Edmunds.com editors review the latest cars, minivans, SUVs and trucks every year and compare them with the competition. After expert analysis, our editors prepare buying guides that recommend the leading models in every vehicle segment, from convertibles to hybrids. These buying guides are meant to help you learn which models are class standouts before you begin to shop. Whether you’re looking for a fuel-efficient small sedan, an eight-passenger crossover SUV, a sleek luxury coupe or anything in between, these recommended vehicles should help establish some guidelines for your search.

Vehicle Type

Whether you already know what type of vehicle you want or you’re still exploring your options, our 2016 new car buying guides will provide the information you need before the shopping process begins for a vehicle in any of these categories:

SEDAN

For decades the sedan reigned supreme as the practical choice for millions of car buyers. The four-door configuration means easy access for all passengers; large trunks and folding rear seatbacks offer a range of utility; and in the right designer’s hands, a sedan can assume timeless style and proportions. The sedan is also one of the most versatile forms, ranging from econobox basic to first-class executive comfort to back-road speed special.

Today, the crossover SUV has replaced the sedan as America’s vehicle of choice. An SUV’s high seating position offers easy step-in entry and a commanding view of the road, and voracious cargo capacity makes them a staple for active families. But for many, a sedan offers a level of driver engagement, handling and performance that still eludes even the best crossovers, with enough space and utility to make it an ideal daily commuter or family hauler.

2017 Ford

 

SPORTING UTILITY VEHICLE (SUV)

Whether you’re looking to tow your boat to the lake or take the kids to soccer practice, the right SUV can make all the difference. The latest models offer everything from backseat entertainment systems to the latest electronic safety features. To choose the right one, think about what you’ll use it for most often and work backward from there. Traditional SUVs tend to favor attributes such as power for towing and ground clearance for tackling rough roads, while more modern crossover SUVs are designed to deliver a smooth ride and maximum interior space.

2017 Honda hr V1

 

TRUCK

Once solely a utilitarian affair, pickup trucks have become more powerful, more efficient and more comfortable. Beyond their towing and hauling capabilities, they offer heaps of modern technology and luxuries. Some improvements are practical, such as advanced traction control systems and trailer backup assist systems, and some are high-end perks such as leather upholstery and smartphone integration. New engine technologies have pushed power output higher than ever, and new manufacturing approaches have reduced weight and improved handling and ride quality. Of course, functionality and utility remain as important as ever, and basic work trucks still abound in the market. A diversity of body styles and bed lengths can be combined to accommodate any need. Regular-cab, crew-cab and extended-cab bodies can be fitted with short, medium and long beds, then combined with a dizzying number of different powertrains to meet any requirement, whether for work or play.

 

MINIVANs

The modern minivan arrived in the mid-1980s with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager twins. Unlike the old volkswagen minibus favoured by Deadheads and baby boomers, modern minivan use front-wheel drive for maximum efficiency and boast comfort and convenience features that rival those of high-end luxury sedans. The current crop of modern minivans includes the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Oddysey, Kia Sedona, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna.

2017 Honda Odyssey

 

COUPE

Typically a coupe body style denotes a car with two doors and a trunk. Long the favorite of style-conscious buyers who don’t require the added room and practicality of a sedan, the coupe trades the more passenger-friendly design of an upright four-door architecture for the sleeker, sportier styling that is the coupe’s hallmark. As such, these coupes have longer doors and front seatbacks that flip forward to allow passengers somewhat awkward access to the rear quarters. The strong appeal of a coupe’s attractive styling has made them integral to nearly every segment, ranging from economical compacts to large, luxury brand models.

2017 mini hardtop coupe

 

CONVERTIBLE

There’s no experience that can match a drive in a convertible. With the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and no metal roof between you and all the great sights this country has to offer, we can think of no finer way to travel. Today’s convertibles are better than ever: Modern soft tops feature multilayer insulation to keep out weather and road noise, while retractable hardtops seal up as tight as a steel-roof coupe. Most convertibles now feature power-operated tops, dispensing with fiddly tonneau covers and knuckle-scraping latches. All in all, the convertibles you can buy right now give up little in terms of comfort, practicality and convenience to hardtop coupes.

2017 Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet

 

HATCHBACK

Ah, the hatchback: the love child between a sedan and a wagon. Or perhaps you could think of them as short SUVs. However you see them, hatchbacks are slowly making a comeback in the United States as car shoppers come to realize that their added utility doesn’t have to equal dowdiness or cheapness. Indeed, some of the most appealing cars on the market now have a hatch for a back. Some are body-style variants of sedans, others are stand-alone models, and some are even available in two- and four-door variations. We also call out performance and hybrid and EV versions, so there should be a recommended hatchback for everyone.

2017 honda fit rear

 

CROSSOVER

The terms “crossover” and “SUV” are often used interchangeably to refer to higher-riding vehicles with hatchback-style cargo areas and available four-wheel or all-wheel drive. In many ways, “crossover” is used as an adjective to describe a type of SUV. However, by traditional definitions, an SUV uses body-on-frame construction like a pickup, and a crossover features unibody construction like a car. As a result, a crossover sacrifices towing and hauling capability for greater interior space and less weight, which in turn benefits fuel economy and agility. Here are our top crossover choices.

2017 Kia Sorento

ELECTRIC

2017 chevrolet electric

While the concept of an electric car is nothing new — they’ve been around for over 100 years — EVs are finally entering the mainstream thanks to improved battery technology, faster charging, greater range and lower costs. EVs today are available in virtually every size and style, from compact two-seaters to seven-passenger SUVs. Modern EVs can travel between 100 and 400 miles on a single charge, depending on type and driving conditions, so range anxiety is still a concern for some. People shopping for electric cars should be aware that some models are available only in certain states, so explore local inventory or contact your dealer to find out more.

SOURCE: Edmunds.com