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Best Cars for the Money Awards 2012

Looking for a great car that’s also a great value? We can help.

The 2012 U.S. News Best Cars for the Money Awards help you navigate a confusing automotive market by identifying cars that hit quality and value from all sides. The awards combine the U.S. News Best Cars rankings with the average price paid and five-year total cost of ownership data from TrueCar.com. The award-winning vehicles have the best combination of praise from car reviewers, lower upfront costs and lower long-term ownership costs than their competition. The winners aren’t just good cars or good values. They’re both.

Best Cars

Best Cars for the Money Awards 2012

Ford Fiesta

Subcompact and hatchback: Ford Fiesta
High-tech interior options make the 2012 Ford Fiesta feel like a luxury car, not a compact.

Compact car: Chevrolet Cruze
The 2012 Chevrolet Cruze is the Best Compact Car for the Money because it has a very roomy cabin for a small, inexpensive car, an upscale feelfor the price, and its ECO trim has excellent fuel economy.

Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen GTI

Upscale small car: Volkswagen GTI
The 2012 Volkswagen GTI combines comfortable passenger space and lots of cargo room with fun performance.

Affordable midsize car: Ford Fusion
The 2012 Ford Fusion won because it has performance that isn’t boring (which is rare for a midsize car), an upscale interior, comfortable passenger space, and available all-wheel drive.

Ford Taurus

Ford Taurus

Affordable large car: Ford Taurus
The Best Large Car for the Money, the 2012 Ford Taurus has available high-tech interior features, including SYNC, and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick.


Upscale midsize car: Buick Regal
The 2012 Buick Regal is the Best Upscale Midsize Car for the Money because it's fun to drive, has a long powertrain warranty, high-tech features, and is less expensive than competitors.

Hybrid car: Ford Fusion Hybrid
Reviewers say the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the best-performing hybrid car. It also boasts a high-tech cabin and plenty of passenger space.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Affordable sports car: Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is the best-selling sports car in history.  Reviewers love that it is simple and elegant with incredible performance at an affordable price.

Wagon: Subaru Outback
The 2012 Subaru Outback has excellent crash-test scores, standard all-wheel drive, and can be equipped as a budget or near-luxury car.



Best SUV and Minivans

Chevrolet Equinox

Chevrolet Equinox

Affordable compact SUV with two rows: Chevrolet Equinox
The 2012 Chevrolet Equinox has a long powertrain warranty, handy features like a slide-and-recline rear seat, good fuel economy and cargo space and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Affordable compact SUV with three rows: Toyota RAV4
The 2012 Toyota RAV4 has an optional third row in a compact package, plus an optional V6 engine that reviewers love.

Audi Q5

Audi Q5

Luxury compact SUV: Audi Q5
The 2012 Audi Q5 is both practical and luxurious.

Luxury midsize SUV: Lexus RX 350
A quiet ride and interior make the Lexus RX a zen-like partner for commuting and road trips.

Affordable midsize SUV with two rows: Ford Edge
The 2012 Ford Edge has a stylish design and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick. Its available Ecoboost engine merges performance and good fuel economy.

Mazda CX-9

Mazda CX-9

Affordable midsize SUV with three rows: Mazda CX-9
The 2012 Mazda CX-9 has seating for seven, sporty performance and lots of features, even on the base model.

Affordable large SUV: Chevrolet Suburban
With seating for up to nine and a long powertrain warranty, the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban is the Best Affordable Full-Size SUV for the Money.


Cadillac Escalade

Cadillac Escalade

Luxury large SUV: Cadillac Escalade
The 2012 Cadillac Escalade has lots of passenger space, a big towing capacity and a plush interior, which all helped it win the Best Luxury Large SUV for the Money Award.

Minivan: Mazda Mazda5
The 2012 Mazda5 is the fun-to-drive minivan, with seating for six in a tidy package. It's available with a manual transmission and gets excellent fuel economy.

Hybrid SUV: Lexus RX Hybrid
The 2012 Lexus RX Hybrid  features a sumptuous interior, practical amounts of passenger and cargo space, an excellent reputation for reliability, and good fuel economy.

Off-road SUV: Jeep Wrangler
The 2012 Jeep Wrangler is the iconic American off-roader. It's available with two or four doors and has unmatched off-road capabilities.

Best Trucks

Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma

Compact pickup truck: Toyota Tacoma
The 2012 Toyota Tacoma is comfortable enough to commute in and gets good fuel economy, yet it's powerful enough for weekend warriors.

Full size pickup truck: Ram 1500
The 2012 Ram 1500 has the smoothest ride of any truck and it has innovative cargo solutions as well as luxurious available interior packages.