The Top 5 Best Values in New Cars


Finding the right car at a good price has gotten a lot tougher over the past year. Auto makers, hit hard by the Great Recession, cut back sharply on production to reduce excess inventories of new cars. And dealer incentives have also been on the decline -- averaging just $2,528 in December -- as consumer demand has picked up. (When was the last time you saw an ad or heard a commercial touting 0% financing?)

If you’re in the market for new car, you’ll have to do some research to make sure you get the best deal possible. To get you started, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s annual buyer’s guide broke down its list of top auto values by price, scoring its best-in-class picks based on performance, value and safety. About 35% of the total score came from the vehicles safety features (anti-lock brakes, airbags, electronic stability control, etc.). The rest was judged by the test drive.

So which of the 2011 models are among the best values for new car buyers? Here are Kiplinger’s top values, based on price.

Cars Under $20,000: 2011 Hyundai Elantra.





Invoice: $14,646 (model: GLS)
With Financing: $242 a month ($1,465 down/3.9% rate /60 months)
To Lease: $233 a month ($233 due at signing/$9,486 residual/36 months)

See Kiplinger’s ranking of the Top 25 models in this price range here.


Cars Between $20,000 and $25,000: 2011 Hyundai Sonata.





Invoice: $22,559 (SE 2.0T)
With Financing: $364 a month ($2,256 down/2.9% rate /60 months)
To Lease: $359 a month ($359 due at signing/$13,924 residual/36 months)

See Kiplinger’s ranking of the Top 25 models in this price range here.



Cars Between $25,000 and $30,000: 2011 Kia Optima.





Invoice: $23,485 (EX 2.0T)
With Financing: $379 a month ($2,349 down/2.9% rate /60 months)
To Lease: $395 a month ($395 due at signing/$13,603 residual/36 months)

See Kiplinger’s ranking of the Top 25 models in this price range here.



Cars Between $30,000 and $45,000: 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.





Invoice: $32,472
With Financing: $568 a month ($3,247 down/6.2% rate /60 months)
To Lease: $503 a month ($503 due at signing/$19,701 residual/36 months)

See Kiplinger’s ranking of the Top 25 models in this price range here.



Cars $45,000 or More: 2011 Infiniti M.





Invoice: $53,147 (M56)
With Financing: $836 a month ($5,315 down/1.9% rate /60 months)
To Lease: $891 a month ($891 due at signing/$28,800 residual/36 months)

See Kiplinger’s ranking of the Top 25 models in this price range here.

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