Once again, the team at The Car Guide has selected the best buys of the year following a long, painstaking process that involved some heated debates.
Every vehicle is rated on six different criteria including fuel economy, reliability, safety, infotainment, driving experience and overall appreciation. The first three criteria are purely objective. All models are assessed against the others in their respective categories.
The six scores add up to a total rating for each vehicle and that’s how the category winners are determined.
Fuel economy 15%
We used data from Natural Resources Canada to figure out the average fuel consumption for each model’s lineup. When it comes to fully electric vehicles that don’t burn any fuel, we relied on the industry-standard Le/100 km rating (as in “litre equivalent”), also based on data from Natural Resources Canada. The Hyundai Kona Electric, for example, achieves 2.0 Le/100 km.
Reliability is calculated based on data from various reputable organizations. Some scores can change dramatically from one year to the next, while others remain steady. A sudden or significant drop in reliability is often caused by the introduction of a brand new technology or a new powertrain that experiences problems right after launch. Automakers typically fix these problems in time for the following model year, but the reality is that early adopters are often risk takers.
Safety is the ability of a vehicle to protect its occupants in the event of a crash using a rigid chassis and an assortment of airbags (50 percent of the score) and to avoid accidents from happening in the first place using driver-assist features such as antilock brakes, blind spot monitors and more (30 percent). We also take into account the drive type — FWD, RWD or AWD — and the visibility drivers enjoy behind the wheel (20 percent).
Driving experience 20%
This aspect may seem hard to quantify, but we think we found the right way to figure it out. Disregarding the vehicle’s price, fuel consumption, reliability, safety and infotainment system, The Car Guide’s journalists simply rate how fun their experience is behind the wheel.
This score is determined by all the journalists working for The Car Guide, who were asked to rate each car’s infotainment system. It is based on numerous criteria including user-friendliness, quality of graphics, display speed, ergonomics and sound system quality. Obviously, systems can vary greatly from one brand to another, but also from one model to another within the same brand.
A sports car equipped with a powerful engine might be extremely fun to drive, but using it on a daily basis is another story. Conversely, a less exciting car might prove to be an excellent and logical choice. That’s why certain models score 9 out of 10 in the driving department but only 5 out of 10 for the overall appreciation—and vice versa.