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Why the 2017 KBB Best Buy Awards are Wrong​

March 10, 2017

The KBB best buy awards attempt to recognize a vehicle in each class for being the best value. The awards are given based on the vehicle's initial costs, the costs to own and operate it and its residual value. Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is thorough and does a good job making its choices. You can count on the awards to get an idea of the best financial options out there.

The thing is, financial value isn't the only value. Value also comes from utility. In other words, the usefulness of a vehicle is plenty valuable. Therefore, value varies from driver to driver because a car may be useful for one lifestyle and completely useless for another. Here are some examples.

The Overall Best Buy

KBB named the Honda Civic its overall best buy for 2017. Great choice. It's inexpensive to own, has a reasonable MSRP and holds value well. But it's pretty basic as far as vehicles go. If you need to put something large into your vehicle, carry more than 4 passengers or tow a small boat, you're out of luck. See what we mean? You should probably go for a small SUV, like a Honda Pilot. Maybe a Chevrolet Colorado wouldn't be too expensive for you and would cover your towing needs.

Midsize Car

The KBB best buy in this category went to the Honda Accord. It's about as inexpensive as reliable import vehicles get. It's hard to find fault here but let's say you need more power. Some folks use sedans to tow trailers. Some like to drag race at the local strip but wouldn't spend extra for a muscle car. Others just prefer a little more push when merging onto the highway or climbing a hill. You could upgrade to an Accord with a larger engine for these purposes but it'll cost you around $7,000. Alternatively, look at the Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T, which has 245 hp and goes for about $26,000.

Midsize SUV

The KBB best buy pick is probably the right one in this category. The Honda Pilot, like the Civic and Accord, are a good fit for just about anyone. It holds value well and doesn't cost too much to own. It's $30K base MSRP is steep, though. A direct competitor, the Kia Sorrento, starts at $5,000 less and doesn't sacrifice much. Kia is becoming a more respected brand by the day. The Sorrento's residual value might be significantly better by the time you're ready to sell.

Electric/Hybrid Car

The Prius is a marvel. It's a reliable Toyota. It's cheap to own. It's the car that brought hybrids into the mainstream and it's KBB's top choice in this category but..... it's not cool. Despite its new, meaner face, it's still one of the most boring vehicles there is. Luckily, competitors have stepped up with some interesting vehicles that are possible replacements. The Chevy Volt has a top speed of 100 mph has no trouble with long commutes when running on its battery alone. The Tesla Model 3 is going to be a hit and its $30K MSRP allows the brand to reach the middle class.

What to Do?

There's not always an easy answer to the question "what's the best car for me?" Just do your homework and make an effort to avoid that "oops" feeling you could get if you realize you've bought the wrong vehicle. True Dealer Cost's blog is full of advice. When you're ready, you can get competitive quotes from local dealers here. ​

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