In order to stay current with the latest automotive trends and help consumers select the best vehicle for their needs, the Editors of Consumer Guide® Automotive test drive more than 150 new vehicles each year. We select the top ones in each class as Best Buys. This is our highest ranking.

A vehicle does not become a Best Buy based solely on objective ratings. It also has to distinguish itself as being a good dollar value compared to others in the class.

What’s New for 2018

Small crossover SUVs continue to enjoy impressive sales growth, most of it at the expense of traditional passenger-car sales, which are trending downward. Electric vehicles are proliferating as well, but only a few of them are offered in all 50 states. Pure EVs are not covered in detail here, but you can find full info on them—including our Best Buy picks—at consumerguide.com.

Also changing is the availability of luxury and connectivity features, which are trickling down into less-expensive cars. It’s not uncommon for leather upholstery, heated seats, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality to be offered (or standard) in even subcompact and compact cars and SUVs. However, semi-autonomous driving systems—such as Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot and Cadillac’s Super Cruise—are at the current cutting edge of production passenger-vehicle technology, and are mostly restricted to high-end luxury-brand vehicles for now.

New safety features are constantly being introduced. With a cocoon of airbags already being common in most vehicles, the emphasis has been on avoiding an accident in the first place. Many vehicles are offering forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and intervention, blind-spot alert, cross-traffic alert, and rear-obstacle detection, in some cases as standard equipment. And, thanks to a government mandate, rearview cameras are now required in almost all 2018-model-year vehicles.