To select award winners, each vehicle is compared to others in its class on a score that is based on its overall appeal and two important measures of value. The calculation of a vehicle's "Best for the Money" score blends the data points as follows:

  • 50% weight to the vehicle's U.S. News ranking within its class. The U.S. News ranking is a measure of the vehicle's overall appeal, quality and safety compared to its peers.
  • 25% weight to its initial "target price" ranking within its class. The target price is an estimate of what consumers should expect to pay for the vehicle in the new car marketplace.
  • 25% weight to its total cost of ownership (TCO) ranking within its class. The TCO ranking is based on the difference between the vehicle's actual 5-year ownership costs compared to what would be expected for the vehicle's peer group.

In each class, the vehicle that outscores all others is selected as the Best Car for the Money within that class. Where a tie exists, the vehicle with the lower initial price is selected to break the tie. Since most classes have -- not one -- but a number of vehicles offering solid value, we select two runners up per class as additional Top Picks for the Money.

U.S. News Car Rankings provide an unbiased comparison of each vehicle based primarily on the balanced, diverse opinions of hundreds of professional auto experts. This helps identify the very best cars in each class. Visit for more information about the awards and U.S. News rankings.

With a 22-year history of providing consumers with reliable information about vehicle costs, IntelliChoice measures both the target price that consumers can expect to pay for a vehicle as well as its 5-year total cost of ownership. Combining this data with U.S. News car rankings allows different models to be compared on a very useful metric - overall appeal for the money. Visit for more about target price and car ownership costs.