** The following information was republished from Kelley Blue Book’s announcement regarding the Best Buy Awards of 2020 **
Helping you find the right vehicle at the right price is what we do at Kelley Blue Book. Our annual Best Buy Awards, now in their sixth year, are the distillation of that mission in one comprehensive award program. KBB Best Buys identifies the top vehicles in categories that that resonate with the majority of new car buyers. As we have witnessed since the inception of the Best Buy Awards, the only constant these days is change. Vehicles that were once dominant players in the market, like family sedans, have lost some of their appeal. They’re still important, but the bulk of the vehicles being sold today are crossover SUVs and trucks. In recognizing the popularity of latter as well as the expanding nature of these offerings, we’ve added two new categories — midsize trucks and two-row midsize SUVs.
We are also cognizant of the coming wave of alternative-powered vehicles as well. While their percentage of the market is represented by single digits, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid offerings are growing in number. As a result, we now have divided the previous alternative power category into two, one for pure EVs, the other for plug-in hybrids.
In evaluating and selecting our category winners, Kelley Blue Book editors look for vehicles that deliver the best combination of quality, comfort, driving dynamics, dependability, low ownership costs and affordability. By blending all these attributes in the cars, SUVs and pickups that best meet customer needs, these Best Buy category winners are sure bets when it comes time to compile your new vehicle wish list.
How we determine what makes a Best Buy
The evaluation process for the annual KBB Best Buy Awards is a year-round effort. Our editors are constantly driving and reviewing hundreds of new cars, trucks and SUVs and use these insights to compile Expert Reviews, Top 10 lists, Buyer’s Guides and comparison tests. Early on, we are able to identify candidates that will compete in the various categories and in late summer, bring them in for rigorous side-by-side comparisons. We not only drive the vehicles over various test loops simulating the daily use of everyday drivers, but also closely go over the vehicles checking out interior room, amenities, comfort, quality of materials and build, infotainment systems and overall ease of use.
We also do extensive homework on the value equation, determining the affordability of pricing versus the competition and pore over 5-Year Cost to Own data and resale value. The value is equation is critical, as a lower cost vehicle may not represent the best deal if it’s not able to retain its value over time. We also consider a manufacturer’s reputation for delivering quality, reliability and durability along with the length of both bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties.
With 16 different categories ranging from full-size pickup trucks to plug-in electric vehicles, the 2020 Kelley Blue Book Best Buys have something to offer everyone. Depending on need, there is a vehicle that that’s right for you and these awards are another tool in helping you make the right decision. In addition to the category awards, KBB also recognizes the Best New Model, an award given to the best all-new or significantly redesigned model that represents innovation and value.
KIA TELLURIDE: 2020 Best Buy Awards Best New Model
Simply put, the 2020 Kia Telluride wowed us. It won its class of 3-row midsize SUVs – among the segment’s most popular and hotly contested – and won our hearts in the process. The all-new Kia Telluride boasts class, practicality, comfort, and a host of standard safety features and technology, all at a price that could define the word “value.”
Kia clearly did its homework in bringing the Telluride to market. It’s got the substantial size Americans crave, the tech we want (Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and large touchscreens, natch), design that is handsome yet tough, and the kind of active safety features for which some luxury brands still charge extra. Think blind-spot warning, forward-collision alert with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. They are standard on every Telluride – every one of which also happens to be made in America. Read more, click here.
HONDA CIVIC: Compact Car Best Buy of 2020
The Honda Civic continues to be the benchmark of the compact car segment because it can offer something for everyone. And it’s not just about body style, either: Even though the Civic is the only small car that’s available as a sedan, coupe or hatchback, the variety of offerings doesn’t stop there. There’s a choice of two excellent engines that will satisfy most compact-car shoppers, plus feisty versions of the 1.5-liter turbo engine, as well as a 306-horsepower engine in the high-performance Civic Type R.
