DETROIT -- Honda Motor Co. claimed nearly a third of U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 Best Cars for the Money awards, leading a pack of mostly import winners.
Imports made up 18 of the 21 winners this year, leaving three awards for domestic brands. Awards have typically been more evenly divided between domestic and import automakers in previous years. In 2014, eight winners were domestic and 13 were imports.
But this year, Honda won six awards, with its Honda and Acura brands taking home three awards each. The Honda Fit won in two categories: subcompact cars and hatchbacks. The Honda CR-V won compact SUV, while the Acura TLX, RDX and MDX won upscale midsize, luxury compact SUV and luxury three-row midsize SUV, respectively.
“In recent years, Honda has focused on providing more standard features in its Honda products and sportier performance for Acura models,” Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars, said in a statement.
“That focus has resulted in more praise from professional car critics. Consumers now have more reasons beyond value to buy a Honda or Acura.”
Toyota wins 3
Toyota followed with three winners: the Toyota Highlander Hybrid for hybrid SUV, Toyota Camry Hybrid for hybrid car and the Lexus RX 350 for luxury two-row midsize SUV. This year marks the seventh consecutive win for the Lexus RX 350, the longest winning streak since the awards started in 2008.
The imports’ lead isn’t necessarily a sign of things to come, Page Deaton said in an interview.
When the Honda Fit beat the Ford Fiesta in the subcompact car category, “it was a shock to all of us … we were scurrying back to the data to make sure we had everything right,” Page Deaton said.
Last year, Ford won in four categories — the Fiesta won subcompact car and hatchback.
“But the import brands had more new models” this year, Page Deaton said. “The newer the model, it tends to go over better with car critics.”
Chevrolet and Ram were the only domestic brand winners. The Ram 1500 won full-size pickup truck, while the Chevy Colorado won in the compact pickup truck category. The Chevy Impala was dubbed best large car.
Hyundai, Volkswagen and Mazda each won two awards: Hyundai, with the Sonata and Santa Fe; Volkswagen, with the Golf and GTI; Mazda, with the CX-9 and Mazda5.
The Audi A3, Subaru Outback and Nissan Murano were also named best cars for the money.
U.S. News Best Cars, the automotive channel of U.S. News & World Report, combines quality and value data to compile the list of best cars for the money. Quality is taken from the overall score a vehicle earned in the U.S. News car rankings at the time the awards are published.
Value is a combination of the vehicle’s five-year total cost of ownership, provided by market research firm Vincentric, and the average price paid for the vehicle at the time the awards are published, calculated by TrueCar.