Anyone shopping for a new car likely has a lot of questions swirling through their mind. Are the best hybrid cars also among the best family cars? If you want a car with great gas mileage, should you be looking at the best compacts or the best subcompact cars? What about if you’re looking for a commuter car? Should you just be shopping among the best cheap cars on the market or can you afford to look at luxury cars and sports cars, too?
While these are all valid questions, most buyers will find themselves coming back to one specific question no matter what the additional criteria might be: what’s the best value? Of course, people’s budgets are going to vary, but regardless of how much you can afford you still want to know you’re getting the most car for your money. Fortunately, there’s an abundance of auto experts out there ready to weigh in on the question. Take a look at some of the best values for 2019’s new slate of vehicles so that you can avoid car buyer’s remorse.
The Hyundai Accent underwent a major overhaul in 2018, meaning the changes for the 2019 model are relatively modest. However, the Accent remains an excellent option for someone looking for a compact sedan on a compact price.
“Since it first entered the American market three decades ago, buyers on a budget have counted on Hyundai,” an expert wrote in a review on Kelly Blue Book. “But these days, as the 2019 Hyundai Accent subcompact sedan demonstrates, the emphasis is on ‘value,’ rather than just a rock-bottom price.”
That “value” includes Android Auto and Apple Carplay, seating for five, a surprisingly snazzy exterior design and a five-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that demonstrates a company looking to stand behind its product.
A combined 34 mpg means you’ll be getting value not just when you buy, but while you’re driving, as well. And if getting a fuel-efficient ride at a low price is all you’re concerned with, you might be pleasantly surprised at just how well the car drives.
“The 2019 Toyota Yaris is a nicely packaged subcompact sedan or hatchback, a strong value proposition and a playful option in a staid segment,” according to Car and Driver, where the Yaris was an “editors’ choice.” “Don’t let the badge fool you: the Yaris (formerly known as the Yaris iA) is actually a Mazda 2 in disguise and handles the corners with the aplomb.”
Plenty of people are probably going to respond to the news that the Honda Civic is one of the best compact cars for the money with a yawn. That’s because that’s been the case with the Civic for a long time. However, just because the most recent entry into this dynasty of well-priced compact sedans represents yet another godsend to car shoppers seeking out utility on a budget doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. If you’re on the hunt for the best first car to own, it’s hard to overlook the Civic.
“Honestly, Honda could have sent its engineers on a yearlong vacation to Tahiti rather than task them with updating the 2019 Civic,” reads the expert review on Edmunds. “We’ve been giving this generation Civic top marks since its debut three years ago, and there’s nothing else out this year that’s going to steal the car’s title belt. But here we are anyway with an even better Civic.”
Don’t Miss: Popular Cars From Every Decade
Honda’s not done, though. The Civic is just one of its well-known models with a longstanding and well-deserved reputation for a great value. The newest Accord includes the Honda Sensing suite standard — a safety feature that includes automatic braking, adaptive cruise control and road-departure mitigation — and has options for a six-speed manual transmission if you’re interested in a sportier ride.
“For decades, the Honda Accord has been one of America’s best family cars,” reads the review from Car and Driver. “Its consistent evolution and remarkable execution [have] earned it a place on our 10Best Cars list almost every year — and it finds itself there again for 2019. … It’s not only one of the best family cars for 2019 but one of the best cars, period.”
And if you’re looking for one of the best cars for teens, the Accord earned top marks in its safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Anyone looking for an option that is reminiscent of the best luxury cars but priced like a modest family sedan, the Mazda6 might be the right option. The car manages to live in the family-car world while taking fun jaunts to the realm of something that provides a real driving experience. But before you worry about whether the car’s right for transporting your kids, know that it received a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA — its highest possible score.
“Most of all, it’s a sedan, and a damn fine one for the shrinking number of buyers looking for four wheels, four doors, a trunk and an engine,” writes Erin Marquis for Jalopnik. “It’s gorgeous enough to be noticeable, fun enough to be drivable, and low-key enough for the average driver to feel like they’re getting away with a great car at a great price.”
