New-car shoppers are always looking for the best deal, but ultimately what they really want is the best value. Vincentric has recently released the results of its annual Best Value in America awards, calling out the brands and vehicles that offer the best value based on cost of ownership as well as their market segment and price. Cost factors taken into account include depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost, and repairs. Based in Michigan, Vincentric is an automotive data compilation and analysis firm that provides data, knowledge, and insight to the automotive industry by identifying and applying the many aspects of automotive value. Here’s a look at this year’s winners, which include category winners as well as automotive brands.
Subcompact — smart fortwo
Not only does the smart fortwo have the smallest cost to own, it’s actually the smallest car in America. To put things in perspective, the smart fortwo is a mere 8.8 feet long, which makes it about four feet shorter than the MINI Cooper. All new for the 2016 model year, the fortwo features updated styling, better fuel economy and a roomier interior.
Subcompact Hatchback — Honda Fit
Completely redesigned last year, the Fit offers a surprisingly spacious interior with a versatile seating system that allows for all sorts of cargo. With its small footprint and high-level of utility, the Fit makes an excellent alternative to the typical large crossover. This is the third time the Fit has earned this top ranking from Vincentric, thanks to its low depreciation rate and high resale value.
Compact — Honda Civic
The 2016 Honda Civic has been completely redesigned from the ground up with all-new vehicle architecture, new interior and exterior styling, a more spacious interior and two advanced new engines. As one of the best-selling passenger cars in America, the Civic is available as a 4-door sedan with a 4-door hatchback coming later this year. Vincentric calls out the Civic as offering the highest value nine times in the last twelve years.
Compact Hatchback — Hyundai Elantra
It was the 2016 Hyundai Elantra that earned the top spot in the Compact Hatchback segment; however, an all-new 2017 Elantra is already arriving in showrooms. The all-new 2017 Elantra features fresh styling, a more spacious interior, a new fuel-efficient powerplant and a number of advanced safety and convenience features. Elantra received its second Best Value in America award based on it having the lowest depreciation rate and lowest total cost of ownership in its class.
Midsize — Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry may not be exciting or sexy, but it excels at just about everything to win that family car / daily driver heart of the market. Camry is the best-selling passenger car in America, and is named to the Best Value in America list for the third time. Completely redesigned last year, the updated Camry shows no signs of giving up its reign as top midsize car.
Large Sedan — Ford Taurus
The large sedan seems to be a dying breed, but there are still a few left on American roads. From a value standpoint, the Taurus came out on top — according to Vincentric — with the lowest fixed costs and lowest cost of ownership in the Large Sedan segment. Taurus is available with front- or all-wheel drive and offers a spacious interior as well as a capacious trunk space.
Sports Car — Hyundai Veloster
The Veloster is a sporty front-wheel drive coupe that features a rather unique design. The left (driver’s) side has a single door, while on the right are two doors providing easy access to the rear seat. This is the fourth time the Veloster has been named by Vincentric as the best value in sports cars. Veloster is available with two engines, including a turbocharged 1.6-liter providing 201 horsepower.
Hybrid — Toyota Camry Hybrid
Offering a healthy mix of versatility, performance and fuel economy, the Camry Hybrid is rated at 43 mpg in the city while serving up an impressive 200 horsepower from its hybrid powertrain. Vincentric put the Camry Hybrid at the top of its class for the fourth time, attributing its success to its low depreciation rate as well as its high resale value.
Electric / Plug-in Hybrid — Chevrolet Volt
The Volt is a rather unique plug-in hybrid in that the gas engine acts primarily as a generator rather than for powering the wheels. Completely updated for the 2016 model year, the new Volt boasts a 53-mile EV-only range with an overall range of 420 miles when using the gas engine as a range extender. This is the third time that Volt has earned this top ranking.
Luxury Compact — Audi S3
The high-performance version of Audi’s A3, the S3 is powered by a high-output 2.0-liter TFSI 4-cylinder engine that produces 292 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque with a 6-speed S tronic transmission and standard quattro all-wheel drive. This quick little sedan features sport suspension, a sport brake system, S-design 18-inch wheels, a trunk lip spoiler and quad exhaust.
Luxury Coupe — Lexus RC 200t
Introduced as an all-new model last year, the RC is designed as a sports coupe rather than a 2-door version of a sedan. For 2016 Lexus has added the entry-level 200t, which is powered by a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged engine driving the rear wheels. Vincentric expects the RC to have the lowest maintenance costs, lowest repair costs, and lowest total cost of ownership in its class, putting it at the top of the Luxury Coupe category.
Luxury Midsize Sedan — Lexus ES 350
One of the best-selling luxury cars in America, the ES is an entry-level Lexus but with many of the comfort and convenience features found in more expensive models. Updated with a bold new grille for 2016, the ES 350 gets power from a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine driving the front wheels. This is the third time in the last four years that the Lexus ES has been at the top of this category in the Vincentric study.
