These are the brands, cars, crossovers, SUVs and trucks I consider to be your best choices in general, though I will be happy to help you with any vehicle you seek. I typically narrow – personalize – my recommendations for each client, based on their specific needs. For more information about this page and its content, please scroll down to the bottom of the page. More information on many of the vehicles below can be found elsewhere on my CARS pages, Future & Concept Vehicles, New Cars & Trucks and Reviews.
Solid: Practically “bullet-proof” on all fronts; hard to beat.
Brands: Acura, Honda, Lexus, Toyota
Two-Seaters: Honda S2000
Small Cars: Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris
Compact Cars: Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla & Matrix
Hybrids: Honda Insight, Toyota Prius
Mid-Size Cars: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry & Solara
Mid-Size Convertibles: Toyota Solara
Large Cars: Toyota Avalon
Minivans: Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna
Compact Luxury Cars: Acura TSX, Lexus IS
Luxury Hybrids: Lexus HS250h
Mid-Size Luxury Cars: Acura RL, Acura TL, Lexus ES, Lexus GS
Large Luxury Cars: Lexus LS
Luxury Convertibles: Lexus IS250C, IS350C + SC430
Compact Crossovers & SUVs: Honda CR-V, Honda Element, Toyota RAV4
Mid-Size Crossovers & SUVs: Honda Accord Crosstour, Honda Pilot, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Venza
Large SUVs: Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Sequoia
Compact Luxury Crossovers & SUVs: Acura RDX
Mid-Size Luxury Crossovers & SUVs: Acura MDX, Lexus RX
Large Luxury SUVs: Lexus GX, Lexus LX
Mid-Size Trucks: Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Tacoma
Full-Size Trucks: Toyota Tundra
Respectable: Almost (but not quite) as “solid” as those above, but still far better choices than many others.
Brands: Infiniti, Mazda, MINI, Nissan, Scion, Volkswagen
Two-Seaters: Mazda MX-5 (Miata), Nissan 370Z
Small Sport Coupes: Mazda RX-8
Small Cars: MINI, Nissan Versa, Scion tC & xD, VW New Beetle
Small Minivans: Mazda5
Compact Cars: Mazda3, Nissan Sentra, Scion xB, VW Jetta & Rabbit
Compact Convertibles: VW Eos
Luxury Convertibles: Infiniti G37 Convertible
Mid-Size Cars: Mazda6, Nissan Altima & Maxima, VW CC & Passat
Mid-Size Luxury Cars: Infiniti G37, Infiniti M35 & M45
Compact Crossovers: Mazda CX-7, Nissan Rouge
Compact Luxury Crossovers: Infiniti EX35
Mid-Size Crossovers: Mazda CX-9, Nissan Murano
Mid-Size Luxury Crossovers: Infiniti FX35 & FX50
Small SUVs: VW Tiguan
Mid-Size SUVs: Nissan Pathfinder & XTerra
Large SUVs: Nissan Armada
Large Luxury SUVs: Infiniti QX56
Mid-Size Trucks: Nissan Frontier
Full-Size Trucks: Nissan Titan
Promising: All of the indications are good, but they’re not yet fully proven; only time will tell.
Brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, Kia, Lincoln
Small Cars: 2011+ Chevy Spark, 2011+ Ford Fiesta
Compact Cars: 2010 Kia Forte & Forte Koup, 2010 Kia Soul, 2011+ Chevy Cruze
Compact & Hybrid SUVs: 2009+ Ford Escape & Escape Hybrid
Mid-Size Cars: 2008+ Chevy Malibu, 2010+ Ford Fusion, 2009+ Hyundai Sonata
Mid-Size Sport Coupes: 2010+ Chevy Camaro, 2010+ Ford Mustang, Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Large Cars: 2010+ Ford Taurus
Mid-Size Luxury Cars: 2010+ Buick LaCrosse, 2011+ Buick Regal, 2008+ Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Genesis Sedan, 2011+ Kia Cadenza, 2010+ Lincoln MKZ
Large Luxury Cars: Lincoln MKS
Mid-Size Crossovers: 2010+ Chevy Equinox, Ford Edge, GMC Terrain, 2011+ Kia Sorento
Large Crossovers: Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse, Ford Flex, GMC Acadia
Mid-Size SUVs: 2007+ Hyundai Santa Fe
Large SUVs: 2007+ Chevy Tahoe & Suburban, 2007+ GMC Yukon & Yukon XL
Mid-Size Luxury Crossovers: 2010+ Cadillac SRX, Lincoln MKX
Large Luxury Crossovers: 2010+ Lincoln MKT
Large Luxury SUVs: 2007+ Cadillac Escalade
Full-Size Trucks: 2007+ Chevy Avalanche & Silverado, 2007+ GMC Sierra, 2009+ Ford F-150
Another resource is Car and Driver magazine's "Editor's Choice" list. Though there are some similarities between their favorites and mine, you'll find my Frank's Favorites list shorter and more conservative, arguably "safer?"
Page Purpose: This page is designed to provide a resource to the better choices available to today's buyer. Unless otherwise noted, my opinion usually applies to both new and used models.
Determining Factors: The brands, cars, crossovers, SUVs and trucks listed here are chosen based on many factors: customer satisfaction, reliability, resale value and safety, as well as my first-hand experiences and observations over the last 27-plus years.
Those in the "Solid" category have long-running, well-proven track records in almost every measure; I consider these to be your "best bets."
Those in the "Respectable" category are fine choices as well, far superior to many others, but just not quite as ideal as those classified as "solid;" I consider these to be "good bets."
Those in the "Promising" category give every indication that they'll one day qualify for a higher category, but do not yet have an established, long-standing track record; I have hopeful, optimistic eyes on these.
Current Economic Factors: Many of the usually predictable aspects of the auto market are unpredictable today. Last year's gas price spikes wreaked havoc on traditional demand and resale values: efficient cars went up, thirsty ones went down. Though gas prices may have stabilized, current economic conditions are having an adverse impact on availability, demand and resale values: all sales are down (as is some production) and incentives – which impact resale values – change almost daily. I monitor conditions daily and will update information on this page as warranted.
Disclaimer: This page is provided purely for reference purposes, just one of many that should be considered before making a purchase. For recommendations specific to your individual needs and position, please contact me directly by calling (803) 732-1150 or submitting my online form.
Page History: This page was created in February 2009, and is updated periodically.