A new vehicle is one of the most expensive purchases that many Americans make. And, with average car prices now exceeding $40,000, it can be tempting to focus solely on price in order to save money. However, a cheap car is not always a good deal. A cheap car may come with hidden costs that add up over time, such as higher fuel costs, costly repairs, and expensive insurance.
While you shouldn’t buy the cheapest car to save money, it’s also not financially prudent for most people to spend extra money on a luxury vehicle with all the latest features. Instead, investigate which vehicles on the market offer the best value for the money. This will result in cost savings and a better overall ownership experience.
The best sedans
While a classic sedan lacks the space that an SUV or midsize sedan can provide, it is a reliable and classic option for drivers of all ages. The top three category winners were chosen based on their price point and expert ratings. The Chevrolet Impala wins the gold medal in the category of affordable sedans and large cars. According to the 2022 J.D. Power Dependability Study, it ranks first, and it has an almost perfect score from Kelley Blue Book (KBB). It is well-known for its smooth ride and spacious trunk. The Avalon and Chrysler 300 follow closely behind, both receiving high ratings from Consumer Reports and special recognition for their spacious interiors.
|Best value sedans||Price|
Best midsize cars
A midsize car is a slight size and space upgrade from a sedan, with more trunk space and legroom for both the passenger and the driver. The best midsize vehicles strike a balance between space and ease of driving by providing a spacious interior and a manageable overall size. J.D. Power ranks the Sonata first in this category, and it is known for its exceptional fuel efficiency. The Camry has great tech options and driver assist for its middle-tier price point. The Legacy, the least expensive vehicle on the list, has high safety ratings and a high resale value.
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Best midsize SUVs
A midsize SUV provides the best of both worlds in terms of rugged durability while remaining manageable. Although all of these vehicles received high marks from Kelley Blue Book, the Santa Fe outperformed the others in terms of gas mileage and advanced technology. The Outback was close behind, thanks to its available roof and cargo options as well as its comfortable ride. Finally, the Murano was ranked for its high safety rating and powerful engine.
|Best value midsize SUVs||Price|
|Hyundai Santa Fe||$27,200|
The minivan is no longer just a vehicle for parents. Modern minivans feature cutting-edge technology and extra space. Choosing the best minivan for your money necessitates some thought on factors such as space, dependability, and safety. When it comes to top minivans, the Sienna rules the road. J.D. Power ranks it among the best minivans, and it gets great gas mileage. The Carnival and Odyssey come in second and third place for powertrain handling and practicality, respectively.
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|Dodge Grand Caravan||$29,025|
Best hybrids and EVs
The accessibility and affordability of eco-friendly vehicles has increased dramatically in recent years. Examine the best options and consider a green auto loan to finance with additional discounts. While hybrid vehicles may be more expensive, the cost per drive can save you money in the long run. The Insight, our first-place winner, is easy to drive and gets great gas mileage. Next, the RAV4 has a perfect Consumer Reports score and more space than the other category winners. Finally, the least expensive option, the Kona, has a powerful turbo engine and a fun design.
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|Toyota RAV4 Prime||$38,800|
Compact cars are well-known for their ease of commuting and excellent parking capabilities. However, the best compact cars on the market also have good fuel economy and a little more legroom. The winners in this category were chosen based on their dependability and ease of driving scores. J.D. Power ranks the Corolla as the most dependable compact option, and KBB and Consumer Reports give it near-perfect ratings. The Elantra, which is similarly priced, offers a turbocharged engine option and a more practical driving experience. The Impreza, the least expensive winner, has an advanced infotainment system and quick steering.
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Best SUVs and suburbans
Large SUVs are more expensive, but you get what you pay for. The best large vehicles can seat up to eight passengers and are outfitted with cutting-edge technology. So, while this vehicle segment is more expensive, a more expensive option can still provide good value. While the Expedition is the most expensive, it has a high Kelley Blue Book rating and a 6,000-pound towing capacity. Next, the Tahoe is a great choice for drivers looking to save money due to its spacious interior and extreme towing capability. Finally, J.D. Power ranks the Yukon highly and allows for a variety of trim upgrades.
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The vehicle ranking was determined using a combination of industry report findings and vehicle pricing. This provides a clear picture of the value of each vehicle based on industry standards and the price-to-purchase ratio.
Cars are graded on a three-point scale based on J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. This study sought to determine which vehicles had the longest lifetime for drivers over the previous year. Although not every vehicle in the top five was a winner in this report, it was a major determining factor.
In addition to J.D. Power, Kelley Blue Book’s expert rating on a five-point scale was factored in. Finally, the Consumer Reports five-point scale for vehicle dependability was added. These combined factors were then weighed against the price of each vehicle to determine the top five vehicles in each category.
A variety of factors influence vehicle value. Are you making frequent trips to the mechanic or getting poor gas mileage? While these questions are important when deciding which vehicle is right for you — color, make, and model included — the best way to choose your car is based on how much you spend and what that cost per drive equals. When it comes time to buy your next vehicle, take advantage of the above ratings.