There are a multitude of factors on the minds of consumers when they are looking to purchase new cars. Cost, fuel efficiency and minimal required vehicle maintenance are all aspects that these individuals are typically considering. Ultimately, though, car buyers are usually looking for simply the best options for their investment. Fortunately, U.S. News & World Report recently compiled a list of The Best Cars for the Money. From compact cars to pickup trucks, there is a wide range of options that the news outlet deemed reliable and cost-effective. Considering the fact that over 65 percent of the site's visitors are actively shopping for a car, and 80 percent admit that the site played a role in their buying decision, this list will likely have an influence on what vehicles are popular this year. So how did the ratings work?
Determining the winners
The news source evaluated 225 different cars in assigning these awards. To determine their top picks, the source calculated a composite score from both value and quality data. Value was determined by both the vehicle's five-year total cost of ownership and the average price paid for the car. The quality was measured by the score the automobile achieved in the U.S. News car rankings. Vehicles with the highest composite scores were chosen for one of 21 categories. This comprehensive list included rankings for each vehicle class, in addition to detailed reviews on each individual car. These in-depth profiles featured important factors such as performance, safety, interior elements and pricing.
Foreign vs. domestic
Overall, foreign brands dominated domestic companies on U.S News' list, taking 13 of the awards. In particular, Toyota outshone the rest, with the most awards of any automaker. The manufacturer, which encompasses both Scion and Lexus brands, won the Best Car for the Money across five categories: Sports Cars, Hybrid SUVs, Midsize Sedans, Luxury 2-Row Midsize SUVs and Compact Pickup Trucks. it's worth noting that this is the sixth consecutive year that the Lexus RX-350 has won a Best Car for the Money award.
"Finding a great car that's also a great deal is a challenge," said Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars. "Our awards are designed to help consumers identify great value cars that have also received critical acclaim and high safety and reliability scores. A good value car doesn't have to be boring - cars with the latest features, great performance and comfortable interiors can also be smart financial choices."
Still, some domestic brands performed well on the list. Ford won multiple awards, including the Subcompact Cars and Hatchbacks categories, with the 2014 Fiesta. Additionally, the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid was picked for the Hybrid Cars category, and the 2014 Ford Edge was chosen for the Best 2-Row Midsize SUV.