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By Alissa Green
Choosing the best value car can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. With a little research, resolve and luck, you’ll be driving home in one of the best cars for the money in no time flat.
To begin, let’s take a look at the 2017 car models winning awards from major car review outlets as well as some of the best used cars available. After all, we’re not car experts; we’re financial experts (if you need help with a car loan, give us a holler!).
After researching auto expert opinions, we’ve pulled together the best new and used value car recommendations from across the web for your reading pleasure, just as car buying season begins to heat up. Enjoy!
For the second year in a row, the Honda Civic drove away with KBB’s Best Buy Award.
Per their editors, “Despite offering as much or more equipment than its competitors, the Civic continuously pencils out with a lower sticker price than many of its competitors. Not only that, when you factor in longer-term variables such as resale and cost of ownership, the Civic's value vaults it ahead. It's that combination of style, functionality, fun-to-drive nature and value that make the 2017 Honda Civic our Overall Best Buy.”
For those worried that best value cars are synonymous with boring, KBB editors also highlighted how fun the Civic was to drive and even how stylish it was.
Read more from KBB about the 2017 Honda Civic.
My household fits in a convertible, so it’s pretty impressive for me to see a minivan win such high praise from the auto experts.
Fitting up to eight passengers, the Pacifica scored highly across the board, particularly in the handling, style and feature departments.
As reviewer Jennifer Geiger writes, “In many ways, Chrysler turned the minivan segment upside down with its new Pacifica. It out-styles, out-drives and just plain out-wows the rest of the class.”
Unlike KBB, Cars.com doesn’t offer awards like the best car for the money (though they do offer multi-car comparisons and a range of Top 10 lists throughout the year).
Instead, Cars.com selects top cars across categories by assessing performance and value, among other attributes. For instance, the 2017 BMW 7 Series is their Best Luxury Car of the Year while the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor is the Best Pick-up Truck.
Read more about Cars.com’s best cars of 2017.
This report is a smart reminder that good value doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest price tag. Sure, the cheapest option is the lowest-cost initially, but a car should last you 10 years or more. What may be cheapest at the front end could come back to bite you as you pile on the mileage.
That’s why we love that US News & World Report takes cost and quality into consideration.
Their list is comprised of cars, minivans, SUVs and trucks from 20 different automotive classes. So, whether you’re looking for the best hybrid (Toyota Prius), the best compact SUV (Honda CR-V) or the best full-size truck (Ford F-150), they have a suggestion at the ready, along with the finalists that didn’t quite make the cut.
Overall, Toyota and Lexus were the big winners, with each garnering five different trophies. Kia also managed to outshine Honda, thanks to great features and impressively comfortable interiors.
Read more about US News & World Report’s 2017 Best Cars for the money.
Knowing that, often, the best deals come in the form of used cars, we also wanted to offer some suggestions if you’re looking to go that route – and want fuel efficiency. Autotrader doesn’t compile a grand list of best cars each year, but they do offer a variety of one-off lists.
Enter their list for the best used cars that get 35 miles per gallon.
The list includes model years ranging from 2010-2016 and features cars good for families as well as those needing less space.
The top 7 picks include: Chevy Volt, Fiat 500, Ford C-MAX, Honda Civic, Kia Rio, Lexus CT 200h and the Toyota Prius.
Read more about Autotrader’s best used cars that get 35 miles per gallon.
Photo courtesy Cars.com
Alissa Green is the Digital Marketing Manager at Alliant. She has 10+ years experience writing/blogging and has written for Jezebel, The Onion, MyFirstApartment.com, and MyFirstCondo.com amongst other sites. The best piece of financial advice she’s gotten was from her mother, who says one should never try to beat the market (thanks, mom!). In her spare time, you can find Alissa enjoying the local comedy scene, exploring different Chicago neighborhoods, supporting the Chicago Humanities Festival and reading up on FinTech.