Every car consumer has certain priorities when on the market for a new ride. For some shoppers, performance is king; for others, reliability rules; and some just like their cars to look flashy when cruising the streets on a weekend night.
Then there are those seeking maximum value from a vehicle. If this quotient matters most to you, everything from purchase price to annual depreciation, insurance prices, finance fees, maintenance costs, and fuel consumption will dominate your decision. Fortunately, Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com) takes these factors and more into account when formulating its annual Best Buys list, making it a great place to start.
Here are the six cars — one from each class — named the best buys of the 2016 model year. The final entry is the Kelley Blue Book Overall Best Buy, the consensus pick for top value on the U.S. market. Trucks, minivans, and sport utility vehicles were not considered for this list.
1. Electric/hybrid car: 2016 Chevrolet Volt
By most accounts, Chevy nailed it with the 2016 Volt, a car that combines EV-like range (53 miles) and efficiency (106 miles per gallon equivalent) with good looks and respectable power (294 pounds-feet of torque). From a value standpoint, it’s a home run, as GM estimates drivers will get 90% of trips done in electric mode and could go 1,000 miles between fill-ups at a gas station. Oh, and it comes at a lower price ($33,996) than the outgoing Volt. KBB.com saw the 2016 model as an easy pick over the other two finalists, the Volkswagen e-Golf and Toyota Mirai.
2. Luxury car: 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The 2015 C-Class brought home World Car of the Year honors for Mercedes-Benz at the New York Auto Show, and Kelley Blue Book says it’s the pick for value-conscious luxury car drivers in 2016 as well. In addition to the increased space and 241 horsepower from the rear wheels, the new C-Class delivers 34 miles per gallon in highway driving. At a base price of $38,950, it beat the Acura ILX and Lexus GS that filled out KBB.com’s final three. This model is made in America at the Mercedes plant in Alabama.
3. Performance car: 2016 Chevrolet Corvette
Even matched against the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 and the Mazda MX-5 Miata, KBB.com named the 2016 Chevy Corvette Stingray ($55,400) its top-value performance car for the model year. With the modern ‘Vette, drivers get the performance and comfort of sports cars in much higher price brackets, making it a natural fit for the Best Buy category. Don’t sleep on the Miata or GT350, though. Even though both ended as runner-ups, these models got glowing reviews from Kelley Blue Book editors.
4. Full-size car: 2016 Chevrolet Impala
Large cars may be going the way of the dinosaur, but the 2016 Impala took home the Best Buy trophy for the second consecutive year from a field of top performers that included the Hyundai Genesis, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, and Chrysler 300. Kelley Blue Book says the V6 model ($30,500) is worth more than its dollar value and delivers the tech and comfort family cars should. Later on, for consumers who want to resell, the 2016 Impala will hold up nearly as well as the Avalon.
5. Midsize car: 2016 Kia Optima
Anyone keeping an eye on Kia and Hyundai knows the Korean brands are playing hardball with recent models. With the 2016 Optima ($21,840), Kia notches a KBB.com Best Buy win over a stacked lineup that included Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Chevy Malibu, and Hyundai Sonata. In claiming its prize, the new Optima received praise for its constantly improving drive experience, interior space, styling, and technology. Throw in the 10-year warranty and you can see how a former weakling in the segment is now worthy of best-in-class status.
6. Small car and overall best buy: 2016 Honda Civic
While Kelley Blue Book gave the Ford F-150 pickup the 2015 Overall Best Buy, the 2016 Honda Civic ($18,640) blew away the pack in the small-car category and took the top prize as well. KBB.com editors raved about the comfort, driving experience, fuel economy, and value of the redesigned Civic’s amenities. Saying it set a new standard in the compact car class, the editors were as confident projecting resale values for the new edition as they were awarding it the best-value vehicle on the U.S. auto market.
Source: Kelley Blue Book