The battle between the car you want and the car that fits your budget usually ends with you feeling like you gave up too much on both sides.
It doesn't have to feel that way.
The 2013 U.S. News Best Cars for the Money Awards highlight cars that professional car critics love that are also great values. The awards combine the average price paid and five-year total cost of ownership data from TrueCar.com with the U.S. News Best Car rankings data. The U.S. News rankings are based on the opinion of the automotive press about a car's performance, interior features and interior comfort, as well as reliability data from J.D. Power and Associates and safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The winning cars have the best combination of critical acclaim and long-term value. In essence, these are the cars that will leave you feeling like you got a great car and a great deal.
The Best Cars for the Money Awards cover 21 different automotive categories with one winner in each. With six wins, Ford took home the most awards of any brand, followed by Toyota, which took home five awards across its Toyota, Scion and Lexus brands. As a whole, domestic automakers won nine awards and import brands won 12. Some cars are long-time award winners. The Lexus RX 350 has won Best Luxury Midsize SUV five years in a row, and the Ford Taurus has won Best Large Car for the Money for the past four years. However, there are some newcomers such as the BMW X1, Scion FR-S and Buick Verano.
A new car is a big investment, and for most people, it's also where they spend a big chunk of their time. The Best Cars for the Money Awards show that a smart buying choice doesn't doom you to years of owning a car you don't like. The award winners are cars that will not only be good to your budget, they'll also be good to you.