For Your Consideration: Six American Cars

Last Updated Sep 9, 2009 3:30 PM EDT

The American auto industry is a basket case, reeling as the recession shrinks the market, consumers defect to imports, and General Motors and Chrysler fight to recover from bankruptcy. Many Americans want to help, but also don't want to be martyrs to one of Detroit's unreliable, poorly built gas-guzzlers.

Fortunately, that's old news and there's never been a better to time to buy a U.S.-made car. Really. Even if your prejudice against Detroit goes back 20 to 30 years, now's the time to take a serious look at the domestics. Operating in what veteran GM executive Robert Lutz describes as the worst auto market since the end of World War II, Ford, GM and Chrysler have introduced some quality cars and trucks that--especially when it comes to value for the money--offer serious competition to the best from Europe and Asia.

For the newly launched CBS MoneyWatch. I wrote a piece entitled "Six American Cars Worth Buying Now," and I think my choices can compete with the best from Europe and Japan. The full story is here. I picked the Tesla Roadster as my performance choice, and here's a look at that ultra-fast battery car on the road: Here are my five choices, but if you want a complete accounting visit the longer version of this story on the CBS MoneyWatch page:

1. Ford Fusion. Without its Mazda roots showing too much, this is an excellent sporty sedan with an even better hybrid version. 2. Chevrolet Malibu. Not grandpa's Malibu from '66, this is a far more sophisticated, Euro-style sedan but with accommodations for the family. 3. Chrysler Town & Country. From the company that invented the minivan in the 1980s, a kid-friendly update. 4. Ford Escape Hybrid. An excellent and very fuel-efficient hybrid SUV. 5. Cadillac CTS. Cadillac ties with Lexus in a recent University of Michigan consumer satisfaction survey, and this very competent entry-level luxury car is a big reason for that. 6. Tesla Roadster. Zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds. On batteries. And that's not even the Sport model.