The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2020: The contenders

December 25, 2019

After test driving more than 100 new vehicles, our editorial team has come to one conclusion during our Best Car To Buy 2020 award season: There are no bad new cars. With an average transaction price at record highs of about $38,000, there better not be.  

We're close to naming our Best Car To Buy 2020, but before we do, we're faced with a challenge—to determine what is better than the best in the crop of new, refreshed, and redesigned 2020 vehicles. Our finalists reflect the market, with crossover SUVs dominating our top ten. But cars still make up a significant amount of new vehicle sales, representing about one-third of our finalists. Unlike last year, no pickup trucks cracked the top ten, largely because redesigned trucks for 2020 were mostly limited to the largest of the large, the heavy-duties.

The 2020 contenders are vehicles that can be great for families, such as three-row SUVs, or for the pre- and post-family years with plenty of compact crossovers. Urban and suburban dwellers will find great, efficient commuters, while drivers in need of off-road capability will find a few modestly capable vehicles. We've considered everything, from cargo capacity to smartphone compatibility, in whittling down the choices. It affirms our conviction that there isn't a bad car in the bunch. 

Best Car To Buy 2020 nominees

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Ford Explorer

2020 Honda Passport

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Kia Soul

2020 Kia Telluride

2020 Mazda 3

2020 Subaru Legacy

2020 Subaru Outback

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

How we choose our Best Car To Buy

We examine vehicles that are new or significantly updated each year and have a base price of less than $50,000.

Next, we eliminate vehicles that aren't available for road tests by our editors prior to November 1, 2019 or won't go on sale prior to April 30, 2020.

Then we cut. A car might be gorgeous, but grossly impractical. Or it may lack active safety features or other essentials for the modern car shopper. 

That leaves us with a list of cars that we need to consider against the established benchmarks and against each other. The cars above made it through all of those cuts.

In the following two weeks, we'll introduce a nominee a day before we ring in the New Year by announcing our Best Car To Buy Winner on January 2, 2020 along with the winners from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports.

Until then, here's a look at our past winners. We'd like to hear what you think, too, so please weigh in the comments field at the bottom of any post, or vote for for the 2020 Driver's Choice award.

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