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Best 2013 Vehicles for the Money

Best 2013 Compact Car for the Money: Ford Focus

Average U.S. price: $16,522

Page Deaton says consumers can buy the Focus as "a bare-bones economy car that's fun to drive, or they can add all sorts of extra features and make it more of a 'near-luxury' car."

Available as a hatchback or a sedan, the Focus scores an 8.6 out of a possible 10 on U.S. News' scale.

The magazine notes that car reviewers have given the vehicle high marks for quality interior finishes, comfortable front seats and a decent amount of cargo space. The Focus has also garnered top crash-test scores from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and the National Highway Transportation safety Administration.

Additionally, J.D. Power gives the car an above-average 3.5 stars out of a possible five for reliability, while the base Focus' 160-horsepower four-cylinder engine gets a good 26 mpg/city and 36 mpg/highway.

On the downside, some reviewers have faulted the Focus for so-so rear-seat legroom, less cargo space than rivals and two electronics systems -- Ford Sync and MyFord Touch -- that are hard to use.

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