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7 of the best cars for 2018


Most car shoppers are looking for a vehicle that's stylish, drives well, is reasonably priced, has a good safety record and doesn't cost too much to own and drive.

Kelley Blue Book has put together that combination in its awards for the best buys among 2018 models.

"These are the vehicles that our experts believe to be the absolute best-value choices for new-car shoppers," said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book.

To pick the winners, Kelley analysts looked at pricing and transaction costs, expert and consumer reviews and its data on five-year cost to own (which includes depreciation, insurance, maintenance, financing and fuel costs).

Kelley picked winners in 12 categories, and half were Hondas. Asked about this notable performance, Kelley Blue Book managing editor Jason Allan said: "This is a particularly strong year for Honda. By combining a proven track record and low ownership costs with several of the newest, most advanced, most efficient vehicles in several key categories, Honda claimed six of 12 segment awards."

Read on for a closer look at some of Kelley's picks from Honda and other automakers in popular categories.

Small car: Honda Civic


The Honda Civic is a perennial winner in this category, described by Kelley reviewers as a spacious and reliable commuter car that's also fun to drive. The Civic comes both as a sedan and as a coupe.

The base engine, a 1.5-liter four cylinder is rated by the EPA for 32 miles per gallon in city driving and 42 on the highway. The bigger, 206-horsepower 2-liter power plant comes with sportier models like the Si coupe and is rated for 31 city, 40 highway.

Manufacturer's suggested retail prices for the Civic range from $18,840 to $28,500.

Midsize car: Honda Accord


Totally redesigned for 2018, the Accord not only wins this category but is the Kelley overall best buy. The new styling has a longer and lower silhouette with more flair than the cautious styling of past models.

Instead of the V-6 previously available, the new Accord has a choice of turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The stingiest one has a rating of 30 MPG in city driving, 38 highway. All three engines have a combined city-highway rating of 30 MPG or above.

Accord prices start around $23,600 and range up to just under $34,000.

Full-size car: Chevrolet Impala


Impala, which wins this award for the fourth year in a row, has a roomier trunk than its competitors and is loaded with the latest tech like Apple CarPlay, GPS navigation and in-car Wi-Fi.

The Impala comes with a choice of engines -- a four-cylinder rated at 22 MPG city, 30 highway and a V-6 rated at 19 city, 28 highway.

Impala pricing ranges from just under $27,900 to about $34,600.

Small SUV: Honda CR-V


Kelley analysts praise the Honda CR-V for its affordability, dependability and safety. If you choose trim levels of EX and above, you get advanced safety features such as forward collision avoidance, automatic braking and lane-keeping assist.

The base 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine is rated for 28 MPG in city driving, 34 on the highway. The more powerful 2.4-liter four is estimated at 25 city, 31 highway.

CR-V prices range from $24,150 to $34,050.

Full-size SUV: Ford Expedition


The Expedition is completely redesigned for 2018, and Kelley analysts praise its strong towing and hauling capacity combined with fuel economy normally found in a smaller vehicle. Its 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V-6 engine is rated for 17 MPG in city driving and 24 on the highway.

Inside, it has capacious room for people and cargo. But you'll pay for these virtues. List prices for the Expedition run from $51,695 to $78,545.

Luxury SUV: Audi Q5


Audi's best-selling vehicle has a total redesign for 2018 that the Kelley test drivers describe as larger, more luxurious and more powerful. "It improves on what Audi is known for: a refined driving experience, tech-friendly cabin and elegant design," the award citation said.

The Audi Q5 has a 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that's rated for 23 MPG in city driving and 27 on the highway. List prices range from $41,500 to $50,800.

Pickup truck: Ford-150


Reviewers praise the Ford F-150 for its towing and hauling capacity, and a good array of tech features. The 2018 continues the aluminum body introduced three model years ago for lighter weight and better fuel economy.

Ford also was the first company to introduce the V-6 engine in a segment that had been dominated by V-8s. Now about 75 percent of F-150 buyers choose the V-6, which is rated for 20 MPG city, 26 highway.

As with all pickups, the enormous choice of body styles and features leads to a wide range in list prices -- from $27,580 to $63,945.

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