Kiplinger’s Best in Class winners top the msn.com rankings in each of 12 categories, based on performance, value and safety — plus driving impressions from road tests. Iasked Jody Victor to tell us about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.
Jody Victor: All except one of the msn.com Best in Class winners are also Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Picks (no sports cars made that list this year). Her’s the first five.
CARS UNDER $20,000: CHEVROLET CRUZE
Sticker price: $19,995 (Eco, manual)
Invoice price: $19,225
TrueCar national average price: $19,889
3-year resale value: 57%, 5-year: 40%
City mpg: 28, Hwy: 42
Introduced last year to replace the Cobalt, the Cruze quickly shot to best-seller status. It’s wallet-friendly on many fronts, blending a low price with impressive fuel efficiency and high resale values. Its stylish and nearly silent interior, plus solid handling, push it to the front of the compact pack.
CARS $20,000-$25,000: VOLKSWAGEN JETTA TDI
Invoice price: $23,451
TrueCar national average price: $23,619
3-year resale value: 62%, 5-year: 46%
City mpg: 30, Hwy: 42
The Jetta offers German engineering at a budget price but without a budget feel. It’s as spacious inside as compacts come, and as nimble, whether you’re parallel parking or navigating city traffic. The diesel version gets top honors for its powerful, fuel-efficient engine and stellar resale values.
CARS $25,000-$30,000: KIA OPTIMA
Sticker price: $25,850 (2.0T EX)
Invoice price: $24,205
TrueCar national average price: $25,205
3-year resale value: 52%, 5-year: 36%
City mpg: 22, Hwy: 34
The Optima’s redesign last year shook off the bland styling, adding sharp creases and an aggressive front end complete with fog lights and wraparound headlamps; it also won Kiplinger’s Best New Car award for its category. The turbo-boosted four-cylinder engine puts out more horsepower (274) than most in its class, a difference you’ll feel on the road. Add value pricing and a five-year warranty and you’ve got serious swagger.
CARS $30,000-$40,000: FORD TAURUS
Sticker price: $38,950 (SHO)
Invoice price: $35,820
TrueCar national average price: $35,005
3-year resale value: 54%, 5-year: 39%
City mpg: 17, Hwy: 25
A Kiplinger’s top pick since its 2009 reintroduction, the Taurus earns its plaudits with a mix of fuel efficiency and power. The V6 EcoBoost engine gives it the power of a V8 without guzzling gas. The Super High Output (SHO) badge means it gets a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes and paddle shifters.
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.
Thanks, Jody! More next time!