To win Kiplinger's Best Value Award among new and redesigned models, a vehicle must be newly introduced or fully redesigned—not just updated. We pick a Best New (as well as a Best in Class) model in 15 categories. There's something here for every buyer and every budget.
As automakers battle for market share, consumers are the winners. You have more choices in every segment -- and better ones, at that. Luxury nameplates are luring buyers with new, lower-priced models, and mainstream brands are loading their vehicles with new features that used to be found only on luxury models.
But with a large selection of vehicles and fierce competition for your attention, buying a new car can be overwhelming. And while you won’t find deals across the board, there are plenty to be had -- you just need to know where to look. Kiplinger’s picks can help you narrow the field.
Winners are selected based on value factors (such as fuel economy and resale values), performance and safety, as well as driving impressions from our own road tests. Take a look.
EDITOR'S NOTE: There is no new Best Large Crossover car model for 2015.
KELLEY BLUE BOOK FAIR PURCHASE PRICE: The Kelley Blue Book® Fair Purchase Price for new cars is generally the midpoint of the Fair Market Range. It is Kelley Blue Book's estimate of what a consumer could reasonably expect to pay in during the period between December 19, 2014 through January 15, 2015 for a new vehicle with standard options, excluding taxes, title and fees. It's based on actual new-car transactions, plus data from other reliable third-party sources as well as market conditions.
MSRP: The MSRP, or Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, is the price set by the manufacturer and does not necessarily reflect the price actually paid by consumers in your area. The MSRP shown here includes destination and freight charges but excludes services and handling fees and state and local tax, title and license fees.
INVOICE PRICE: Dealer invoice represents the dealer’s cost for the vehicle only and doesn’t include any of the dealer’s costs for advertising, selling, preparing, displaying or financing the vehicle.
Cars Under $20,000: Honda Fit
- Sticker price: $17,270 (LX, automatic)
- Invoice price: $16,836
- Resale value: 3-year: 67%; 5-year: 49%
- MPG: City: 33; Hwy: 41
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $16,800
In addition to loads of cargo space and versatile seat configurations, the redesigned Fit now has more interior room and more power, with even better fuel economy. In a nod to safety, every trim level gets a standard rearview camera. Plus, resale values are off the charts.
Cars $20,000-$25,000: Volkswagen Golf TDI
- Sticker price: $22,815 (S 4dr, manual)
- Invoice price: $21,935
- Resale value: 3-year: 64%; 5-year: 50%
- MPG: City: 30; Hwy: 45
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $21,781
Forty years after its U.S. debut, the Golf still offers European driving dynamics at a value price. The fuel-thrifty diesel TDI model sports the highest resale values in its category and gets a price drop for 2015. The Golf is also available in electric- and gasoline-powered models.
Cars $25,000-$30,000: Subaru Legacy
- Sticker price: $27,290 (2.5i Limited)
- Invoice price: $25,689
- Resale value: 3-year: 61%; 5-year: 44%
- MPG: City: 26; Hwy: 36
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $25,437
Subaru combines sophistication with standard all-wheel drive in its midsize sedan. Subtly sculpted outside and refined inside, it’s equipped with high-tech features such as lights that come on when you approach the car and an optional forward-collision warning system.
Cars $30,000-$40,000: Toyota Camry V6
- Sticker price: $32,195 (XLE V6)
- Invoice price: $29,371
- Resale value: 3-year: 62%; 5-year: 50%
- MPG: City: 21; Hwy: 31
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $29,973
America’s best-selling sedan gets a ground-up redesign for 2015, complete with an edgier look and a retuned suspension that ensures a smoother ride and more agile handling. Ten airbags and a suite of optional safety equipment round out the package.
Cars $40,000-$50,000: Acura TLX
- Sticker price: $43,420 (3.5 w/Advance package)
- Invoice price: $40,736
- Resale value: 3-year: 51%; 5-year: 36%
- MPG: City: 21; Hwy: 34
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $41,531
Acura’s all-new TLX midsize sedan combines the best of the previous-gen TSX and TL models, wrapped in a new, elegant exterior. The TLX has a fuel-thrifty but potent powertrain, optional all-wheel drive and a host of high-tech features. It earns a Top Safety Pick from IIHS.
Cars $50,000 and Over: Hyundai Genesis
- Sticker price: $52,450 (5.0)
- Invoice price: $48,615
- Resale value: 3-year: 50%; 5-year: 32%
- MPG: City: 15; Hwy: 23
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $48,715
How did a Hyundai earn top honors? From its Lotus-tuned suspension to its peppy engine choices and artfully flowing lines, the top-of-the-line Genesis has everything you’d expect in a luxury sedan without the usual luxury price tag. It’s also rated a Top Safety Pick+ by IIHS.