The Civic’s interior is top-notch: It’s roomy and comfortable, and comes with features you’d find in a class-above vehicle. The Civic offers plenty of value, with a wide range of safety and comfort features that come standard, plus a starting price below $23,000 including destination charges. That value lasts the life of the vehicle, as the Civic is backed by Honda’s reputation for reliability, durability and high resale value. Read more, click here.
HONDA ACCORD: Midsize Car Best Buy of 2020
It’s been three years since the Honda Accord has gotten a major makeover. However, the last go around was such a complete job in upgrading this midsize sedan that when it comes to delivering on buyers’ expectations, it withstands the test of time in this highly competitive segment. That’s not to say others aren’t trying to knock the Accord off its perch, but the Accord excels with its polished powertrain, comfortable cabin and substantial look and feel.
For 2020, Honda returns with an Accord that is essentially unchanged from last year with only a modest increase in price (up $185 for all models except the Sport, which sees a $385 bump). Also, Honda offers a wide range of trim levels and three powertrain options including a fuel-efficient hybrid. Read more, click here.
KIA KONA: Subcompact SUV Best Buy of 2020
For the second year in a row, the Hyundai Kona has earned the crown as the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy winner among subcompact SUVs. That’s even more impressive when you consider the Kona itself is only a couple of years old, debuting last year as an all-new model in a segment that was already bustling with competition. Thanks to loads of style, safety systems galore, an excellent warranty and a variety of features to match your budget, the 2020 Hyundai Kona remains at the top of the subcompact-SUV pack.
While the 2020 Kona’s style is whimsical, its safety is serious. All models come with forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and a driver-attention monitor that can detect drowsy or inattentive driving. All are welcome in a world of ever-increasing distraction and busyness. Read more, click here.
HONDA CR-V: Compact SUV Best Buy of 2020
The Honda CR-V remains the benchmark in the compact-SUV class as evidenced by the fact that it’s taken the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award for the fifth time. It hasn’t rested on its laurels, despite having gone through a major facelift two years ago. It receives another freshening for 2020 that includes a slight revamp to the exterior, but the big news is the addition of a U.S.-built hybrid model due early next year. Using the same powertrain that makes the Honda Accord Hybrid a standout, it’s the first electrified crossover SUV in the Japanese automaker’s portfolio and puts its product range in direct competition with rival Toyota, which has long offered a hybrid version of its RAV4.
From a styling, size, utility and drivability standpoint, not much has changed as far as the basics are concerned with the Honda CR-V. It is a standout in its class with clean, uncluttered styling, plenty of room for five passengers and their gear and an easy-to-drive demeanor that takes full advantage of the higher seating position afforded by this class of vehicle. Aside from the all-new Hybrid, which is a big step forward for this model range, the incremental changes to the CR-V have kept it ahead of its rivals.
Buyers will be able to distinguish the new 2020 CR-V models by their richer and more aggressive look, thanks to larger openings for the bumper-integrated round fog lamps on EX, EX-L and Touring models. The Hybrid will sport bar-style fog lamps with five LEDs. The chrome grille is more prominent and at the rear, there’s a new dark chrome applique beneath the dark tinted rear window and chrome exhaust tip at the rear. Hybrid models will sport unique rear bumper as well as a hidden tailpipe and special Hybrid badging with blue accents. Read more, click here.
HYUNDAI SANTA FE: Midsize SUV Best Buy of 2020 — Two-Row
Spacious, nicely appointed and an excellent value, the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is an easy-to-recommend SUV in the burgeoning two-row midsize SUV segment. This segment appeals to people who want more space than a compact SUV can offer, yet don’t need a third row. And, as one of KBB’s editors noted, while the Santa Fe is on the smaller side of the two-row midsize SUV spectrum, it is nicely packaged, with a high level of attention to materials and build quality. It’s this combination of value, practicality and quality that earned the Santa Fe Best Buy two-row midsize SUV honors for 2020.
