Best bikes for a smooth commute
Plug in or pedal in comfort.
Biking to work saves money, and the right set of wheels makes the ride a breeze. The Schwinn 2010 World GS ($450) has 24 speeds and comes with fenders (you'll appreciate them on wet-pavement days), a rear rack (for hauling thick reports), a kickstand and a bell. The full chain cover stops grease from ruining your clothes, and the gel seat makes for a comfy ride.
Looking to add more zip to your commute? Go electric. Currie Technologies' Ezip EcoRide is a great way to jump on the electric-bike bandwagon. The $999 e-bike goes up to 15 miles per hour and has a range of 15 to 22 miles on a single charge.
Best way to find your way
A GPS with easy-to-see maps.
Your cell phone may provide directions, but can you read the maps on its dinky screen? A dedicated device, such as the Magellan RoadMate 3065 ($220), is a smarter traveling companion. Its 4.7-inch touch screen is easy to view, and the device is packed with all the best GPS features.
Best all-around car
Luxurious, thrifty on fuel and fun to drive.
BMW's venerable 3-series is even more appealing with a diesel engine. The BMW 335d (sticker price, $44,825) combines sporty driving dynamics with the diesel's abundant low-end power, which sends you screeching off the line. It simply sings. On the practical side, the 335d delivers up to 38% better fuel economy than the gas-engine 335i. Resale values are top-notch, too -- 59% after three years.
Best cheap-to-own cars
You'll save big over their lifetime.
The Nissan Versa Base (sticker price, $10,730; five-year ownership cost as calculated by Vincentric, $24,761) has a bigger interior than its subcompact classmates. The 1.8 S ($14,090) has anti-lock brakes; stability control costs $370.
Audi A4 2.0T (sticker price, $32,275; five-year ownership cost, $47,427). Redesigned last year, Audi's A4 gets high marks for sensible luxury and stellar drivability. The turbocharged four-cylinder gets 30 mpg on the highway.
Honda Accord LX (sticker price, $21,805; five-year ownership cost, $33,240). The Accord has won Kiplinger's Best in Class award three years running. Surefooted driving plus Honda's renowned reliability and safety make it a bargain.
Toyota Venza FWD (sticker price, $27,035; five-year ownership cost, $37,935). The Venza offers a comfortable ride with lots of room. Service and insurance costs are low, resale value is high, and safety equipment aplenty is standard.
Best car for your teen
Reliable, safe and oh-so-cool.
New: Kia Soul + (sticker price, $15,890). High resale value (56% after three years) meets high design in the Kia Soul. This boxy ride nabbed a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and is cheap to insure and maintain.
Used: 2008 Scion xB (price, about $12,400 for a two-year-old car with 24,000 on the odometer). At nearly $4,000 below the original sticker price, the xB is even more of a steal used than when it was new. Safety is baked in—six airbags, plus stability and traction control, help earn it a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.