Value is in the eye of the beholder.
For some car buyers, style and technology deliver the most bang for the buck. Others place greater importance on safety and comfort. And with so many factors to consider, no two of us are exactly alike when it comes to the features and characteristics that best capture our hearts and minds. That’s why automakers are able to offer more than 300 unique nameplates.
But in any given segment, in any given model year, there exists a single entry that’s the best choice for the most buyers. These are the cars, trucks and SUVs that take home our annual Best Buy Awards.
And it turns out you, the car buyer, are pretty good at picking cars. Because the cars that earn our Best Buy Awards are very often among their segment’s best-selling vehicles.
How Do We Choose?
Every year we drive and review hundreds of new cars, trucks and SUVs, a nonstop process of evaluation that also informs our Buyer’s Guides, Comparison Tests, 10 Best lists and more. Then, at the beginning of each new model year, we gather the previous year’s Best Buy Award winners, the best of the challengers and all the brand-new models we can get our hands on -- sometimes pre-production versions of vehicles not yet on dealer lots -- and subject them to several weeks of focused, side-by-side evaluation.
The driving component is critical, of course, but a big part of what makes our Best Buy Awards so valuable is the data behind it. Our resale value and 5-Year Cost to Own calculations loom especially large in our analysis. Depreciation is almost always the biggest expense in new-car ownership, and without taking it into account it’s almost impossible to know which of two similarly priced cars will cost you more in the long run. If you want to get the most car for your money, you have to consider all your costs.
Almost every car in every segment is the right choice for someone. And with unprecedented levels of quality it’s harder to choose a bad vehicle nowadays. But even if by the slimmest of margins, there's always a vehicle that offers a stronger mix of attributes than its competitors.
Here are 12 of them.
Category Best Buys