At its 327-acre test track, Consumer Reports tests about 50 new cars each year, evaluating everything from performance, to fuel economy, to child seat installation.
Consumer Reports just released its 2018 Top Picks including the Chevy Impala as CR's top large car, the Subaru Forester as top small SUV, and the Ford F-150 as the top full-sized pickup.
The average price of a new car is more than $35,000, so buying a reliable used car can be a great way to save money.
CR also has recommendations for used cars that performed well in its tests when they were new and have held their value with better-than-average reliability.
"Your best bet is to look for a car around three to five years old that fits your budget. That's because the typical lease is three years long, so you could pick up a great vehicle coming off lease at a pretty steep discount, as low as $20,000 or less," said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports auto expert.
If you're looking for a small SUV without the sticker shock of buying a new car, CR suggests you check out a used Mazda CX-5 from 2013 to 2015, or a Toyota RAV4 from 2008 to 2013.
Want something sportier? A 2014 Subaru BRZ, or its sister car, the Scion FR-S, will give you a fun ride without breaking the bank.
If you need something practical, CR says you can't go wrong with the Toyota Camry. Look for a model from 2008-2015. It consistently did well in Consumer Reports' tests, and can be had for under $20,000.
You can check out CR's full list of top picks for cars both new and used at the Consumer Reports website, www.ConsumerReports.org.