Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars, 2012 III

I’m hoping this part of the list has some of my favorites. Here’s Jody Victor® with the third installment of J.D. Power and Associates’ best quality cars for 2012.

Jody Victor®: Joe, I think your favorites might be in this part. Here you go, part 3, from an article by Cliffor Atiyeh of

Top Premium Sport Car: Porsche 911

Somehow, Porsche ends up having fewer problems than Honda or Mercedes (we’ll chalk it up to lower production volume and fewer miles traveled). Whatever the reason, the 911 is a fantastic way to spend upwards of $80,000. It’s practical, conservative-looking, yet altogether badass when the time comes to push it on a favorite back road. Among sports cars, the 911 is an indisputable legend that’s been going strong for five decades.

Top Compact Crossover/SUV: Honda CR-V

In 1997, the CR-V was one of the few compact crossovers, and Honda got it right from the start. With its slim proportions, all-wheel drive and generous cargo room, the CR-V is about as utilitarian as anyone really needs. The 4-cylinder engines are snappy and good on fuel, and while the interiors need some improvement and the doors feel flimsy, there’s a lot of well-engineered car here.

Top Compact MPV: Kia Soul

While hip-hop hamsters drive it on TV, in real life the Kia Soul is driven by all sorts of people, much like how Scion has attracted buyers beyond its original “youth” demographic. The boxy Soul, with its pulsing speaker lights and oddball cloth textures, is fun to drive and invites stares. Generous cargo space, simple controls and Kia’s impressive powertrain warranty seal the deal.

Top Entry Premium Crossover/SUV: Infiniti EX

The EX crossover is essentially a G sedan with more headroom and a hatch. Therefore, it nearly matches the G’s aggressive attitude, with crisp handling and powerful acceleration that’s livelier than an Audi Q5. The interior is feeling a little old next to Infiniti’s other models, and the ride can be rough at times. But it’s nice to have a crossover exhibiting some old-fashioned soul.

Top Midsize Crossover/SUV: Buick Enclave

Among three-row SUVs, this Buick outsells them all. It’s a stylish, ultraquiet family hauler with all the trimmings — and unlike previous Buick SUVs, it’s not a carbon copy of a cheaper Chevrolet. For 2013, the Enclave gets a mild refresh with more soft-touch interior materials and other moderate improvements. If you can stand minivans, you won’t do much better for the price than this Buick.

Thanks, Jody! Can’t wait until the last bunch.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012 II

If the economy hasn’t affected you, maybe common sense has. I asked Jody Victor® to continue on with the best used car values.

Jody Victor®: Joe, it never hurts to look at all your options. If a used car makes more sense for your budget then do it! Here’s the rest of the list of best used car values, from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kipplinger and

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i

Price when new: $25,240 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $15,218
Private-party price: $14,068
Certified used price: $16,256
MPG (city/hwy): 20/26

The Outback offers the best of both worlds: car-like construction to aid in maneuverability and fuel economy, plus the utility of all-wheel drive, copious amounts of cargo room (34 cubic feet) and a higher stance that improves visibility. Six airbags are standard, and it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, too.

2009 Ford Taurus Limited

Price when new: $31,495
Dealer used price: $16,634
Private-party price: $15,271
Certified used price: $17,653
MPG (city/hwy): 18/28

Just a year after Ford revived the Taurus nameplate, it added standard stability control and earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Limited trim comes with Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system, which allows you to connect music devices with USB and phones via Bluetooth, making them easier to use safely.

2008 Mazda CX-9 Sport

Price when new: $30,035
Dealer used price: $18,315
Private-party price: $16,689
Certified used price: $20,424
MPG (city/hwy): 16/22

It seats seven and has 17 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats (48 cubic feet with the third row folded down), which helped the CX-9 win Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for this model year. Safety bragging rights include an optional blind-spot monitoring system — which will alert you if there’s something in your blind spot when you attempt to change lanes — and standard stability control.

2009 Toyota Sienna LE

Price when new: $26,865 (7-passenger)
Dealer used price: $18,463
Private-party price: $16,692
Certified used price: $19,882
MPG (city/hwy): 17/23

Multiple seating configurations make this minivan family- and cargo-friendly. In the seven-passenger Sienna LE, the removable second row captain’s chairs can be spaced out to give your brood elbow room, or arranged as a bench for easier access to the third row. The third row is split 60/40, and the sections fold over or completely flat. Even the front passenger seat folds down, should you have serious cargo needs.

2009 Infiniti G37x AWD

Price when new: $36,615
Dealer used price: $23,889
Private-party price: $22,308
Certified used price: $26,174
MPG (city/hwy): 18/25

The Infiniti G gives German sedans like the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 a run for their money, but it costs thousands less. The 2009 model got a larger, 3.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 328 horsepower, as well as a seven-speed automatic transmission — plus, it packs in essential safety features, such as head and side airbags and stability control.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check these great vehicles out.

Joe Victor


Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Resale Value Cars, 2012 Part II

Resale values come from a complex set of calculations based in part on historical data and economic predictions, as well as competition in each automotive segment, how strong a car’s brand is, and supply (including fleet and leasing sales) versus demand. I asked Jody Victor® to continue with the article By Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger for

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, resale value may not seem like the most important thing when buying a new car. But if you only intend on keeping it for a few years it could be worth your while in the long run. Here’s the last five vehicles from


Sticker price: $23,105 (base coupe)
Invoice price: $22,040
TrueCar national average price: $20,974
3-year resale value: 63%, 5-year: 46%
City mpg: 19, Hwy: 29

Ford’s classic pony car won Best New Car last year with a redesign that added more power (305 horsepower from the 3.7-liter V6 engine) but kept fuel economy a priority. One of its shining achievements is a stellar resale value: It’ll be worth 63% of the sticker price after three years.


Sticker price: $30,670
Invoice price: $28,767
TrueCar national average price: $29,259
3-year resale value: 60%, 5-year: 46%
City mpg: 19, Hwy: 24

Kiplinger’s Best in Class small crossover for the second year running, the Subaru Forester has sure-footed handling with the brand’s standard all-wheel drive, loads of interior space and a speedy yet thrifty turbocharged engine.


Sticker price: $48,375
Invoice price: $44,575
TrueCar national average price: $45,706
3-year resale value: 62%, 5-year: 45%
City mpg: 16, Hwy: 23

With seating for up to seven passengers, German-engineered driving dynamics and high resale values, BMW’s X5 has always been appealing. For 2012, more standard features are added: roof rails and a cargo cover for added utility and an iPod/USB connection and Hi-Fi sound system for added enjoyment while driving.


Sticker price: $22,845
Invoice price: $22,261
TrueCar national average price: $22,295
3-year resale value: 61%, 5-year: 46%
City mpg: 17, Hwy: 21

Jeep’s classic go-anywhere off-roader stays ahead of the pack on value. It offers the best mileage in its class (outside of hybrid models), with 17 mpg in the city, and tops the resale charts.


Sticker price: $27,110
Invoice price: $25,138
TrueCar national average price: $25,599
3-year resale value: 56%, 5-year: 42%
City mpg: 18, Hwy: 25

Redesigned last year, the Toyota Sienna is the only minivan to offer models with a four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. It seats up to eight passengers and features seven airbags, and its 3.5-liter V6 puts out 265 horses. It narrowly edges out the Honda Odyssey for Best Resale, and it receives a Worth a Look nod.

 Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to consider these vehicles when we go car shopping!

Joe Victor