To most people, spring means longer days, sunny skies, and flowers in bloom. For us, however, spring also means great deals on outgoing model-year vehicles. While some cars, like the Honda Civic and Mitsubishi Outlander, received enormous changes between the 2015 and 2016 model years, others enjoyed more modest enhancements or were complete holdovers from the year before. It’s these cars — the unchanged models — that we want to find.
Expected reliability is the single most important factor in deciding on a car, according to J.D. Power. Whether you want a vehicle for off-roading, track days, or everyday commuting, you definitely don’t want one that will cost you a lot of extra money, time, or frustration in repairs. J.D. Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study, now in its 27th year, polls owners of 3-year-old cars to determine the number of problems they experienced during the previous 12 months. The company then ranks each maker and model by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles.
Every neighborhood has one. The guy with the monstrous SUV and a driveway covered in ice. No matter how shiny their brand new snow-blower is (they usually have a snowblower), when the white stuff starts to accumulate, they hop in their Suburban, step on the gas, and let the 4-wheel drive do the rest. The machine specifically designed to clear driveways never even gets primed — why let your hands freeze pushing that contraption around when your SUV isn’t even really stuck?
While many auto journalists will tell you they’re just trying to scratch a living out of whatever they can, it’s an undisputed fact that the job has some definite perks. Although we can’t live the life of the rich and famous every day, we do occasionally get invited to drive the cars we cover. For a couple of beautiful days in October, Monticello Motor Club—one of the most exclusive and impressive automotive country clubs in America—opens its doors for the International Motor Press Association‘s (IMPA) Test Days, where schlubs like us get asked to drive some of the best new cars in the world on both a technical race track and the back roads of the Catskill Mountains.
Frequent readers of our blog might remember a post we wrote a while back about which vehicles offer the most horsepower per dollar. The possibility of getting the absolute most of a certain spec or feature per dollar intrigues us, perhaps because we’re a consumer-focused site, or maybe just because it’s fun to have a purely data-driven glimpse into car shopping. It’s easy to buy a car based on looks, or branding, or a particular set of features that you’re simply dying to have. It’s harder to figure out exactly where the best value lies.