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The best car, truck, SUV or minivan for you is the one that treats you as well as it treats your budget. The latest automotive bells and whistles are nice, but not when they’re attached to an overpriced car with high operating costs. On the other hand, a cheap car might sound appealing until you realize that you’ll be spending the next five years dealing with uncomfortable seats, a rough ride and the kind of engine that relegates you to the right lane.

To help you find a car, truck, SUV or minivan that offers the best long-term value without compromising on an outstanding ownership experience, we created the Best Car for the Money awards. Put simply, the Best Car for the Money award winners have the best combination of long-term value and quality in each of their classes in the U.S. News Best Car rankings.

See the Photo Gallery of the Winners »

2016 Best Cars for Families »

See winners from previous years:

2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2017Most Recent

The Winners: Cars

2016 Honda Fit

Best Subcompact Car: Honda Fit

Scion iA, Kia Rio
2016 Honda Civic

Best Compact Car: Honda Civic

Kia Soul, Mazda Mazda3
2016 Honda Fit

Best Hatchback: Honda Fit

Mazda Mazda3, Kia Soul
2016 Audi A3

Best Upscale Small Car: Audi A3

BMW 3-Series, Audi A4
2016 Toyota Camry

Best Midsize Car: Toyota Camry

2016 Acura TLX

Best Upscale Midsize Car: Acura TLX

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Best Sports Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Winners: SUVs and Minivans

2016 Hyundai Tucson

Best Compact SUV: Hyundai Tucson

Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5
2016 Lexus NX

Best Luxury Compact SUV: Lexus NX

Acura RDX, Lincoln MKC
2016 Nissan Murano

Best 2-Row SUV: Nissan Murano

Ford Edge
2016 Lincoln MKX

Best Luxury 2-Row SUV: Lincoln MKX

2016 Honda Pilot

Best 3-Row SUV: Honda Pilot

2016 Acura MDX

Best Luxury 3-Row SUV: Acura MDX

Volvo XC90
2016 Chevrolet Traverse

Best Large SUV: Chevrolet Traverse

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Best Hybrid SUV: Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Lexus NX Hybrid
2016 Honda Odyssey

Best Minivan: Honda Odyssey

2016 Honda HR-V

Best Subcompact SUV: Honda HR-V

Mazda CX-3, FIAT 500X
2016 BMW X1

Best Luxury Subcompact SUV: BMW X1

The Winners: Truck

For 2016, we expanded the Best Cars for the Money award categories to include subcompact and luxury subcompact SUVs.  Subcompact SUVs are a relatively new class of vehicle, but one that’s proven to be extremely popular with new car shoppers. This year’s subcompact SUV winners were the Honda HR-V and the BMW X1.

Honda, and its luxury brand Acura, won the most awards of any automaker this year far and away – eight total wins in categories as varied as Subcompact Cars, 3-Row Luxury SUVS and Minivans. The 2016 Lincoln MKX broke a winning streak held by the Lexus RX 350 since 2009 to win the Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for the money.

The Best Cars for the Money awards combine quality and value to determine the winners. For quality, we used data from our Best Car rankings. The U.S. News Best Car rankings are based on the consensus opinion of the automotive press, as well as safety and reliability data. 

To factor in value, we teamed with the pricing experts at TrueCar to find out the average prices people are paying for new cars right now. Of course, value isn’t just about what you pay at the dealership – it’s also about how expensive the car is to own and operate. We also worked with our partners at Vincentric to gather total cost of ownership data, which includes things like the cost of gas, insurance and repairs over five years. The vehicle with the highest combination of quality and value scores in each class took home the award.

See photos of the 2016 Best Cars for the Money, and check out the U.S. News Best Car Rankings for a complete list of the best cars on the market. If you want a great deal on a new car, check out our Best Price Program for guaranteed savings off MSRP with no negotiation required. Over 75,000 car buyers have used the program and saved an average of $3,279 off MSRP.

5-year total cost of ownership data provided by 
Average price paid data provided by TrueCar™

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