a pool that included our Best Bets and all the newer cars we've driven since, we considered coupes, sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons, minivans, pickups and SUVs — anything that gets you to the office with a reasonable dose of style and comfort. We pared things down by looking at safety features, gas mileage, reliability and driving comfort.

 Best New Car for Commuters
2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI
Starting MSRP $27,645

Cars.com's Best of 2012 winner, the current Passat still threads the needle in essential areas for any commuting car: steering that's low effort but precise, ride quality that's comfortable yet controlled. The straightforward cabin has decent fit and finish, and any rush-hour carpoolers will appreciate the mammoth backseat. The diesel-powered TDI, meanwhile, has terrific passing power — in the neighborhood of many V-6 family cars — with EPA combined mileage in the mid-30s. So when that year-end bonus doesn't quite pan out, at least the Passat TDI keeps those fill-ups from emptying your wallet.
   
 
 Best Deal for Commuters
2015 Nissan Versa Note
Starting MSRP $15,005

Let the bosses drive their luxury sedans; the Versa Note proves hoi polloi can still putter around in comfort. The Note's soft ride dulls the worst of any morning commute, and the roomy backseat makes it an affordable carpooler. Your co-workers will appreciate how little they have to chip in for gas: With the continuously variable automatic transmission, the Note's EPA-estimated 35 mpg combined should minimize fill-ups. Spring for Nissan's available Around View Monitor, which will help in any crowded parking garage. Or go for a Spartan trim; the $15,005 (including destination) base model means those downtown dings are never something to get worked up about.
   
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Suggestions for Commuters
2015 Chevrolet Impala  Recommended for Commuters Chevrolet Impala (2015)
Starting MSRP $27,885

When it comes to taking the sting out of the commute, the Impala shines. A smooth ride, wide seats and a well-insulated cabin keep the outside world at bay, while low-effort steering and a swift available V-6 make for easy passing.
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2015 Chevrolet Volt  Recommended for Commuters Chevrolet Volt (2015)
Starting MSRP $35,155

Commute less than 20 miles each day and the Volt will use virtually no gas; its gas generator adds hundreds of miles for when you need them. The Volt has the most impressive electric-vehicle range of any mainstream car.
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2015 Honda Accord  Recommended for Commuters Honda Accord (2015)
Starting MSRP $22,925

The current Accord has mastered the challenge of ride versus handling, and its gas mileage — up to an EPA-estimated 31 mpg combined — is about as good as it gets among popular midsize sedans.
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2015 Honda Accord Hybrid  Recommended for Commuters Honda Accord Hybrid (2015)
Starting MSRP $30,125

The Accord Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 47 mpg combined, which lands it in Toyota Prius territory. Commuters sacrifice some trunk space and acceleration, especially in Eco mode, but that sort of mileage makes a big value statement.
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2015 Lexus ES 300h  Recommended for Commuters Lexus ES 300h (2015)
Starting MSRP $41,355

For the first time in umpteen generations, the handsome Lexus ES boasts a hybrid model. In this case, the ES 300h gets an EPA-estimated 40 mpg combined rating. Decent ride quality and comfortable seats make this a classy commuting choice.
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2015 Lexus RX 450h  Recommended for Commuters Lexus RX 450h (2015)
Starting MSRP $48,545

Few luxury SUVs achieve the efficiency of this hybrid, and this comes after competitors have had six model years to try. Such is the legacy of the Lexus, which combines the efficiency with improbably stout acceleration.
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2015 Mazda Mazda3  Recommended for Commuters Mazda Mazda3 (2015)
Starting MSRP $17,765

The Mazda3 still rides on the firm side, but it combines efficiency and acceleration in a rare way among non-hybrid compacts, particularly with the optional 2.5-liter four-cylinder. An impressive available multimedia system will help while away the traffic time, too.
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2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid  Recommended for Commuters Toyota Avalon Hybrid (2015)
Starting MSRP $37,295

The stylish Avalon has a plush interior and some of the most comfortable seats around. The hybrid version does all that with an EPA-estimated 40 mpg combined, 16 mpg better than the Avalon, for less than $2,500 more.
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