Kelley Blue Book Best Buys of 2016

There are a lot of Car of the Year awards programs out there, and they certainly have their place. But with our Best Buys of 2016 awards program, we at Kelley Blue Book seek to do more than simply identify a great car, sing its praises and call it a day. Instead our awards program is designed to help car shoppers find the best values among the vehicle types that interest them most. Frankly that is a much tougher task than choosing the best vehicle in the new-car crop, but we find that it is also infinitely more satisfying because it is more valuable to you, our visitors.

When it comes to assessing vehicle value, we are proud of the fact that Kelley Blue Book values have become the standard of the industry, and we can rely on our nearly 90 years of experience in every intricacy involved in that effort. With that as our bedrock, the Best Buy Awards are the result of a process that began more than a year ago when the first 2016 models were introduced. While our expert vehicle evaluators drove hundreds of new vehicles and reported on their findings at, our KBB analysts collected a broad swath of vehicle-related data: vehicle sales, comprehensive pricing, costs of depreciation, insurance, maintenance, financing, fuel costs and hundreds of other data points. Over the course of the past 12 months our vehicle experts also conducted a series of exhaustive Comparison Tests in the major high-volume vehicle categories to see how similar vehicles performed in similar circumstances.

Based on what we believe is the most comprehensive collection of vehicle value-related information in the nation, we on the KBB editorial staff nominated 49 vehicles in 12 vehicle categories that we believed had the potential to be the highest-value new cars and trucks available this model year. Since this is our second go-round at picking the best values in the market (see our 2015 Best Buy Award Winners), we benefited from the extensive experience that effort brought us. Among other things, it gave us a baseline vehicle in each category against which to compare others, because in every segment we invited last year's segment winner to compete again. It also helped us quickly eliminate some very good alternatives based on the thinking if a model didn't outdo the incumbent in the 2015 model year and neither had definitively changed, why would it do so in 2016?

But the nominees list was anything but static. Since the industry is always moving forward, new vehicles and all-new versions of vehicles with carryover names continue to enter the marketplace. We identified a select group of these all-new or heavily revised vehicles to compete against the incumbent champ in each category.

Testing & Evaluation Procedures: Crowning the Winners

Over the course of a 7-week test period beginning at the end of August, we tested and evaluated every one of the 49 contenders back-to-back in real-world driving situations. We examined not only how each vehicle rode and handled but also how easy or difficult it was to park, to get in and out of and to load with cargo. We examined the operation of infotainment systems, safety systems and electronic driving aids like lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control. For pickup trucks, whose hauling and towing abilities are an important part of their overall utility, we did tow and haul tests. And for the entire test period we lived with these vehicles in much the same way you and your family would live with them.

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 extensive driving experiences – we on the editorial staff selected 2016 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award Winners in 12 vehicle categories and an Overall Best Buy Award Winner. Not only do we honor vehicles very worthy of accolades, in the process we have identified for all new-vehicle buyers smart choices that we expect to offer excellent value for years to come.

Overall Best Buy Award Winner 2016

Overall Best Buy

2016 Honda Civic

Already a high-value legend, a thoroughly impressive redesign has elevated Honda's compact car to this year's Overall Best Buy

See the new Civic
2016 Honda Civic
Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards Logo 2016

Category Best Buys

Small Car

No surprises here, this year's Overall Best Buy and Small Car Best Buy are one and the same.

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Small Cars

Midsize Car

Redesigned-for-2016 challenger outpaces some serious stalwarts to grab the gold.

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Midsize Cars

Full-Size Car

Five unique takes on the full-size sedan, none more familiar than our repeat winner.

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Full-Size Cars

Small SUV

Last year's winner fends off three newcomers to retain the title of Small SUV Best Buy.

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Small SUVs

Midsize SUV

One of these three-row SUVs was completely redesigned for 2016, and now we have a new Midsize SUV Best Buy.

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Midsize SUVs

Full-Size SUV

The category's best-seller by far is also this year's Best Buy in a landslide.

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Full-Size SUVs


The built-in vacuum cleaner is cool and useful, but it's just one of the cherries on top of this repeat winner.

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Pickup Truck

Last year's Pickup Truck Best Buy held off two all-new trucks and one enhanced model to retain its title.

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Pickup Trucks

Performance Car

Three American legends and a pair of affordable fun factories add up to five winners, but only one Best Buy.

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Performance Cars

Electric/Hybrid Car

This year's Electric/Hybrid Car Best Buy has been completely redesigned for 2016, but it's also a repeat winner.

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Electric and Hybrid Cars

Luxury Car

This year's Luxury Car Best Buy was totally redesigned last year, and nobody has caught up yet.

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Luxury Cars

Luxury SUV

A total redesign for 2016 earns this SUV its first Best Buy Award, which surely won't be its last.

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Luxury SUVs

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