Our annual Best List includes these top picks for getting the best value for your money.
For resale: The 2016 Toyota Tacoma, starting at $24,240, is the overall resale winner, retaining 70 percent of its value after three years, says Kelley Blue Book. The Subaru Legacy ($22,540; 45% three-year resale value) is tops in family sedans, and the Toyota Highlander ($31,430; 53 percent) wins among crossovers.
For fuel economy: For family sedans, the Mazda6 ($22,330) wins with a combined city and highway average of 31 miles per gallon. The Honda CR-V ($24,745) beats out other crossovers with a combined 28 mpg, while the BMW i3 BEV ($43,395) bests its electric-vehicle peers with the EV equivalent of a whopping 124 mpg.
For overall value: Kelley Blue Book chose the redesigned Honda Civic as the overall best-value vehicle of 2016, thanks to its efficient new powertrain and low starting price ($19,475). Among electric or hybrid vehicles, the Chevrolet Volt ($33,995), which was redesigned for 2016, tops its class with increased battery range and lower prices. The midsize Honda Pilot ($31,245) and the luxury Lexus RX ($42,850) crossovers topped their categories for value.
BEST BETS AT COSTCO
When you shop for high-quality food items, you may not reach for the store brand. But the Kirkland Signature line from Costco Wholesale produces some gems. (Prices are from a Costco store in Albuquerque, N.M.; annual Costco membership starts at $55.)
Olive oil: A chemical and sensory study of olive oils by the University of California, Davis found that Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($13.99 for 2 liters) was one of a minority of imported oils that met international and U.S. standards for extra-virgin olive oil.
Bacon: In a taste test of bacon brands, Consumer Reports bestowed an "excellent" rating on just one product: Kirkland Signature Bacon ($10.99 for four 1-pound packages).
Liquor: You'll get a lot of bang for your buck with the Kirkland Signature Tequila Anejo ($19.99 for 1 liter) and the Egg Nog Liqueur ($9.99 for 1.75 liters), says Jerald O'Kennard, director of the Beverage Tasting Institute's Tastings.com. Both received scores in the "exceptional" range from the site.
BEST WEBSITE FOR CASH BACK
Create a free account at eBates.com, then click on any of the site's more than 2,000 retail partners, recently ranging from Amazon to Zulily. How much you'll earn back depends on how much you spend and where you shop. For example, eBates recently offered 1 percent back on Best Buy purchases and up to 10 percent back at Expedia. You'll receive a check or PayPal payment every three months as long as you've earned more than $5.
(c) 2016 Kiplinger's Personal Finance; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.