It’s that time of year when all the car review websites and magazines name their cars of the year. If you are a new car buyer which sources do you trust the most? In order to get an idea of what are the best cars on the market it really helps to look at several review sites and rewards to see if there is a consensus. Some review sites claim that they do not have a bias others have been tried and true for many years.
So what is a new car buyer to do? If you are in the early stages of looking for a new car and don’t know your model you want yet? We have compiled all the latest car of the year awards and other information for you here. This is an excellent starting point because generally if a car has gotten excellent reviews on several sources it’s a good value. The down side of cars that continually get Awards is that those cars tend to be more expensive. They might also be expensive to maintain and that’s why we need to look at data such as how much it cost to fix certain cars and actually there are mechanics websites that do that for you.
Where most of the review websites fall short is in rating cars after 10 years of service. It is at that 10-year hundred thousand mile mark where car owners decide what to do. That’s why we have included reliability indexes and cost-to-fix ratings. It is generally believed that is cheaper to fix car then to buy a new one. However, there is a new glitch in the car market and that is newer cars within the past 5 years have much better safety features as well as convenient services.
Safety Technology Must-Haves
New safety features make buying a new or even never vehicle model important. Safety in new cars is one of their most compelling selling points.
“We have demonstrated that even with partial automation there are financial and safety benefits,” says Chris T. Hendrickson, director of the Carnegie Mellon Traffic21 Institute.
“When you consider and the price of automatic braking systems and advanced safety which depending on the model can cost a few hundred dollars to about thousand dollars,” says Patrick Min, senior industry insights manager for ALG, a division of TrueCar, “A little fender-bender on a plastic bumper can set you back $1,000, making the price of preventing the collision worthwhile.”
“Auto-breaking is one those technologies that people don’t realize they need until too late,” said David Zuby executive vice president and chief, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). AEB is an integral part of the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards that require a front crash prevent systems with an advanced or superior rating while IIHS Top Safety Pick winners require basic rating for “front crash prevention.” To find which vehicles have the AEB, car buyers can search IIHS’s website, says Zuby.
“Once you use a backup camera, you don’t want to go back to not having one,” said Mike Calkins, manager technical services at AAA. Backup cameras are especially important for large or taller vehicles such as SUVs, Mini Vans or trucks. 360 degree view cameras that show a full view around the vehicle are also very helpful.
AutoTrader recently announced it’s must-have technology features for new cars which includes.
- Digital Instrument Clusters.
- Better Bluetooth connections.
- Wireless Charging.
- All-Encompassing Cameras- in cabin and outside such as Honda’s Cabin Watch.
- Steering Collision Avoidance
- Self-driving features.
- Keyless start and entry through apps.
In fact, 76 percent of connected car owners are pleased when they discover the benefits of having and using them in their vehicles, and that safety is a motivation for using them.
Best Places for Research
Let’s look at the top three sources for information and how the companies make their money and their disclosures.
Kelley Blue Book – this site works by giving car owners the value of their present car. In 2010 Kelley Blue Book was bought by AutoTrader, part of Cox Automotive which includes Dealer.com. It provides digital marketing, software, financial, wholesale and e-commerce solutions for consumers, dealers, manufacturers and the overall automotive ecosystem. Dealer.com states, “We’re here throughout the year to help you push your dealership to the next level.” The company is connected to car dealers and provides data to car dealers. Nice features are the “Best Buy Awards” and Best Resale” ratings.
Edmunds.com – claims it has expert reviews and offers thousands of dollars in savings. It claims that it’s reviews are superior and unbiased. It was one of the first online review sites and since gone into the mobile space. It also has consumer reviews which helps round out the expert reviews as well as dealer reviews. It features a direct to dealer business model and Price Promise. To get special offers you have to turn over your email address and contact.
Consumer Reports – although Consumer’s Union does get paid for True Car referrals it is upfront stating that they do make money from it. They also do not accept gifts and cars are tested at their testing facility. You have to pay a yearly fee to research ratings. It has a stellar history of doing an excellent job or rating cars. Consumer Reports listed the least satisfying cars which include the Dodge Caravan, Fiat 500, Ford Transit Connect, Infinit QX60, Dodge Journey, Nissan Versa Sedan, Chevy Trax, Acura ILX, Nissan Sentra and Mercedes GLA. These model selections also match general consensus of what we’ve seen on our own.
