Naming a Car of the Year has become a timeworn process for many publications. Looking at their selections, you might legitimately wonder about their criteria are and their goals. You don’t have to wonder about that with the first-ever Car.com Car of the Year Awards. The goal is crystal clear — to provide today’s shoppers with the best possible advice on what vehicles are most worthy of their consideration.
To deliver on that goal, we weigh every vehicle on a scale that includes all the important criteria consumers should have when shopping. First among these is value. Does the car in question deliver the utmost in value?
Everything else is largely a subset of this criterion — but it is still important to name each one. These are dependability, reliability, safety, and versatility.
How does the Car.com Car of the Year Awards differ from others?
Besides being utterly straightforward about the scoring criteria, the Car.com Car of the Year Awards also recognizes the obvious but unacknowledged fact that the typical passenger vehicle these days is not a sedan, coupe, or convertible... but is instead a crossover. Further, it recognizes the fact that consumers don't view cars in neat industry-dictated "segments." Instead, they search through many vehicle categories to find options that meet their needs.
This awards program recognizes that by naming “winners” and two additional top choices in five “functional categories” that cut across typical industry segmentation. Those Car.com Car of the Year categories are Best-Value Car, Best Family Car, Best Electric Car, Best Premium Car, and Best Luxury Car. In all but the Best Electric Car, these categories have cost limits that are appropriate to the type of vehicle being examined.
From the leaders in each of these categories, we then choose the Car.com Car of the Year. It is the vehicle that best represents preeminent consumer value when measured against the critical criteria we have already mentioned.