A buyer's guide for the best American cars of the year: Ranking the top domestic sedans, trucks, SUVs and crossovers
Style, safety, performance and fuel economy are among the many parameters that consumer magazines, automotive publications and critics use to determine which vehicles deserve to be called the best American cars in any given year.
However, when it comes time for you to buy a car, looking at the new car rankings may not be the ideal way to choose the vehicle you need. When you need to consult a car-buying guide, Reply! is your best resource for information about new cars.
- Ford Fusion
- Chevy Cruze
- Dodge Dart
You should check reliable new car rankings to see how experts judge the car you are considering. If the car of your dreams is a lemon that shows up at the bottom of the overall list, you can look at the top entries to find a better choice.
When it comes to cars that have earned at least a respectable position in one or more lists, you should analyze the factors that the experts who prepared the lists used to determine each car's position.
- Ford F-150
- Chevy Silverado
- GMC Sierra
For instance, if you are looking at performance, you want to find a car with an engine that delivers more horsepower and torque, even if the list you consult considers miles per gallon a more important factor. When looking for an economy vehicle, your foremost choice may be ranked far below number one if the list you are checking considers performance as a main factor regardless of the cost.
- Dodge Charger
- Chrysler 300
- Chevy Impala
Car rankings are great when it comes to narrowing down your choice to two or three possible vehicles. Once you see that the cars you are considering have earned respectable rankings, you can check sources such as a buyer's guide issued by a consumer magazine and online reviews that include everything from pictures of a car's interior to its official miles per gallon (MPG) ratings for both city and highway driving.
Don't forget to read these reviews carefully. You may find out that one car you are considering stands out because it is available in a trim package that particularly suits your needs or that another car does not have a safety feature that you consider absolutely necessary. Some of the information you should look for in both rankings and reviews includes:
- Safety information
- Official crash test results from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Mechanical reliability
- Repair records for prior years
- Expert reviews of key mechanical elements, including the engine, chassis and electrical system
- Cost of ownership
- Gas mileage
- Routine maintenance costs
- Car insurance premiums
- Get quotes from your insurance broker or from online sources for each model you are considering
- Comfort and convenience
- Check reviews for general information, but test-drive the car of your choice before you agree to purchase it
- Performance and suitability
- Make sure the cars you are considering satisfy your needs
- Get the right vehicle for the type of driving you intend to do
Using car rankings to find out which car experts consider to be the best American cars is only the beginning of shopping for a car. Check as many reliable online and print sources as you can, and visit as many dealers as possible to to find which of the best American cars is right for you.