A new consumer-opinion based awards list has been created that picks the top vehicle from eight different categories, with the decision making based on the input received from new car buyers on an online rating system run by Edmunds.

Categories include Coupes, Convertibles, Sedans, Wagons, SUVs, Trucks, Minivan/Van, and Hybrid. Each category is then broken down into several sub-categories by price range. Many of the top picks on the list are pretty obvious choices, like the Chevrolet Corvette as the top coupe over $45,000 and the Audi A6 in the best sedan between $35,000-$45,000 category.

Other selections, however, are a bit more puzzling, like the Smart Fortwo's position as best convertible under $35,000 or the Mercedes-Benz R-Class as the best wagon over $35,000. Mazda's Miata and Mini's Cooper both seem like better choices for an inexpensive ragtop, and there are many offerings from Audi, BMW, and even Mercedes that are more appealing than the R-Class. And that's what reminds us that this is a consumer-driven list. Those that rave the most about their vehicles - whether they know anything about them or the competition - will end up with their cars on the list.

Previous years had been decided by input solicited from site users specifically for the purpose. The change to using the existing vehicle ratings data could mean the list is objective and reliable, since it is based on what consumers have been saying about their cars, trucks and SUVs all year long - not just during voting for awards.