Kelley Blue Book recently presented its annual Best Buy Awards, and the Ford Motor Co. was a big winner taking six of them, including a pair for the brand-new Maverick compact pickup. KBB, as it is known in the trade, runs the program to help consumers make well-informed decisions.
Eighth Year Of Program
Now in its eighth year, the program, run by its experienced editorial staff, puts the latest vehicles through their paces to determine which models are tops in their segments. They “look for those vehicles that deliver the optimum blend of performance, capability, low operating costs, and affordability.”
The program looks at everyone’s transportation needs, including a wide range of vehicles that meet various needs, from traditional gas-powered vehicles to hybrids and plug-in hybrids to pure electrics. The program looks at compact and midsized cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs. Interestingly, the last two categories – pickups and SUVs – continue to expand to include smaller SUVs in mainstream and luxury brands as well as a new compact pickup award.
Also attracting a more comprehensive range of competing vehicles is the electric vehicle category, where new, longer-range, and more affordable models are beginning to hit the market. Like the expanding roster of truck and SUV categories, electric vehicles will have a growing impact on the luxury and mainstream market. EVs are also available in a broader range of vehicle types, including compact hatchbacks, luxury sedans, SUVs, and even pickup trucks.
According to KBB, even though the vehicles that are under consideration continue to evolve, “what doesn’t change are the criteria Kelley Blue Book editors rely on to help determine which models are eligible for consideration and, ultimate, the awards themselves.”
What KBB Program Considers
At the top of KBB’s list of vehicles are those that combine affordability, low ownership, and operating costs, dependability, and reliability. “These attributes go hand in hand with vehicles that offer comfort, convenience, the latest in high-tech driver and safety assists, intuitive infotainment, and, at the same time, are easy and fun to drive,” KBB notes. The service continued that a “vehicle that earns a Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award is certainly one that warrants serious consideration.”
The editors then begin to gather their initial information. This info is needed to qualify and evaluate vehicles for the “Best Buy” program. This information generated by the vehicles that are test-driven “by KBB editors throughout the year.”
KBB editors attend major vehicle launches, test vehicle evaluations at KBB offices, and video production. KBB also maintains a long-term test fleet that generates many of the insights for the program.
The KBB program uses extensive hands-on experience with new vehicles, providing the basis for “our expert reviews, road test videos, Top 10 lists, and comparisons found on KBB.com.”
“Based on this coverage and data gleaned from our resale values and 5-Year Cost town data, we determine which all-new or extensively redesigned vehicles we will consider as Best Buy candidates.”
KBB Program Described
The list is finalized during the summer with testing “at our Irvine, California, headquarters starting in September.”
“It’s here where the current category winner is tested side-by-side against the crop of the latest challengers. We evaluate seating comfort, ease, and flexibility of getting in and out of the vehicle, the vehicle’s luggage space, along with other creature comforts and infotainment systems.
“In addition, we look closely at build quality, cabin materials, and pricing against the competition and expected resale value and operating costs. We also get behind the wheel and test drive the vehicles over a series of loops that involve everyday traffic and road conditions to experience the cars as an owner would. A manufacturer’s reputation for quality, reliability, durability, and various warranties, including bumper-to-bumper and powertrain offerings, also factor in our decision.”
“For 2022,” the KBB Best Buy Awards to the best in categories that “encompass the entire range of vehicles that meet virtually all automotive needs.” Further, the program recognizes that the “awards are” powerful tools “when it comes to making the right vehicle choice.”
For 2022, KBB program honored six Ford vehicles, including the Best New Model.
Best New Model
- The 2022 Maverick
The Ford Maverick boasts 42 mpg fuel economy, a low starting price, and plenty of capability. The Maverick scored a second win in the Best Buy category of Compact Pickup Trucks.
The Ford Maverick is a capable, fuel-efficient, super-affordable compact truck with a price below $20,000.
Other Ford Best Buywinners include:
- Full-Sized SUV – 2022 Ford Expedition
The 2022 Ford Expedition receives significant updates that make this past Best Buy winner even better.
- Full-Size Pickup Truck – 2022 Ford F-150
The Ford F-150 is tops in towing and hauling and is ready for both work and play.
- Electric Vehicle – 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Mustang Mach-E offers an engaging balance of great performance, fresh style, and modern tech.
Other Best Buys
- Midsized Pickup Truck – 2022 Toyota Tacoma
- Minivan – Toyota Sienna
- Luxury Compact SUV – Toyota RAV4 Prime
- Luxury Car – Lexus ES
- Subcompact Luxury SUV – Mercedes-Benz GLA
- Compact Luxury SUV – Genesis GV70
- Midsized Luxury SUV – Genesis GV80
- Compact Car – Honda Civic
- Midsized Car – Honda Accord
- Subcompact SUV – Kia Seltos
- Compact SUV – Toyota RAV4
- Midsized SUV – Hyundai Santa Fe
- 3-Row Midsized SUV – Kia Telluride
Video and photo courtesy Ford Motor Co.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.