Find Out: The Cost of a Car the Year You Were Born
To be really upfront, if you’re an NBA player or just someone who likes plenty of space in their ride, go ahead and click on to the next slide: The Spark is most likely not for you. However, if you’re interested in a small, economy car with surprisingly impressive performance, well, this is one option that might spark your imagination.
“[For] those who want a lot from a little package that amounts to more than just rock-bottom pricing, the 2019 Chevrolet Spark is worth a look,” Kelley Blue Book’s expert reviewer wrote. “The Spark delivers great mileage while retaining better-than-expected acceleration. It has a welcome mix of infotainment and safety technologies, as well: including a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Wi-Fi, as well as forward-collision warning and a rearview camera. For those who want an affordable commuter car, there are some big reasons to check out the little Chevy Spark.”
Check Out: These 19 Cars Cost the Most to Maintain
Hyundai Veloster N
The name of the Hyundai Veloster clearly implies that this is a car with some zip, even if the price implies something entirely less impressive. The car features an interesting three-door configuration, appearing as a coupe on the driver’s side while offering easy access to the back on the passenger’s side. And with plenty of horsepower, whatever you load in should get to where it’s going in no time.
“The Veloster N packs an impressive 250 horsepower and starts at a very reasonable [price],” Tom McParland wrote for Jalopnik. “If you add the performance package that includes a limited slip differential, larger wheels, bigger brakes and a power bump to 275 horsepower that car would set you back just under $30,000. It’s a good deal.”
Who knows why Volkswagen opted to name this model the “Golf.” Perhaps it’s because you can buy a reliable car to drive you, some friends and all of your clubs out to the course at a price that leaves you with plenty of money left over for greens fees. Heck, you might very well be able to afford a membership, given that you just scored 32-mpg combined gas mileage, five-star NHTSA safety ratings and an impressive six-year, 72,000-mile warranty for under $25,000.
“The Volkswagen Golf may look unassuming, with its jellybean body and small stature, but it’s one of our very favorite cars to drive,” reads the review in Car and Driver. “[It] expertly blends practicality, affordability and real driving chops for a delightful package that demands almost no compromises from its owner.”
If you’re looking for some, ahem, insight into why this particular model got high marks from reviewers, it could have to do with getting a reasonably priced hybrid — 52 mpg combined — that’s still a car you would want to drive. The regenerative braking is reportedly much smoother than in other hybrids, the 8-inch infotainment screen interfaces with your smartphone and the car scored five-star safety ratings from the NHTSA across the board.
“This new Insight isn’t quite as miserly with fuel as the Hyundai Ioniq, but it’s close enough to keep it competitive, as is its long list of standard advanced safety features,” reads the expert review from Edmunds. “Its numerous strengths — which include a spacious cabin, quick acceleration and excellent value for money — lead us to recommend it heartily against any other hybrid on the market.”
Find the Best Value: 37 Cars You Can Own for Under $300 a Month
Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
Price: $24,495 (sedan); $24,995 (hatchback)
Bargain hunters shopping around for the best diesel car will typically come away unhappy, as many vehicles with this type of engine come attached with larger price tags. However, the Chevy Cruze is an already-well-reviewed car that appears to get even better if you opt for the diesel option. Driving the diesel model translates to an impressive 48 mpg highway — or better if you believe the road tests from Consumer Reports.
“We measured an impressive 41 mpg overall and an outstanding 60 mpg on the highway,” the venerable product review magazine reported. “It also became one of our road-trip kings with a massive 810-mile highway cruising range.”
So, if you’re looking for a compact diesel option at a good price that offers terrific gas mileage, the Chevy Cruze Diesel might just be the ticket.
If you’re thinking close to $35,000 for a compact doesn’t scream value, perhaps you’re unfamiliar with how a plug-in hybrid works. For your daily commute, a full charge allows the car to travel more than 50 miles purely on electric power. But if you want to take a road trip, the hybrid engine gets 42 mpg running on gas after you’ve exhausted the battery, meaning that this is the electric car version of having your cake and eating it too.