Wagons: Subaru Outback
- Sticker price: $25,745 (2.5i)
- Invoice price: $24,257
- Resale value: 3-year: 64%; 5-year: 44%
- MPG: City: 25; Hwy: 33
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $24,303
The all-new, all-wheel-drive Outback can conquer your commute or navigate muddy backroads better than ever thanks to X-Mode, which helps maintain control on slippery surfaces or steep inclines. Fuel economy is up, and there’s more space inside the cabin.
Minivans: Kia Sedona
- Sticker price: $26,795 (L)
- Invoice price: $26,001
- Resale value: 3-year: 51%; 5-year: 34%
- MPG: City: 18; Hwy: 24
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $25,658
The all-new Sedona has a more powerful engine and improved legroom in all rows. Available “first-class lounge” seats in the second row feature leg rests and cushioned headrests. Tech options include geo-fencing (to alert you when a kid borrowing your ride strays from your preset safe zone), Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users, forward-collision warning and rear cross-traffic alert.
Small Crossovers: Lincoln MKC
- Sticker price: $33,995
- Invoice price: $32,340
- Resale value: 3-year: 52%; 5-year: 36%
- MPG: City: 20; Hwy: 29
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $32,118
Lincoln joins the compact crossover crowd with the eye-catching, nimble MKC. It comes with a hands-free liftgate, and an app for your mobile device remotely locks the doors, starts the engine and more. Optional park assist steers you both into and out of tight parallel spots.
Midsize Crossovers: Nissan Murano
- Sticker price: $30,445 (S)
- Invoice price: $28,427
- Resale value: 3-year: NA; 5-year: NA
- MPG: City: 21; Hwy: 28
The Murano offers the best fuel economy among its midsize-crossover peers in a bold new package. Creature comforts include ergonomically designed seats, an easy-to-use rear-seat release for loading cargo, and an available infotainment touch screen.
Sports Cars: Ford Mustang
- Sticker price: $25,995 (EcoBoost, manual)
- Invoice price: $24,297
- Resale value: 3-year: 60%; 5-year: 45%
- MPG: City: 22; Hwy: 31
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $25,280
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the redesigned Ford Mustang is as appealing to your head as it is to your heart. High resale values and top-notch fuel economy are joined by agile handling, selectable drive modes and 300 horses or more, no matter your choice of powertrains (V6, V8 or the new four-cylinder EcoBoost). A built-in app tracks performance metrics such as g-forces and acceleration and braking times.
Truck-based SUVs: Chevrolet Tahoe
- Sticker price: $45,595 (LS)
- Invoice price: $42,473
- Resale value: 3-year: 54%; 5-year: 40%
- MPG: City: 16; Hwy: 23
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $42,585
The new Tahoe comes with a more powerful and more fuel-efficient engine that helps it get 10% better highway fuel economy than the previous generation. The Tahoe seats up to nine , and fold-flat second and third rows make hauling gear easier. Six USB ports and six power outlets mean every passenger’s devices can stay charged. The Tahoe also wins Best in Class (opens in new tab).
Midsize Trucks: Chevrolet Colorado
- Sticker price: $29,505 (Crew Cab LT Long Box)
- Invoice price: $28,073
- Resale value: 3-year: 68%; 5-year: 58%
- MPG: City: 18; Hwy: 26
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $29,416
Reviving the midsize pickup category for 2015, the Colorado leads the segment in power and fuel economy, whether you choose the four- or six-cylinder model. The new Colorado tows up to 7,000 pounds, too. A rearview camera comes standard, and forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning are options. The Colorado also wins Best in Class (opens in new tab).
Full-size Trucks: Ford F-150
- Sticker price: $26,615 (Regular Cab XL 6.5 Foot Box)
- Invoice price: $24,773
- Resale value: 3-year: 48%; 5-year: 35%
- MPG: City: 18; Hwy: 25
America’s best-selling pickup gets a cutting-edge redesign for 2015, including a military-grade aluminum body for better fuel economy. Nearly 700 pounds lighter than last year’s model, the F-150 wins Most Fuel-Efficient in its class when equipped with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 (a 3.5-liter EcoBoost and normally aspirated V6 and V8 engines are also available). New options include a bird’s-eye-view camera, which displays a 360-degree view around truck from a vantage point above the vehicle, and “trailer hitch assist” for easier towing.
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