Cars.com doesn’t accept gifts and but is paid for by advertising. Last year it received AUTO Connected Car News’ Tech CARs award for best mobile app. Cars.com is also ranked top car buying website by J.D. Power for the most satisfying experience. The top brands searched on Cars.com are Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Jeep and Honda.
What we found that when you research cars, you’ll find that most new cars are better than they have ever been before and pricing can be much higher for the best reviewed models. You’ll need to figure out what are the most important features for your driving needs. If you only drive short trips and inexpensive pricing is important to you, you may pay less for the vehicle and slightly more in repair bills. There are some people who want a sporty hot-looking car and they don’t care about safety features.
No matter what reviews and apps you use, you should test drive the vehicle and make sure that you like it. I’m short and many cars are too big for me or the seats don’t adjust properly for me to view outside the car. Some SUVs are too high for me, elderly people or people with disabilities to get into.
Starting in November, there were many new best cars of the years announced many during the LA Auto Show. These lists help provide car shoppers a basis for future buying habits.
Motor Trend Car of the Year and Person of the Year Award Winners
- 2018 Car of the Year – Alfa Romeo Giulia
- 2018 Truck of the Year Winner: Ford F-150
- 2018 SUV of the Year Winner: Honda CR-V
- Person of the Year – Mary Barra GM
Top Car Brands by Type
U.S. News & World Report unveiled the Best Vehicle Brand awards. Mazda won Best Car Brand. Honda won the Best SUV Brand. Ford won the Best Truck Brand. Porsche won the Best Luxury Brand.
North American Vehicle of the Year an award program voted by independent team of auto journalists will be presented at the opening of press preview days at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit in mid-January.
- Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Kia Stinger for Car of the Yea.
- Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Honda Odyssey and Volvo XC60 for Utility Vehicle of the Year
- Chevy Colorado ZR2, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator for Truck of the Year.
Vehicles were selected based on segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value. The three finalists in each category are judged by these factors and not against each other.
Reliability and Repair Costs
CarMD researches reliability an repair cost from its OBD port diagnosis tool. According CARMD Acura was the brand least likely to need check engine repairs over the past year, edging out Honda and Toyota, which rank no. 2 and no. 3 respectively. For the second consecutive year, Hyundai is the brand with the lowest average repair cost ($306), followed by Mazda ($310) and Kia ($317). Volkswagen is the only brand to rank in the top 10 on both lists. The 2013 Honda Civic is least likely to need check engine-related repairs.
CarMD found these 10 vehicles were least likely to need check engine repairs over the past year:
- 2013 Honda Civic
- 2015 Toyota Camry
- 2015 Toyota Corolla
- 2014 Toyota Camry
- 2013 Honda Accord
- 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 2015 Ford Escape
- 2015 Ford F150
- 2016 RAM 1500
- 2015 Nissan Altima
Strategic Vision’s Most Loved Cars
Some people really love their cars and their loved can be indexed. The most loved are not always the best reviewed but can be very satisfying to own.
- Tesla X – Most Loved Vehicle
- Honda Civic Hatchback – Most Loved Small Multi-Function Car
- Subaru Impreza – Most Loved Sedan
- Genesis G90 – Most Loved Luxury Car
- Honda Ridgeline- Most Loved Pickup Truck
- Toyota Tundra- Most Loved Full-Size Pickup
- Ford F-250/350 – Most Loved Heavy Duty Pickup
- Toyota 4Runner – Most Loved Mid-Size SUV
- Dodge Charger – Most Loved Full Size Car
- Honda Odyssey- Most Loved Minivan
- See all most loved winners
All the car data can be overwhelming because there are hundreds of models and many new ranking, that you may not have thought about before.
Here are some other rankings. You may start to see patterns, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Kia are very popular for compact sedans and small SUVs. Ford and Chevy rule in the truck market. The luxury ratings are high for Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and BMW.
