2012 Kia Soul
It's easy to compare prices on new cars, but if you really want a clear picture of what a vehicle costs, you need to know more than what's on the window sticker. Kelley Blue Book has taken a range of additional expenses into account and created its first-ever Cost of Ownership Awards.
In its analysis, KBB looked at seven key factors on 2012 model-year vehicles, calculated over a span of five years: depreciation, expected fuel costs, finance and insurance fees, maintenance and repair costs, and state fees for new models. KBB doled out Cost of Ownership awards for each major vehicle category -- compact, midsize, crossover, and so on -- and also evaluated each automaker overall.
When the dust had settled, Kia walked away with the Cost of Ownership Award for mainstream brands. KBB cited Kia's Optima, Soul, and Sportage models as keys to the company's success.
Among luxury automakers, Audi was the big winner. In its announcement, KBB called particular attention to the Audi A3, A4, and Q5 models and mentioned Audi's "superior fuel economy among its lineup".
Other notable KBB award-winners were the Chevrolet Volt (best electric car), Mazda Miata (best sports car), Audi A5 (best luxury car), and Hyundai Santa Fe (best crossover). Interestingly, the Honda Insight won in the hybrid category, besting the considerably more popular Toyota Prius.
For additional details, check out the video below (warning: loud techno ahead), or head on over to KBB and see how your preferred ride stacks up against the competition.