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20 best cars for the money in 2017

U.S. News & World Report ranks cars, hybrids, minivans, pickups & SUVs

Earl Stewart, owner of a Toyota dealership, poses for a photo at his business in North Palm Beach, Fla., on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Earl Stewart, owner of a Toyota dealership, poses for a photo at his business in North Palm Beach, Fla., on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Finding the right automobile that fits your budget and gives you all the features and quality you want, can be a challenge. That's where the U.S. News & World Report "2017 Best Cars for the Money" comes in.

The U.S. News rankings cover 20 different auto categories, making it likely you'll find a vehicle that works for you and your budget.

Quality & value


To measure quality, U.S. News used data from their own car rankings. In addition, they collected and analyzed every published and credible review of a given model, and combined that analysis with hard safety and reliability data.

Related: 10 best all-wheel drive cars and SUVs in the snow

To measure value, U.S. News teamed with TrueCar to find the average prices people are pay for new cars right now. To get a long-term picture of how much each auto costs to own, they worked with Vincentric to gather total cost of ownership data, which includes things like the cost of gas, insurance and repairs over five years. The rankings combined the pricing and ownerships costs date to get a picture of each model's overall value.

Award-winning trends


Toyota, along with its luxury brand, Lexus, won the most awards for 2017, according to U.S. News. While Lexus and Toyota models tend to have higher prices than some competition cars, their excellent performance in the rankings, plus their low long-term costs, make them excellent choices.

Another brand that has great value is Kia. Kia managed to edge out tough competition from brands like Honda, thanks to their long list of standard features and comfortable interiors, as well as how inexpensive they are to own over the long haul.

Related: 20 best car insurance companies of 2016 ranked by consumers

Several of this year's winners have won in the past. The fact that these models have hung on to their awards despite newer models being introduced in their classes indicates that they have the features and performance consumers want, as well as prices and ownership costs that won’t crimp your budget. 

Still, a few newcomers managed to win their classes. 

Compare auto insurance costs, before you buy


Before you buy a new or used vehicle, research what it will cost to insure. Auto insurance premiums are based in part on the car’s price, the cost to repair it, its overall safety record and the likelihood of theft, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). And premium prices differ from company to company, so it pays to shop around. 

Here are the 20 best vehicles for the money in 2017, as ranked by U.S. News

Red 2017 Honda CR-V

This photo shows the 2017 Honda CR-V, in Detroit. America's family car is no longer the Toyota Camry or some other midsize car. It's the Honda CR-V, a compact SUV, that's getting its first overhaul since 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

1. Best Compact SUV for the money 


    2017 Honda CR-V


The Honda CR-V is a constant presence at the top of U.S. News rankings and a favorite of consumers. Compact SUV (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Honda CR-V

#2: 2017 Hyundai Tucson | 2017 Kia Sportage | 2016 Mazda CX-5 (3-way tie)

#5: 2017 Ford Escape

#6: 2017 GMC Terrain | 2017 Subaru Forester | 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (3-way tie)

#9: 2017 Chevrolet Equinox | 2017 Nissan Rogue (2-way tie)

#11: 2017 RAV 4

#12: 2017 Jeep Cherokee

#13: 2016 Subaru Crosstek Hybrid | 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan (2-way tie)

#15: 2017 Jeep Wrangler

#16: 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

#17: 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander

#18 2017 Jeep Compass

#19: 2017 Jeep Patriot

2017 Kia Soul in white

2017 Kia Soul. (Photo: Kia.com)

2. Best Compact Car for the money


    2017 Kia Soul 


The 2017 Kia Soul’s look will help you stand out from the crowded compact class.

