2019 Model-Year Winners
When it’s time to buy a new car, many consumers base their final decision on price alone — or that and the vehicle’s color. Unfortunately, this shortsighted approach leaves folks vulnerable to the many costs associated with owning a car beyond the purchase price, such as depreciation, insurance, maintenance and fuel costs. These additional expenditures can vary greatly depending on the vehicle purchased. Kelley Blue Book has done extensive analysis to determine which vehicles are the least expensive to own over a five-year period, considering factors such as financing, insurance, state fees, fuel costs, scheduled maintenance and repairs, and ultimately depreciation of the vehicle. The vehicle’s purchase price used in this calculation is KBB’s Fair Purchase Price. What follows are 2019 model-year vehicles that KBB says will be the least costly to own, listed by category.
Compact Car — 2019 Kia Soul
5-Year Cost to Own: $29,012
In the age of cookie-cutter crossovers, not many vehicles on the market can be called unique — but there aren’t any vehicles on the road quite like the Kia Soul. Soul features a roomy interior for five occupants and a spacious cargo area — all wrapped in a funky package that redefines the “boxy” car segment. The base-level Soul has a 130-horsepower 1.6-liter engine teamed with a 6-speed manual transmission that is rated at 24 mpg city / 30 mpg highway. Soul is also available as a pure EV with a range of 111 miles. Look for an all-new 2020 Kia Soul arriving in showrooms later this year.
Midsize Car — 2019 Honda Accord
5-Year Cost to Own: $34,544
One of the best-selling midsize sedans in America, the Honda Accord has a lot to offer. Available in a variety of trim levels as a 2-door or 4-door, Accord can even be equipped with a manual transmission — a nod to driving enthusiasts. Completely redesigned a few years back, the Accord is built on a lighter, more rigid body structure designed to improve handling and comfort. Honda offers this popular sedan with a number of power options that include two new turbocharged engines, a 10-speed automatic transmission and a new generation of Honda’s 2-motor hybrid system.
Full-Size Car — 2019 Chevrolet Impala
5-Year Cost to Own: $45,101
One of the few full-size sedans still available in the U. S. market, the Impala is available with the latest high-tech features that include active noise cancellation, 4G LTE wireless connectivity, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, a rearview camera and Apple CarPlay. Power comes from either a standard 196-horsepower 2.5-liter engine with start/stop technology, or a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 that comes standard on the top-level Premier trim. The Impala is a repeat winner in KBB’s Cost of Ownership study.
Sports Car — 2019 Fiat 124 Spider
5-Year Cost to Own: $38,487
The Fiat 124 Spider hit U.S. shores in 2017, returning after a 30-year absence from the U.S. market. The result of a collaboration between Fiat and Mazda, the Fiat 124 Spider is based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata, but with Italian styling and a Fiat drivetrain, suspension and tuning. Designed in Turin, Italy, the sporty Fiat features styling cues taken from the original 124 Spider, including a hexagonal upper grille, power domes on the hood and sharp horizontal taillights. The rear-wheel-drive 124 Spider is powered by Fiat’s 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo 4-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower (164 in Abarth) and 184 lb-ft of torque, teamed with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. The convertible top is manually operated — easily put up or taken down from the driver’s seat.
Entry-Level Luxury Car — 2019 Acura ILX
5-Year Cost to Own: $37,208
The ILX received fresh new styling for the 2019 model year, with the most notable change being the addition of the brand’s signature Diamond Pentagon grille that brings this entry-level sedan in line with the rest of the lineup. The ILX also gets an updated interior with a dual-screen interface as well as integration of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. All versions of the ILX are powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine teamed with an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Luxury Car — 2019 Lexus GS
5-Year Cost to Own: $61,188
The Lexus GS was one of the first in the Lexus lineup to feature the brand’s large, bold grille when it was redesigned a few years back. Outfitted as a luxury sport sedan, the GS offers three available powertrains ranging from a fuel-efficient turbocharged 2.0-liter engine to a powerful 5.0-liter V8 that produces 467 horsepower in the GS F. With the big V8, the GS F can sprint to 60 mph in a mere 4.5 seconds, and the custom sport suspension and big Brembo brakes help drivers take proper control of all that power.
Hybrid — 2019 Toyota Prius c
5-Year Cost to Own: $31,932
The least expensive model in Toyota’s hybrid fleet, the Prius c received a mild refresh last year. In addition to the updated styling, Toyota equips the Prius c with the latest in high-tech safety features including a pre-collision system and lane departure alert. The “c” in Prius c stands for city, which explains why this model is not only the least expensive, but also the smallest hybrid Toyota offers. Total output from its small 1.5-liter engine and electric motor combination is 99 horsepower while achieving a combined fuel economy rating of 46 mpg.
