We looked at the 10 Best Cars list of another publication recently, and it inspired us to put together this list. The reason? The 10 Best Cars list on the other site was apparently created for people who live in an alternative universe — an alternative universe in which taking kids to school, going grocery shopping or trying to stay on a monthly budget don’t exist. But we here at Driving Today know all too well that these things do exist, and our chosen goal is to help you find the best possible vehicles for your life. That’s what this list is about. It is a list designed to help typical workaday people choose a highly reliable, high-value car, SUV or minivan that can carry them into the next decade without draining their bank account.
So let others choose the 10 Best Cars for imagined lifestyles. We know what our lifestyles are, and the fact is we are quite comfortable with them. And if you choose a vehicle from this list, we expect you will be quite comfortable, too.
1. 2018 Honda Accord
Yes, we live in a crossover SUV era, but the all-new Honda Accord sedan is so darn good we couldn’t resist naming it number one on our 10 Best Cars list. This four-door is comfortable, roomy, economical to buy, economical to own and, amazingly, it is also fun to drive. The Accord’s safety equipment offering is impressive — forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are standard equipment. Two turbocharged 4-cylinder engines provide the motive force — a 252-horsepower 2.0-liter or 192-horsepower 1.5-liter.
2. 2018 Toyota RAV4
Here’s your crossover SUV, and the Toyota RAV4 isn’t just popular; it is so well-built it will offer years of carefree service. Since the RAV4 is one of the most popular vehicles in America, Toyota can afford to offer five trim levels giving buyers the combination of equipment and price they are looking for. The base RAV4 has ample room for five and an impressive array of standard equipment, including roof rails, parking camera system, and Bluetooth/USB integration and six-inch touchscreen in its audio system. Power is provided by a stout 176-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine.
3. 2018 Ford F-150
The Ford F-150 pickup truck is the bestselling vehicle in America, and it has been seriously revamped for 2018. New features include standard auto start-stop for all engines, an all-new 3.3-liter V6 with port and direct-injection technology, and electronic six-speed automatic transmission with selectable drive modes. The exterior and interior styling has received a notable freshening, but the F-150 retains its winning combination of toughness, utility and surprising comfort. With trim levels that range from rudimentary to ultra-luxury, you can find an F-150 that suits your hauling and towing needs.
4. 2018 Honda Odyssey
Chrysler Pacifica fans might disagree but we think the new-for-2018 Honda Odyssey is the best minivan you can buy. Its time-tested reliability is accompanied by thoughtful features that include alloy wheels, remarkably versatile seating, parking-assist camera system, and Bluetooth/USB infotainment system. As you pay more the equipment level gets even more lavish — power sunroof, power liftgate, rear-seat DVD entertainment center with dual screens, even a vacuum cleaner. The safety equipment array is too long to list here, and the 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine offers plenty of acceleration.
5. 2018 Toyota Camry
Toyota product planners decided to have their cake and eat it too with the eighth-generation Camry. The lineup includes a plain vanilla version whose major calling card is unquestioned reliability, but other versions of America’s favorite driving appliance go out of their way to be more performance-oriented than any previous Camry. The sportiest Camry offers a 3.5-liter V6 offering a potent 301 horsepower, but most Camry buyers will opt for the 2.5-liter four cylinder with 203 horsepower. A nice compromise is the XSE with vivid styling, 206 horsepower and an MSRP just under $30,000. It is a great car for real people.
6. 2018 Honda Civic
Uncommon safety and uncommon sportiness are two attributes that set the Honda Civic apart from other compact cars. Available in sedan and coupe body styles, the Civic is a chameleon that can blend in as a solid, economical commuter or stand out as a performance car. The base engine is a 174-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder, and a 205-horsepower version of the engine is available as well. As to safety, Honda Sensing features include the Collision Mitigation Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System, and Road Departure Mitigation. The Civic has received a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration based on its crash safety test performance.
7. 2018 Nissan Rogue
Nissan has found great success with its Rogue compact crossover SUV, and it decided to up the ante for the 2018 model year. Those who like connectivity will applaud the addition of NissanConnect featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the addition of one more USB port, this one inside the center console storage area. The Nissan Rogue has always delivered great passenger and cargo flexibility with its much-copied EZ Flex Seating System and Divide-N-Hide Cargo System box on all trim levels. A wide variety of electronic driver and safety aids are available, and the Rogue also now has a little brother, the Rogue Sport.
8. 2018 Subaru Impreza
Solid reliability, excellent resale value and all-wheel drive traction — those are the hallmarks of the 2018 Subaru Impreza compact car. Built on the Subaru Global Platform, the conventional sedan and four-door hatchback models are more agile, more comfortable and more crashworthy than ever before. Equipped with Subaru’s trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the Impreza delivers remarkable traction and roadworthiness. Power comes from a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, an engine noted for its sturdiness.
9. 2018 Chevrolet Traverse
The Chevrolet Traverse has been completely redesigned for the 2018 model year, and one of its calling cards is its substantial size versus competitors in the midsize SUV segment. Third-row passengers fare better than in most competitors, and cargo space behind the third row is substantial. Split-folding second-row seats or second-row captain’s chairs have sliding features to enhance access to the third-row even with a forward-facing child seat in place. We at DT are fans of the standard MyLink system that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility plus an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6, while a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is offered in the RS model.
10. 2018 Mazda CX-3
The Mazda CX-3 uses innovative technology to deliver exceptional fuel economy, while also offering upscale amenities, a high level of safety and international style. The 146-horsepower SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is paired with an efficient six-speed automatic transmission, and in front-wheel-drive trim that combination delivers 29 mpg city/34 mpg highway/31 mpg combined EPA mileage. Mazda’s predictive i-ACTIV all-wheel drive is available on every trim level, and Smart City Brake Support, which can automatically apply the brakes in emergency situations below 19 mph, is standard across the board. The European-style interior features MAZDA CONNECT, a standard seven-inch, full-color display that combines infotainment and diagnostic functions controlled through voice commands, a touchscreen or control knob.