There are innumerable new vehicles released each and every year, from bold new innovations to gently revised versions of old favorites. All of these cars are scrutinized by drivers, industry insiders, and professional auto critics, where some receive high marks and others more lackluster appraisal.
It can be helpful to know the best cars released in any given year, both so that you know what kinds of used cars to shop for but also so that you know what kind of value to expect when you sell your current vehicle.
With that said, we have put together a guide to the best-rated, top-reviewed vehicles from the past 12 years, based on data aggregated from some of the leading automotive magazines and websites.
In recent years, the SUV category has really been dominant, particularly among families. In 2011, the Kia Sorento was not just the most widely heralded SUV, but arguably the most highly regarded vehicle in any category. With its spacious interior and well-rounded features, it remains a great option for families seeking a reliable used SUV.
Other cars that made a big splash in 2011 include the Ford Mustang, Honda Fit, and Hyundai Elantra.
The Toyota Camry has been one of the bestselling vehicles in America basically since its debut. It's a solid and reliable sedan, but in 2012 Toyota really knocked it out of the park with their hybrid version. This vehicle represents a perfect marriage of fuel efficiency with comfort and dependability.
It's still a worthwhile option, but some other great entries from 2012 include the Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Sonata, and Chevrolet Avalanche. These are all options that are worth seeking out even today.
The Honda Accord belongs in the same category as the Toyota Camry. It's one of those popular sedans that everyone seems to like, and it sells like hotcakes year after year. For 2013, Honda redesigned this flagship vehicle with a sleek new exterior, plenty of cabin comforts, advanced safety tech, and more. It won rave reviews across the board.
Some additional vehicles that made a big impact in 2013 include the Honda CR-V and Honda Odyssey. (It was a really good year for the folks at Honda!) The Audi A6 was another well-reviewed automobile.
Tesla was really taking the world by storm back in 2014, so it should come as no surprise that their Model S raked in so many accolades. Not only was this zero-emission vehicle a technological marvel, but it came with all kinds of luxuries and amenities that made it a pleasure to drive. Of course, Tesla has continued to revolutionize the zero-emission luxury vehicle space, but the Model S remains a standard-setter.
Some other big names from 2014's automotive scene: Subaru Forester, Honda Accord, and Hyundai Santa Fe.
There are so many compact cars on the market these days that it can be difficult for any one of them to stand out. And yet, in 2015, the Subaru Impreza turned a lot of heads. It won critical acclaim for its smooth and quiet ride quality, its comfortable cabin, and its robust performance. Though pricier than some of its competitors, the Impreza still won a lot of people over.
Other cars that won rave reviews in 2015 include the Tesla Model S, Subaru Legacy, and Audi A6.
Small SUVs are really popular, and in 2016 there was no small SUV more popular than the Subaru Forester. This model won critical acclaim for several reasons. One, it beat out all its competitors in fuel economy. Two, it boasted a sporty aesthetic. And three, it was simply fun to drive, thanks to responsive handling and a smooth ride quality.
There were other vehicles that rose through the ranks in 2016. A few of the big names from that year include the Lexus RX, Honda Fit, Chevrolet Impala, and Ford F-150.
Back in 2017, the Chevrolet Cruze really came into its own, skyrocketing to the top of the heap. It beat out cars like the Honda Civic, which has long been the most acclaimed compact sedan on the market, to win a lot of awards and accolades. It's still well worth seeking out, not only for its quiet ride quality, but also for its surprisingly spacious interior.
Among the other vehicles that did well in 2017, we'll mention the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Toyota Prius, and Toyota Highlander. All should be considered as you shop around for used cars.
Audi's cars are synonymous with luxury, and the 2018 Audi A4 remains one of the best luxury vehicles in recent memory. Everyone was talking about it, for reasons that seem obvious: It looks elegant, it has a smooth yet powerful performance, and it boasts a lot of high-end features and cabin comforts.
Other vehicles that made a splash in 2018: Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Sienna, and BMW X3.
The Subaru Ascent falls into the mid-size SUV category, which is a pretty competitive space. But this model rose to the occasion to become one of 2019's most talked-about vehicles. Several things set it apart: A highly functional interior, smooth ride quality, turbocharged performance, and easy-to-use infotainment systems.
If you're looking for a used car from 2019, you might also consider the Audi A4, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Hyundai Kona, and Ford F-150.
Most of us remember 2020 primarily for the obvious thing: COVID-19. But from an automotive perspective, one of the year's biggest talking points was a well-designed compact car called the Kia Forte. Sleek and reliable, it remains a very good option for those who want a smaller ride.
Other standouts from 2020 include the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Kia Soul, and Kia Sedona.
It's still very easy to find cars from 2021, and the one that won the most praise was the BMW 2 Series. Sleek, stylish, and a lot of fun to drive, it's definitely worth seeking out if you want something on the sporty side.
A few others to investigate: Cadillac CT5, Chevrolet Corvette, Hyundai Accent, Kia Sedona, and Nissan Maxima.
As for 2022, the jury's still out. With that said, a lot of the top auto manufacturers are unveiling exciting new rides, including revamped factories as well as brand new entries. We are especially excited to see a lot of powerful new hybrid and electric vehicles hitting showroom floors. Stay tuned to see what the year has in store for auto buyers and sellers.
Whether you have a well-reviewed used car that you wish to sell, or you want to unload your current vehicle to shop for one of these award winners, it's important to find the best avenue for your automotive transaction. The best place to sell a used car is BestBid, where you can submit an easy online application and have a serious offer in minutes. And if you choose to move forward, you can get paid same day.
Those who sell used cars to BestBid get top dollar, and the process for how to sell a used car to BestBid couldn't be easier. To start the process, sell your car with BestBid today.