Electric Vehicle — 2019 Nissan LEAF
5-Year Cost to Own: $35,321
The LEAF was one of the first mainstream electric vehicles sold in America when introduced in 2011, and last year the LEAF was all new. It received a fresh new look including a roomier interior as well as better performance and efficiency. The Nissan LEAF is equipped with a high-response 110-kW AC synchronous electric motor producing 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. The power supply is a new 40-kWh laminated lithium-ion battery containing 192 cells generating 33 percent more energy than the outgoing model. This gives the LEAF a range of 150 miles, and with a DC fast charger a 30-minute charge will provide almost 90 miles of driving.
Subcompact SUV/Crossover — 2019 Mazda CX-3
5-Year Cost to Own: $31,727
Mazda joined the growing subcompact crossover market when it introduced the sporty CX-3 for the 2016 model year. The Mazda CX-3 is the fifth model to feature Mazda’s now familiar KODO — Soul of Motion theme, and designers worked to incorporate a lot of style into this entry-level model. The CX-3 uses Mazda’s advanced i-ACTIV AWD system that takes input on both dynamic and static conditions to be more predictive about when torque should be delivered to the rear wheels. For 2019 CX-3 gets an upgraded interior with better sound insulation and available leather trim, as well as an updated front grille.
Compact SUV/Crossover – 2019 Subaru Crosstrek
5-Year Cost to Own: $35,321
All new for the 2018 model year, the Crosstrek is longer and wider than the previous model, with styling that features the familiar hexagonal grille, “hawk-eye” headlights and an impressive 8.7-inches of ground clearance. Built on an all-new global platform that significantly enhances body and chassis rigidity, the Crosstrek received suspension improvements, a lower center of gravity and more responsive steering to improve driving dynamics. Inside, seats have been updated, the steering wheel has been redesigned and more space is available for passengers and cargo. Crosstrek is powered by a revised 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine producing 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, and comes standard with Subaru’s legendary all-wheel-drive system.
Midsize SUV/Crossover (2-row) — 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
5-Year Cost to Own: $36,984
Hyundai introduces an all-new Santa Fe for the 2019 model year with updated styling and a range of new features. The Santa Fe replaces the Santa Fe Sport as the Korean brand’s 5-passenger offering, while a new Santa Fe XL will offer three rows of seating. This fourth-generation Hyundai SUV comes with the latest high-tech safety features as standard equipment, including automatic emergency braking and blind-spot collision warning, as well as lane-keeping and rear cross-traffic alert. Also standard is safe exit assist, which locks the rear doors to prevent rear-seat occupants from opening them into traffic when vehicles are approaching from behind.
Midsize SUV/Crossover (3-row) — 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander
5-Year Cost to Own: $38,058
Outlander is Mitsubishi’s midsize 7-passenger crossover that was last refreshed for the 2016 model year. The Outlander starts below $25,000 and can range up to the GT with Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel-drive system. Two engines are available, including a 3.0-liter MIVEC V6 unit that produces 224 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque. Mitsubishi also offers the Outlander as a plug-in hybrid that has the same 224 horsepower but gets 22 miles of electric-only range and impressive fuel economy.
Off-Road SUV/Crossover – 2019 Jeep Wrangler
5-Year Cost to Own: $35,330
If any vehicle deserves the “iconic” label, it’s the Jeep Wrangler — the modern descendant of the original U.S. military vehicle that spawned the Jeep name and began the legacy of extreme off-road capability. Jeep introduced an all-new Wrangler last year, and while styling is completely new, Wrangler retains its 7-slot grille and round headlights but is more aerodynamic than the previous generation. Two hardtops, a new Sunrider soft-top and a new Sky One-Touch power top are offered. Both 2- and 4-door versions are available in Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon trims.
Full-Size SUV/Crossover — 2019 Nissan Armada
5-Year Cost to Own: $59,626
Even though many SUVs have migrated to a more carlike unibody construction, the Armada remains a body-on-frame design capable of handling considerable cargo and towing duties. This full-size SUV carries up to eight occupants while still retaining plenty of space for cargo. The Armada’s 5.6-liter V8 engine generates an impressive 390 horsepower. With this much power on tap, the Armada can tow up to 8,500 pounds. This may be an old-school truck-based SUV, but the Armada is fully modern inside with the latest high-tech connectivity and safety features, including adaptive cruise control and forward emergency braking.