- Compact Car: Honda Civic
- Compact SUV: Honda CR-V
- Large Car: Chrysler 300
- Large SUV: Chevrolet Tahoe
- Large Truck: Ford F-150
- Luxury Compact: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
- Luxury Compact SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
- Luxury Large Car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
- Luxury SUV Mercedes-Benz: GLS-Class
- Luxury Midsize; Lexus ES 350
- Luxury Midsize SUV: Lexus RX 350
- Luxury Sports Car: Porsche 911
- Midsize Car: Honda Accord
- Midsize SUV: Toyota Highlander
- Midsize Truck: Toyota Tacoma
- Minivan: Honda Odyssey
- Sports Car: Subaru WRX
2018 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award Winners
- Overall Winner: 2018 Honda Accord
- Small Car: 2018 Honda Civic
- Mid-Size Car: 2018 Honda Accord
- Full-Size Car: 2018 Chevrolet Impala
- Luxury Car: 2018 Audi A5 Sportback
Performance Car: 2018 Porsche 718 Boxster
- Electric/Hybrid Car: 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
- Small SUV/Crossover: 2018 Honda CR-V
- Mid-Size SUV/Crossover: 2018 Honda Pilot.
- Full-Size SUV/Crossover: 2018 Ford Expedition
- Luxury SUV/Crossover: 2018 Audi Q5
- Truck: 2018 Ford F-150
- Minivan: 2018 Honda Odyssey
Cars.com Best Cars for child Safety Seats.
- 2017 Genesis G90:
- 2017 GMC Acadia (Two Rows):
- 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid:
- 2017 Lincoln Continental:
- 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
- 2017 Subaru Impreza:
- 2018 Volkswagen Atlas:
- 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan:
- 2017 Volvo S90:
Most Reliable and Dependable Cars
Long Term Quality
Nick Lariviere’s and Steve Lang’s Long Term Quality Index rates cars by how long they last and data from car auctions that shows what went wrong with the vehicle and how long the owners keep their vehicles which they call Long Term Quality Index LTQI. The database includes information about 1,576,873 vehicles. This source is good place to look if you are someone who keeps a car for long periods of time and invests in maintenance.
LTQI Brand Rankings for Dependability
(Brands that are no longer made any more have been removed)
Top Best Models with Most Reliable from Rankings from LTQI:
- Toyota Sequoia 100
- Toyota Land Cruiser 100
- Lexus SC 100
- Lexus LX 100
- Lexus LS 100
- Chevrolet SSR 100
- Nissan Pickup 97.6
- Toyota Prius 97.2
- Toyota Tacoma 97.1
- BMW z3 97
- Hummer 96.1
- Chevrolet Corvette 96.6
The worst cars from LTQL has some surprising models. The following all have reliability scores of zero, zip, nada for chronic reliability issues:
BMW 7 Series, BMW X6, Buick Enclave, Chevy Aveo, Chevy Cruze, Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Caliber, Dodge Journey, Fiat 500, Ford Focus, Ford Freestyle, GMC Acadia, GMC Terrain, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Land Rover Discovery, Land Rover Freelander, Lincoln Aviator, Lincoln LS, Mazda CX-7, Mazda Millenia, Mazda RX-8, MINI Cooper, Nissan Versa, Saturn Astra, Saturn Outlook, Smart Fortwo, Suzuki Forenza, Suki Reno, Suzuki Verona, Volkswagen CC, Volkswagen Routan and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Consumer Reports Top Ten Most Reliable In Ranking Order
- Kia Niro
- Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86
- Lexus ES
- Lexus GS
- Audi Q3
- Toyota RAV4
- Lexus IS
- Toyota Prius V
- Toyota Prius C
- Infiniti Q70
Top Brands from Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports added these models for improved reliability:
Audi A3, Chrysler Pacifica, Ford F-150, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Ram 1500, Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Volkswagen Passat.
Consumer Reports no longer recommends these models due to poor reliability:
Acura MDX, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Equinox, Chrysler 300, GMC Acadia, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-9, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Nissan Maxima, Porsche Cayenne, Subaru Impreza.
Best Connected Car User Interfaces from Wards Auto
Audi S5, BMW 540i, Buick Enclave, Dodge Durango, Ford F-150, Honda Odyssey, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Impreza and Volkswagen Atlas. All but one of the winners has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Show what is the best car model or vehicle? Its is the safest car you can afford that meets your needs and gets you where you are going when you want to get there.