Domestic automakers aren’t bringing home many 2015 U.S. News Best Cars for the Money awards this week, as European and Asian brands won 18 of 21 vehicle classes. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t any good values out there if you’re looking to buy an American vehicle. A dozen vehicles under the Ford, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, Dodge and Jeep brands were honored as finalists for their critical acclaim, affordable price and low five-year ownership costs.
To determine the award winners and finalists, we combine the average price paid from TrueCar, Inc. and five-year total cost of ownership data from Vincentric, LLC with the U.S. News Best Cars rankings data. The U.S. News rankings are based on the consensus opinion of the automotive press about a car's performance, interior features and interior comfort, along with reliability and safety ratings.
The Ford Fiesta, the 2014 Best Subcompact Car for the Money, earns a finalist spot this year behind the redesigned 2015 Honda Fit. The 2015 Fiesta earns praise for its agile handling and upscale cabin materials, but critics are more impressed with the interior space and versatility offered by the Fit. The Fiesta does have value on its side though, as it has one of the lower prices in the class and five-year ownership costs that are almost $1,000 below the class average.
Like the Fiesta, the 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid finished as a finalist this year after winning the Best Hybrid Car for the Money award in 2014. While its ownership costs are a little higher than rivals such as the 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid, the Fusion Hybrid is still a good choice, as critics praise its high-quality interior materials, comfortable ride and smooth transitions between gas and electric power. Additionally, its average price paid is more than $2,000 below the class average.
If you’re in the market for a large SUV, the 2015 Dodge Durango is a good value purchase. It impresses reviewers with its powerful V8 engine and easy-to-use infotainment system, and although its price and ownership costs aren’t quite as low as those of the 2015 Mazda CX-9, the Best Large SUV for the Money, they’re still considerably below the class average. The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse is the other finalist in this class.
Among Luxury 2-Row SUVs, the 2015 Cadillac SRX has the lowest base price, but it’s nonetheless competitive in the class from a quality perspective, as auto critics like its sporty driving dynamics and premium interior materials. Rivals such as the 2015 Lexus RX 350, however, have more spacious rear seats, test drivers report. Even so, the SRX’s five-year ownership costs are over $12,000 below the class average, making Cadillac’s SUV a great value buy.
The all-new 2015 Lincoln MKC boasts agile handling, ample power and comfortable front seats, reviewers say. Many critics, however, think competitors such as the 2015 Acura RDX, the Best Luxury Compact SUV for the Money, have climate, audio and navigation controls that are easier to use. Still, with one of the lowest average purchase prices in the class and five-year ownership costs about $7,000 below average for a luxury compact SUV, the 2015 MKC presents a strong value.
Other domestic finalists include the Ford Mustang, Ford C-Max Hybrid, Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Canyon and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Be sure to take a look at all the winners and finalists for 2015 on our Best Cars for the Money awards page. If you’re in the market for a new car, also check out the Best Car Rankings. When you’re ready to buy, use the U.S. News Best Price Program for guaranteed savings on your new vehicle. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.