Buying & Leasing a Car


10 Best Values in New Car Models, 2012

New designs and redesigns bring a breath of fresh air with each new year. Usually you pay a premium for these newly minted models. Not this year, however. When we asked CarBargains, the buying service of the nonprofit Consumers' Checkbook organization, to help us shop for our Best New picks, they found seven were selling at or below invoice price. Winners are chosen based on performance, value and safety, plus our own driving impressions. NOTE: There were no new truck-based SUVs or minivans this year.

SEE OUR COMPLETE GUIDE: Best New Car Values, 2012

Cars Under $20,000: Ford Focus

Sticker price: $19,095 (SE hatch)

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Invoice price: $17,903

TrueCar national average price: $18,375

3-year resale value: 63%, 5-year: 45%

City mpg: 26, Hwy: 36

Ditching the drab exterior and ho-hum interior of the previous-generation Focus, the redesigned model exudes style inside and out. It boasts more legroom than any vehicle in its class, and the hatchback has a cavernous 24 cubic feet of cargo space. It also earns Best Resale plaudits.

Cars $20,000-$25,000: Subaru Impreza

Sticker price: $22,845 (2.0i Limited hatch)

Invoice price: $21,732

TrueCar national average price: $22,343

3-year resale value: 59%, 5-year: 43%

City mpg: 27, Hwy: 36

Subaru’s lowest-price car proves that all-wheel drive doesn’t have to cost you a bundle. A low sticker price is matched by high resale values and stellar fuel efficiency -- up to 36 miles per gallon on the highway. Surefooted handling comes baked in.

Cars $25,000-$30,000: Toyota Camry Hybrid

Sticker price: $26,660 (LE)

Invoice price: $24,589

TrueCar national average price: $25,847

3-year resale value: 57%, 5-year: 43%

City mpg: 43, Hwy: 39

The redesigned Camry features a revamped hybrid system, boosting both power and fuel efficiency. The new 2.5-liter engine puts out 200 horsepower when combined with the electric motor and gets 41 miles per gallon (on the LE) in combined city and highway driving -- 24% better than the previous model.

Cars $30,000-$40,000: Volkswagen Passat TDI

Sticker price: $30,265 (SE w/Sunroof & Nav)

Invoice price: $29,056

TrueCar national average price: $29,484

3-year resale value: 54%, 5-year: 38%

City mpg: 30, Hwy: 40

Although it takes styling cues from last year’s Jetta, the all-new Passat has an aura all its own. As clean-cut as a new recruit on the inside, it has ample room for passengers and cargo. The only diesel powertrain in the midsize segment, it gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway and has torque to spare.

Cars $40,000-$50,000: Audi A6

Sticker price: $42,575 (2.0T Premium)

Invoice price: $39,657

TrueCar national average price: $41,211

3-year resale value: 55%, 5-year: 39%

City mpg: 25, Hwy: 33

Behind the wheel of the redesigned A6, you’ll sit in the lap of luxury, surrounded by technology. Safety gets a boost with standard knee airbags, plus optional rear side airbags and collision-warning system. Getting 33 miles per gallon highway, the A6 also wins Most Fuel-Efficient.

Cars $50,000 and Over: Porsche Panamera Hybrid

Sticker price: $95,975

Invoice price: $86,295

TrueCar national average price: $93,057

3-year resale value: 53%, 5-year: 38%

City mpg: 22, Hwy: 30

With a 380-horsepower supercharged engine and a zero-to-60 time of just 5.7 seconds, Porsche’s Panamera Hybrid might be the fastest, most fun fuel-sipper out there. Capable of operating in electric-only mode at speeds up to 46 miles per hour, it gets 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

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