Best Overall Values
Buying a new car is one of the most important purchase decisions most consumers will ever make. So before signing on the dotted line, buyers would like some assurance that not only are they getting a good deal on their new car, but over time the car will be a worthwhile value. Each year IntelliChoice — a market leader in automotive ownership cost and car value analysis — compiles data on every new model sold in America, looking at total cost to own and operate during the first five years, to determine winners of their Best Overall Value of the Year awards. Here’s a look at the year’s top choices by vehicle category.
Best Overall Value Winners
Two vehicles rose to the top to be recognized by IntelliChoice as best overall values. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited had the highest retained value among all vehicles researched, earning it the title of Best Overall Value Popular Vehicle. The Lexus ES 300h took top honors as Best Overall Value Premium Vehicle.
Compact Passenger Car — Volkswagen GTI 4-Door
One of the original hot hatches, the current Golf GTI was redesigned for the 2015 model year and is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit producing 210 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The available Performance Package adds an additional 10 horsepower, increases the torque curve and includes an electronically-controlled torque-sensing limited-slip differential.
Premium Compact Passenger Car — Acura ILX
The entry model in the premium Acura lineup, the ILX received a major update last year, highlighted by fresh styling and a more powerful engine. The new 2.4-liter direct-injection unit produces 201 horsepower — a considerable increase in power over the outgoing model — while still achieving 35 mpg on the highway. The ILX comes well equipped with power heated front seats, a rearview camera, “Jewel-Eye” LED headlights, Bluetooth connectivity and the latest in high-tech safety features.
Passenger Car — Honda Accord 4cyl Sedan
One of the best-selling midsize sedans in America, the Honda Accord has a lot to offer. Available in a variety of trim levels, Accord can even be equipped with a manual transmission — a nice perk for driving enthusiasts. In addition to being the passenger car with the best overall value, Accord is also one of the safest vehicles on the road, earning an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for crash tests and crash avoidance.
Premium Passenger Car — Lexus ES 300h
One of six hybrid models available from Lexus, the ES 300h received a design update for the 2016 model year. With a premium interior and the latest in high-tech features, the ES 300h is impressively efficient. The gas-electric powertrain puts out a total 200 horsepower while delivering up to 40 mpg. The ES now has the Lexus Safety System+ Package as standard equipment. This includes the Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
Luxury Passenger Car — BMW 530i Sedan
The BMW 5 Series is all new for the 2017 model year. This seventh-generation 5 Series makes extensive use of aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel to improve handling while reducing weight. The 530i is available with rear- or all-wheel drive, and wears the familiar BMW kidney grille with integrated twin circular LED headlights. Inside there’s a new user interface (iDrive 6.0) with available Gesture Control, the latest generation of Head-Up Display, Remote 3D View and an improved voice control with natural voice input.
Convertible — MINI Convertible
The MINI is not as small as it used to be, but the fun-to-drive convertible remains one of the most diminutive rides on the road. With top scores in all crash tests and an Advanced rating for crash avoidance, MINI is a perfect example of how size is not always important when it comes to car safety. Always looking to add fun to the ride, the MINI Convertible comes standard with the “Always Open Timer,” which tells drivers how many hours they’ve driven with the top down.
Premium Convertible — Audi TT Convertible
The Audi TT Roadster was all-new for 2016, featuring a design that ties it closer to the R8 mid-engine sports car. Signature elements remain from the original design, including the exaggerated wheel arches that push into the hood cutline, round exhaust tips and a prominent fuel-filler door. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI 4-cylinder engine that produces 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 6-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission with quattro all-wheel drive.
Sporty/Coupe — Honda Civic Coupe
A perennial favorite among new-car buyers, the redesigned Honda Civic is one of the best-selling passenger cars in America. The tenth generation of this popular car features fresh styling, improved aerodynamics, new vehicle architecture, a more spacious interior and two new engines. Fuel economy is impressive — rated as high as 42 mpg with a new 2.0-liter turbocharged powerplant. Standard features include a 5-inch color LCD screen, LED daytime running lights, an electric parking brake with automatic brake hold, a multi-angle rearview camera, a capless fuel filler, and Bluetooth HandsFreeLink and streaming audio.
