This post is sponsored by iConnect Influencer Management and Kelley Blue Book. While travel expenses were provided, all opinions remain my own.
Ahhhh, the new hotness! Earlier this week, Kelley Blue Book invited me to their headquarters in Irvine for their first ever Influencer Ride-n-Drive event.
It was a ridiculously fun and informative time learning about the cream of the crop, the evaluation process and getting behind the wheel of mid-size and luxury SUVs like the new Volvo XC90, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and Acura MDX.
Since my lease is almost up on my Explorer, this trip came just in time! I mean check out the video below and all the fabulousness that went on in my 36 hour whirlwind trip!
I also got behind the wheel of a Bentley. SWEET.
It was also great finding out all the Kelley Blue Book offers consumers and being introduced to their Best Buy Awards.
The Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards are designed to provide a significant service to new-car buyers by identifying the cream of the crop of all available 2016 model-year vehicles. The awards are the culmination of a year-long regimen of expert vehicle evaluation and testing of nearly every new vehicle available in America, along with analysis of a broad swath of vehicle-related data, including vehicle pricing/transaction prices, 5-Year Cost-to-Own data (which includes depreciation, insurance, maintenance, financing, fuel, fees and taxes for new cars), consumer reviews and ratings, and vehicle sales/retail sales information.
Of more than 300 new-car models available for 2016, Kelley Blue Book’s expert editors initially narrowed the field to 49 Best Buy Award Finalists in 12 major vehicle categories and then spent several weeks testing and evaluating all of the finalists head-to-head to ultimately determine the winners.
After carefully analyzing a wealth of data and conducting extensive vehicle testing and evaluation from the hundreds of models available for the 2016 model-year, we chose this year’s elite group of 12 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award winners because they proved to be the top values in their class. – Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com
Being able to learn more about the mid-size and luxury SUV nominees and have a driving experience with a few in beautiful sunny California was amazing!
Today, on Kelley Blue Book’s website, you will see the big announcement of winners in each category. If you are in the market for a new (or used) ride, then you will want to check out their site!
But without further ado… ::drumroll please::
Our group of expert vehicle testers chose the totally redesigned 2016 Honda Civic as the Overall Winner in our Best Buy Awards because it sets a new standard in a segment already known for delivering great value, providing an up-level experience to drivers and passengers in every facet of the driving and ownership experience. – Jack Nerad
2016 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award Winners
Overall Winner: 2016 Honda Civic
The venerable Honda Civic has been completely redesigned for 2016, and the compact car segment will never be the same. Stylish, refined and tech-savvy, sporting a powerful and efficient new powertrain, the wholly impressive and downright desirable new Civic is nothing less than the best car you can buy for under $20,000, and this year’s Overall Best Buy.
Small Car: 2016 Honda Civic
Last year’s Small Car Best Buy Award winner was completely redesigned for 2016, and took this year’s trophy even more convincingly. With a sharp new look, class-above interior, impressive new powertrain and cutting-edge technology, the wholly rethought Civic is the best of the class by a long shot.
Mid-Size Car: 2016 Kia Optima
After years of winning fans with its sharp style, premium features and solid value, a full redesign for 2016 has catapulted the Kia Optima past some truly great automobiles to claim this year’s Mid-Size Car Best Buy Award.
Full-Size Car: 2016 Chevrolet Impala
Chevy’s famously roomy, comfortable, affordable sedan is much more than that today. The latest iteration is also stylish inside and out, offers a long list of in-car technologies including Apple CarPlay and wireless phone charging, and balances smooth highway ride with responsive handling.
Luxury Car: 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Last year’s redesign elevated the Mercedes-Benz C-Class to Luxury Car Best Buy status, and nothing could take it away this year. The distinctive design gets even more appealing with time, while the polished interior and surprisingly dynamic driving experience feel equally timeless.
Sports/Performance Car: 2016 Chevrolet Corvette
An unmatchable mix of performance and price has always been the Corvette’s trump card, but impressive fuel economy and resale value strengthen its case as the Best Buy in fun.
Electric/Hybrid: 2016 Chevrolet Volt
Another 2015 Best Buy that was completely redesigned for 2016, the second-generation Chevy Volt complements greater battery range and improved performance with sleeker styling, more features, and even-more-attractive pricing.
Small SUV/Crossover: 2016 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is the best-selling SUV in the country, one of our 10 most awarded vehicles of the past year, and now it’s been named a Kelley Blue Book Best Buy two years in a row. Effortless driving manners, a roomy interior, and a bulletproof reputation for reliability continue to set the CR-V apart.
Mid-Size SUV/Crossover: 2016 Honda Pilot
After shining brightest in our midsize SUV comparison test earlier in the year, with a compelling combination of utility, comfort, features and price, none of our editors were surprised when the totally redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot also claimed this year’s Mid-Size SUV/Crossover Best Buy Award.
Full-Size SUV/Crossover: 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe
The Chevy Tahoe is far and away the best-selling vehicle in the segment, and its unique combination of style, comfort, economy and value has earned it Kelley Blue Book Best Buy honors for the second year in a row.
Luxury SUV/Crossover: 2016 Lexus RX
The Lexus RX isn’t just the best-selling model in the Lexus lineup, it’s the best-selling luxury SUV in America. Buyers find great value in the comfortable, reliable, desirable RX, and a complete redesign for 2016 has helped it earn this year’s Luxury SUV/Crossover Best Buy Award.
Truck: 2016 Ford F-150
Radically redesigned for 2015 with an aluminum-intensive architecture and an expanded lineup of powerful, efficient turbocharged V6 engines, the latest F-150 enters its second model year boasting best-in-class towing, payload and fuel economy, and now back-to-back Best Buy trophies.
Minivan: 2016 Honda Odyssey
Combining superior flexibility, unmatched practicality and renowned refinement, the Honda Odyssey remains the minivan of minivans and a repeat Best Buy Award winner.
I’m not surprised about many of the best buys especially since over the years I’ve driven (and enjoyed) the Honda Civic, and Honda Pilot.
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