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Auto Round-Up: The Best Value New Cars for 2016

Shiny new 2016 Volvo XC90
March 03, 2016

By Alissa Green

Picking the right new car with so many new car options can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be — especially if you understand the process for how new cars are unveiled throughout the year.

New car models start arriving in late summer or early fall and keep coming through auto show season that takes place during the first quarter of the year. The new models are then showcased for public (and media) consumption at the Detroit, Chicago and New York auto shows that take place in January, February, and March, respectively. Sometimes, the hottest new models are actually unveiled at the shows themselves to gain additional buzz. While there are still a few unveilings set for the New York Auto Show, at this point in the year, most cars have been unveiled and reviewed. 

While we’re not car experts, we are financial experts. That’s why we’ve pulled together the best new value car recommendations from across the web for your reading pleasure before car buying season starts heating up come March. Enjoy!

KBB’s Best Buy of 2016: Honda Civic 

KBB has lots of love for the 2016 Honda Civic. Per their editors, “Value is…a Civic hallmark and that equation continues with the 2016 model that sees a pricing strategy that starts below $20,000 for the base LX model and extends up through the top-line Touring that can top out at $27,000 or so.” 

Their editors also note Honda’s industry-leading reputation for quality, reliability and high-resale value. Furthermore, the Civic consistently finishes at or near the top of their annual 5-Year Cost to Own Awards. Read more from KBB about the 2016 Honda Civic.

Cars.com Best of 2016 winner: Volvo XC90

Cars.com’s editorial team announces their “Best Of” awards yearly at the Detroit Auto Show (Full Disclosure: I used to work for Cars.com). This year, the Volvo XC90 drove away with the overall “Best of 2016” trophy as well as the distinction of “Best New Luxury SUV” for its overall quality and execution.

Cars.com doesn’t offer yearly awards for best value cars (though they do offer multi-car comparisons and varying Top 10 lists throughout the year), but instead selects their top car across categories by assessing performance and value, among other attributes. For instance, the 2016 Kia Sorrento is their “Best New Midsize SUV” while the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is their Best New Midsize Sedan. Read more about Cars.com’s best cars of 2016.

US News & World Report’s Best Cars for the Money 2016

As US News aptly notes, “There’s a difference between something that’s a great value and something that just has a low price tag.” We couldn’t agree more. While choosing the cheapest option is the lowest-cost initially -- a good car should last you a decade (or more!) and the repairs can really add up. Uncomfortable seats and lack of intuitive functionality will also take its toil if you’re a commuter spending hours in the car each week. 

That’s why it’s important to look at cost as well as quality. US News’ list is comprised of cars and trucks from 23 different automotive classes. Their best cars for the money picks include: Honda Fit (Subcompact & Hatchback), Honda Civic (Compact), Audi A3 (Upscale Small Cara), Toyota Camry (Midsize Cars), Acura TLX (Upscale Midsize Cars), Chevrolet Impala (Large Cars), Ford Fusion Hybrid (Hybrid Cars), Toyota Prius V (Wagons), and Mazda MX-5 Miata (Sports Cars). Read more about US News & World Report’s Best Cars for the money.

Car and Driver’s Editors’ Choice Award Winners

Car and Driver doesn’t offer specific value recommendation for 2016, but their editorial awards focus on the cars that they’d recommend to savvy buyers (which we know all you readers are!).

No matter what type of car you’re in the market for – whether it’s a mid-size luxury sedan or the best hybrid on the road, Car & Driver has recommendations. As they note, “many are driven, but few are chosen.” Read more from Car and Driver.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears


Alissa Green is the Digital Marketing Manager at Alliant and has written for publications including Jezebel, The Onion, MyFirstApartment.com, and MyFirstCondo.com, amongst others. The best piece of financial advice she received was from her mother, who doesn't believe you should never try to beat the market (thanks, mom!).