This year's 5-Year Cost to Own Award winners for Best Brand and Best Luxury Brand each follow a slightly different path than their competitors, and both of those roads have lead to this year's podium.
Claiming its second such award in three years, the Subaru brand is strong and getting stronger. Famously favored by drivers living in the north and at elevation, Subaru's cars and SUVs are increasingly appealing options in the rest of the country. While standard all-wheel drive remains a brand hallmark, excellent safety and long-term reliability are becoming well-known advantages. The lineup has also become more fuel-efficient, more stylish, tech-savvier and roomier over the past several years, providing multifaceted allure that's resulted in year-after-year sales increases. Increased appeal leads to increased used car values, which helps drive down total ownership costs for new-car buyers and helps Subaru reach the top of this mountain again.
Best Luxury Brand: Acura
While value and luxury are often seen as mutually exclusive concepts, much of Acura's appeal can be attributed to the fact that it delivers both. That's one of the reasons Acura is a repeat winner this year. While Acura models are indeed priced lower than segment alternatives from brands like BMW and Audi, they also hold their value incredibly well. If you're looking for the prestige and tradition that distinguish European luxury brands, you're going to have to pony up. But if you're instead more interested in the practical advantages of a premium-priced vehicle -- a quieter cabin, more comfortable seats, higher-quality interior appointments and such -- Acura delivers for less. A reputation for trouble-free, low-cost ownership is another key draw. Combined with the typically superior dealership experience, warranty and fringe benefits that further differentiate the luxury segment nowadays, it's clear that Acura delivers serious bang for the buck.