Kelley Blue Book Best Buys of 2015

We in Kelley Blue Book's Editorial Content department have a single overriding goal -- to help consumers make the best, most satisfying car-buying decisions possible. So when we were presented with the intriguing opportunity to create an all-new industry awards program that would represent Kelley Blue Book, we decided to conceive a program that would offer the highest level of consumer service by helping car buyers navigate the difficult choices presented by the abundance of vehicles on the market. Trying to find one's way through the jungle of more than 300 models is a difficult task, so in this new awards program we decided to act as expert guides to help consumers get where they want to go – into an intelligent car purchase that works for them.

We at Kelley Blue Book are also quite cognizant of the fact that money does not grow on trees, and these days, it does not even grow very much in savings accounts. One of our organization's key strengths is its laser-focus on vehicle value, which gives us uncommonly good resources to identify not just good cars but, very importantly, superior buys. And now more than ever, we believe that finding top values is what most consumers are looking for.

These two premises – the goal to provide the most consumer service and the goal to identify the best values – became the basis of our newest awards program: Kelley Blue Book's Best Buys of 2015. We understand quite clearly that in the choice of a vehicle, one size does not fit all, so these awards recognize that excellence and high value lie within every segment of the vehicle market. The awards' overarching goal is to offer sound guidance in helping car buyers make decisions in each of the major vehicle categories.

That is a key difference between our Kelley Blue Book Best Buys awards and other major industry awards. We don't simply pick the best of the all-new vehicle crop and let it go at that. In this section, we identify the 2015 model-year vehicles that are the Best Buys in 12 major vehicle categories, and, in addition, we name one vehicle as the Overall Winner.

Testing & Evaluation Procedures: Finding the Finalists

How do we find the best values? It is not easy, but we are proud of the fact that no organization is better prepared to do this than Kelley Blue Book. These awards are the result of a process that began more than a year ago when the first 2015 models were introduced. Throughout the past 12 months we conducted evaluation drives and wrote Expert Reviews of virtually every vehicle on sale in the United States. In addition, we conducted Comparison Tests in the major high-volume vehicle categories to see how the vehicles performed in similar circumstances.

At the same time, the analysts among us collected a broad swath of vehicle-related data: comprehensive pricing, including real transaction prices; cost-to-own data, including costs of depreciation, insurance, maintenance, financing, and fuel; and vehicle sales. We also collected and published a significant number of Consumer Reviews and Ratings of current vehicles.

Based on all this information – individual vehicle tests/evaluations, comparison tests, vehicle-related data, consumer reviews and ratings – those of us on the KBB editorial staff nominated 49 vehicles in 12 vehicle categories that we collectively feel represent the highest level of overall vehicle quality and value. These vehicles, the Finalists in our Best Buys awards program, are either the tried-and-true Category leaders in value or they are new or substantially revised models that our individual testing and evaluation told us had a chance to attain the top spot as the Best Buy in their Category. Either way, they represent the cream of vehicles on the market. But even after the arduous process of choosing the Finalists we were not finished.

Testing & Evaluation Procedures: Crowning the Winners

Over the course of a 7-week test period beginning in early September, we procured representative examples of each of the 49 Finalists, and we tested and evaluated them back-to-back in real-world driving situations. The evaluations included Driving Dynamics Tests, Parking Evaluation, Vehicle Controls and Infotainment Systems Evaluation, Interior and Cargo Space Evaluation, Exterior Design Evaluation, and Safety Evaluation. Where practical, we tested these items during our driving evaluations and in static tests at our facilities. In those cases where testing was impractical, e.g. crash testing, we took note of the systems available and their benefits.

Based on the totality of this information – comparative market pricing, cost-to-own information, generational consumer reviews and ratings and, of course, expert evaluations based on our back-to-back driving experiences over standardized routes – we on the editorial staff selected Kelley Blue Book Best Buys of 2015 award winners in 12 vehicle categories. Then, using the same procedures and criteria, we chose an Overall Best Buy Award Winner. The results represent the combined wisdom of Kelley Blue Book. If you are looking for the top vehicle values in the U.S. market, the Best Buys of 2015 award winners is the place to start.

Overall Best Buy

2015 Ford F-150

The perennial best-selling vehicle in the country has been radically rethought and redesigned for 2015, with award-winning results.

See the new F-150

Category Best Buys

Small Car

No surprise here, the trophy goes to a car that's been one of the smartest new car buys for decades.

See the winner
Small Cars

Midsize Car

The competition has never been better, but the winner offers an unmatched mix of well-rounded appeal.

See the winner
Midsize Cars

Full-Size Car

This group of roomy, comfortable, quasi-luxury sedans is being led into the future by one of the most familiar names on the road.

See the winner
Full-Size Cars

Small SUV

Already a strong contender for the title, significant upgrades for 2015 secured the Best Buy trophy for this category stalwart.

See the winner
Small SUVs

Midsize SUV

If you need three rows but don't want a minivan or a full-size SUV, your search may very well begin and end with our Midsize SUV Best Buy.

See the winner
Midsize SUVs

Full-Size SUV

The workhorse of big, active families across the country, our full-size SUV winner was completely redesigned for 2015 and remains the category's best-seller.

See the winner
Full-Size SUVs

Minivan

If you need room for three rows of people and a whole bunch of stuff at the same time, minivans are where it's at. Our winner even offers a built-in vacuum cleaner.

See the winner
Minivans

Pickup Truck

Our Pickup Truck Best Buy for 2015 was so impressive it also took home the Overall Best Buy award, highlighted above.

See the winner
Pickup Trucks

Performance Car

Performance cars come in all shapes, sizes and prices, but none offers more bang for the buck than one legendary nameplate.

See the winner
Performance Cars

Electric/Hybrid Car

The number of electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars continues to grow every year, but the category's Best Buy trophy went to one of the more familiar names.

See the winner
Electric and Hybrid Cars

Luxury Car

A pioneer of the entry-luxury category, our Luxury Car Best Buy has been totally redesigned for 2015 and is now the most complete package in the segment.

See the winner
Luxury Cars

Luxury SUV

Which luxury vehicle combines three rows, excellent driving manners, legendary reliability and unbeatable value? Our 2015 Luxury SUV Best Buy.

See the winner
Luxury SUVs

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