Consumer confidence may be rising, but it still makes sense to watch every penny – especially with big purchases, like a new car. Although auto sales perked up in 2011, value is still the name of the game. U.S. News Best Cars spent months analyzing thousands of professional reviews, as well as reliability and safety data, to create the 2012 Best Cars for the Money Awards. Here are the 12 most highly praised low-cost, low-maintenance models for 2012:
The Tesla Model S attained the highest-ever safety rating from the NHTSA. It's an impressive achievement, but we won't know whether the Tesla Model S is actually the safest car on the road until its closest competitors are tested as well.
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