Buying groceries or investing in a new car — you want a good deal. Here are seven cars that will help you avoid buyer’s remorse. They’re drawn from a variety of size and price classes, from subcompact through midsize to sporty and ultra-luxury. Strong value is what they have in common. Our criteria includes features-per-dollar and overall performance, plus safety ratings, reliability, and resale value. These are model-year 2014 cars unless noted.
Least expensive first, here are our 7 cars that give you the most for your money. (Base prices include the manufacturer’s destination fee; these average about $900.)
Kia Soul – Ham-Star
Base-price range: $15,695 – $21,095
Fuel-economy rating (EPA city/highway combined): 26 mpg – 27 mpg
Safety rating (federal five-star scale): 5 stars overall
A hip design, plenty of safety and technology features, aggressive pricing, and clever marketing make the Soul a hit for its South Korean automaker. This boxy, front-wheel-drive subcompact four-door hatchback gets a makeover for model-year 2014. The styling is updated, the suspension retuned, and in-car connectivity is improved. With more high-strength steel in its body structure, the 2014 Soul is lighter, yet stronger than before. That contributes to its top government safety rating and quieter cabin. Two four-cylinder engines are offered; neither is a powerhouse. And ride and handling are nothing special. But various trim levels are available with such class-above features as a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and pushbutton engine start. Kia
doesn’t quite match the reputation for reliability and resale value enjoyed by Honda
, or Toyota. But Soul is one of the top-rated Kias, and the company’s 5-year/60,000-mile limited warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty help inspire confidence.