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These are the best vehicle brands according to U.S. News & World Report

Some of the winners are repeat customers but a few of the results may surprise you.

Photo courtesy of Mazda

U.S. News & World Report has ranked the vehicle industry's brands from worst to first. The list of this year's Best Vehicle Brand award winners includes companies that are based across the globe, including one from Michigan.

"Deciding where to start looking for a new car, truck or SUV can be one of the most overwhelming parts of buying a car," said Jamie Page Deaton, executive editor of U.S. News Best Cars. "The Best Vehicle Brands provides consumers with the greatest possible starting point, no matter what type of vehicle they're shopping for."

To determine the award winners, U.S. News Best Cars averaged the overall score each model of the given brand's products received in U.S. News ratings. The brand with the highest overall average score was named the winner in the category.

Best Car Brand: Mazda

2019 Mazda Mazda6

Photo courtesy of Mazda

For the fifth consecutive year, Mazda won this car class on the strength of its cars, the Mazda3, Mazda6, and Mazda MX-5 Miata. According to U.S. News, all three models have, "top-notch performance that puts an emphasis on direct, sporty handling, as well as quality interiors that are more upscale than their price tags might suggest."

Best SUV Brand: Kia

2020 Kia Telluride

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Honda has won this category for the last four years but this year Kia broke through because of the variety and quality of its lineup, which spans the subcompact Niro to the three-row Telluride. Kia models also come with long warranties, premium interiors (in top trims), and good fit and finish.

Best Truck Brand: Ram

2020 Ram 1500 Big Horn

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Though Ford has higher sales, Ram has overtaken it in this category. This year is the first time that Ram has edged out its Dearborn competition. The Ram 1500 is a big part of why the company won here, with its coil-over suspension that makes the Ram comfortable whether you're commuting and capable of doing serious towing and hauling. Ford models also can't match the quality and design of the Ram's interior.

Best Luxury Brand: Porsche

2020 Porsche Macan Turbo

Photo courtesy of Porsche

Porsche has held on to the win in this category for the fifth straight year. Why? Because of its well-rounded lineup, which includes thoroughly modern SUVs and cars. Porsche vehicles are fun to drive, no matter the model, and come in a variety of trim levels to suit driver desires.

Lucasfilm and Porsche are celebrating the premiere of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" with the design of a new starship.

Photo courtesy of Porsche

Sure, they are hard at work already designing the next-generation 911, but Porsche designers took a little time out of their schedule to work on a different type of passion project, a Star Wars starship.

Design studies in Weissach and San Francisco worked together to create initial ideas and drafts for two months before settling on the creative concept. Its name is Sri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter.

The concept will be presented in its entirety at the world premiere of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" in Los Angeles on December 16. The model is five feet in length.

Sri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche and Star Wars designers got together to create this unique starship.

"The design of the spaceship is harmoniously integrated into the Star Wars film world while at the same time demonstrating clear analogies with the characteristic Porsche styling and proportions," said Michael Mauer, Vice President Style Porsche, Porsche AG. "The basic shape of the cabin, which tapers towards the rear, and a highly distinctive topography from the cockpit flyline to the turbines establish visual parallels with the iconic design of the 911 and the Taycan. The very compact layout conveys dynamism and agility, lending emphasis to the Porsche design features mentioned."

Though starships are usually only seen on-screen in 2D. However, that design has to give the impression that the vehicle is dynamic while being instantly recognizable. Porsche designed the Sri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter in 3D.

This Starfighter is infused with design DNA that is apparent in modern Porsche models. According to Porsche,

The front is reminiscent of the so-called "air curtains" (air inlets) that go together with the headlights to create a single formal entity in the Taycan. In addition to the four-point daytime running light typical of Porsche, the so-called "blasters" – long gun barrels at the front – are located at the tip. The rear grid with the louvres and integrated third brake light was inspired by the current 911 generation, and the rear section of the starship bears the brand's hallmark light bar. Porsche design criteria have been applied to the interior, too: the instruments in the cockpit are clearly aligned with the driver's axis, while the low seating position is reminiscent of the sporty ergonomics in the Porsche 918 Spyder.

Porsche's first all-electric car, the 2020 Taycan, will appear alongside the spacecraft on the red carpet at the premiere.

A behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the starship is available online at www.thedesigneralliance.com.

Atlas is one of Volkswagen's top-selling models in the U.S. and though it seems like just yesterday that it debuted on the heels of the Dieselgate scandal, the automaker is already preparing to give it a facelift.

Volkswagen has confirmed that the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas will sport a revised grille, head- and taillights, and front and rear bumpers when it arrives on dealer lots later in 2020. It will also have interior upgrades, and new driver-assistance and technology features.

Many of the refreshed elements come straight from the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport's design.

The three sketches that were shown as part of the tease show a more rounded, upright, and smirking grille at the front of the Atlas. Its headlights have a straighter LED light signature. The SUV's lower fascia has changed to show a more aggressive bottom half complete with the hint of a faux skid plate alongside repositioned and smaller fog light housings. Changes at the back aren't nearly as obvious.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen has released these sketches of the forthcoming 2021 Volkswagen Atlas.

VW has said that the changes add three inches to the length of the vehicle.

There aren't a lot of specifics about what potential buyers can expect from the interior upgrades but previous statements from Volkswagen indicate that there will be a new D-shaped steering wheel, an eight-inch infotainment touch screen, and wireless device charging.

Volkswagen will add new driver assistance technology to the model including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality and low-speed lane centering.

It's likely that the public's first look at the refreshed Atlas will come in February at the Chicago Auto Show.