Premium Sporty/Coupe — BMW 230i Coupe
BMW’s small entry-luxury model for the U.S. market, the 2 Series joined the lineup as a 2014 model to replace the 1 Series. The 2 Series is a modern example of the type of sporty, agile, fun-to-drive car on which BMW built its reputation in the 1960s. For 2017 the 2 Series gets the latest generation of BMW’s TwinPower Turbo engine that offers increased horsepower and torque versus the outgoing version, as well as improved fuel economy.
Performance Car — Ford Mustang GT Coupe
The current-generation Mustang debuted as a 2015 model with a sleek exterior design and a new engine — Ford’s turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder unit. The Mustang GT continues to top the range with a 435-horsepower 5.0-liter V8, but the smaller 2.3-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost provides a sporty alternative producing 310 horsepower — 10 more than the standard 3.7-liter 6-cylinder engine and delivering 320 lb-ft of torque at 2500 rpm.
Premium Performance Car — Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The Corvette has been the sports car flagship of the Chevrolet brand for decades, and just one year after taking the wraps off the all-new seventh-generation Corvette, the brand debuted the most powerful production Vette ever — the Z06. The 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine puts out 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, making the Z06 the more powerful than any General Motors production vehicle ever made. The capability of the Z06 is extraordinary — 60 mph comes up in about 3 seconds, a quarter mile is dispatched in 10.95 seconds at 127 mph, and top speed exceeds of 200 mph.
Luxury Performance Car — Porsche 911
For 50 years the iconic Porsche 911 has been one of the best sports cars on the planet, offering amazing performance while remaining comfortable and useful as a daily driver. Porsche recently launched the seventh generation of the 911, which has a wider front track and is longer, lower and loaded with new features. A plethora of 911 versions are now available, including the latest variant that debuted recently at the Geneva Motor Show, the GT3. The new GT3 is powered by a 4.0-liter engine producing 500 horsepower — practically the same engine used in the 911 GT3 Cup Car. Acceleration to 62 mph (100 km/h) takes a mere 3.4 seconds with the PDK transmission, and top speed is just a tick under 200 mph.
Compact Utility — Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most recognized vehicles in the world — its basic shape hasn’t changed much since it was first introduced as the CJ in the 1940s. Although its features and amenities have been updated considerably over the years, the Wrangler’s legendary off-road capability remains true to form. With one of the highest resale values of any vehicle in America, the Wrangler is available in a variety of trim levels as well as with two or four doors.
Premium Compact Utility — Lexus NX
Lexus joined the burgeoning compact luxury SUV segment with the all-new 2015 NX. The NX 200t is powered by the first-ever turbocharged engine in a Lexus — a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that produces 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, combined with a new sequential 6-speed automatic transmission and available Dynamic Torque Control AWD system. Also available with a hybrid powertrain, the NX 300h is one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs in America.
Mid-Size Utility — Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
There really isn’t anything else on the road quite like the Jeep Wrangler. The modern descendant of the original U.S. military vehicle that spawned the Jeep name and began the legacy of extreme off-road capability, the body-on-frame SUV is one of the most capable off-road vehicles around. Wrangler continues to be available with a front and rear 5-link suspension system, live axles, electronic lockers, and a 6-speed manual transmission. With the introduction of the 4-door Unlimited 10 years ago, an entirely new audience has discovered Wrangler.
Premium Mid-Size Utility — Acura RDX
The RDX debuted as a 2007 model joining the larger MDX, and last year the premium crossover received the new three-dimensional grille treatment, Acura signature Jewel Eye LED headlights, LED taillights with light-pipe design and more aggressive lower front and rear fascias. When equipped with the available AcuraWatch driver assistance technologies that include Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Departure Warning, the RDX is one of the safest SUVs in America.
