Kiplinger’s Best in Class winners top the rankings in each of our 12 categories. The rankings are based on performance, value and safety, as well as driving impressions from our own road tests. The Best in Class winners are our top picks among models that have a track record of at least one year or redesigned vehicles with powertrains substantially the same as the previous generation.Ford Focus
All except two of our Best in Class winners also earn Top Safety Pick designations from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (no sports cars or truck-based SUVs made the IIHS Top Safety Pick cut this year).
Volkswagen’s compact sedan is firing on all four cylinders. It has generous interior room (38 inches of rear legroom) and cargo space (its 16 cubic feet rivals the space in midsize models), high resale values, and German driving dynamics. The TDI’s 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine gets stellar fuel economy and produces 236 pound-feet of torque to get you off the line fast.
Getting 41 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving and priced less than $27,000, the Camry Hybrid gives other midsize cars a lesson in value. It has 200 horses under the hood, a roomy backseat that can be folded down (unlike in many hybrids), and ten airbags, including side airbags for the rear passengers and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger.