The Best Car Brands
When shopping for a car or SUV, most people start by picking the right brand. While there are certainly brand loyalists who wouldn’t consider buying something other than a Toyota or a Chevy, for most people, finding the right vehicle brand can be daunting.
There are over 35 vehicle brands sold in the U.S., and with car brands being introduced or discontinued, re-entering the U.S. market, or shuffling the kind of vehicles they sell (no, Dodge doesn’t sell trucks anymore), it’s no wonder consumers can get confused.
Our Best Vehicle Brand Awards cut through the clutter of new and old brands, plus all the marketing hype, to highlight the brands that excel in the areas that matter to you. The awards honor the best brands for cars, SUVs, luxury vehicles, and trucks. Keep reading to learn which brands you should be shopping for your next car.
If you want the best all-around truck, you need to be shopping Ford. It’s the winner of the 2017 Best Truck Brand award.
Ford’s win is built on the standout performance of the F-150. The F-150 is not only incredibly popular with buyers, it offers a forward-thinking design, including a lightweight aluminum frame and fuel-sipping engines, and high-tech features, like a tool tracking system, that other full-size pickup trucks can’t match.
However, Mazda cars are not only a good choice for driving enthusiasts. Our rankings and analysis show that Mazda cars get high marks for interior comfort, tech, and design.
The Mazda3 has athletic performance when you want it but is still serene enough to commute in. Depending on trim, the Mazda3 gets up to 41 mpg on the highway and 35 in the city.
Inside, the Mazda3 has a higher-quality cabin than many other small cars. The Mazda Connect infotainment system is intuitive, with good integration of smartphone apps like Pandora. It can even read your text messages to you so you can keep your eyes on the road.
However, performance isn't the Mazda6's only strong suit. Its spacious interior makes it a capable family car, and its upscale interior finishes make it a good choice for shuttling clients and coworkers – or just pampering yourself.
Available safety features on the Mazda6 include things that used to be available only on luxury cars, like automatic braking and adaptive cruise control. It also has excellent crash test scores.
Honda’s SUVs don’t have the off-road heritage of traditional SUVs from the likes of Jeep, Land Rover, and Toyota, but when it comes to what today’s SUV shoppers are looking for, Honda delivers. It’s our 2017 Best SUV Brand.
Honda’s SUV lineup is one of the newest and most up-to-date of any brand, with new model introductions and redesigns happening on all models in the last few years. It doesn’t hurt that Honda has one of the most diverse SUV lineups of any brand, ranging from the subcompact HR-V, pictured above, to the three-row Honda Pilot.
The CR-V is a familiar sight to anyone on the road today. Its combination of practicality, affordability, and quality make it a top choice for many families. Even with a roomy interior, the CR-V is easy to park and can nimbly slip in and out of traffic. The CR-V has top-notch crash test scores as well as available advanced safety features like lane keeping assist and forward collision mitigation.
Redesigned for 2016, the Honda Pilot has an impressive mix of space, comfort, performance, and safety.
The three-row Pilot can seat up to eight people, and while the third row is a little tight, the second row can slide forward to give passengers in the way back a little more room. Cargo space in the Pilot is good, and while its price is slightly higher than average for a midsize SUV, it comes standard with a V6 engine, which you have to pay extra for in the Pilot’s competitors.
The Honda Odyssey is the best-driving minivan on the market, with a smooth ride and controlled handling. Inside, the Odyssey can seat up to eight and has features, like an extra-wide rear entertainment screen, the whole family will enjoy. The Odyssey’s sliding rear doors make it a snap to get kids in and out of the vehicle, even in a tight parking space.
You might think of Porsche as a pure performance brand, but in recent years, the German automaker has expanded its lineup to include four-door cars, as well as SUVs like the compact Macan, pictured above.
All Porsche products have the performance you’d expect from a Porsche, as well as luxurious, exacting interiors. Porsche also has some of the best reliability ratings in the industry.
In the Porsche Cayenne, buyers get the best of four worlds. The Cayenne works as a family SUV, off-road vehicle, and performance car – all in a luxury car package.
Depending on what you’re looking for, you can get the Cayenne with one of five engines, ranging from a 300-horsepower V6 in the base model to a 570-horsepower V8 in the Cayenne Turbo S. There’s even a hybrid model.
Inside, the Cayenne offers tech features like Apple CarPlay and the Porsche Car Connect app, which lets you control some parts of the car with your smartphone.
The Porsche Panamera doesn’t look like a luxury sedan, but no one who gets inside one would doubt that’s exactly what it is.
While its ride is stiffer than the limo-like ride of many competitors, the Panamera’s sumptuous interior is highly customizable, with European elegance. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Porsche without impressive performance numbers. The top-of-the-line Panamera Turbo S makes 570 horsepower.
Their midengine design allows for ideal weight distribution, making both planted and secure in curves, even at blistering speeds. The biggest difference between the two models is that the Boxster is a convertible and the Cayman is a hardtop.
Both feature a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system and premium interiors. Both also get excellent reliability ratings, so they’ll always be ready to go when you are.
Few cars have the iconic history that the Porsche 911 does, and few can match it when it comes to performance.
What most people might not realize, however, is that the 911 is more than just a seat-of-your-pants toy for track days. The 911 features an interior made with superb materials. Though the 911’s rear jump seats aren’t good for much beyond holding a purse or some shopping bags, the front seats are supportive and long-haul comfortable.
The 911 is a sports car at heart, but its performance is also remarkably easy to live with on a day-to-day basis, with a ride that’s comfortable enough for running some errands. With the 560-horsepower engine in the 911 Turbo S, you’ll be running those errands in record time.
The 2017 U.S. News Best Vehicle Brand Awards methodology uses the combined overall scores from the U.S. News Best Cars rankings across all models in each of the award classes. The overall rankings score is based on an analysis of published, credible reviews of a given model from the automotive press, as well as safety and reliability data.