Anyone who’s working on a New Year’s resolution knows that things that are good for us don’t always feel good. We know swapping fries for broccoli or an hour at the gym for an hour in front of the TV is good for us in the long run, but in the short term, it can feel like we’re giving something up.
Sometimes buying a car can feel the same way. If a car has strong performance, is comfortable and has the latest features, the conventional wisdom is it must not be a good value.
The U.S. News Best Cars for the Money awards may not make going to the gym or eating your vegetables more fun, but they will help you find a great car that’s also a great value. The awards combine scores from the U.S. News Best Car rankings with data on pricing and five-year ownership costs. The winners are the cars that have the best combination of positive reviews from professional automotive critics and long-term term value. Covering 21 different automotive categories, there’s bound to be an award-winning car that suits your needs.
Here are some of the award-winning cars from key segments. (See the slideshow for the full list)
2014 Ford Fiesta
Reviewers really like the 2014 Ford Fiesta’s upscale interior, high-end available technology features and nimble handling. They even go out of their way to mention that the Fiesta has comfortable seats for a subcompact car. Those positive reviews, plus its excellent long-term value, make the Fiesta the U.S. News 2014 Best Subcompact Car for the Money and the Best Hatchback for the Money.
2014 Toyota Camry
Most reviewers agree that the 2014 Toyota Camry does everything a midsize car should do. It has a thrifty four-cylinder engine as well as an optional V6 for buyers who want more power. Its interior is comfortable and spacious enough for commuting and family-hauling duty. It also has excellent safety and reliability ratings and is one of the best long-term values in the class. Those factors make it the U.S. News 2014 Best Midsize Car for the Money.
2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the 2014 U.S. News Best Hybrid Car for the Money. It’s also proof that buyers don’t have to sacrifice performance and comfort for very good fuel economy. Reviewers like how the Fusion Hybrid maintains the same plush interior as the gas-only model, and they say it has very good performance for a hybrid. The Fusion Hybrid’s great fuel efficiency saves money at the pump, which also helps make the Fusion Hybrid an excellent value.
2014 Chevrolet Impala
Reviewers agree that the 2014 Chevrolet Impala has the same DNA as classic Impalas from the muscle car era. They like the modern-day Impala’s balanced handling and attractive, high-quality interior. Owners will like that the Impala is an excellent long-term value. It’s the 2014 U.S. News Best Large Car for the Money.
2014 Ford Edge
Reviewers say the 2014 Ford Edge has a stylish exterior design and an interior that’s easy on the eyes. Reviewers also like the Edge’s fuel economy when it’s equipped with the optional EcoBoost engine. That great fuel economy contributes to the Edge being one of the better values in its class. The 2014 Ford Edge is the 2014 U.S. News Best 2-Row Midsize SUV for the Money.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
Buyers who need three rows of seating should strongly consider the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe. It’s the 2014 U.S. News Best 3-Row Midsize SUV for the Money because it’s not only a good value, but also because reviewers like its comfortable ride and long warranty, which also helps keep ownership costs down.
The 2014 Mazda5 puts the “mini” in minivan. Though it’s smaller than other minivans, reviewers say it has something other vans don’t: good performance. As the fun-to-drive minivan, the Mazda5 has nimble handling and a thrifty, but zippy, engine. You can even get it with a manual transmission. Its smaller size gives it a lower price and lower ownership costs; both help make it the 2014 U.S. News Best Minivan for the Money.
2014 Ram 1500
The 2014 Ram 1500 is the 2014 U.S. News Best Full-Size Pickup Truck for the Money. Reviewers say the Ram 1500 has the smoothest, most comfortable ride in the class and doesn’t skimp on capability. While test drivers think the Ram 1500 is a great all-around truck, our data shows that it’s also one of the best values in the class.
[Related video: Best time to buy a new car, and avoid these 5 mistakes]