Roses are red, violets are blue…but a new car is the most awesome gift you could possibly give your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. Yeah, that didn’t rhyme, but no mistake about it: now may be the perfect time to jump on that new car purchase you’ve been putting off while attaching memories to the oft-maligned holiday that your loved one will always cherish.
Not in the market for a car yet? No worries, enjoy the article and print out the pictures to drop subtle hints for next year.
Here are the 14 Cars We’re In Love With this Valentine’s Day. Disagree? Let us hear what car, truck or crossover you’d want instead.
In a near tie with Honda’s Accord for the top spot among family sedans, Mazda’s gorgeous midsize is no longer a beast wrapped in ugly duckling’s clothes. Always one of the top performers in the segment but before lacking the refinement of Honda and Toyota, the new-gen ‘6 takes a big step forward in build quality.
Gotta Love It: The diesel model, though it’s been delayed yet again, will most definitely be coming to American shores and will reportedly offer V6-level performance plus better fuel efficiency than even Volkswagen’s thrifty Passat TDI.
Flat out fun to drive, with beautiful, unmistakable styling inside and out. The panoramic sunroof gives the cabin a spacious feel, and it’s also quite the capable performer over rocky terrain with Land Rover’s Terrain Response System. The torquey 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo is outstanding.
Gotta Love It: The two-door model. It’s so unique, features most of the interior space of the four-door, and has to be the most cute-stylish SUV on four wheels.
The performance coupe that’s affordable, yet manages not to skimp on performance. The FR-S hearkens back to the days when light actually meant well under 3,000 lbs., and we didn’t need heavy, gas-hogging engines to go fast. No other car under $30,000 will give you this type driving precision.
Gotta Love It: Not only is the 2.0-liter Boxer flat-four engine in the FR-S putting out healthy power for its size and mass, but even better, it’s placed very low in the chassis. While only outputting 200 horsepower, this low center of gravity is what helps gives the FR-S handling some compare to a Porsche Cayman.
Could there be a better family sedan out there? Probably not—the Accord continues to impress, year after year. In the fight between the dueling Camry and Accord, we think Honda has come out clearly ahead in this go-round. The Accord feels roomier and much livelier behind the wheel.
Gotta Love It: Honda’s navigation and infotainment system earns high marks for displaying the info you need while driving in a configurable and easy-to-use fashion, without making you wade through lots of menus. Soon the Accord will get Apple’s iOS in the Car, with some features already available.
The Focus is fun to drive, look at and own. Its European feel gives it the mystique that’s missing in this price tier, a feeling of quality that extends to its fancy tech like an automatic parallel parking system that actually works.
Gotta Love It: The Focus ST model. Everything about it represents the perfect combination of hot-hatchback straightline power (270 lb-ft. of torque, anyone?) and everyday practicality. It’s quicker than a VW GTI or Civic Si and more engaging, too.
No, it won’t get 40 mpg, but the Suburban is one of the two or three vehicles that can seat 8-9 passengers comfortably, and with butter-smooth road manners. Chevrolet’s extended-wheelbase SUV is the perfect vehicle to take family and friends out on road trips.
Gotta-Love-It: Unlike large crossovers and minivans with big family seating capacity, the Suburban can comfortably tow even large campers and trailers. Its solid build and 6.2-liter V8 bring an 8,100-lb. towing capacity. Try that in a Sienna.
The RX 350 oozes luxury and refinement, all in quiet comfort. It’s one of our favorite vehicles to drive on a daily basis at any price point, thanks to its blend of luxury sedan-like comforts and a commanding seating position, plus plenty of power. So well built are modern Lexus models that legions of new car buyers never have “repairs”, just routine maintenance, during their entire period of ownership.
Gotta Love It: Lexus’s new styling. Love or hate that new front end design on their new models (we’ll place ourselves in the “love it” category), they’ve finally come up with an unmistakable brand image for all their fine luxury cars.
Do all German and American luxury sedans look the same to you? Infiniti’s newly named Q70, with its flowing curves, dares to be a little different and comes off looking more like a fine painting than a chiseled block of steel. The Q70, which used to be the Infiniti M, offers excellent blend of quality, performance and luxury in a large, but not too-large package.
Gotta Love It: The Q70 Hybrid model takes a slightly different approach than your typical gas-sipper. Infiniti pairs a big, powerful 3.5-liter V6 with a stout electric motor for 350 horsepower, or nearly 3 Priuses worth.
As cars get larger and more bloated with fancy new features, Mitsubishi has taken a back-to-basics approach with this fun little compact re-launch of the Mirage name. No longer a forgettable sedan, it’s now the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid at 37 city and 44 highway mpg. All that at a ridiculously low base price.
Gotta Love It: When we say low, we mean low. The Mirage currently carries an MSRP of $12,995 in its entry-level form. You won’t find a hybrid at that price point.
Why does the Prius continue to dominate the hybrid market 5 years after its release in its current form? Simple. Hybrid owners are all about the MPG, and Toyota still offers the most fuel-efficient conventional hybrid. That means no plugs, and no change from your daily routine as the savings pile up.
Gotta Love It: Did you know you can order your Toyota Prius with a solar roof that powers the air conditioning and in-car systems? This neat nod to earth-friendly tech takes even more load off the motor.
The Corvette has always offered raw performance rivaling luxury sports cars from Germany and Italy, but in years past it suffered from a low-grade interior and harshness. The new “C7” Corvette Stingray shares virtually nothing with the old car and has been anticipated for a decade. Fortunately, Chevy nailed the performance while acing the interior as well.
Gotta Love It: Any Corvette debut would not be complete without the latest in GM smallblock V8 engine design. The new car’s 6.2-liter LT1 V8 is a thunderous companion to some serious sports car driving.
Beautifully styled, inside and out, it’s the perfect convertible to splurge on. Even more so than other modern Jag sports cars, the F-Type is sharp as a knife in the corners, yet still won’t let you know it in everyday driving, with a plush and accommodating ride.
Gotta Love It: Is 12 speakers overkill in a 2-seat convertible? Not if we’re talking Jaguar, who will gladly sell you a 770-watt Meridian setup that ensures consistently absorbing sound with the top up, or down.
If nothing says “I love you” for Valentine’s Day like “I really love our brood of kids”, Toyota’s recently redesigned and very eyes-friendly Highlander now has seating for seven. It’s much more engaging to drive than the big, hulking Sienna and doesn’t handle like a truck, but can still fit the whole brood while returning respectable gas mileage.
Gotta Love It: America got its best look yet at the impressive Highlander in what was arguably Super Bowl 2014’s best commercial, featuring the Muppets in all manner of wacky situations. The ad spot worked, and this one lives up to the hype.
The svelte, sexy CLA looks good in red, its tidy curves and interesting interplay of surfaces resembling the automotive version of a fancy designer dress. It’s now a steal as far as true luxury cars go, and is more like the classic compact Benz’s of old than the ever-larger C-Class.
Gotta Love It: In this day and age, finding out it’s still possible to buy a Mercedes-Benz of any kind for under $30,000 makes a strong argument against a typical ho-hum family sedan.