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

When you start looking for a car, used or new, it helps to get some ideas about value, reliability, and safety. Here’s Jody Victor® with the second half taken from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, you are absolutely right! Having some info to go on gets you started and helps you make an informed decision when it comes to buying a new or used vehicle. Here’s the rest of the article.

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, 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 G Sedan 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 them out!

Joe Victor

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

For our final installment, Jody Victor®  has saved the best til’ last. Here he is with the rest of the best quality cars for 2012 from J.D. Power and Associates.

Jody Victor®: I think you may be right, Joe. There’s some great all-around vehicles in this last part from an article by Cliffor Atiyeh of  msn.com.

Top Large Crossover/SUV: Ford Expedition

This is a weird choice, considering that the Expedition has been long forgotten in the Ford lineup in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs. For its sheer towing capacity, living-room size and brute strength, it’s hard to argue with an Expedition or its luxury cousin, the Lincoln Navigator. We’d like to think that better, more modern V8-powered 3-row SUVs are available.

Top Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV: Lexus RX

Lexus pretty much invented the luxury crossover segment with the first RX 15 years ago. It had a level of quality and style that other automakers couldn’t match for many years. Today, it’s still one of the best. The RX’s ride is quiet and smooth, and the interior is posh. The mouse controller on the infotainment system is almost impossible to use, though.

Top Large Premium Crossover/SUV: Cadillac Escalade

This old-school Cadillac is huge and dripping with chrome all the way down to its 22-inch rims. It’s not even as nice as it could be inside for its $80,000 price tag. But high-tech features such as magnetic suspension give this rig outstanding poise for its supersize weight. Choosing an Escalade means you have little concern for gas prices or getting your car stolen, which insurance companies agree is likely to happen.

Top Large Pickup: GMC Sierra 1500

Tough construction, good reliability and above-average resale value make full-size General Motors pickups easy choices. Plus, they come in many configurations and styles to fit any budget and occupation. Denali models are especially well-trimmed and chromed without being gaudy. Plus, a natural-gas option is now available for those who have access to the cheap fuel.

Top Midsize Pickup: Nissan Frontier

American manufacturers aren’t paying much attention to smaller pickups anymore, so it goes without saying that Nissan has a good — if extremely basic — truck for this segment. The Frontier is short on refinement, but it offers a spacious bed and enough torque for most jobs. It’s a prime example that keeping things simple can pay off in the long run.

Top Minivan: Nissan Quest

If you can live with its funky, upright design, you’ll find the Nissan Quest perfectly capable for minivan duty. Folding seats, an under-floor cargo bin, available DVD entertainment systems, power doors, a dual glass moon-roof — it’s all here. That Nissan has beaten its more popular van rivals from Honda and Toyota is impressive, although we’re still partial to the Odyssey.

 Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check some of these 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 msn.com.

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 msn.com.

SPORTS CARS: FORD MUSTANG

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.

SMALL CROSSOVERS: SUBARU FORESTER 2.5 XT TOURING

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.

MIDSIZE AND LARGE CROSSOVERS: BMW X5 35I

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.

TRUCK-BASED SUVS: JEEP WRANGLER SPORT

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.

MINIVANS: TOYOTA SIENNA 7-PASSENGER V6

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

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best in Class Car Values For 2012 – III

In all categories these vehicles are the best for performance, value and safety. Here’s Jody Victor with the last few on this list.

Jody Victor: Here they are Joe, from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger, and from msn.com.

MIDSIZE AND LARGE CROSSOVERS: LEXUS RX 450H

Sticker price: $46,110
Invoice price: $42,039
TrueCar national average price: $44,965
3-year resale value: 60%, 5-year: 44%
City mpg: 32, Hwy: 28

A perennial Kiplinger’s favorite, the Lexus RX features top-notch safety in addition to luxury, and the hybrid RX 450h takes the cake for Most Fuel-Efficient. A ten-airbag tally includes knee airbags for front passengers and rear-seat side airbags, and an optional pre-collision system ($1,500) will tighten seat belts and make extra braking power available if it senses an accident is imminent.

