Priced to Perform: Kiplinger publication researches more than just bottom line in trumpeting vehicles for best value

The reinvented 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickup took first place for both new or redesigned model and for best-in-class in the midsize truck category in the Kiplinger magazine Best Value Awards (Provided).

Car shoppers choose vehicles for scores of reasons: looks, name recognition, accessories.

But except for people who can actually say, “price is no option,” the cost of the car or truck plays at least a secondary and often a major role in the final decision.

In light of this, national personal finance magazine Kiplinger has come out with ratings on new models that it said offer the “best bang for the buck.”

Kiplinger recently rolled out its 2015 Best Value Awards for cars, trucks, and SUVs. The publication ranks vehicles by price, resale value, miles per gallon and fuel efficiency among other indicators to decide on the most cost-effective models in 15 categories including crossovers, minivans and sports cars.

The magazine said its buyer’s guide “sorts the 2015 models by price and category.” But it doesn’t just consider raw financial totals. It also ranks them for “performance, safety and value.”

In its annual car buyer’s guide unveiled this month, Kiplinger notes that vehicle hunters have a decided advantage this year.

“The lowest gas prices since the Great Recession, rock-bottom interest rates and an improving economy are fueling a boom in new-car sales,” the magazine and its online publication note.

Automakers are designing new categories, according to Kiplinger, “such as subcompact crossovers, four-door coupes and reimagined hatchbacks.” Low fuel costs are also nudging American buyers to probe larger-size editions, Kiplinger says, noting that nearly half the sales are trucks and SUVs. The publication names Best-in-Class and Best New/Redesigned models by category as well as most fuel-efficient and best resale value.

Online visitors will be able to sort through more than 2,000 new cars by “a variety of key cost and performance data, including price, service costs, resale value, MPG (and) horsepower,” the magazine says.

By brand, Ford and Chevrolet lead the list of best in class and new and redesigned cars with four top models apiece. Honda and Subaru won in three categories and Toyota and Volkswagen took the top spot twice.

What follows are Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Top Picks for 2015 in each category:

- Best New/Redesigned: Honda Fit

- Best-in-Class: Mazda3

- Best New/Redesigned: Volkswagen Golf TDI (diesel)

- Best-in-Class: Ford Fusion

- Best New/Redesigned: Subaru Legacy

- Best-in-Class: Volkswagen Passat TDI (diesel)

- Best New/Redesigned: Toyota Camry V-6

- Best-in-Class: Honda Accord V-6 sedan

- Best New/Redesigned: Acura TLX

- Best-in-Class: BMW 3 series sedan

- Best New/Redesigned: Hyundai Genesis sedan

- Best-in-Class: Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan

- Best New/Redesigned: Ford Mustang

- Best-in-Class: Chevrolet Corvette

- Best New/Redesigned: Subaru Outback

- Best-in-Class: Toyota Prius v

- Best New/Redesigned: Kia Sedona

- Best-in-Class: Honda Odyssey

- Best New/Redesigned: Lincoln MKC

- Best-in-Class: Subaru Forester

- Best New/Redesigned: Nissan Murano

- Best-in-Class: Jeep Grand Cherokee

- Best-in-Class: Ford Explorer

- Best New/Redesigned and Best-in-Class: Chevrolet Tahoe

- Best New/Redesigned and Best-in-Class: Chevrolet Colorado

-Best New/Redesigned: Ford F-150

-Best-in-Class: Chevrolet Silverado

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