Compact car (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Kia Soul | 2017 Mazda Mazda3 (2-way tie)

#3: 2017 Honda Civic

#4: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt | 2017 Toyota Prius | 2017 Volkswagen GTI (3-way tie)

#7: 2017 Chevrolet Volt | 2017 Kia Forte (2-way tie) 

#9: 2017 Volkswagen Golf

#10: 2017 Ford Focus

#11: 2017 Buick Verano | 2017 Chevrolet Cruze | 2016 Subaru WRX | 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (4-way tie) 

#15: 2017 Hyundai Elantra | 2017 Subaru Impreza | 2017 Toyota Corolla (3-way tie)

#18: 2016 Scion iM | 2017 Volkswagen Jetta (2-way tie)

#20: 2016 Dodge Dart | 2016 Nissan Leaf (2-way tie)

#22: 2017 Nissan Sentra | 2016 Scion tC (2-way tie)

#24: 2016 Hyundai Veloster

#25: 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer

Related: 10 safe and affordable cars for teen drivers

2017 Chevrolet Colorado in blue

2017 Chevrolet Coloraodo. (Photo: Chevrolet.com)

3. Best Compact Truck for the money


    2017 Chevrolet Colorado


The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado features outstanding towing abilities and a line of compelling engines.

Compact pickup trucks (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Honda Ridgeline

#2: 2017 Chevrolet Colorado

#3: 2016 GMC Canyon

#4: 2017 Toyota Tacoma

#5: 2017 Nissan Frontier

The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is revealed at the North American International Auto Show

The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is revealed at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

4. Best Full Size Truck for the money


    2017 Ford F-150


The F-150 is the best-selling automobile in America, according to U.S. News

Full size pickup trucks (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Ford F-150

#2: 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

#3: 2017 Ram 1500

#4: 2017 GMC Sierra 1500

#5: 2017 Nissan Titan

#6: 2017 Toyota Tundra

Related: 15 new vehicles you should avoid

2017 Lexus NX in metallic

2017 Lexus NX (Photo: Lexus.com)

5. Best Luxury Compact SUV for the money


2017 Lexus NX


The 2017 Lexus NX 200t is a solid luxury compact SUV with a competitive price.

Luxury compact SUVs (general rankings)


#1: 2016 Porsche Macan

#2: 2017 Jaguar F-Pace

#3: 2017 BMW X3 | 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class (2-way tie)

#5: 2017 Audi Q5

#6: 2017 Acura RDX | 2017 Lexus NX (2-way tie)

#8: 2017 Lexus NX Hybrid | 2017 Lincoln MKC (2-way tie) 

 #10: 2017 Infiniti QX50

#11: 2017 Buick Envision | 2017 Volvo XC60

#13: 2017 BMW X4 | 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport (2-way tie)

2017 Audi A4

2017 Audi A4 (Photo: AudiUSA.com)

6. Best Luxury Small Car for the money


    2017 Audi A4


The 2017 Audi A4's cabin is one of the best in the class, according to U.S. News

Luxury small cars (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Audi A4

#2: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia | 2016 BMW 4-Series (2-way tie)

#4: 2017 BMW 2-Series

#5: 2017 BMW 3-Series | 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2-way tie)

#7: 2016 BMW i3 | 2016 Lexus IS (2-way tie)

#9: 2017 Audi A5 | 2016 Lexus RC (2-way tie)

#11: 2017 Cadillac ATS

#12: 2017 Audi A3

#13: 2016 Infiniti Q50

#14: 2017 Volvo S60

#15: 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

#16: 2017 Lexus CT Hybrid

#17: 2017 Acura ILX | 2017 Buick Cascada | 2017 Infiniti Q60 (3-way tie) 

Related: Here's what it cost to insure popular cars in the best states for car sales

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is shown at the New York International Auto Show

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is shown at the New York International Auto Show, Wednesday, March 23, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

7. Best Hybrid Car for the money


    2017 Toyota Prius


The Toyota Prius ranks highly in the crowded and competitive compact car class. Its impressive fuel economy has brought millions of buyers into showrooms for past models, and the 2017 Prius will have little trouble continuing this trend, thanks to its fuel efficiency, comfortable ride, and interior.

All-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

All-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. (PRNewsFoto/FCA US LLC)

8. Best Minivan for the money


    2017 Chrysler Pacifica


Once an SUV, now a top-rated minivan, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is spacious, quiet, gets good gas mileage, and is pleasant to drive. It’s one of the best options in the class.

