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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The new ClickShop interface allows customers to shop for and purchase a vehicle online.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North America

If you like a Mitsubishi but don't like your local Mitsubishi dealership, there's good news. Today Mitsubishi Motors North America has launched a 24-hour digital showroom on mitsubishicars.com that allows customers to start, pause, restart, and complete the car buying process from the comfort and convenience of their home.

Called ClickShop, the process is designed to make the buying process as click, click, car." It rolls together the ability to browse real-time inventory; build a custom deal, with pre-populated, applicable incentives, including payment, trade, and taxes; submit their credit application and book an in-person or virtual appointment. Customers are also not required to submit their contact information to unlock deals.

"Mitsubishi Motors has so much to be proud of in 2021," said Mark Chaffin, Mitsubishi Motors North America Chief Operating Officer. "We are delivering a bold, capable and stylish lineup of vehicles that will result in one of the freshest showrooms in the industry, and we are delivering a fast, fair and fun car-buying experience to our customers. Tools like ClickShop allow us to deliver on what really matters to the modern customer by using data in a thoughtful, strategic way."

Still wondering how it works? Mitsubishi has a handy video you can watch the explains the process.

Between now and the end of the second quarter of 2021, Mitsubishi Motors will launch three revised vehicles and one all-new, ground-up redesign.

"We want people to feel good about buying a car, after all it is one of the most expensive purchases people will make in their lifetime," said Richard Herod III, White Bear Mitsubishi (White Bear Lake, Minn.) Dealer Principal. "This means we have to meet them where they are, be respectful of their time and sensitive to their budget, and we must be transparent. ClickShop allows us to show up for and support our customers, even before they walk in the door."

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The Kia Stinger gets a refresh for the 2022 model year.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

When it debuted in 2017, the Kia Stinger was heralded as the beginning of a new generation of high-performing sports sedan. Though sportier than the traditional sedan, the Stinger still hasn't hit the same capability note as its German rivals. It hasn't gotten the same sales numbers either, managing just over 11,000 new car deliveries in 2020.

A few years in now, the Stinger is up for a refresh. Kia is promising "more power, more technology, and a refined design". Expect much of the styling and technology that is in the Kia K5 while increased performance will likely pull the 2022 Stinger solidly ahead of the K5.

2021 Kia Stinger The 2021 Kia Stinger is a sports sedan that doesn't fare well against its German rivals. Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia, which shares a Hyundai Motor Group parent company with the Hyundai and Genesis brands, may be a beneficiary of the research that has gone in to Hyundai N and N Line models. The resulting engineering managed to turn the Hyundai Elantra compact car into a hot hatch-like competition and the Sonata into a connected, albeit harsh-riding, sporty sedan. The Hyundai Veloster N is a champion on and off the track.

The Stinger's dimensions are comparable to the BMW M4's. Though the 2021 M4 is only available as a coupe for the 2021 model year and has a price tag around $22,000 more than the Stinger, it delivers a more impassioned drive experience. It gets 473 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque from its twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. The M4's engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission.

As part of a generational redesign for the 2022 model year, the BMW M4 saw its power bumped up. The M4 gets 48 more horsepower while its Competition models get a 59-horsepower and 73 pound-feet of torque upgrade over previous Competition package-equipped cars. The 2022 M4 Coupe can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds.

The Stinger currently has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood that generates 255 horsepower in the base model GT Line trim. The Stinger GT2, the most powerful variant, has a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 tucked under there, generating 365 horsepower. Simply put, Kia has its work cut out for it.

At least it will be unique looking. The Stinger teaser photos distributed by the automaker features headlights that look more like those on the Toyota Supra than on the K5, emphasizing the car's athletic shoulders.

The 2022 Kia Stinger will be fully revealed on March 16.

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