“Ever since it appeared on the electric car scene in 2011, the Chevy Volt brought a measure of practicality and peace of mind with its supplemental gas engine that would kick in to extend the Volt’s limited battery-only range,” according to Consumer Reports. “The current, second generation, is a more mature and capable car. It delivers a commuter-friendly electric range of 50 miles.”
Like the Honda Civic, the Toyota Camry has been the personification of value for generations of car buyers. And Toyota keeps earning that reputation with a model that improves year after year. The 34 mpg combined is nothing to sniff at, and the Toyota Safety Sense system includes key features like emergency braking and collision warnings. The double-wishbone rear-suspension — introduced with last year’s model — has also helped make it considerably more fun to drive.
“The new Camry offers sleeker styling, but it’s the improved fuel economy and handling, plus standard advanced safety systems, that distinguish it among the crowd of midsized sedans,” reads the Consumer Reports review. “The Camry has long held the distinction as a competent, well-rounded and pleasant family sedan. However, it gets a bad rap among critics as unexciting. To address that perception, the redesign brings snazzier styling and slightly nimbler handling.”
If you — like almost everyone else in America — are mostly concerned with issues like getting good gas mileage or having a sound system that works with your phone, the Kia Rio is a great option under any name.
“If you’re looking for an attractive subcompact city runabout that blends good fuel economy with lots of value, the 2019 Kia Rio deserves attention,” reads the expert review from Kelley Blue Book. “It fits with ease in snug parking spots, it boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, it’s available with autonomous emergency braking and it has a fantastic powertrain warranty.”
Looking for the best all-wheel drive cars isn’t always going to land you in the realm of a value buy, but the Nissan Altima could be the exception — especially with a 2019 update that has thrust it into the conversation for solid family sedans. With an array of options, 32 mpg combined and an overall five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, this is one car that could deliver the AWD you’ve always wanted without breaking the bank.
“Last year was a big year in the midsize sedan world, as the top two best-selling sedans, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, were completely redesigned,” writes the expert reviewer for Kelley Blue Book. “But 2019 is the Altima’s year, as the all-new Nissan arrives with a new look, sporty attitude, two new engines (both mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission), an impressive array of safety features and, for the first time, the availability of all-wheel drive. This newfound all-season appeal is something neither the Accord nor the Camry can offer.”
Toyota Camry Hybrid
You’re certainly paying more to get the hybrid engine in this classic family sedan — about $4,000 or so — but you’re also getting about 20 more mpg, so depending on how much driving you do and how expensive gas prices are in your area, you might even save money in the long run. Add to that a range of attractive features that make this car every bit as good as the traditional version, and you’re looking at a car that offers a whole lot of value.
“Redesigned last year, the Camry Hybrid is full of modern touches, including a powertrain that now dominates the class for fuel economy,” reads the expert review on Edmunds. “EPA fuel economy estimates for the Camry Hybrid are as high as 52 mpg combined, a number previously reserved for small hatchbacks such as the Toyota Prius. And while the Camry Hybrid certainly isn’t a sports car, its acceleration might surprise you. In our tests, the Hybrid zipped from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, which is quicker than the standard gasoline-only Camry.”
Know the Costs: The Most and Least Expensive States to Own a Car
Honda Accord Hybrid
Another model that has both the gas engine and hybrid versions on this list, the Accord Hybrid has impressed some auto experts with its 48 mpg combined, all of the updates from 2018 and an optional six-speed manual transmission. However, the price break up to the Hybrid is about $1,800, making the cost of the additional 18 mpg combined pretty affordable.
“Among [hybrid crossovers], the 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid is one of our top picks,” wrote the expert reviewer at Edmunds. “Much of that is due to the inherent goodness of every Accord. The cabin is positively huge, and it’s well-stocked with convenience features. You also get a considerable number of advanced safety features as standard.”
Keep reading to see the dumb ways to ruin a car’s trade-in value.
More on Cars
- How to Buy a Car
- Pros and Cons of Rent-to-Own Cars
- How to File a Car Accident Claim to Get the Money You Deserve
- 10 Best Tips for Cheap Car Rental Deals
Photo Disclaimer: Photos are for representational purposes only. As a result, some of the cars might not reflect the current base make and model listed in the article.