The Best Products of 1994

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1. The Chrysler Neon. Forget those small American cars that developed a reputation as tinny, tacky and powerless. Detroit's new subcompacts are stylish, drivable and affordable too, none more so than this remarkably popular little Chrysler (average price: $13,000). Most striking are its aggressive lines, responsive handling and tops-in-class acceleration (zero to 60 m.p.h. in 8.4 sec.). Originally intended for young drivers, the surprisingly roomy Neon now sits in the driveways of nearly 175,000 value- minded consumers of all ages, proving that these days good things really do come in small packages.

2. Donkey Kong Country

Who says video games are dead? Not this digital gorilla, fetched from the old arcade game and redrawn in eye-popping 3-D by the same Silicon Graphics computers that brought the dinosaurs to life in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park. Donkey Kong Country has been Nintendo's smash hit of this Christmas season. In fact, the game in its first week of release in November brought in more money (nearly $35 million) than the Disney studio's box-office gorilla The Santa Clause.

3. Netscape

How do you find your way around the Internet if you don't have a clue? The creators of NCSA Mosaic at the University of Illinois provided the map -- and the compass -- for anyone who can point and click a mouse. The Mosaic team then went private. Its latest, improved version, called Netscape, has quickly become the navigator of choice for dedicated Net surfers. Speedier and more responsive (users love the big red Stop button), it can also be used to order goods from many budding online shopping centers.

4. Sony Magic Link

Tap on a postcard and -- poof! -- you are ready to write E-mail. Drop it in the Out box and -- presto! -- it's as good as sent. Check stock quotes, send faxes, review your phone messages. With this book-size device, Sony has quietly done what Apple's Newton conspicuously failed to do: made a "personal digital assistant" that pleases its boss. The whizzy interface, ironically, was built by folks from the original Macintosh design team.

5. The Wonderbra

Some stores set a limit of one to a customer as stocks ran low; others just filled fat order books after they ran out on the first day. This brassiere from Sara Lee Foundations was an instant sensation, especially with rapidly aging baby boomers, when it appeared in department stores. A moderately priced push-up model, with several strategically placed pads to enhance shape, the Wonderbra is credited with working miracles: creating drop-dead cleavage even while defying gravity.

6. Fruitopia

"Citrus Consciousness" and "Strawberry Passion Awareness" hardly sound like Coca-Cola products. But when the Atlanta soft-drink maker introduced these and other flavors in its new line of Minute Maid Fruitopia drinks last summer, thirsty consumers could not get enough of the noncarbonated, fruit- based beverages. With catchy advertising and Coke's distribution muscle behind it, Fruitopia has wasted no time grabbing a sizable share of the Snapple-led fruit-drink market, like a parched softball player after a hot game.

7. Seiko Message Watch

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