Editor's Note: Kelley Blue Book has released their 2021 recommendations for the best cars you can buy. Check them out here.
Kelley Blue Book released its Best Buy Awards for 2020 last November. KBB editors look at “quality, comfort, driving dynamics, dependability, low ownership costs, and affordability” to determine the best new car and best car in several different segments. There are a few changes from last year. KBB added “Midsize Truck” and “Two-Row Midsize SUV” categories, and split the alternative power category into “Electric Car” and “Plug-in Hybrid” segments. If you know what type of car you’re looking for, the awards could be a helpful jumping-off point. If you’re more intrigued by the performance vs. value end of the spectrum, check out our favorite cars we drove in 2019.
The 2020 Kia Telluride brings A-grade style, with an upscale exterior and a spacious, luxurious interior (yes, that’s Nappa leather in there). It’s striking, and not just for a Kia. Read the review
Style is always a matter of personal taste, but by most measures, the 2020 Honda Civic sedan and hatchback rank among the more visually-appealing members of the compact car category. The sedan’s sleek fastback-like rear calls to mind sleek European four-door “coupes” like the Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, while the edgier hatchback serves up a distinctive JDM vibe that’s futuristic without being too over-the-top. Read the review
In 2016, just a year into his tenure, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo made his position on Honda's product line at the time clear saying “we began producing watered down, uninspiring…designed-by-committee, cars.” The 10th generation of the famed Accord was first fully redesigned in 2017 as a course correction and has proved to be a resounding success. Read the review
The Kona Electric is super-efficient: It delivers 258 miles of EPA range (nearly the most of any non-Tesla EV) out of a small 64-kilowatt-hour battery. Despite that efficiency, it’s quick in everyday driving, thanks to 291 pound-feet of instantly-available torque. Read the review
Car people generally prefer very particular types of vehicle. It could be a supreme off-roader, or a pared-down track beast; maybe it just makes a sweet, sweet racket with that big V8. The Honda CR-V is the antithesis of that car. It’s brilliant in an entirely different way: it’s the ultimate generalist. Read the review
The Santa Fe is Hyundai's pleasant, popular midsize crossover that just keeps getting better and better. If its looks work for you, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better SUV in this size and price class.
The Ford Expedition is enormous, but it’s far from ogreish on the road. The latest generation lost weight, thanks to an aluminum body. It makes a minimum of 375 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque, routed through an excellent 10-speed transmission. It has a very usable third row of seats, can be outfitted to tow more than 9,000 pounds, yet can accelerate from 0-60 mph in the low six-second range. Fuel economy — about 20 mpg combined — is quite reasonable for a vehicle this size, as well.
When it made its splashy debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 proved General Motors wasn’t planning on ceding the tough-guy off-road pickup space to competitors. Equipped with a high-end suspension that added height and compliance, locking differentials fore and aft and flared fenders, the Colorado provides truck lovers with a strong argument to switch to a Chevy. Read the review
The Ford F-150 is America’s best-selling vehicle by a wide margin. The reason for that: Ford offers proven quality, whether you’re buying a $30,000 work truck or a $70,000 luxury ride. Ford dragged the full-sized truck market into the 21st Century with the current-gen F-150, with its lighter aluminum-based construction and turbocharged V6s largely replacing V8s.
The Odyssey is loaded with “parent-cool” features. There’s a CabinWatch rearview camera with night vision, and CabinTalk, which can override rear speakers and headphones. Did your children tear into Nacho Cheese Doritos like rabid bears? There’s a built-in vacuum cleaner. Feel like having one of those lime LaCroix cans? It’s waiting there, chilled, in the built-in cool box.
Honda uses the “Clarity” name for its stable of super-clean vehicles, including a pure BEV, a plug-in hybrid, and a hydrogen fuel cell car. The Clarity Electric debuted for the 2017 model year. It’s a midsize sedan making 160 hp and 221 lb-ft.
If we rated cars like we rate films in the US, the Lexus ES would be a solid “PG.” This isn’t a disparagement, it’s context: it’s a great ride with occasional thrills, but its high points are far from being remotely scandalous or unadulterated. Read the review
Audi redesigned the second generation compact Q3 SUV taking a heap of inspiration from its bigger sibling, the Audi Q8. That makes the SUV equivalent of the A3 more compelling than ever for those in search for a smaller ride with the ground clearance of an SUV.
That is, the Q5 isn’t a standout example of excellence (even in SQ5 guise), nor is it the bare minimum of automotive expectations, but it is a damn fine vehicle. And you shouldn’t accept anything less in your day-to-day.
BMW's big SUV packs carlike refinement and luxury, but combines it with a trucklike seating position and bountiful cargo space to create exactly the sort of vehicle people go gaga for nowadays. And it do so very well. Read the review