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CARS.COM 2023 BEST VALUE NEW CARS REPORT - KIA TOP SPOT


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Rio S (with Technology Package) Received Top Honors in the New Car Segment

IRVINE, CA, January 25, 2023 – Five select Kia models have been named to Cars.com’s 2023 Best Value New Cars report, further cementing the brand’s leadership position in offering award-winning vehicles at an incredible value. The 2023 Rio S (with technology package), 2023 Forte LXS (with technology package), 2023 Seltos S, 2023 Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX, and 2023 Sportage Plug-In Hybrid X-Line made the report, which Cars.com says helps car shoppers who are considering their next vehicle purchase. In addition, the 2023 Rio S (with technology package) was named the winner of the New Car segment.

“We are thrilled to have so many of our models added to the Cars.com 2023 Best Value New Car report, including two of our Plug-In Hybrid models under the ?Plan S’ umbrella of electrified offerings,” said Steven Center, COO and EVP, Kia America. “This recognition reinforces our commitment to design, safety, reliability, dependability and value.”

Cars.com’s 2023 Best Value New Cars report identifies the most affordable new-car models in four categories — small SUVs, EVs and PHEVs, small pickup trucks, and cars — that offer the best value for the price based on features and each category’s median price among Cars.com’s inventory.

“We expect affordability to be top of mind for consumers in 2023. Finding affordable vehicles that still offer impressive technology and safety features can be challenging for car shoppers,” said Jane Ulitskaya, Cars.com Editor. “Cars.com’s 2023 Best Value New Cars report will help shoppers find a quality vehicle within their budget including five options in small SUVs, sedans and plug-in hybrids from Kia.”

* The K5, Sportage, Sorento, and Telluride (excludes HEV and PHEV models) are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts. 

Kia America – about us

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia America continues to top automotive quality surveys and is recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands. Kia serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and offers a range of gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electrified vehicles sold through a network of over 750 dealers in the U.S., including several cars and SUVs proudly assembled in America.*

By Jane Ulitskaya

January 23, 2023

Shoppers who’ve been contemplating a new-car purchase in the last few years are likely aware of the rising costs of new vehicles and wondering how to get the best value out of their next new-car purchase. The median new-car price among Cars.com dealers was approximately $42,500 in December — a 10% increase from December 2021 and 18% higher than December 2020. Inflation and the persistent inventory shortage have certainly contributed to the spike as manufacturer incentives have dwindled and new-vehicle markups become more common. While these conditions are largely outside of shoppers’ control, there’s another factor impacting average prices that is being driven by shoppers: a growing preference for larger, costlier vehicles.

Related: Best Value Car of 2022

The popularity of mid-size SUVs and pickup trucks is holding strong, and these vehicles typically carry heftier price tags. Among Toyota’s lineup, the RAV4 compact SUV had a median price of approximately $31,000 among Cars.com dealers in December, the median price for the mid-size Highlander was $42,000, and the Tundra pickup’s was $55,000. Even with its higher price tag, the redesigned Tundra saw sales jump 27% from 2021 to 2022, according to Automotive News. Ford’s lineup paints a similar picture: The F-Series pickup truck ($64,500 median price) is not only the bestselling Ford model, but also the bestselling vehicle overall in the U.S. Among Ford SUVs, sales for the mid-size Explorer ($50,500) were 1.5 times higher than for the more affordable compact Escape ($34,000).

These examples from Toyota and Ford illustrate that buying a smaller vehicle can make a new-car purchase significantly more affordable. However, it’s important to consider the car’s overall value, including its purchase price, available features and cost of ownership. For some shoppers, hearing “value car” brings to mind a subcompact sedan, but our analysis of the best value new cars for 2023 shows that budget-conscious shoppers don’t have to limit themselves to just one vehicle type.

We analyzed four vehicle categories (cars, small SUVs, small pickup trucks and electric vehicles) with a focus on affordability and value. To select the best value finalists in each category, we used a methodology that accounts for pricing and available features. Unsurprisingly, cars offer the most affordable overall median price among Cars.com dealers; however, the small SUV category features the most models. The electric vehicle category, meanwhile, has a notably higher median price than the rest, but our plug-in hybrid and all-electric finalists make the case that it’s possible to go electric without going broke.

Best Value Finalists

The best value cars, small SUVs, small pickups and EVs below are ranked in order of the median price for the trim that includes all must-have features (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a blind spot monitor, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning) standard or available. If a package or option is required to get the required features, it’s noted as an add-on and factored into the vehicle’s starting price. Variables that impact cost of ownership (a vehicle’s EPA-rated fuel economy, annual fuel costs if available, and manufacturer warranty coverage) are outlined for each vehicle but do not determine ranking. All median and starting prices, EPA ratings and fuel-cost estimates are from December 2022; starting prices include destination fees. For further details, see the methodology following the lists.

Cars

2022 Kia Rio | Manufacturer image

It’s hard to beat a small sedan or hatchback when it comes to affordability and value. While a small car may not be practical for all shoppers, it carries a significantly lower median price among Cars.com dealers compared to the other three categories: The segment median for cars ($25,745) is $8,450 less than small SUVs, $17,325 less than small pickups and $33,925 less than EVs. Median prices for the best value finalists below are even more economical, ranging from $20,240 to $21,545. Although they may lack the flexible cargo space of SUVs or the utility of pickup trucks, the following cars meet all the technology and safety criteria while offering the highest average fuel-economy ratings of all the vehicle categories.

