The Best Buy Awards are intended to help shoppers identify models with the best combination of quality, safety, comfort, driving dynamics, dependability, low ownership costs and affordability. Honda continues to beat out rival Toyota consistently, including repeat winners in its key segments such as Civic (compact car), Accord (midsize car) and CR-V (compact SUV) over Corolla, Camry and RAV4.
Despite President Akio Toyoda's efforts to improve the styling and handling of his company's namesake brand, those remain areas where it falls short against Honda, said Karl Brauer, executive publisher for Kelley Blue Book.
The brands' offerings are "very tight" on the metrics like total cost of ownership and resale value, Brauer said. But when it comes to exterior and interior styling, seat comfort and driving dynamics, "it's a little stronger on a lot of those areas for Honda," he said.
Honda's trophy haul is a little lighter than last year's when it won six categories. Its Pilot lost a four-year grip on the midsize two-row SUV category to Hyundai's Santa Fe. The Korean brand, long known for value, has made consistent progress in design, handling and technology, Brauer said. It had no winners in 2018 and two last year before taking sole possession of second place for the 2020 model year.
"Hyundai and Kia both -- they continue to up the game on these levels of styling, driving dynamics and feature content and, of course, the one they've always done great on, which is value," he said.
Indeed, the Korean line's sister brand beat it out for best new model with the Kia Telluride, edging the Hyundai Palisade in KBB's three-row SUV category on the strength of its roomy interior, overall design and slightly lower price.