We pick Best in Class and Best New winners based on performance,
value and safety. About half the score is awarded for performance
and value, including resale value, power, fuel efficiency, front
and rear legroom, headroom, and cargo space (the space in the trunk
or the space behind the second-row seats in a wagon, crossover or
minivan). Sedans are ranked within price categories. Crossovers,
SUVs, minivans and wagons aren't broken out by price, so we also
score on a scale that rewards lower prices.
SEE OUR SPECIAL REPORT:
Best New Car Values, 2012
A vehicle's safety -- represented by crash-test ratings and
features such as airbags and traction control -- count for about
35% of the total score. The remainder of the score comes from our
impressions while test-driving the new cars. We assess design and
comfort as well as dashboard layout.
Keys to a great deal
. Only the most desirable vehicles actually sell for the suggested
retail price. That's why we also list the invoice price (all prices
include the destination charge). Our invoice price does not reflect
the "holdback," which is money refunded to the dealer from the
carmaker after a vehicle is sold. Ideally, you'll negotiate a price
as close to the invoice as possible. At least aim for TrueCar's
Market Average, which represents the most common sale price for the
vehicle in your area; our tables list the national average. Before
you shop, check
for prices near you.
Another measure of a vehicle's worth is the resale value three
and five years down the road. These figures, also supplied by
TrueCar, are the estimated price a dealer would pay at trade-in,
expressed as a percentage of the sticker price.
Don't neglect ownership costs. In our tables,
is an estimate of the cost of maintenance and unscheduled repairs
over five years.
is an estimate of the annual premium for each vehicle for a
middle-aged driver with a clean driving record.
Finally, we choose the most fuel-efficient vehicles based on
annual fuel costs, using gasoline prices of $3.20 for regular,
$3.40 for premium and $3.95 for diesel, and assuming 15,000 miles
of driving each year.
About the Tables
Sources for the data: TrueCar provided new-vehicle data. Service
and insurance costs were provided by
shopped for the best deals on our Best New vehicles. Best leasing
deals came from