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2018 Best Cars for the Money

Shopping for a car means balancing the quality, features, performance, and comfort you want with the price and long-term ownership costs you can afford. The U.S. News Best Car for the Money awards put the spotlight on models that give you all of the above. The awards cover 14 different automotive classes, and each winner has the best combination of quality and value in their respective segments.

See the most recent winners here »

See winners from other years: 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

How We Measured Quality

The U.S. News Best Car rankings were our starting point for the Best Car for the Money Awards. Our rankings are the best in the business when it comes to giving car shoppers clear, actionable, and unbiased advice. Based on the consensus opinion of the automotive press, and not just our own test drives and opinions, the rankings give you a birds-eye view of what professional automotive journalists think of a car, as well as insight into its safety and reliability.

How We Measured Value

In addition to using data from our rankings to measure quality, we also teamed up with some outside partners to measure value. For pricing data, we turned to TrueCar, a company that tracks real-time transaction prices for new cars.

Because the best cars are good values over the long haul and not just the day you buy them, we worked with Vincentric to gather total cost of ownership data. This data takes factors like fuel, insurance, and repair costs over five years to give you a clear picture of how much owning a given car will cost you.

We combined the Vincentric data on ownership costs with the TrueCar pricing data to measure a vehicle's value.

See the photo gallery of the winners »

Best Cars for Families »

Winning Trends

Honda, along with its luxury brand, Acura, won six of the 14 awards. Honda’s four wins include the CR-V, HR-V, Fit, and Odyssey. Acura notched two wins with its MDX and RDX SUVs. Lower-than-average costs helped propel Acura to the winner’s circle, while top reviews and low ownership costs drove Honda’s wins.

Kia, Toyota, and Lexus each won two awards. The Kia Soul won the Best Compact Car for the Money award, and the Kia Sorento won the Best 3-Row SUV for the Money award. It’s the second consecutive win for each.

The Toyota Camry won Best Midsize Car for the Money, and the Toyota Avalon won Best Large Car for the Money. The Camry has won the award five times in the last nine years, and this is the second win for the Avalon.

The Lexus ES won Best Luxury Midsize Car for the Money for the second year in a row, and the Lexus RX won Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for the Money for the ninth time.

Audi took home the Best Luxury Small Car for the Money award for the A3; it’s the third time the A3 has won.

Finally, the Ford Edge won the Best 2-Row SUV for the Money Award for the fourth time. The Edge is the only model from a domestic automaker to win an award.

See winners from previous years: 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 2017

5-year total cost of ownership data provided by

Average price paid data provided by TrueCar™