Full-Size Utility — Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander received a major update for the 2017 model year, including performance upgrades, refreshed styling and a new SE trim level. The SE stands out as a sportier version with 19-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, dark paint for the front grille, dark headlight housings and dark roof rails. Also new is the fuel-efficient Highlander Hybrid, which features a direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 gas engine teamed with an electric drive motor-generator to produce a total of 306 horsepower while delivering a combined 29 mpg.
Premium Full-Size Utility — Toyota Sequoia
The Toyota Sequoia is more than simply a large 8-occupant SUV — it also is a fully capable off-roader. Employing a 381-horsepower V8 engine for optimum towing power, Sequoia is available with a Multi-Mode 4-wheel-drive system that uses a 2-speed transfer case with a locking limited-slip center differential to distribute torque to the front and rear wheels as needed. Toyota has also announced the new TRD package for Sequoia, which features sport-tuned Bilstein shocks and TRD front and rear anti-sway bars. The Sequoia TRD Sport will be easily identified by its new front grille, metallic black mirror caps, darkened rear taillights, black satin finish badging and 20-inch black alloy sport wheels.
Luxury Utility — Cadillac XT5
The XT5 is an all-new model for Cadillac in 2017, replacing the SRX crossover. With a unique chassis and structure, the XT5 is lighter and stiffer than the model it replaces while offering a roomier interior. Featuring fresh styling inside and out, the XT5 is well equipped with the latest high-tech features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the latest version of Cadillac’s CUE interface. Available with front- or all-wheel drive, the XT5 derives power from a 3.6-liter V6 engine that puts out 310 horsepower.
Minivan — Toyota Sienna
As one of the top-selling minivans on the U.S. market, Sienna comes well equipped with features including 3-zone climate control and Toyota’s Entune audio system with applications such as Yelp, iHeartRadio, OpenTable and Pandora. Although other minivans have offered all-wheel drive over the years, Sienna is currently the only AWD minivan on the market — perhaps making it even more appealing to those desiring a crossover. For 2017 the Sienna gets more power: a new 3.5-liter V6 engine generates 296 horsepower.
Cargo Van — Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van
Like many of the competitors on the market, the ProMaster City is based on a model from Europe — in this case the very popular Fiat Doblo. Ram’s offering in this growing market can carry 131.7 cubic feet of cargo in a space 60.4 inches wide (48.4 between wheelwells), 87.2 inches long and 51.8 inches high. The ProMaster City can haul up to 1,883 pounds or tow up to 2,000 pounds. Dual sliding doors and 60/40 split rear doors allow for easy access and loading. A class-exclusive 9-speed automatic transmission contributes to impressive fuel economy — the U.S. EPA rates the van at 21 mpg city / 29 mpg highway.
Mid-Size Pickup — Toyota Tacoma
Not only is the Toyota Tacoma the most popular midsize truck on the market, it holds its value better than any other vehicle in America. Completely redesigned last year, 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. The 3.5-liter V6 engine provides plenty of power and actually achieves better fuel economy than the lesser-powered 4-cylinder option. For those looking for a bit more luxury in their truck, Toyota offers the Tacoma Limited with leather-trimmed heated seats and a high-power JBL audio system.
Full-Size Pickup Light Duty — Toyota Tundra CrewMax
There are almost 50 different configurations of Toyota’s full-size pickup truck, but it is the CrewMax that has the most to offer. With a longer cab and large rear doors, the CrewMax offers plenty of room for passengers without giving up any capability. Tundra CrewMax can tow up to 10,500 pounds, thanks to its 5.7-liter V8 engine producing 381 horsepower. Toyota recently announced the addition of a TRD Sport version of the Tundra, which will feature sport-tuned Bilstein shocks and TRD front and rear anti-sway bars as well as a mesh grille, LED headlights, LED fog lights and a color-keyed hood scoop.
Overall Value Popular Brand — Honda
Overall Value Premium Brand — Cadillac
Highest Retained Value Popular Brand — Subaru
Highest Retained Value Premium Brand — Porsche
Lowest Ownership Costs Popular Brand — Mazda
Lowest Ownership Costs Premium Brand — Acura