2011 Best New Car Values: New Models
New designs and redesigns bring a breath of fresh air with each new year.
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 that two-thirds were selling below invoice price. Winners are chosen based on performance, value and safety, plus our own driving impressions. The slide show begins to your right.
Data comes from Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com (new vehicle data from 12/28/10, resale values from January/February 2011 Kelley Blue Book® Residual Value Guide); Vincentric (service and insurance costs); and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (Top Safety Picks). Fair Purchase Price, also supplied by Kelley Blue book, is based on actual new vehicle transactions across the country.
Best New Model: Cars Under $20,000
Hyundai ElantraSticker price: $15,550 (GLS, manual) Invoice price: $15,146Fair Purchase Price: $15,550Five-year service cost: $3,907One-year insurance cost: $1,153Resale value after 3 years: NA -- 5 years: NACity: 29 mpg -- Highway: 40 mpg Compact no longer equals econobox. Elantra is built with midsize interior space, heated mirrors, and available Bluetooth, rearview camera and heated seats–in both rows. It boasts more power and better fuel efficiency (40 mpg on the highway) than Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
Best New Model: Cars $20,000 - $25,000
Hyundai SonataSticker price: $24,865 (SE 2.0T)Invoice price: $23,545Fair Purchase Price: NA Five-year service cost: $4,605One-year insurance cost: $1,297Resale value after 3 years: 49% -- 5 years: 32%City: 22 mpg -- Highway: 33 mpg No longer content to be a faceless member of the midsize class, the new Sonata dons sculpted lines and an aggressive stance more apropos of luxury models. Nixing a six-cylinder engine from the lineup, Hyundai added a speedy turbocharged four cylinder and a hybrid for 2011.
Best New Model: Cars $25,000 - $30,000
Kia OptimaSticker price: $25,190 (EX 2.0T)Invoice price: $23,585Fair Purchase Price: NAFive-year service cost: NAOne-year insurance cost: NAResale value after 3 years: NA -- 5 years: NACity: 22 mpg -- Highway: 33 mpg Optima asserts itself as a high content, high-value player. A Top Safety Pick, it features sporty design, a comfy, classy interior and plenty of upscale amenities. You can opt for either a hybrid or one of two direct-injection four-cylinder models.
Best New Model: Cars $30,000 - $45,000
Lincoln MKZ HybridSticker price: $35,180Invoice price: $32,472Fair Purchase Price: $34,476Five-year service cost: $3,249One-year insurance cost: $1,408Resale value after 3 years: 45% -- 5 years: 27%City: 41 mpg -- Highway: 36 mpg In a bold move, Lincoln gave the hybrid variant of the MKZ the same price tag as the gasoline-engine model, sidestepping the average hybrid price premium of $5,000. With 41 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway, it takes the cake for near-luxury fuel efficiency, too.
Best New Model: Cars $45,000 and Over
Infiniti MSticker price: $58,775 (M56)Invoice price: $53433Fair Purchase Price: $55,836Five-year service cost: $4,094One-year insurance cost: $2,152Resale value after 3 years: 51% -- 5 years: 31%City: 16 mpg -- Highway: 25 mpg Bells and whistles are a given at this price point, but the M wows with high resale value, low insurance and service costs, and reasonable miles per gallon for such serious power (420 horses on the M56). Optional blind-spot intervention will steer you back into your lane should another car be in your way.
Best New Model: Sports Cars
Ford MustangSticker price: $30,495 (GT coupe, manual)Invoice price: $28,235Fair Purchase Price: $30,495Five-year service cost: $3,831One-year insurance cost: $1,397Resale value after 3 years: 56% -- 5 years: 39%City: 17 mpg -- Highway: 26 mpg The classic pony car nails value almost as well as it nails your back to the seat with a new 412-horsepower engine. High resale value, low service and insurance costs (for a sports car) and decent fuel economy—26 mpg on the highway—meet a modest price.
Best New Model: Small Crossovers
Kia SportageSticker price: $20,990 (LX)Invoice price: $20,305Fair Purchase Price: $20,465Five-year service cost: $4,117One-year insurance cost: $1,021Resale value after 3 years: NA -- 5 years: NACity: 22 mpg -- Highway: 31 mpg The second-generation Sportage is wrapped in sporty new sheet metal and gets a boost in cargo room as well as a more powerful engine. But it delivers better fuel efficiency, at 31 miles per gallon on the highway. Plus, you still get a five-year warranty and the full line of safety equipment.
Best New Model: Midsize and Large Crossovers
Ford ExplorerSticker price: $30,995 (V6 AWD)Invoice price: $29,375Fair Purchase Price: NAFive-year service cost: $3,922One-year insurance cost: $1,022Resale value after 3 years: 54% -- 5 years: 34%City: 17 mpg -- Highway: 23 mpg America’s favorite SUV is reborn in a crossover body for 2011. The V6-powered version gets 20% better fuel economy and starts at $1,100 less than the outgoing model; an optional four-cylinder EcoBoost engine improves mileage by 30%. It earns a Top Safety Pick, too.
Best New Model: Truck-based SUVs
Infiniti QX56Sticker price: $58,800Invoice price: NAFair Purchase Price: $58,568Five-year service cost: $4,905One-year insurance cost: $1,337Resale value after 3 years: NA -- 5 years: NACity: 14 mpg -- Highway: 20 mpg All-new all over, the second-gen QX56 raises the bar for full-size luxury SUVs. Slightly bigger this year, it delivers more horsepower (400), more towing power (up to 8,500 pounds) and better fuel economy (20 mpg on the highway). Check out the chrome accents inside and out.
Best New Model: Minivans
Honda OdysseySticker price: $28,580 (LX)Invoice price: $25,976Fair Purchase Price: $28,580Five-year service cost: $3,995One-year insurance cost: $960Resale value after 3 years: 54% -- 5 years: 34%City: 18 mpg -- Highway: 27 mpg Odyssey ditches the Mom mobile image and adds edge for 2011. The perennial Kiplinger’s favorite returns to Best in Class status and sweeps awards in its category, winning Best New Minivan, Best Resale and Most Fuel-Efficient. Better driving dynamics and interior design are icing on the cake.
Best New Model: Wagons
Acura TSXSticker price: $31,280Invoice price: $29,872Fair Purchase Price: NA Five-year service cost: NAOne-year insurance cost: NAResale value after 3 years: NA -- 5 years: NA City: 20 mpg -- Highway: 30 mpg Acura’s luxury sport compact goes wagon for 2011, and it’s not just another grocery-getter. With 32 cubic feet of storage space behind the second row, TSX will take you and your stuff where you need to go in style. The peppy 201-horsepower four-cylinder engine gets a respectable 30 mpg on the highway.
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