The attractive Santa Fe slots between the Hyundai Tucson and the Palisade. It has been adorned with LED headlights, Hyundai’s new grille, and an eye-catching profile. Those sharp looks continue inside, where you’re greeted by an upscale cabin. Hyundai designed the interior with plenty of practicality in mind, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of the materials or the overall look and feel.
All Santa Fe models get SmartSense, Hyundai’s suite of safety features, which includes blind-spot collision avoidance, forward collision assist with pedestrian protection, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist and smart cruise control with stop-and-go capability. All Santa Fes also come with a 7-inch touchscreen, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. As far as options, there’s a long and varied list, including all-wheel drive and a lot of interior bells and whistles, all of which make the Santa Fe a great value for the money. An especially appealing feature is Safe Exit Assist, a system that locks the doors to prevent people exiting the car if the system senses traffic is coming up from behind. Read more, click here.
KIA TELLURIDE: Midsize SUV Best Buy of 2020 — Three-Row
It’s exceedingly rare, but every once in a while, a baseball player will hit a home run in their first at bat in the MLB. If this were Major League Baseball we were talking about, the Kia Telluride would be that athlete.
This brand-new three-row SUV from Kia is the brand’s largest, most sophisticated and most beautiful to date. Combined with its host of standard safety features, power, practicality, and startling value, it is also not just the best Kia SUV to date, it’s the best among all players in its segment.
That’s quite a feat, especially in the bread-and-butter class of midsize crossover SUVs that has become the de facto family vehicle. And it’s not like the Telluride doesn’t have formidable competition. Here’s why the Kia Telluride earned the 2020 Midsize SUV Best Buy Award. Read more, click here.
FORD EXPEDITION: Full-Size SUV Best Buy of 2020
Large truck-based SUVs, those three-row machines built on a traditional ladder-style frame, aren’t as crude as they used to be. Rather, they’re more refined than ever, making them great everyday family haulers — modern station wagons, if you will. And among the current crop, the Ford Expedition continues to shine the brightest, thus explaining why it’s the KBB Full-Size SUV Best Buy winner for 2020, the second year in a row it has captured the coveted title.
The Expedition — all-new in 2018 and noted for its independent rear suspension and lightweight aluminum body — artfully blends an ability to carry people in sublime comfort with an appetite for hard work, be it hauling cargo, towing a trailer or getting your family to a remote campsite. At the same time, the Expedition boasts all kinds of modern safety and convenience features that make it a great everyday wagon without compromising any of its truck-like capabilities. Read more, click here.
CHEVROLET COLORADO: Pickup Truck Best Buy of 2020 – Midsize
In this year’s Best Buy evaluations, the midsize pickup truck category was one of our most hotly contested. Taking the top prize is the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado, with its three engine options, myriad cabin/box configurations and solid resale values.
Just because these aren’t full-size trucks doesn’t mean they don’t work. The Chevrolet Colorado is among the most capable of the crop with best-in-class towing and second-best payload capacity. It also boasts the lowest base price of other competitors.
Of all the midsize trucks out there, the Colorado proves to be the most customizable of the bunch. When other trucks give buyers the option of a crew cab with only a shorter bed, the Colorado can be had with both crew cab and extended 74-inch bed. Cab and bed configuration choices include an Double Cab (aka extended cab) model with a 74-inch bed, a crew cab with a 62-inch bed and a crew cab with a 74-inch bed. With the tailgate down, the longer bed allows hauling of 8-foot-long items. Rear space in the second row of the crew cab feels capacious compared to some of the other offerings in the category. Seats are comfortable with creative storage throughout. Read more, click here.
FORD F-150: Pickup Truck Best Buy of 2020 — Full-Size
For the sixth year in a row, the Ford F-150 has earned the title of the Kelley Blue Book Pickup Truck Best Buy. That’s an impressive feat for sure, and all the more so when you consider that the full-size truck segment is among the most competitive. Every year it’s a battle to be king of the hill. Yet year after year, the Ford F-150 ends up wearing the crown.
