U.S. News Best Cars, one of the most influential and trusted sources for car rankings and reviews, today announced the 2012 Best Cars for the Money Awards, featured at http://usnews.com/cars-money.  The awards help everyday car buyers navigate a confusing automotive market by identifying vehicles that offer the biggest bang for the buck and that best incorporate the features today’s car buyers want.

The awards cover 23 automotive categories, including cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans.  Each category has a single winner. The awards, and the Best Cars website, are published by U.S. News & World Report, which has a long history of helping Americans make the best choices when it comes to higher education, hospitals and more. More than 20 million people have visited U.S. News Best Cars in the past year alone.

“You don’t have to choose between a great car and a great value,” said Jamie Page Deaton, Managing Editor of U.S. News Best Cars. “The award-winning vehicles are both easy to live with and easy to afford. With twelve brands winning at least one award, it’s clear that a wide range of automakers are in tune with Americans’ desire for a solid value,” continued Page Deaton. “Additionally, 14 of the winners have been introduced or significantly redesigned in the last three years, demonstrating that newer models can offer good long-term value. And with the freshest technology and styling, they’re more fun to own.”

2012 BEST CARS FOR THE MONEY AWARDS
CATEGORY WINNER
Affordable Compact SUVs – 2 row 2012 Chevrolet Equinox
Affordable Compact SUVs – 3 row 2012 Toyota RAV4
Affordable Large Cars 2012 Ford Taurus
Affordable Large SUVs 2012 Chevrolet Suburban
Affordable Midsize Cars 2012 Ford Fusion
Affordable Midsize SUVs – 2 row 2012 Ford Edge
Affordable Midsize SUVs – 3 row 2012 Mazda CX-9
Affordable Small Cars – Compact 2012 Chevrolet Cruze
Affordable Small Cars – Subcompact 2012 Ford Fiesta
Affordable Sports Cars 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Compact Pickup Trucks 2012 Toyota Tacoma
Full Size Pickup Trucks 2012 Ram 1500
Hatchbacks 2012 Ford Fiesta
Hybrid Cars 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Hybrid SUVs 2012 Lexus RX Hybrid
Luxury Compact SUVs 2012 Audi Q5
Luxury Large SUVs 2012 Cadillac Escalade
Luxury Midsize SUVs 2012 Lexus RX 350
Minivans 2012 Mazda Mazda5
Off-Road SUVs 2012 Jeep Wrangler
Upscale Midsize Cars 2012 Buick Regal
Upscale Small Cars 2012 Volkswagen GTI
Wagons 2012 Subaru Outback

METHODOLOGY

The Best Cars for the Money Awards are geared towards helping everyday car buyers navigate a confusing new car market. The awards methodology combines quality and value data into a composite score. Within each of 23 categories, the vehicle with the highest score is named the Best Car for the Money in that category. Quality is measured by the overall score a vehicle receives in the U.S. News car rankings. The rankings, updated monthly at http://www.usnews.com/cars, compare cars on the basis of safety, reliability and a consensus of industry experts’ opinions. Value is measured by a combination of a vehicle’s five-year total cost of ownership and the average price paid for the vehicle at the time the awards are published, as calculated by TrueCar.com.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2012 AWARDS

  • The diversity of the award winners illustrates that no single car company has a “lock” on value.  Overall, domestic brands edged out imports 13 to 10 with award-winning vehicles.
  • Ford took home the most awards. Five of its models were selected as winners: Ford Taurus, Ford Fusion, Ford Fiesta, Ford Edge and Ford Fusion Hybrid.
  • For 2012, three brands emerged as winners for the first time: Subaru for its Outback, Audi for its Q5, and Jeep for its Wrangler.
  • 14 of the winners were introduced or significantly redesigned in the past three years, showing that newer models can offer good value while also providing the latest features that consumers want.