Awards Season

These are the U.S. News & World Report 2021 Best Cars for the Money

The 2021 Honda Passport offers buyers a lot of bang for their buck.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Mfg. Inc.

It isn't just about which cars are good. For many buyers, it's about reaching the perfect blend of good, fuel efficient, and bang for your buck. The annual U.S. News & World Report Best Cars for the Money awards rates many of those factors, and more.

"When it comes to car buying, value is about more than a low price tag," said Jamie Page Deaton, executive editor of U.S. News Best Cars. "Buying the least expensive car on the lot can mean buyers end up with high ownership costs and a vehicle that doesn't necessarily fit their needs. The Best Cars for the Money award winners have strong value propositions at the dealership and down the road. They are all also a pleasure to own, with the performance, comfort and features buyers appreciate."

Within each class, the award winner has the best combination of quality and value. U.S. News & World Report measured quality using a car's overall score in the U.S. News Best Car Rankings. The overall score is based on safety and reliability data, as well as the collective opinion of the automotive press on a given model's performance and interior and how strongly each reviewer recommends the car. They measured value by looking at each model's real-time transaction prices, provided by TrueCar, and five-year total cost of ownership data, calculated by Vincentric.

Covering 11 categories, the awards highlight the cars, SUVs ,and minivans that give drivers the best combination of quality and value in their respective classes.

Here are the winners.

Best 2-Row SUV for the Money: 2021 Honda Passport

2021 Honda Passport Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Mfg. Inc.

Best 3-Row SUV for the Money: 2021 Kia Sorento

2021 Kia Sorento Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Best Compact Car for the Money: 2021 Kia Forte

2021 Kia Forte Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Best Compact SUV for the Money: 2021 Honda CR-V

2021 Honda CR-V Touring Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Best Hybrid and Electric Car for the Money: 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Best Hybrid and Electric SUV for the Money: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Best Large Car for the Money: 2021 Toyota Avalon

2021 Toyota Avalon Limited AWD Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Best Midsize Car for the Money: 2021 Toyota Camry

2021 Toyota Camry XSE Blueprint Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Best Minivan for the Money: 2021 Honda Odyssey

2021 Honda Odyssey Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

Best Subcompact Car for the Money: 2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Hyundai Accent

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Best Subcompact SUV for the Money: 2021 Kia Soul

2021 Kia Soul Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

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Updated vehicle lineup

Toyota is going more places in 2022 and beyond

Toyota is giving its spunky 86 sports car a makeover for 2022.

Toyota

"Let's Go Places", Toyota's tagline adopted nearly a decade ago, speaks to the automaker's goal of "evolution and commitment to leading through innovation, enriching lives and connecting with customers in new ways they define". Today, Toyota has sold more than 15 million vehicles and is continuing to innovate with connected technologies and alternative powertrains and is global leader of hybrid electric vehicles.

Toyota plans to offer approximately 70 electrified models globally by 2025, in a lineup that will feature 15 dedicated battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), including seven in the new the "bZ" (Beyond Zero) brand and also plans to bring electrification to its truck lineup.

The Japanese manufacturer recently invited a cadre of journalists to its U.S. headquarters in Plano, Texas, to learn more about the company's latest developments and goals, as well as to hear about new and concept vehicles from both Toyota and luxury stablemate Lexus, during a three-day event that was akin to a Toyota-centric auto show. There were ride and drive opportunities in Plano and at the nearby Eagle Canyon Raceway, with a high-speed track and off-road course and even a "secret reveal" of the all-new Tundra. The breadth of new offerings includes models from every segment of the auto market, ranging from BEV to truck and high-performance.


Toyota bZ4X Concept The bZ4X shows Toyota's vision for its bZ (Beyond Zero) electric sub-brand.Toyota


Of the nearly two dozen vehicles on the roster, we selected the following models to highlight:

**The Toyota bZ4X Concept is Toyota's vision for the first of a global series of battery-electric vehicles sold under the "Toyota bZ" (Beyond Zero) brand. Jointly developed with Subaru, the sleek SUV is close in size to the RAV4 and will have a 300-mile range; the AWD model has stunning and chiseled looks, 20-inch wheels and showcases the new e-TNGA BEV-dedicated platform. Notable is the long wheelbase with short overhangs and open-concept interior, with a "bridge" style center console, a large infotainment screen and a unique digital gauge for instrumentation.

Heralded as the vehicle that revived Toyota's sportscar lineage, the all-new 2022 GR 86 hit the track with pro drivers before meriting its Gazoo Racing badge. The lightweight 2+2 rear-drive sports coupe has been engineered with more rigidity, and a horsepower bump from 205 to 228. Added torque moves the needle from 156 to 184 lb.-ft. from its naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four boxer engine, when set up with a manual transmission; peak torque is lower in the rpm range to bring a more linear driving feel. Zero to 60 times have dropped from 7 to 6.1 seconds for the manual and moved from 8 to 6.6 seconds for the automatic.

The Gazoo team put their mark on front and rear frame reinforcements; weight-shaving components, such as aluminum roof panels and fenders; new aerodynamic body elements, a functional MATRIX "G" Mesh grille and exterior air vents. The refashioned interior gets race-inspired touches and Alcantara-trimmed front buckets. Onboard are a host of updated technologies and audio/communications features; it comes in two grades, GR 86 and GR 86 Premium.