TRUCK-BASED SUVS: CHEVROLET SUBURBAN

Sticker price: $46,625 (1500 LT)
Invoice price: $43,428
TrueCar national average price: $43,703
3-year resale value: 49%, 5-year: 34%
City mpg: 15, Hwy: 21

The ultimate family hauler, the Suburban seats nine and has a whopping 90 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 46 cubic feet behind the third row. The 5.3-liter V8 puts out plenty of power, and the Suburban tows up to 5,000 pounds with ease. But (aside from SUV hybrids) fuel economy is better than any V8 in its segment.

MINIVANS: HONDA ODYSSEY

Sticker price: $29,035 (LX)
Invoice price: $26,390
TrueCar national average price: $27,498
3-year resale value: 55%, 5-year: 41%
City mpg: 18, Hwy: 27

Redesigned for 2011, when it swept Kiplinger’s minivan awards, Honda’s Odyssey still edges out the competition. Its bold exterior sets it apart from its peers, and improved driving dynamics and a more functional interior clinch its first-place status. For 2012, it picks up Most Fuel-Efficient plaudits, too.

Thanks, Jody! Can’t wait to check some of these great vehicles out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 12 Best in Class Car Values For 2012 II

All except one of these Best in Class winners are also Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Picks (no sports cars made that list this year). Here’s Jody Victor  to give us the second intallment.

Jody Victor: Hey, Joe, here’s the next four vehicles from and article by Jessica Anderson Of Kiplinger, from msn.com.

CARS $40,000-$50,000: BMW 5 SERIES

Sticker price: $47,575 (528i)
Invoice price: $43,840
TrueCar national average price: $44,838
3-year resale value: 54%, 5-year: 37%
City mpg: 23, Hwy: 34

Direct injection and turbocharging make the 528i one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class. An eight-speed automatic transmission also lends a hand, as does start/stop technology, which shuts the engine off when you’re stopped and automatically restarts it when you press the accelerator.

CARS $50,000 AND OVER: MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS BLUETEC

Sticker price: $52,565 (Luxury)
Invoice price: $48,947
TrueCar national average price: $48,997
3-year resale value: 56%, 5-year: 37%
City mpg: 21, Hwy: 32

Best in Class for the second year in a row, the E-Class diesel sedan proves it can go the distance on value. The BlueTec’s fuel economy — 32 miles per gallon on the highway — beats all except hybrid competitors in its class, and it sports higher resale values for 2012. Safety gets a boost with a standard driver’s knee airbag, Attention Assist drowsiness monitor and collision warning system.

SPORTS CARS: CHEVROLET CAMARO

Sticker price: $32,750 (1SS)
Invoice price: $31,476
TrueCar national average price: $32,546
3-year resale value: 59%, 5-year: 41%
City mpg: 16, Hwy: 24

Kiplinger’s Best New Car pick when it was reintroduced in 2010, Chevy’s Camaro SS sticks to its hot-rod roots. The brawny 6.2-liter V8 delivers 426 horses and is cloaked in a muscular exterior with styling cues from the pony car’s past. Plus, at just over $32,000, it won’t break the bank.

SMALL CROSSOVERS: SUBARU FORESTER

Sticker price: $30,670 (2.5XT Touring)
Invoice price: $28,767
TrueCar national average price: $29,259
3-year resale value: 60%, 5-year: 46%
City mpg: 19, Hwy: 24

Named Best in Class two years running, this baby ute also has sky-high resale values and picks up Best Resale plaudits. Subaru’s standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive sends power to the wheels with the best grip so you always stick to the road securely.

Thanks, Jody! Last four in the series, next time.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: More Great Commuter Cars

Well, if that last bunch didn’t trip your trigger, try this next lineup. Here’s our own Jody Victor  with more info from the article by Evan Griffey of msn.com.

Jody Victor: Hey Joe, I know that last group was great but, here goes with the rest of the great commuter vehicles.

Kia Sportage – Price: $18,500 – The Sportage fills the commuting needs of SUV fans. You get that high-and-mighty seating position, plenty of room and a slew of standard amenities in a stylish package. It costs $3,800 to add all-wheel drive to the equation, but we’d recommend it if you regularly face bad weather. The Kia is a great call when you need a double-duty vehicle that can both commute and support an active lifestyle outside the office. Fuel efficiency: 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway.