1. 2023 Kia Rio S

  • Add-ons: Technology Package
  • Median trim price: $20,240
  • Starting price: $20,085
  • MPG (city/highway/combined): 32/41/36
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,400
  • Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain

2. 2023 Nissan Versa SV

  • Median trim price: $20,755
  • Starting price: $20,045
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 32/40/35
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,450
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

3. 2022 Nissan Sentra S

  • Median trim price: $21,380
  • Starting price (including destination): $21,045
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 29/39/33
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,550
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

4. 2023 Kia Forte LXS

  • Add-ons: Technology Package
  • Median trim price: $21,585
  • Starting price: $21,815
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 28/39/32
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,500
  • Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain

5. 2023 Nissan Kicks S

  • Median trim price: $21,925
  • Starting price: $21,585
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 31/36/33
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,450
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

6. 2023 Hyundai Elantra SE

  • Median trim price: $22,005
  • Starting price: $21,545
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 33/42/37
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,350
  • Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain

Small SUVs

For many automakers, small SUVs have replaced sedans as the most affordable vehicles in the lineup, so it’s no surprise this category includes the longest list of finalists. The median price for non-luxury small SUVs among Cars.com dealers is $34,195; 15 SUVs meet all the criteria, with median prices between $23,000 and $30,000. The top models Cars.com’s recent Affordable Small SUV Challenge — the Kia Seltos, Subaru Crosstrek, Mazda CX-30 and Chevrolet Trailblazer — are also best value finalists.

All qualifying SUVs must offer standard or available all-wheel drive, and vehicles like the Hyundai Venue and Nissan Kicks that only offer front-wheel drive were classified as cars. For any SUVs below that don’t offer AWD standard, adding it increases the starting price by $1,500-$2,500, depending on the model.

1. 2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer LS

  • Add-ons: Driver Confidence Package
  • Trim median price: $23,440
  • Starting price: $23,890
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 29/31/30
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,700
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

2. 2023 Hyundai Kona SE

  • Median trim price: $25,200
  • Starting price: $23,285
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 30/35/32
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,450
  • Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain

3. 2023 Kia Seltos S

  • Median trim price: $26,228
  • Starting price: $24,485
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 29/35/31
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,650
  • Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain

4. 2023 Volkswagen Taos S

  • Add-ons: IQ.Drive Drive Package
  • Median trim price: $26,286
  • Starting price: $25,450
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 28/36/31
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,650
  • Warranty: Four years/50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and powertrain

5. 2023 Mazda CX-30 S Select

  • Median trim price: $26,770
  • Starting price: $26,675
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 24/33/29
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,750
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

6. 2023 Honda HR-V Sport

  • Median trim price: $27,540
  • Starting price: $27,195
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 26/32/28
  • Annual fuel costs: $2,050
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

7. 2023 Chevrolet Equinox LS

  • Add-ons: Driver Confidence II Package
  • Median trim price: $27,975
  • Starting price: $28,390
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 26/31/28
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,800
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

8. 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE

  • Median trim price: $28,305
  • Starting price: $28,940
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 24/30/27
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,900
  • Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain

9. 2023 Mazda CX-5 2.5 S

  • Median trim price: $28,365
  • Starting price: $27,975
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 24/30/26
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,950
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

10. 2023 Ford Escape Base

  • Median trim price: $28,770
  • Starting price: $28,995
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 28/34/30
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,700
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

11. 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Premium

  • Add-ons: Optional Package
  • Median trim price: $28,812
  • Starting price: $29,365
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 28/33/30
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,950
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

12. 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan S

  • Add-ons: IQ.Drive Drive Package
  • Median trim price: $29,522
  • Starting price: $29,140
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 24/31/27
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,900
  • Warranty: Four years/50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and powertrain

13. 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross LE

  • Median trim price: $29,526
  • Starting price: $26,130
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 31/33/32
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,850
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

14. 2022 Fiat 500X Pop

  • Median trim price: $29,590
  • Starting price: $29,560
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 24/30/26
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,950
  • Warranty: Four years/50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and powertrain

15. 2023 Buick Encore GX Select

  • Add-ons: Safety Package
  • Median trim price: $29,625
  • Starting price: $27,395
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 29/32/30
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,700
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain

Small Pickup Trucks

For years, shoppers looking for a small pickup truck were limited to mid-size rigs like the Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier or Toyota Tacoma, but the arrival of the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz for 2022 expanded both the availability and affordability of small pickups. Cars.com’s Best of the Year 2022 winner, the Maverick also claimed the top spot among cheapest pickup trucks, followed by the Santa Cruz. This pair heads the group below of best value small pickups, too, offering our must-have features at median prices that fall well below the class median ($43,070). Additionally, the Maverick defies the gas-guzzling truck stereotype thanks to an EPA-rated 37 mpg combined with its standard hybrid powertrain.

Joining the compact pickups is another recent addition to the small pickup market: the mid-size Ford Ranger. The Ranger took second place in the latest Cars.com mid-size pickup truck challenge upon its reintroduction to the U.S. for the 2019 model year.

1. 2023 Ford Maverick XL

  • Add-ons: Co-Pilot360 Package
  • Median trim price: $26,660
  • Starting price: $24,340
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 42/33/37
  • Annual fuel costs: $1,550
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain; eight years/100,000 miles hybrid components

2. 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz SE

  • Median trim price: $28,545
  • Starting price: $26,745
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 22/26/23
  • Annual fuel costs: $2,500
  • Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain

3. 2023 Ford Ranger XL

  • Add-ons: STX Appearance Package, Ford Co-Pilot360 Package
  • Median trim price: $32,470
  • Starting price: $32,745
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined mpg): 21/26/23
  • Annual fuel costs: $2,500
  • Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years/60,000 miles powertrain