Minivans (general rankings)


#1: 2016 Honda Odyssey

#2: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

#3: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

#4: 2017 Toyota Sienna

#5: 2017 Kia Sedona

#6: 2016 Chrysler Town & Country

#7: 2016 Nissan Quest

#8: 2017 Dodge Caravan

Related: 6 ways your windshields will change soon

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth offers a sporty driving experience for performance enthusiasts. (PRNewsFoto/FCA US LLC) 

9. Best Sports Car for the money


    2017 Fiat 124 Spider


The Fiat 124 Spider is brand new for the 2017 model year. The 124 Spider has athletic handling and great fuel economy, and putting the top down is a snap. If there is a flaw in the Spider, it may be the seats. They're comfortable and supportive, but they may not be roomy enough for tall occupants, according to U.S. News.

Sports cars (general rankings)


#1: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

#2: 2017 Chevrolet Camaro

#3: 2017 Ford Mustang

#4: 2017 FIAT 124 Spider

#5: 2017 Toyota 86

#6: 2016 Dodge Challenger | 2017 Subaru BRZ (2-way tie)

#8: 2017 Nissan 370Z

#9: 2016 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Related: 10 most ticketed cars by model, percent of vehicle owners

2017 Honda HR-V Crossover in blue

2017 Honda HR-V Crossover (Photo: Honda.com)

10. Best Subcompact SUV for the money


      2017 Honda HR-V


A subcompact SUV is likely a moderately powered vehicle that can serve your day-to-day needs and provide a great view of the road. The best subcompact SUVs offer a comfortable ride, enough room for passengers and cargo, and useful infotainment and connectivity features in the cabin. 

The 2017 Honda HR-V ranks near the top of the U.S. News subcompact SUV list thanks to its spacious cabin, quality interior, smooth ride, and excellent cargo space. The cargo space is highlighted by Honda's rear Magic Seat, which allows for multiple configurations. The HR-V also garners ample overall praise from professional auto reviewers.

Subcompact SUVs (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Honda HR-V | 2017 Mazda CX-3 (2-way tie)

#3: 2017 Buick Encore

#4: 2017 Jeep Renegade

#5: 2016 Mini Cooper Countryman

#6: 2017 Chevrolet Trax

#7: 2017 Nissan Juke

#8: 2017 Fiat 500X | 2017 Subaru Crosstrek (2-way tie)

#10: 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

2017 Honda Fit in yellow

2017 Honda Fit (Photo: Honda.com)

11. Best Subcompact Car for the money


      2017 Honda Fit


The small size of subcompact cars makes them great city cars because they can maneuver easily and park in tight spaces. Subcompact cars tend to get great fuel economy, and they can provide excellent cargo space if you opt for a hatchback. Small, light cars also tend to handle better around corners. Many of the cars in this class deliver a sporty driving experience, according to critics, especially when equipped with an upgraded engine and suspension.

The 2017 Honda Fit surpasses subcompact car rivals in many categories, according to U.S. News. It offers versatile cargo space, great fuel economy, and a spacious and comfortable interior.

Subcompact cars (general rakings)


#1: 2017 Honda Fit

#2: 2017 Chevrolet Sonic

#3: 2017 Ford Fiesta | 2017 Kia Rio | 2017 Mini Cooper | 2016 Scion iA (4-way tie)

#7: 2017 Hyundai Accent

#8: 2017 Chevrolet Spark | 2017 Mini Cooper Clubman (2-way tie)

#10: 2016 Honda CR-Z | 2016 Toyota Prius c | 2017 Toyota Yaris | 2016 Volkswagen Beetle (4-way tie)

#14: 2016 Mini Cooper Paceman

#15: 2017 Smart Fortwo

#16: 2017 Fiat 500

#17: 2017 Nissan Versa

2017 Nissan Murano in white

2017 Nissan Murano (Photo: NissanUSA.com)

12. Best 2-Row SUV for the money


      2017 Nissan Murano


The 2017 Nissan Murano offers the comfort, performance and refinement typical of luxury SUVs, but without the hefty price tag. Its interior outclasses those of most competitors, and it delivers a cushioned, smooth ride over most surfaces. However, U.S. News suggests you may wish it were a bit more engaging to drive.