Scion iQ – Price: $15,995 – There are all kinds of engineering tricks that explain how the iQ looks small on the outside, yet is relatively big inside. But that’s not why it appeals to us in this context; the asymmetrical dash and staggered seating are the standouts here. This arrangement, in which the front passenger sits farther forward in the cabin than the driver, gives three commuters regular, no-compromise room. The iQ’s impressive 37 mpg combined city and highway mileage is the best among the strictly gas-burners on this list.

Subaru Legacy – Price: $19,995 – The Legacy is the all-wheel-drive alternative on the list. As part of its 2009 redesign, Subaru’s midsized sedan got a more expansive, ergonomic interior that makes better use of the space. It is offered in seven model trims with three engine choices and numerous interior and connectivity features, so there is a flavor for every palate. The base 2.5i trim features a 170-horsepower engine and continuously variable transmission and generates the best mileage figures: 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway.

Toyota Prius V – Price: $26,400 – There is a lot to like in the versatile all-new-for-2012 Prius V. The traditional gas-electric hybrid has more of a minivan profile than other Prius offerings. Its bigger packaging means more room for the commute and more cargo potential for weekend getaways, all while enjoying hybrid-spec fuel efficiency at 44 mpg city/42 mpg highway. The Prius V comes in three trims; only the top trim offers access to the commuter-friendly, high-end technology option packages.

VW Jetta Diesel – Price: $22,525 – Diesels have been known for their high-mileage figures for decades; this one gets 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway. But many still perceive them as being loud, smoky and crude. Get a clue: Modern diesels are quiet and clean-burning and offer a refined ride and drive. They make an excellent commuter car. Diesels produce big torque; the Jetta’s 236 lb-ft of torque doubles that of the first four cars on our list, giving it more pep from a stoplight. VW’s 2.0-liter TDI drivetrain can be had in sedan or SportWagen versions of the Jetta, making it more flexible for post-commute activities.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check ’em out.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 2012 Deals For Christmas

If you are looking for a great deal on a car, the right time may be coming up real soon. I asked Jody Victor  to tell us about these great deals from an article by Jamie Page Deaton of U.S. News & World Report from msn.com.

Jody Victor: You might be surprised but the best deals of the year will be happening the week between Christmas and New Years. Even if you aren’t planning on giving or getting a car Christmas morning you may want to take advantage of these deals. Here they are, the 12 best, in 2 parts.

2012 Buick Enclave– A perennial favorite with, the 2012 Buick Enclave features a plush interior and comfortable performance. Through Jan. 2, it also features $1,500 cash back or 1.9% financing for up to five years – which is about how long it will take you to work off all those Christmas cookies.

2012 Ford Fusion – The Ford Fusion features an affordable starting price and performance that’s more flavorful than Aunt Mary’s rum balls. Until New Year’s Day, you can get the 2012 Fusion with $2,000 cashback or 0% financing for up to 60 months.

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan – Germans are famous for their Christmas markets and for building cars that outperform almost anything else on the road. With the 2012 VW Tiguan, you not only get German performance, but also enough space to haul all of those tacky sweaters that grandma gave you back to the mall. You should have some cash left over to get what you really want: Through Jan. 3, the Tiguan has 0.9% financing for up to 60 months.

2012 Mazda5 – Most people resolve to trim down in the new year, and with the 2012 Mazda5, you can start early. With seating for six and the convenience of sliding rear doors, the Mazda5 is as practical as a minivan, but its smaller footprint gives it engaging performance and better fuel economy. Save at the dealership as well as the pump by getting your Mazda5 by Jan. 3, when it has 0.9% financing and no payments for 90 days.

2012 Chevrolet Cruze – Good things (like diamond earrings) come in small packages, but if you’re shopping for a small car, a little extra space is always welcome. Reviewers say the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze packs a roomy interior, good performance and great features for the price. Through Jan 3, you can lease a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze for $169 per month for 36 months. That’s probably less than the data plan you’ll have to get to go with that new smartphone Santa gave you.

2012 Lexus IS – You won’t need eight tiny reindeer to get through winter’s snowy roads if you have all-wheel-drive. The Lexus IS 250 with all-wheel drive is not only sporty, but is available for $329 a month for 36 months, which should make it appealing to even the most dedicated Scrooge.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor