It's easy to find a car that's inexpensive, so long as you're willing to make some compromises on the performance, features, and comfort you want. It's also easy to find a car that has everything you're looking for, so long as you're willing to pay for it. Finding a car that's in the sweet spot – a car that gives you good value over the long term and the quality you want – is the holy grail of car shopping.
That's where the Best Car for the Money awards come in. The awards cover 20 different automotive classes, and the winners have the best combination of quality and value in their classes. These are cars, trucks, and SUVs that are right in that sweet spot: cars that treat you as well as they treat your budget.
With strong reliability ratings and excellent fuel economy, the CR-V has low long-term ownership costs. Its available advanced safety tech, as well as its spacious and practical interior, make it easy to live with day-to-day.
Lots of car shoppers think of Kia as a value brand, but the Kia Soul, which is the Best Compact Car for the Money, brings more to the table than a low price and good ownership costs. It's one of the roomiest cars in the class, with plenty of space for passengers and cargo.
The Chevrolet Colorado returned to the market in 2015, and since then, it’s been named the Best Compact Truck for the Money three times. The Colorado’s ownership costs are good for the class, but its strong towing ability, good fuel economy, and comfortable cabin are even better.
The F-150 is the best-selling automobile in America, and for good reason. Depending on the trim you choose, you can get an F-150 that's a dependable workhorse or a luxurious lifestyle vehicle.
When a truck is this good, you might not mind paying a bit more for it, but the F-150 is the Best Full Size Pickup for the Money, meaning that it has the best combination of value and quality in its class. In other words, both you and your wallet will enjoy owning an F-150.
The Best Luxury Compact SUV for the Money is the Lexus NX. The luxury compact SUV class is competitive, but the NX gives buyers a low starting price as well as composed performance and a coddling interior.
Redesigned for 2017, the Audi A4 is a top-ranked luxury small car. But while the A4 is fun to drive and offers a long list of available tech features, it's also a good long-term value. The A4 is the Best Luxury Small Car for the Money because it'll get your heart racing when you drive it, not when you look at how much you spend on it.
The Toyota Prius is the Best Hybrid Car for the Money, and with fuel economy that outpaces other hybrids, it's not hard to see why. Still, there's no sense in buying a hybrid if you're not going to enjoy owning it, and there the Prius performs well too. The Prius' ride is smooth and composed, and there's plenty of space for your carpool in its roomy interior.
The Chrysler Pacifica has racked up awards since its debut, and here's one more: The Chrysler Pacifica is the Best Minivan for the Money.
The Pacifica has a low starting price, but beyond that, it offers buyers pleasing performance, lots of interior space, and plenty of class-exclusive features, like second-row seats that allow access to the third row even when a child seat is installed.
The Fiat 124 Spider has a below-average starting price for a sports car. However, while other base-model sports cars are stripped-down models with few creature comforts, the 124 Spider has an interior fitted with excellent materials. Sports cars are an emotional purchase, but given that the 124 Spider is the Best Sports Car for the Money, it'll be a smart buy.
The Honda HR-V is the Best Subcompact SUV for the Money. Not only does the HR-V have a low price for the class, but it's also less expensive to own long-term than other subcompact SUVs. Your budget isn't the only reason to buy the HR-V, however. It has a quiet interior and plenty of room for passengers and cargo.
The Best Subcompact Car for the Money is the Honda Fit, and it's easy to see why. The Fit's interior is cavernous for a subcompact, with flexible seating and cargo arrangements. It also gets good safety scores for the class, and excellent fuel economy. While its price is higher than come competitors', its ownership costs are lower, making it a good choice for long-term value and practicality.
The Nissan Murano is not only a top-ranked midsize SUV, it's also the Best 2-Row SUV for the Money. The Murano combines excellent value with an upscale, high-tech, and comfortable cabin, as well as a punchy and efficient V6 engine.
The Kia Sorento has a low starting price and good long-term value, but that's not the only reason it's the Best 3-Row SUV for the Money. The Sorento's composed handling and potent available V6 engine make it pleasing to drive, while its intuitive infotainment system makes it easy to keep passengers entertained.
Even if the Hyundai Sonata didn't have one of the lowest starting prices in the class, the Best Midsize Car for the Money would still be an excellent value, thanks to its long list of standard features and excellent fuel economy.
The Sonata not only has lots of standards for the money, but it also has good long-term ownership costs. Its large passenger cabin and trunk also make it more practical than other midsize cars.
Compared to other luxury SUVs, the Lexus is less expensive to buy and own. On top of that, you still get the luxury you'd expect from a Lexus, including an ultra-quiet cabin, a velvety ride, and lots of standard features.
The Acura MDX is an excellent choice for families who want a sporty three-row SUV with lots of connectivity features, but as the Best Luxury 3-Row SUV for the Money, the MDX is also an excellent choice for families who want the best value.
The MDX has more standard driver assistance features than competitors, as well as great fuel economy, which helps keep long-term costs low.
A lot of luxury midsize car buyers are looking for sport-sedan performance, but the Best Luxury Midsize Car for the Money, the Lexus ES, gives buyers a zen-like cabin, a smooth ride, and excellent value for their money. It may not tear up the autobahn, but the ES also won't tear up your budget.
The Expedition has one of the lowest starting prices in the class, and if you have a large boat, RV, or horse trailer to pull, you'll appreciate its beefy towing abilities, smooth ride, and three rows of spacious seating.
The Chevrolet Impala has one of the lowest starting prices in its class, but that's not the only reason it's the Best Large Car for the Money. The Impala also has good long-term ownership costs, thanks in part to its strong reliability ratings.
The Impala isn't just good for your budget, though. It has a smooth ride and a peppy available V6 engine that makes it an excellent commuting partner or road trip companion.
Given the reputation SUVs have for being gas guzzlers, a hybrid SUV can seem like an oxymoron. But the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the Best Hybrid SUV for the Money, has all the practicality of the gas-only RAV4, plus an efficient gas-electric powertrain.
Though the RAV4 Hybrid has a higher starting price than most compact SUVs, it has more standard features. It's also less expensive than other hybrid SUVs and has better fuel economy.