Premium Luxury Midsize Sedan — Lexus GS F
The Lexus GS is all-new for the 2016 model year with a completely revised design as well as new powerplants, available all-wheel drive and a suite of high-tech safety features. The interior has also been upgraded, featuring a large 12.3-inch display screen. The GS F is the highest-performance version of the GS, offering impressive handling and a 5.0-liter V8 pumping out 467 horsepower.
Premium Luxury Large Sedan — Audi A7
The A7 offers the luxury of a high-end Audi sedan with the versatility of a hatchback. For 2016 the A7 gets some mild refreshing to put the front-end styling in line with the rest of the Audi lineup. The A7 offers a plethora of high-tech features, including multiple exterior camera views, a head-up display, Google Map display in the navigation system and the latest in advanced safety features.
Luxury Sports Car — Jaguar F-TYPE
MSRP: $61,400 (coupe); $65,400 (convertible)
The F-TYPE is Jaguar’s 2-seat sports car available as a coupe or convertible with a variety of powerful engine choices. One of the most beautiful cars on the road, the F-TYPE receives a number of updates for the 2016 model year, including all-wheel drive as an option, as well as a 6-speed manual transmission on V6 rear-wheel-drive models. Earlier this year the British marque introduced its most powerful F-TYPE yet, the SVR with a 575-horsepower supercharged V8 engine.
Luxury Hybrid — Lexus ES 300h
One of six hybrid models available from Lexus, the ES 300h receives a design update for the 2016 model year. With a premium interior and the latest in high-tech safety features, the ES 300h is impressively efficient. The gas-electric powertrain puts out a total 200 horsepower while delivering up to 40 mpg.
Luxury Convertible — Audi S5
The S5 Cabriolet is the souped-up version of the A5, powered by a supercharged 3.0 TFSI V6 engine that produces 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. All this power is directed to Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system via a 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. The S5 also features sport-tuned suspension, Nappa leather seats, a 3-spoke multi-function flat-bottom sport steering wheel and quad exhaust outlets.
Luxury Electric / Plug-in Hybrid — Cadillac ELR
The ELR is basically the Cadillac version of Chevrolet’s Volt, featuring the same innovative powertrain. But this is a Cadillac and it clearly looks the part with LED headlights, 20-inch wheels and styling cues that fit with the rest of the luxury brand’s lineup. Inside it’s the same story, with leather, wood and carbon fiber trim throughout, as well as a Bose 10-channel audio system. Four different drive modes are selectable by the driver, providing different levels of performance vs. efficiency.
Subcompact SUV / Crossover — Subaru Crosstrek
Subaru made a brilliant move a few years ago when the automaker took its compact Impreza and with few alterations converted the platform into the very popular XV Crosstrek. The spritely small crossover has a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder BOXER engine combined with either a 5-speed manual transmission or the available Lineartronic CVT. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and full-time all-wheel drive, the capable Crosstrek delivers impressive fuel economy of 29 mpg combined.
Intermediate SUV / Crossover — Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback was one of the original crossover vehicles, combining the ride and handling of a passenger car with the utility and off-road capability of an SUV. Redesigned for the 2015 model year, the Outback has more space, fresh styling, better fuel economy and a slew of new high-tech features for entertainment and safety. Outback is available with either a 2.5-liter 175-horsepower engine or 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine producing 256 horsepower. Both put power to the ground via Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.
Large SUV — Toyota Land Cruiser
The current Land Cruiser retains the off-road capability of the original from the 1950s — enhanced by the latest traction and stability systems. But Land Cruiser has become a fully-featured luxury SUV; in fact, there are no factory options — everything is standard. In addition to its off-road suspension and advanced 4-wheel-drive system, the 8-passenger Land Cruiser features leather seats with multi-stage heating, 4-zone climate control, a cooler box in center console and a number of advanced safety features.
Hybrid SUV / Crossover — Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid
The XV Crosstrek Hybrid is the only hybrid that Subaru has ever offered in the U.S. The hybrid system provides a bit more power than the gas-only version, but it also weighs almost 400 pounds more so performance between the two models is comparable. Fuel economy is similar as well; however, the hybrid is rated at 30 mpg in the city, compared to 26 mpg in the gas version.
Minivan — Honda Odyssey
The Honda Odyssey is one of the most feature-packed minivans on the market. In addition to the expected dual-sliding doors and impressive cargo space, the Odyssey can be equipped with an entertainment system that uses an ultra-widescreen display, a 650-watt sound system with up to 12 speakers, Bluetooth audio streaming with SMS and e-mail functionality, and HD radio. There’s even a vacuum cleaner integrated into the rear cargo area with a hose that can reach every corner of the vehicle.
