• Image Credit: Ford

    We at AOL Autos don't often like to just pass on the results of quality studies that others do without putting in our own analysis.

    After all, there are many different arbiters of quality: Consumer Reports, J.D. Power and Associates, etc. One such firm that measures both quality and value is Strategic Vision, a San Diego based research firm that has an interesting approach to measuring both value and quality of the cars, SUVs and pickups that you can research on AOL Autos.

    When measuring what the firm calls Total Quality, Strategic Vision surveys consumers about both what they love about their car and what they are complaining about. When measuring Total Value, the firm focuses its questions to car buyers on factors such as warranty, technical innovation, standard equipment and fuel economy. Each attribute is weighted appropriately as the data dictates.

    We like Strategic Vision's approach very much, and when we saw so much overlap between quality and value in the two studies, we thought we should point it out to you. Our list here offers the absolutely best value and best quality combined. Click through to our individual make-and-model pages if you are in the market and want to see what the best deals are from the dealers near you.

  • 6. Mazda CX-9
    • Image Credit: Mazda

    6. Mazda CX-9

    MSRP: $29,725 - $35,125
    Invoice: $28,125 - $33,230
    Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 24 mpg Highway

    The CX-9 is a stylish entry in the category best known for replacing old truck-based SUVs, as well as, in many buyer's hearts, the minivan.

    Along with the Nissan Murano, the CX-9 is perhaps the niftiest riding vehicle in the category. The 3.7-liter engine is a shade more powerful than the others in this group, which helps.

    Research the Mazda CX-9
    Mazda CX-9 Photos & Information
    Mazda CX-9 Specs
    Mazda CX-9 Local Dealer Price Quote

  • 5. Chevrolet Traverse
    • Image Credit: Toyota

    5. Chevrolet Traverse

    MSRP: $29,660 - $41,035
    Invoice: $28,177 - $38,983
    Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 24 mpg Highway

    The Chevy Traverse did not make into the top-five of both studies, but it did make into the five best based on Total Quality.

    The Traverse is what we call a full-size crossover as it will carry up to eight passengers, and is based on a front-drive car platform, not a rear-drive truck chassis.

    Chevy is excelling at producing very nice interiors on its family vehicles, and Traverse is a fine example of the improvement. This family hauler also has top safety scores, which gives peace of mind on top of knowing you bought one of the highest quality/best value vehicles in the category.

    Research the Chevrolet Traverse
    Chevrolet Traverse Photos & Information
    Chevrolet Traverse Specs
    Chevrolet Traverse Local Dealer Price Quote

  • 3. Nissan Murano
    • Image Credit: Nissan

    3. Nissan Murano

    MSRP: $29,960 - $40,560
    Invoice: $27,601 - $37,349
    Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 24 mpg Highway

    The Murano is a bit of a sleeper in the crossover category, but not in the Strategic Vision studies where it scored third for total value and quality.

    The Murano probably has the most expressive and even divisive styling in the category except maybe for the Flex.

    Interior materials and layout are very good in the Murano, and it has lots of backseat room and a smooth ride. Road manners are also very strong. Overall a very enjoyable vehicle to drive every day.

    Research the Nissan Murano
    Nissan Murano Photos & Information
    Nissan Murano Specs
    Nissan Murano Local Dealer Price Quote

  • 2. Honda Pilot
    • Image Credit: Honda

    2. Honda Pilot

    MSRP: $28,620 - $40,970
    Invoice: $26,179 - $37,444
    Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway

    The Honda Pilot reeks of competency. It's not going to make your blood rush. But you can feel the quality in Honda's no-drama, super reliable 3.5 liter V6 engine.

    The Pilot also strikes a great balance between value and quality as it scored the number-two position in both of Strategic Vision's studies.

    Research the Honda Pilot
    Honda Pilot Photos & Information
    Honda Pilot Specs
    Honda Pilot Local Dealer Price Quote

  • 1. Ford Flex
    • Image Credit: Ford

    1. Ford Flex

    MSRP: $30,885 - $43,850
    Invoice: $29,110 - $40,891
    Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway

    The Ford Flex is the undisputed number-one crossover as it topped both of Strategic Vision's most recent studies. The Flex comes in both five-seater configuration and seven-seat.

    The retro-ish styling is not for everyone. But our editors have raved about the Flex as an alternative to a minivan, as well as maybe the best family-trip car on the market today. Get it equipped with Ford Sync and this could be your family's ride for many years to come. Among our favorite features are the cooling seats and the in-car cooler.

    Research the Ford Flex
    Ford Flex Photos & Information
    Ford Flex Specs
    Ford Flex Local Dealer Price Quote

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