Midsize SUVS (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Nissan Murano

#2: 2017 Toyota Highlander | 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid (2-way tie)

#4: 2017 Honda Pilot

#5: 2017 Ford Edge | 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee | 2017 Kia Sorento (3-way tie)

#8: 2017 Dodge Durango | 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe (2-way tie)

#10: 2017 Buick Enclave | 2017 Chevrolet Traverse (2-way tie) 

#12: 2016 Mazda CS-9

#13: 2017 GMC Acadia

#14: 2017 Ford Flex

#15: 2017 Ford Explorer

2017 Kia Sorento in silver

2017 Kia Sorento (Photo: Kia.com)

13. Best 3-Row SUV for the money


      2017 Kia Sorento


The 2017 Kia Sorento is a versatile crossover that rates highly in a competitive class thanks to a powerful V6 engine, many user-friendly tech features, and the availability of third-row seats. It also has excellent safety and reliability ratings, and its low starting price makes it a great value.

2017 Hundai Sonata in Lakeside Blue

2017 Hyundai Sonata in Lakeside Blue (Photo: HundaiUSA.com)

14. Best Midsize Car for the money


      2017 Hyundai Sonata


The best-rated midsize cars earn high marks from reviewers for being pleasant daily drivers with comfortable, well-made interiors, along with user-friendly technology and good fuel economy. 

The 2017 Hyundai Sonata has a long list of standard and available features and delivers a smooth ride. It gets excellent gas mileage, and the trunk is among the largest in the class. With so much to like, it's easy to see why the Sonata is near the top of our midsize car rankings.

Midsize car (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Chevrolet Malibu

#2: 2017 Hyundai Sonata

#3: 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid | 2017 Honda Accord | 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid | 2017 Mazda Mazda6 | 2017 Toyota Camry (5-way tie)

#8: 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid

#9: 2016 Kia Optima

#10: 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid

#11: 2017 Ford Fusion | 2017 Nissan Altima (2-way tie)

 #13: 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

#14: 2017 Subaru Legacy | 2017 Volkswagen Passat (2-way tie)

#16: 2017 Buick Regal | 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid (2-way tie) 

#18: 2017 Ford Fusion Energi

#19: 2017 Chrysler 200

2017 Lexus RX in black

2017 Lexus RX (Photo: Lexus.com) 

15. Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for the money


      2017 Lexus RX


Luxury midsize SUVs provide space for those who want more seating and a larger cargo area than compact SUVs offer. If you want a midsize SUV with an upscale interior and great performance, this is the class for you.

The 2017 Lexus RX 350 ranks in the top quarter among luxury midsize SUVs because it offers an attractive and spacious interior, good power, and impressive standard features, but some competitors can say the same thing, U.S. News notes.

Luxury midsize SUVs (general rankings)


#1: 2016 Tesla Model X

#2: 2017 Porsche Cayenne | 2017 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid (2-way tie)

 #4: 2017 Audi Q7 | 2017 BMW X5 | 2017 Lexus RX 350 | 2017 Lexus RX Hybrid (4-way tie)

#8: 2017 Acura MDX

#9: 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport | 2017 Volo XC90 (2-way tie)

#11: 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLEL-Class

#12: 2017 BMW X6 | 2017 Cadillac XT5 | 2017 Lincoln MKX (3-way tie)

 #15: 2017 Infiniti QX60 | 2017 Infiniti QX70 (2-way tie)

#17: 2016 Lincoln MKT

#18: 2017 Volkswagen Touareg

#19: 2017 Lexus GX

#20: 2016 Land Rover LR4 

2017 Acura MDX in Lunar Silver Metallic

2017 Acura MDX with Advance Package in Lunar Silver Metallic. (Photo: Acura.com)

16. Best Luxury 3-Row SUV for the money


      2017 Acura MDX


The 2017 Acura MDX is a well-rounded and reasonably priced option for drivers looking for a well-equipped luxury midsize SUV, according to U.S. News.