2022 Toyota Supra A91-CF Toyota will offer just 600 Carbon Fiber Edition Supras when it goes on sale in fall 2021.Toyota


The GR Supra A91-CF (Carbon Fiber) Edition goes on sale in the fall; only 600 will be available in North America. Exterior design features include numerous carbon fiber elements; a functional aero kit; duckbill rear spoiler; special edition forged 19-inch matte-black wheels with red calipers and a Toyota Supra logo; and new colors. Inside the red-and-black themed cabin with Alcantara-and-leather and carbon-fiber trim are heated sport seats and a collection of top standard features. A turbocharged three-liter inline-six with an eight-speed transmission has paddle shifters and brings zero-to-60 in 3.9 seconds. Performance parts include adaptive Variable Sport suspension, an active rear sport differential, and front Brembo brakes with red calipers.

Both cars offer complimentary one-year memberships to the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) comes with instruction from experts and the opportunity to participate in a High-Performance Driving Event.

Two new Tacomas add choices, capability and other new features to Toyota's mid-sized truck lineup.

The 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro bumps up off-road performance with a 1.5-inch front/.05 rear lift; TRD-tuned 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks, and new suspension components, using machine-forged aluminum construction on the pickup's control arms. Toyota Racing Development's upgrades bring improvements that aid in obstacle clearance with a 36.4-degree approach, 24.7-degree departure, and 26.6-degree breakover angles. New black TRD wheels make a wider track width than stock versions, while new Goodyear Territory all-terrain tires have an aggressive sidewall design. A new exclusive Electric Lime Metallic color is added to the mix. New hood graphics are available that complement the blacked-out hood scoop. A color-keyed rear bumper, door handles and power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators will trim the dual-color styling theme, along with black overfenders and new badging. An aluminum front skid plate with red TRD lettering provides additional trail protection. Unique LED headlights with sequential turn signals feature TRD Pro inserts, while Rigid Industries LED fog lights help illuminate the road and trails ahead.


2022 Toyota Tacoma The Tacoma gets even more off-road goodies for the 2022 model year.Toyota


Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4×4 Double Cab short-bed model, the TRD Pro is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 and is available with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto. Nifty features include a Multi Terrain Monitor that displays front-, rear- and side-camera views on the 8-inch multimedia touchscreen; the instrument panel's 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display has an inclinometer and tilt gauge. Inside are TRD-themed black leather-trimmed heated front seats, TRD shift knob, and TRD Pro all-weather floor mats., plus a standard moonroof and Toyota's Safety Star System, along with a broad array of technologies.

The 2022 Tacoma Trail Edition, built on the Tacoma 4×4 Double Cab, upgrades off-road performance. It is1.1 inches higher in front and boasts an approach angle of 34 degrees; the rear is lifted 0.5 inches for a departure angle of 23.6 degrees; breakover angle is improved at 26.4 degrees. Unique styling comes with four exterior color choices, black badging accents and a new Trail Edition badge on the rear tailgate. Rear bumpers are now color-keyed to match the exterior grille with new unique bronze-colored lettering and new bronze-finished wheels that offer a 0.5-inch wider track width both front and rear and are fitted with new Goodyear all-terrain tires with an aggressive sidewall tread pattern. New is lockable bed storage while the driver's side storage includes insulation and can double as a cooler. It's also equipped with a 120V power outlet in the bed. Standard is a 3.5-liter V6 engine (278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque) and locking rear differential, as well as the Tacoma Tow Package, with a maximum towing capacity of 6,400 pounds.

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New compact pickup truck

Three things to know about the 2022 Ford Maverick

The Maverick will be hybrid-first and can return great fuel economy.

Ford Motor Company

Last week, Ford confirmed the name of its new compact truck and set a date for its official reveal. Today is that day, and the Maverick is finally out in the open for all to see. Ford's compact pickup features an interesting mix of powertrain tech and functionality, so we're here to help you get a feel for what makes the new truck tick.

Here are three things to know about the 2022 Ford Maverick.


2022 Ford Maverick The Maverick will likely be all the pickup most people ever need.Ford Motor Company


It'll be hybrid-first

The 2022 Maverick will be offered with two powertrains, but the standard fixture is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 94kW electric motor. The two combine to produce 191 horsepower and send the power to the front wheels. The base hybrid models get a continuously variable transmission and can return as much as 40 mpg on the highway. Yes, it's a hybrid, but there's some real truck capability hidden in the Maverick's specs. It will be able to tow up to 2,000 pounds and can carry a payload of up to 1,500 pounds. That's enough to pull a small boat, a couple of jet skis, or a camper trailer.

The optional gas powertrain includes a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Maverick models equipped with this powertrain can tow up to 4,000 pounds when properly equipped.


2022 Ford Maverick The Maverick's bed and tailgate will help owners carry more with less overall space.Ford Motor Company


It's bigger than you think

Ford's marketing materials and even tweets from prominent members of its PR staff suggest that the Maverick is tiny, but that's not the whole story. The truck rides on a platform shared with the Ford Bronco Sport and Ford Escape, but is just ten inches shorter than the Ranger and around 32 inches shorter than an F-150. It's compact, sure, but it's not the tiny toy truck you might be envisioning. Beyond fuel economy, the Maverick's dimensions help it maneuver tight spaces, so much so that Ford says it needs just a 40-foot diameter to turn in a complete circle.



2022 Ford Maverick Trucks don't need to be huge to get the job done.Ford Motor Company


It will be relatively affordable

Vehicles of all types are becoming more expensive, especially trucks. The Maverick bucks that trend, at least in most of its forms, and comes in with a starting price of around $20,000 after destination charges are applied. The midrange XLT model starts at $22,280 before destination and the range-topping Lariat starts at $25,490 before destination. Any model can be upgraded with the 2.0-liter gas engine and the Lariat trim is available with a First Edition Package that adds exclusive wheels, paint colors, and a moonroof.

If you're hoping to get your hands on a Maverick, you can reserve one now on Ford.com. The automaker says that the truck will start hitting dealers' lots in fall 2021, so there are just a few months to wait if you're in the market.

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