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.
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).
Cars under $20,000: Ford Focus
Sticker price: $16,995 (S, manual)
Invoice price: $16,064
TrueCar national average price: $16,672
Resale value: 3-year: 62%; 5-year: 45%
MPG: City: 26; Hwy: 36
Last year's Best New Car Under $20,000 proves it can go the distance, nabbing Best in Class and Best Resale plaudits. Its peppy 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine puts out 160 horses, and six airbags come standard. With the base model you'll pay an extra $1,095 for an automatic transmission and $295 for Ford's SYNC system to operate media devices hands-free.