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Editor’s choice: The best autos for 2013 under $50,000

With the New Year comes new options, including making resolutions. For some, that may include purchasing a new vehicle to ring in the New Year. How would you like to welcome 2013 with a new set of wheels?

Here, we’ve rated the best cars for 2013. –yvette caslin

Toyota RAV4

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 is something to rave about. It’s been seven years since the last redesign and consumers will be excited about the new offerings. The small crossover now has a traditional lift gate (power and programming an option), with the spare tire positioned under the rear floorboards; the interior has ambient lighting, materials on the dash that are soft to the touch and the rear seat reclines.

Available in three trims: LE, XLE and Limited, all 2013 Toyota RAV4 offers a backup camera and 6.1-inch dash screen options. Smartphone integration is standard while Toyota’s new Entune communications system is an upgrade.

Base Price: $23,300
Powertrain: 2.5-liter I4 producing 176-horsepower paired with six-speed automatic transmission; FWD or AWD
Fuel Economy: 24 city/31 hwy mpg (FWD), 22 city/29 hwy mpg (AWD)

Ford Fusion

The 2013 Ford Fusion has received a makeover. It’s complete with updated styling (sleekly sculpted with an eye-catching grille which is touted as Aston Martin-esque), improved performance (rivals Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata) and ahem! prestige (it’s a bestseller in the Ford car lineup).

The mid-size family sedan has something for everyone. There’s the EcoBoost engine, conventional hybrid (non-plug-in) and the all-new Energi Hybrid (the plug-in hybrid), which will be available the first of next year. The Fusion is available in S, SE and Titanium models.

Base Price: $22, 495
Powertrain: EcoBoost four-cylinder, 1.6-liter producing 178-horsepower and 2.0-liter producing 240-horsepower. Six-speed automatic and manual transmissions are available, depending on the model.
Base Fuel Economy: 25 city/37 hwy/29 combined mpg; conventional hybrid 47 mpg city, 44 mpg highway; Energi gets at least 100 mpg-e when driven in all-electric mode.

Chevy Malibu Eco

Powered by the Ecotec engine, the Chevy Malibu Eco is expected to be a hot seller. The automaker designed this car with power, quietness and efficiency at the top of the list, with engine noise being reduced by 40 percent in comparison with previous models.

Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes, stability control, air conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, power windows and locks, and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel.

It’s available in four trim levels: LS, LT, Eco and LTZ.

Base Price: $23,150
Powertrain: 2.5-liter I4 producing 197-horsepower, FWD and six-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 22 city/34 hwy mpg

Lexus ES 300h

The 2013 ES 300h undoubtedly a comfortable ride and offers the driver four options to fit his style: Normal (combination of sport and eco), Sport (relies on powertrain), Eco (better fuel economy) and EV (uses battery only).

Standard equipment includes power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, 0-way driver’s and front passenger power seats with power lumbar, an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with Sirius XM satellite radio.

Base Price: $38,850
Powertrain: 2.5-liter producing 156-horsepower; FWD, hybrid continuously variable transmission with two electric motors (200 total system horsepower)
Fuel Economy: 40 mpg combined

Cadillac ATS

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is touted as the automaker’s first true compact sedan in 32 years, rivaling BMW and Mercedes-Benz who’ve dominated the luxury compact market with the 3-series and C-class, respectively. German automakers beware. The ATS is light and compact, but fundamentally solid and redesigned on the brand-new Alpha platform featuring a wheelbase of 109.3 inches and a length of 182.8 inches, a front-engine, rear-drive layout; four-wheel independent suspension; the latest ZF electric power steering; four-wheel disc brakes; and an 8.0-inch LCD touch screen for the new CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system (a seamless connection to information, communication and entertainment much like the smartphone and tablet).

Base Price: $33,990
Powertrain: 2.5-liter producing 202-horsepower; RWD, six-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 26 mpg