The 2008 rankings cover the best and worst cars, trucks and SUVs based on an analysis of consensus opinions from America's top automotive experts.
New Car Hits
GM shows the greatest improvement from the 2007 to 2008 car rankings with several new or redesigned vehicles ranking near the top of their classes. The redesigned Chevy Malibu, all-new Buick Enclave, and redesigned Cadillac CTS (winner of Motor Trend Car of the Year) fare well in the rankings.
Experts laud the Malibu (ranked No. 6 out of 25 midsize cars) for its driving dynamics, exterior styling and affordability. The new CTS (ranked No. 4 out of 14 upscale cars) is praised as an American car that can finally compete with the BMW and Lexus nameplates. Finally, experts generally agree that Buick hit a home-run with its all-new Enclave (ranked No. 3 out of 23 midsize SUVs) based on classy styling and a superb ride. Joining the highly ranked Chevy Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade and Chevy Silverado 1500, these new entrants help GM to achieve a good overall showing in the 2008 rankings.
The all-new Infiniti G37 and Mazda CX-9 also debut high in the rankings, as do the newly remodeled Honda Accord, BMW 5-Series, and Chrysler's minivan siblings the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.
New Car Misses
Some new cars miss the mark. In the same class as the Accord, the all-new Dodge Avenger places last out of 25 cars. The all-new Nissan Rogue is also a less-than-stellar performer, placing in the bottom half of the compact SUV rankings. Surprisingly, the newly redesigned Toyota Highlander is a merely decent performer among midsize SUVs. The 2007 Highlander was ranked No. 1 in its class.
The 2008 Winners
As of December 13, 2007, the No. 1 ranked automobiles in the most popular categories were:
Best Economy Car: Honda Fit
Best Midsize Car: Honda Accord
Best Upscale Small Car: Volkswagen GTI
Best Upscale Midsize Car: BMW 3-Series
Best Luxury Cars: BMW 5-Series
Best Compact SUVs: Honda CR-V
Best Midsize SUVs: Honda Pilot
Best Large SUVs: Chevrolet Tahoe
Best Luxury Midsize SUVs: Lexus RX 350
Best Full Size Pickups: Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Best Affordable Sports Cars: Mazda MX-5, Honda S2000, Mazda Speed3 (tied)
BMW retains the No. 1 ranking spot in the popular upscale and luxury car categories. Among the very competitive upscale midsize cars, the BMW 3-Series remains the benchmark, but now has strong competition from the Lexus ES and all-new Infiniti G37, each tied for the No. 2 ranking spot.
Japanese Hybrids Outrank New American Hybrids
For 2008 there are several new entries from GM and Ford in the rapidly expanding Hybrid segment. The challengers (the new Saturn Aura and VUE hybrids, Chevy Tahoe hybrid, and siblings Ford Escape / Mercury Mariner hybrids) underperform the more established Toyota and Honda models. Experts agree that these newcomers do not yet offer the combination of fuel economy and driving performance exhibited by the likes of Toyota's Prius and Camry hybrids.
About The 2008 Car Rankings Methodology
The 2008 rankings of cars, trucks, and SUVs were determined through U.S.News & World Reports' consensus-based rankings methodology. The top vehicles are those receiving the highest accolades determined by an analysis of automotive experts' opinions, safety ratings, and reliability statistics.
For more details on the automotive rankings methodology, see our Methodology page.