Luxury Hybrid SUV / Crossover — Lexus NX 300h
Lexus has joined the growing compact luxury SUV segment with the all-new NX. Available with a turbocharged engine as well as the hybrid powertrain, it’s the hybrid version that Vincentric placed at the top of this category. The all-wheel-drive NX hybrid features a gas-electric powertrain driving the front wheels, and an electric motor powering the rear wheels for additional traction. The new NX is designed to provide sporty handling as well as impressive fuel economy.
Luxury Compact SUV — Volvo XC60
The XC60 is a contemporary 5-passenger crossover with an attractive interior and a very unusual powertrain. The XC60’s 2.0-liter engine puts out an amazing 302 horsepower because it is both supercharged AND turbocharged. This unique setup allows for smooth power delivery from a standstill with no turbo lag, and a fuel-efficient 27 mpg for the all-wheel-drive version. With excellent handling and performance — in addition to a comfortable ride both on and off pavement — the XC60 is a great option for the premium SUV shopper.
Luxury Intermediate SUV / Crossover — Volvo XC70
For those who are looking for a premium car but want the attributes of an SUV, the Volvo XC70 may be the answer. Call it whatever you want, but it really is a wagon — and that’s not a bad thing. The XC70 offers full-time all-wheel drive and more than 8 inches of ground clearance, giving it as much capability as some traditional SUVs. The interior is quite attractive, and seats are among the most comfortable on the market.
Luxury Large SUV — Lincoln Navigator
Lincoln has already shown a concept version of the upcoming new Navigator, but the current one is still available to satisfy buyers until the new one arrives. The Navigator features a grille with the Lincoln signature “split wing” design, as well as HID headlights with LED accents. Inside, customers will find premium leather and Ziricote wood trim, as well as SYNC with MyLincoln Touch. Also available on Navigator is the new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine producing 380 horsepower and an impressive 460 lb-ft of torque.
Small Pickup — Toyota Tacoma
The Tacoma is all new for the 2016 model year with a more aggressive design, a smoother ride and stellar off-road capability. Tacoma is offered as an Access Cab with rear-hinged doors to access the storage area behind the seat, as well as the 4-door Double Cab. Both cab styles are offered in 4X2 and 4X4. An all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine is offered in the 2016 Tacoma, producing 278 horsepower — a 42 horsepower increase over the engine in the previous model.
Full-Size ½ Ton Pickup — Ford F-150
The F-Series pickup truck has been the best-selling vehicle in America for more than 30 years. Completely redesigned last year, the F-150 makes extensive use of aluminum to reduce overall weight by 700 pounds. Standout features includes an available 360-degree camera view, an available trailer-hitch-assist rear camera view, available remote tailgate with hands-free opening and available next-generation tailgate step. Four engine choices include a new turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 —a lightweight, compact design that makes the same power as a midrange V8 engine.
Full-Size ¾ Ton Pickup — Chevrolet Silverado 2500
When you get into the heavy-duty truck market, there the choices narrow for consumers. The Silverado 2500 combines impressive capability with a comfortable cabin and driving ease. The latter is further improved with Chevrolet’s New Digital Steering Assist power steering, designed to make hauling and trailering easier with electronic controls that enhance road holding and stability on the highway. The Silverado’s low operating cost and low repair cost put this truck at the top of Vincentric’s category.
Full-Size 1-Ton Pickup — Ford F-350
When consumers are shopping for the most capable vehicles for hauling or towing, it’s the 1-ton heavy duty truck that usually fits the bill. The F-350 can tow up to 26,500 pounds thanks to its very powerful 6.7-liter Power Stroke Turbo Diesel V8 that produces 440 horsepower and an amazing 860 lb-ft of torque at just 1600 rpm. Vincentric gave the F-350 the nod as Best Value due to its high resale value, low fixed costs, and lowest total cost of ownership in its class.
Passenger Car Brand — Honda
Honda is one of the top-selling brands in America with models ranging from the compact Fit to the Ridgeline pickup truck. According to Vincentric, Honda earned best value Passenger Car Brand with strong performances from the Fit and Civic in this study.
Luxury Car Brand — Lexus
This is the third time Lexus has been named the top Luxury Car Brand in the Vincentric study. The premium marque from Toyota was called out for placing vehicles at the top of five luxury categories, including the new Lexus GS F and hybrid ES 300h.
SUVs, Crossovers, and Vans — Subaru
Subaru may not currently offer a van, but the brand is well known for its all-wheel-drive prowess in SUVs and crossovers. Three of Vincentric’s SUV/Crossover categories were won by Subaru models, including the popular XV Crosstrek and its sibling Crosstrek Hybrid.
Luxury SUVS and Crossovers — Volvo
Vincentric has four categories of Luxury SUVs and Crossovers, and two of them had Volvos ranked highest, contributing to the brand’s callout in the overall category. Both the XC60 and XC70 were declared winners.
Truck Brand — Ford
Fielding the best-selling truck in America for several decades, Ford’s win as the best value among truck brands is no big surprise. This domination is largely due to the redesigned Ford F-150, which has topped its segment in five of the last six years.