Even amid freshened and impressive competition by the Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, the 2020 Ford F-150 has fended off rivals thanks its blend of capability, wide range of trims and powertrains, and long feature set. Whether you’re a Texas rancher who uses a truck as a truck, a California commuter who daily endures freeway battles or fall somewhere in between, the 2020 Ford F-150 will be your loyal partner.
The 2020 Ford F-150 is available in a dizzying combination of trims, engine choices and cab/bed configurations. While the task of choosing the right one for you may seem daunting at first, the result will be worth it because you are more likely to find a truck that matches your wants and needs. And while updates are minimal for 2020, Ford has made some features formerly reserved for higher trims available on lower, less-expensive models. That’s a win for everyone. Read more, click here.
HONDA ODYSSEY: Minivan Best Buy of 2020
For the third year in a row (and the fifth time in the past six years), the Honda Odyssey has claimed the coveted KBB Minivan Best Buy Award.
That’s quite a run for Honda’s family hauler. At the risk of sounding like a broken record (remember those?), let’s remind everybody of why the Odyssey has been so perpetually dominant in the minivan category.
Simply put, this Honda van shines in all areas. As a family hauler, the well-built Odyssey seats up to eight people in a 2-3-3 configuration, and it’s roomy enough to accommodate actual adults inside, not just kids. What’s more, the center row of Magic Slide seats can be moved every which way to meet various needs, while the split-folding rearmost bench continues to flip and disappear into a rear floor that serves as a super deep cargo hold when it’s not occupied by the folded seat.
As you’d expect, our KBB Minivan Best Buy winner of 2020 also drives well. While the Odyssey suspension is tuned for supple ride comfort about town, this Honda also is a genuine pleasure to drive on those twisty sections of road that lead, say, into the local mountains. Natural-effort steering and brakes make the Odyssey feel smaller than it actually is. Read more, click here.
HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC: Electric Car Best Buy of 2020
Yes, there are some mental-level changes you’ll have to make if you decide to go electric. Plugging in is a commitment that requires planning to do right, as well as a second car if you want to get out of town for some serious road-tripping and hate loitering while your ride powers up at a charger. But with pure-electric cars routinely coming up with more than 200 miles of range and the price of Level 2 home-charging systems coming down every season, electric cars add more freedom to driving each year — especially for commuters and city dwellers.
At the forefront of this electrified era of transportation, technological masterpieces like the Tesla Model 3 and affordable everyman’s vehicles like the 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric make choosing battery power to get to around all day easier — and more rewarding — than ever. Coming home and cheaply charging while you’re fast asleep adds a bonus. A snapshot of the moment gives the Kona EV our nod as the KBB Electric Car Best Buy for 2020. Read more, click here. h
HONDA CLARITY PLUG-IN HYBRID: Plug-In Hybrid Car Best Buy of 2020
It takes a special vehicle to win a Best Buy award three years in a row — especially when it has only been on the market for that same period of time. The exceptional automobile fitting that description is the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), which is the Kelley Blue Book Plug-in Hybrid Car Best Buy of 2020.
Launched new for the 2018 model year, the Honda Clarity is offered in three very distinct variants: pure electric, fuel cell, and PHEV. While this jack-of-all-trades assortment of powertrains may sound like Honda has made compromises, just the opposite is true — the Clarity was engineered as a clean-sheet design with each of those unique models in mind. As a result, driving dynamics are excellent, cargo space and interior utility impressive, and passenger concessions are few and far between.
Yet the range of the Clarity is even more impressive as a daily commuter or errand runner. If the owner starts with a fully charged battery each morning (a home Level 2 charger will fill the battery in fewer than three hours) and then plugs into a charger at the office, the combustion engine will see much less use. In this scenario, fuel economy is doubled or tripled. Owners reporting triple-digit numbers is not uncommon. Even the Kelley Blue Book long-term Honda Clarity PHEV, which sees more than its fair share of road trips, is averaging about 98 mpg overall.