2017 Lexus ES in atomic silver

2017 Lexus ES (Photo: Lexus.com)

17. Best Luxury Midsize Car for the money


      2017 Lexus ES


Top-ranked midsize luxury cars offer a compelling mix of comfort, features, and performance. These models deliver smooth rides, composed handling, and powerful engine options. They also offer upscale interiors with spacious rear seats, attractive designs, and high-end materials. Class-leading luxury midsize cars are available with the latest high-tech features, such as large infotainment screens and automated collision prevention systems.

The 2017 Lexus ES sits almost squarely in the middle of the U.S. News luxury midsize car rankings. The report concludes that the car's driving dynamics and cabin features just can’t compete with the sporty and opulent Germans in this competitive luxury market. 

Luxury midsize cars (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Audi A6 | 2017 Cadillac CTS | 2017 Lexus GS Hybrid | 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (4-way tie)

#5: 2017 Genesis G80 | 2017 Lexus GS | 2017 Volvo S90 (3-way tie)

#8: 2016 BMW 5-Series | 2017 Lexus ES (2-way tie)

#10: 2017 Lexus ES Hybrid

#11: 2017 Acura TLX | 2016 Jaguar XF (2-way tie)

#13: 2016 Infiniti Q70

#14: 2017 Volkswagen CC

#15: 2017 Lincoln MKZ | 2016 Volvo S80 (2-way tie)

#17: 2016 Cadillac ELR

2017 Ford Expedition Platinum in Ruber Red

2017 Ford Expedition Platinum in Ruby Red. (Photo: Ford.com)

18. Best Large SUV for the money


      2017 Ford Expedition


The 2017 Ford Expedition gives you three rows of roomy seating, and an available extended wheelbase model offers class-leading interior and cargo space. However, some competing large SUVs offer extra features and better fuel economy.

Large SUVs (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe

#2: 2017 GMC Yukon

#3: 2017 Ford Expedition | 2017 Toyota Sequoia (2-way tie)

#5: 2017 Chevrolet Suburban

#6: 2017 Nissan Armada

2017 Chevrolet Impala in blue

2017 Chevrolet Impala (Photo: Chevrolet.com) 

19. Best Large Car for the money


      2017 Chevrolet Impala


When ranking the best large cars, U.S. News places a heavy emphasis on overall passenger comfort. This includes not only seating, but also how smoothly the car moves over bumps and how quiet the cabin is. The engine is important too, because although the cars weigh less now than in the past, they still require enough muscle to move their weight down the road and provide enough acceleration to merge onto highways. Another important factor when comparing large cars is standard connectivity features like infotainment systems and rearview cameras.

The 2017 Chevrolet Impala combines capable performance with a comfortable interior, according to U.S. News. Throw in a large trunk and good technology, and it's easy to see why the Impala is among the best large cars.

Large cars (general rankings)


#1: 2017 Chevrolet Impala

#2: 2017 Buick LaCrosse | 2016 Chevrolet SS | 2017 Toyota Avalon (3-way tie)

#5: 2017 Nissan Maxim

#6: 2017 Kia Cadenza | 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid (2-way tie)

#8: 2017 Chrysler 300

#9: 2017 Dodge Charger

#10: 2016 Hyndai Azera

#11: 2017 Ford Taurus

Limited Toyota RAV4 Hybrid shown in Electric Storm Blue

Limited Toyota RAV4 Hybrid shown in Electric Storm Blue with available Advanced Technology Package. (Photo: Toyota.com)

20. Best Hybrid SUV for the money


      2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid


The RAV4 Hybrid is one of the priciest SUVs in the class, but its abundance of standard features and excellent fuel economy help justify its cost, according to U.S. News. It comes standard with all-wheel drive plus a host of safety features that cost extra in most rivals, including pre-collision braking and adaptive cruise control.

Related: 10 states with the worst drivers

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