Luxury Subcompact SUV/Crossover — 2019 Lexus UX
5-Year Cost to Own: $42,617
The first Lexus vehicle to use the brand’s new Global Architecture — Compact platform, the brand-new UX benefits from a rigid structure and low center of gravity to deliver both agile handling and ride comfort. The exterior design is similar to the larger NX and RX models but more aggressive, with a large spindle grille and flared fenders that dominate the front view. The UX is offered in two versions: UX 200 and UX 250h — the latter uses a new fourth-generation hybrid drive system with total system output of 181 horsepower. E-Four All-Wheel Drive adds an additional electric motor at the rear axle to give the 250h AWD capability.
Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover — 2019 Lexus NX
5-Year Cost to Own: $43,749
Lexus joined the burgeoning compact luxury SUV segment when it introduced the NX for the 2015 model year. Last year the NX was updated with fresh styling including a revised grille, larger fog light openings and additional chrome accents. Suspension tuning has also been improved for better ride and handling. Naming has also been changed — the NX 300 replaces the NX 200t; however, the engine remains the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 235 horsepower. Lexus also offers the NX as the fuel-efficient NX 300h hybrid.
Luxury Midsize SUV/Crossover (2-row) — 2019 Lexus RX
5-Year Cost to Own: $49,885
One of the first luxury crossovers when it debuted as a 1998 model, the RX combines the utility of an SUV with the ride and comfort of a luxury sedan. The RX is also the most popular model in the Lexus lineup. Last year Lexus upped the utility of the RX by adding the RX L trim, which is slightly larger and offers seating for up to seven with a new third row. The RX is available as the RX 350 or the RX 450h — the latter featuring a powerful and fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain.
Luxury Midsize SUV/Crossover (3-row) — 2019 Infiniti QX60
5-Year Cost to Own: $51,829
The QX60 is Infiniti’s family-friendly 3-row crossover that debuted for 2013 as the JX35 and was renamed QX60 for the 2014 model year. The QX60 received revised exterior styling for the 2018 model year that reflects Infiniti’s contemporary design language, including a new signature grille, headlights, turn signals and new wheel designs. The QX60 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 295 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, mated to a continuously-variable transmission. Available with front- or all-wheel drive, the QX60 can be equipped with the latest high-tech safety features including forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Luxury Full-Size SUV/Crossover — 2019 Infiniti QX80
5-Year Cost to Own: $71,909
As the flagship SUV of the Infiniti lineup, the QX80 combines a luxurious interior with impressive capability and versatility. Sporting a 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine under the hood, the QX80 can haul as much as 8,500 pounds and offers seating for up to seven occupants. The interior is properly equipped with leather seat trim, a high-end Bose audio system, tri-zone climate control and the helpful Around View Monitor. The QX80 is also available with the latest in safety technology, including forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention and blind-spot intervention.
Minivan — 2019 Honda Odyssey
5-Year Cost to Own: $43,853
One of the most popular minivans on the market, the Odyssey was all new for the 2018 model year. With an expressive exterior design, the updated Odyssey features the new “Magic Slide” second-row seat system that offers multiple seating configurations and third-row access options. The center second-row seat can be removed, or the outboard seats can be moved laterally between five positions for third-row access. Odyssey is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine creating 280 horsepower. Advanced connectivity and entertainment features include CabinWatch, CabinTalk & streaming video with 4G LTE Wi-Fi.
Midsize Pickup Truck — 2019 Toyota Tacoma
5-Year Cost to Own $36,053
Not only is the Toyota Tacoma the most popular midsize truck on the market, it holds its value better than any other vehicle in America. Completely redesigned in 2016, Tacoma is offered as an Access Cab with rear-hinged doors to access the storage area behind the seat, as well as the 4-door Double Cab. Both cab styles are offered in 4X2 and 4X4. The 3.5-liter V6 engine provides plenty of power and actually achieves better fuel economy than the lesser-powered 4-cylinder option. Later this year an updated 2020 Tacoma will begin arriving in showrooms with updated features and a freshened exterior.
Full-Size Pickup Truck — 2019 Toyota Tundra
5-Year Cost to Own: $45,920
Although the Tundra doesn’t come close in sales to the American pickup offerings, this full-size truck still brings plenty to the pickup party. There are almost 50 different configurations of Toyota’s full-size pickup truck with multiple cabs, bed lengths, powertrains and trim levels. With trims ranging from the basic SR to the luxurious Platinum, the Tundra offers impressive capability and Toyota’s reputation for reliability in a very tough truck market. Last year Toyota announced the addition of a TRD Sport version of the Tundra, which features sport-tuned Bilstein shocks and TRD front and rear anti-sway bars, as well as a mesh grille, LED headlights, LED fog lights and a color-keyed hood scoop.