The aforementioned Mazda5 brings us to this year's award for top brand. It turns out the Mazda lineup isn't just sporty, it's smart. Cars like the legendary MX-5 Miata, hot-selling new CX-5 crossover and all-new 2014 Mazda6 mid-size sedan carry on the brand's fun-to-drive spirit, while also offering an under-appreciated dose of fiscal practicality. So even if Zoom Zoom isn't your top priority, you should still consider Mazda for the Ka-Ching.
Continue with the awards countdown, or check out the models that earned Mazda this year's 5-Year Cost to Own Award for best non-luxury brand.
2013 Mazda MAZDA2
5-Year Cost to Own as of December 2012: $28,566
Small cars can be big news today thanks to their attractive looks, frugal fuel use and appealing features, and the 2013 Mazda2 hatchback is a fine case in point. While others may offer more horsepower and more modern automatic transmissions, they don't have the same fun-to-drive feel of the light and lithe 2013 Mazda2.
2013 Mazda MAZDA3
5-Year Cost to Own as of December 2012: $37,803
The 2013 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback stand out for their fun-to-drive nature, high fuel economy and overall value. It may not be as well-known as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but the Mazda3's more dynamic driving manners and strong resale value make it a smart choice among compact cars.
2013 Mazda MAZDA5
5-Year Cost to Own as of December 2012: $38,891
The 2013 Mazda5 is a miniature minivan with a flexible interior that can seat up to six passengers. Aside from its diminutive size and low cost compared to other three-row options, the Mazda5 uses a smaller engine that's fuel-efficient, if not all that powerful.
2014 Mazda MAZDA6
The Mazda6 is all-new since we handed out our 2013 5-Year Cost to Own Awards, and the changes are major. Embracing its comprehensive Skyactiv technology, Mazda has changed almost everything about the car with innovative engine and transmission technology leading the way to excellent fuel economy.
2013 Mazda CX-5
5-Year Cost to Own as of December 2012: $38,293
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is a fresh player in the popular compact SUV segment, and one that deserves equal consideration among established rivals such as the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. Fuel-efficient and available with impressive safety technology, the CX-5 also comes standard with a rare feature in this segment: a fun-to-drive nature.
2013 Mazda CX-9
5-Year Cost to Own as of December 2012: N/A
The 2013 CX-9 is Mazda's biggest vehicle, a 3-row, 7-passenger crossover SUV that competes well against rivals such as the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot. The CX-9 is distinguished by its sleek, curvaceous design and surprisingly sporty, car-like handling.
2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata
5-Year Cost to Own as of December 2012: $42,056
The 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible harks back to a simpler time when a 2-seat roadster with a small-displacement engine was all you needed to enjoy a day on the open road. Safer and more reliable than the roadsters of yore, the Miata nevertheless is about as pure and uncomplicated an automobile as you'll find.
Continue the awards countdown