The top picks in the auto industry keep their value. People want recognized brands, quality, and performance in their cars, trucks, and SUVs. They want safety, technology, and design. And, each year, they wait for the reports on the best buys.
Well, that’s what they should do. Too many people buy on price alone, understandable in some situations but never recommended.
These vehicles are currently the top picks in the industry (in no particular order):
- Subaru WRX – MSRP $26,995
The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) lists the WRX as “Good” in six Top Safety Pick+ categories and Superior in optional forward crash prevention.
Car and Driver recognize its “All-wheel-drive confidence, powerful turbocharged engine, great visibility.” But, you may also notice the advanced driver assistance features in Subaru’s Starlink Safety and Security telematics.
The WRX comes in three trims: WRX, Limited, and Premium. It boasts turbocharged engine, perfect steering control, and top performance as a standard all-wheel drive.
- Chevrolet Bolt – MSRP $36,620
The Chevrolet Bolt is a top-performing electric car. With its 60-kWh battery pack and 238-mile electric range, green tax incentives can lower the price. Its onboard 7.2 kW charger lets you “refuel” from a 240-volt outlet overnight.
The driver sits high in this unique silhouette and enjoys one pedal and silent drive. There’s a Premium trim, but the Chevrolet Bolt EV LT comes with HID headlights, keyless entry and start, and Chevy’s MyLink infotainment with Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.
Kelly Blue Book says, “the Bolt comes nicely equipped, is fun to drive and will likely earn heaps of praise from your eco-friendly friends.” And, its standard safety features include GM’s Teen Driver safety system letting parents set audio volume and speed limits for teen drivers.
- Toyota Corolla – MSRP $23,495
Corolla is a dependable, fuel-efficient sedan with a long history. Compact on the outside and roomy on the inside, Corolla has great fuel economy at 32 mpg overall. Standard safety devices include automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and pedestrian detection.
It comes in six trims, but the core L model has adaptive cruise control,15-inch steel wheels, LED headlights, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, and a 6-speaker audio system with a CD player, Bluetooth, iPhone use, Siri Eyes Free voice control system, and more.
Basic safety systems include a forward collision warning, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, and rearview camera. And, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) gives the Corolla 5 out of 5 stars on its safety testing.
- Subaru Forester – MSRP $22,795
This small SUV values fuel economy, reliability, room, visibility, and reliability. It comes in six trims, but the base 2.5i sports a 2.5-liter engine with spectacular fuel efficiency at 24 and 28 mpg combined.
The standard all-wheel-drive is a five-seat compact crossover with surprising passenger room, extra ground clearance, and safety extras like its automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning with Subaru’s EyeSight package.
You might check Subaru prices on the new 2.5i Premium Black Edition packaged with 18-inch black-finish wheels, black grille, exterior trim, and black fabric upholstery for a surprising formal look.
- Ford F-150 – MSRP $27,705
Ford’s truck remains the best-selling vehicle in America. The F-150 set the direction in vehicle contemporary sales and remains the leader in innovation, features, and quality. Despite the low MSRP, you may pay as much as $65,000 for top trims.
But, the base F-150 offers 19 mpg, quick acceleration, and 3.3-liter, V6-assisted, powerful towing ability. Your F-150 has a spacious rear seat, room for tools and work or vacation gear, and Pro-Trailer Backup Assist.
And, 2018 introduces new bumpers, exterior lighting, grille designs, tailgates, and wheels. As Car and Driver said, “The F-150 is the most complete and compelling full-size pickup to be found.”
- BMW X3 – MSRP $42,650
If there’s going to be a luxury SUV crossover, you have to hand it to BMW. 2018 represents a completely new design. It doesn’t look much different, but it is longer and wider producing more interior head and leg room.
A new stand up central display touchscreen is home to the iDrive infotainment software with wireless Apple’s CarPlay functionality. There are only two trims, but the basic xDrive30i comes with luxury features like adjustable driving modes, auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless ignition, powered front sports seats, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, 40/20/40-split rear seat with individual seat recline, simulated leather upholstery, and more.
- Chevrolet Impala – MSRP $27,895
A classic, comfortable, and family-ready full-sized sedan, the Chevrolet Impala has four doors and top of its class trunk space. Sleek and with a touch of town car about it, the Impala’s been around for generations.
The three trims start with the LS, a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder with 197 horses. Standards include front-wheel drive, Android connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and keyless entry. The Impala enjoys its reputation for reliability and serviceability as a family car and fleet vehicle.
At 111.7-inches wheel-to-wheel and 201.3-inches front-to-read, it has the same parking space as regular-sized SUVs and competitive with the few full-sized cars still in showrooms.
- Ford Expedition – MSRP $51,790
The Expedition is still the bully on the block when it comes to size, power, and features. It scores big for visibility, ride quality, cargo storage, and interior space. Three spacious comfortable rows seat growing families and lock child seats in the place with safety points. The second row makes third row access even for adults.
Its turbo V6 has torque enough and its 10-speed automatic has talent enough to pull boats and trailers with ease. And, on the soft side, the Ford Sync 3 system was among the first and remains among the best. Of course, additional trim packages will raise the price on that MSRP.
- Subaru Impreza – MSRP $18.495
Cameron Rogers of Edmunds raves, “Compared to other models in this class, the Impreza is a standout for its stellar handling, roomy cabin, available hatchback body style, and a number of widely available advanced driver aids.” The sedan is modest in external styling and interior features. But, it has 4-wheel drive, easy-to-navigate infotainment, and fuel economy that shows 22-28 mpg city/30-38 mpg hwy. This is an errand runner, college commuter, and drive-to-work vehicle with a 2.0-liter and 145 horsepower.
- Toyota Sienna – MSRP $30,750
Sooner or later, every family and many businesses need a minivan to transport kids or product. The minivan is crucial to carpools, soccer moms, DIY projects, or small business that depend on delivery. The Toyota Sienna more than fills the bill.
Sleek and unpretentious on the outside, it’s spacious enough on the inside to seat eight. The V-6, 8-speed automatic comes with standards like automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and good safety scores.
The base LE trim offers a 7-inch Entune infotainment touchscreen that you can upgrade to keep the kids busy in the back seats. There’s also the powered driver’s seat and dual power rear doors.
There are few surprises on this list. “Trending” doesn’t just mean “cars of the future.” But, these vehicles sell, a sure sign that they are meeting customer demand in terms of design, service, and features. These are currently the top picks in the industry if you are shopping for price, safety, utility, or style.