The U.S. News rankings analyze opinions from automotive experts to find the best and worst cars, trucks and SUVs. For spring 2008, the rankings show that Toyota dominates, placing in the top three cars in nine of 33 ranking categories. Honda is close behind with models making into the top three in eight of 33 rankings. However, Honda has six cars ranked number one in their categories, while Toyota only has three.

The rankings are based on the collective opinion of professional automotive reviewers. U.S. News editors gather credible published reviews on every major model and translate the reviewer consensus into rankings. The result is rankings you can use to guide the search for your next car.

Top-Ranked Affordable Cars

Small Cars

First Place: Honda Civic

The Civic impresses reviewers with its futuristic design, bullet-proof reliability and surprisingly fun drive. The Honda Fit is in second place based on its stellar gas mileage and flexible interior. The Honda Civic Hybrid and sleek Scion tC tie for third place.

Other vehicles in this category:

Second Place: 2008 Honda Fit

Third Place: 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid

Midsize Cars

First Place: Honda Accord

Car reviewers like the Accord's interior, which many say make it feel like a much larger car. The Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid tie for second place, with reviewers liking both cars' performance and upscale interior. Exceptional build quality and predicted reliability help all three cars place near the top of the class.

Other vehicles in this category:

Second Place: 2008 Toyota Camry - Tie

Second Place: 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Tie

Sports Cars

First Place: Mazda MX-5 Miata

Experts like the Miata's balanced handling and acceleration. The retro-styled Ford Mustang hits second place thanks to a well-liked design and excellent crash test scores. Third place belongs to the Nissan 350Z, which boasts powerful acceleration and a sleek exterior.

Other vehicles in this category:

Second Place: 2008 Ford Mustang

Third Place: 2008 Nissan 350Z

Compact SUVs

First Place: Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V gets the top ranking based on its practical interior and Honda's reputation for quality. The Toyota RAV4 comes in second, while the Honda Element earns third place with its best-in-class cargo space.

Other vehicles in this category:

Second Place: 2008 Toyota RAV4

Third Place: 2008 Honda Element

Midsize SUVs

First Place: Honda Pilot

The 2008 Honda Pilot tops the competition with comfortable performance, a roomy interior and excellent predicted reliability. The Buick Enclave ranks second and has an impressively upscale interior. The 2007 Nissan Murano comes in third place thanks to its excellent performance.

Other vehicles in this category:

Second Place: 2008 Buick Enclave

Third Place: 2007 Nissan Murano

Fullsize SUVs

First Place: Chevrolet Tahoe

GM dominates the full-size SUV category with the Tahoe at number one and the Suburban at number two. The Tahoe offers excellent performance for a large SUV and the Suburban boasts the roomiest interior in its class. The Ford Expedition earns third place with its powerful engines and best-in-class towing capacity.

Other vehicles in this category:

Second Place: 2008 Chevrolet Suburban - Tie

Second Place: 2008 Ford Expedition - Tie

Top-Ranked Upscale and Luxury Cars

Small Cars

First Place: Audi A3

The A3 combines an efficient package with an upscale interior and driving experience. The second place car is the Acura TSX, which offers a high-tech interior and sporty driving. Exciting driving performance helps the Volkswagen GTI take third place.

Other vehicles in this category:

Second Place: 2008 Acura TSX - Tie

Second Place: 2008 Volkswagen GTI - Tie

Midsize Cars

First Place: BMW 3-Series Coupe

BMW takes the top two spots in Upscale Midsize Cars with the 3-Series Coupe and Sedan. The Coupe edges out the sedan for first place thanks to its sporty exterior, but both provide renowned performance. The Camry-based Lexus ES achieves third place with a quiet and luxurious interior.

Other vehicles in this category:

Second Place: 2008 BMW 3-Series Sedan

Third Place: 2008 Lexus ES

Midsize SUVs

First Place: Lexus RX 350

Reviewers like the RX 350's powerful engines and stylish exterior. The Lexus RX 400h is in second place. This hybrid combines excellent performance with Lexus luxury. The Infiniti FX is in third place with its near-sport sedan performance.

Other vehicles in this category:

Second Place: 2008 Lexus RX-400h

Third Place: 2008 Infiniti FX

Large SUVs

First Place: Cadillac Escalade

The Escalade has a luxurious interior and a smooth ride. The Toyota Land Cruiser is in second place and offers a lot of utility for the class. The Mercedes Benz GL, coming in at number three, offers performance and an upscale cabin.

Other vehicles in this category:

Second Place: 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser

Third Place: 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL

Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own — we do not accept sponsored editorial.

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