IntelliChoice.com’s Best Deals for December Shows Resilience and Value of Alternative Fuel Cars in a Shifting Market

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In monthly value ranking of new cars, trucks and SUVs, hybrid and diesel-powered models make up one third of the winners; Kia and Nissan achieve notable firsts.

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"Three of the December winners, all from Volkswagen, are turbo diesels, showing that the new generation of diesel-powered cars has matured and is poised to join the larger conversation about green vehicles,” said Charlie Vogelheim, executive editor

IntelliChoice.com, the leading source for automotive ownership cost and car values analysis, today announced “Best Deals of the Month” rankings for December 2009 that illustrate the power of hybrid and diesel vehicles in delivering value for consumers, even with gas prices relatively flat.

Trending Up
Hybrids. Ten of the 31 Best Deals winners for December 2009 are gas-electric hybrid or diesel vehicles. And winners run the gamut from small cars such as the Toyota Prius to hybrid versions of full-size trucks like the Chevrolet Silverado.

“IntelliChoice.com has long noted the ability of hybrids to deliver long-term value for consumers,” said Charlie Vogelheim, executive editor of IntelliChoice.com. “But Volkswagen and its turbo diesel technology are especially noteworthy. Three of the December winners—all from Volkswagen—are turbo diesels, showing that the new generation of diesel-powered cars has matured and is poised to join the larger conversation about green vehicles currently dominated by hybrids and electrics.”

What’s New and Notable
“December 2009 marks another win for Kia, which makes the Best Deals list on the back of a $4,000 rebate for the Kia Sorento, the winner of the Intermediate Utility segment,” said Vogelheim. “It’s the fourth win for the Kia Sorento since November 2008. And this is the first time in a long time that we can remember the Toyota Tacoma being bumped from its perch atop the compact pickup class, which goes to the Nissan Frontier King Cab.”

Vogelheim added, “The fact that we can see these kinds of changes is another important reminder to car buyers that the vehicle which makes the most economic sense this week could change next week.”

Rebates of the Month
A $10,000 rebate on the Cadillac XLR was not enough to beat the Chevrolet Corvette’s $4,000 rebate and its top slot in the Sport class. Vogelheim said that average new car rebates for December came to $1,367, down slightly from an average of $1,407 in November and $1,450 in October. Not surprisingly, most of the heavier rebates can be found in the truck segments, where domestic automakers continue to try to move product.

The Domestics
Domestic automakers continue to apply the incentives for all trucks, from compact to full size. In the car segments, the Pontiac Solstice Coupe takes the top spot in the base sports car segment, joining its Corvette cousin as the domestic winner in the car segments.

The Winners
IntelliChoice.com’s “Best Deals of the Month” rank the new cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs that deliver the best cost of ownership in 31 vehicle classes. The best car values for December 2009 are:

Class -- Brand / Model
Subcompact Cars -- MINI Cooper Hatchback, Toyota Yaris Hatchback (TIE)
Compact Cars over $17,000 -- Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sedan
Compact Cars under $17,000 -- Honda Fit
Midsize Cars over $21,000 -- Toyota Prius
Midsize Cars under $21,000 -- Toyota Prius
Convertible -- MINI Cooper Convertible
Luxury Convertible -- Audi A4 Convertible
Near Luxury Cars -- Audi A3
Luxury Cars -- Lexus LS
Large Cars -- Hyundai Sonata 4cyl
Base Sports Cars -- Pontiac Solstice Coupe
Sports Cars -- Chevrolet Corvette
Small/Midsize Wagon -- Volkswagen Jetta TDI Wagon
Sport Sedan/Wagon over $38,000 -- Lexus GS
Sport Sedan Wagon under $38,000 -- Mazda3 Mazdaspeed, Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart (TIE)
Compact Utility/Crossover -- Saturn VUE Hybrid
Midsize Crossover -- Volkswagen Touareg 2 VR6
Luxury Crossover -- Lexus RX
Intermediate Utility -- Kia Sorento
Utility -- Toyota Land Cruiser
Luxury Utility -- GMC Envoy Denali
Minivan -- Honda Odyssey
Full-Size Van -- Chevrolet Express 1500
Compact Pickup 2WD -- Toyota Tacoma Regular Cab 2WD
Compact Pickup 4WD -- Nissan Frontier King Cab 4WD
Full-Size Pickup 2WD Half Ton -- Silverado Crew Cab Hybrid 2WD, Sierra Crew Cab Hybrid 2WD (TIE)
Full-Size Pickup 2WD 3/4 Ton -- Silverado 2500 HD Crew Cab 4WD
Full-Size Pickup 2WD One Ton -- Ram 3500 2WD
Full-Size Pickup 4WD Half Ton -- Silverado Crew Cab Hybrid 2WD, Sierra Crew Cab Hybrid 2WD (TIE)
Full-Size Pickup 4WD 3/4 Ton -- Silverado 2500 HD Crew Cab 4WD
Full-Size Pickup 4WD One Ton -- Ram 3500 4WD

The Methodology
IntelliChoice.com’s “Best Deals of the Month” analyzes monthly car values based on the seven primary factors that determine a vehicle’s long-term ownership costs: fuel economy, maintenance, repair, retained or resale value, licensing, state fees and taxes. Using these factors, IntelliChoice.com determines what it costs to own and operate new cars over five years. The firm examines each and every new car model-year trim line, as ownership costs can vary significantly among different trim lines of the same model.

Visit Intellichoice.com for complete car value rankings, including the best used cars on the market.

About IntelliChoice.com and Source Interlink Companies, Inc.
IntelliChoice.com, part of Source Interlink Media, LLC., is the market leader in automotive ownership cost and car values analysis. Founded in 1986, IntelliChoice.com is committed to empowering consumers to make better purchase decisions by providing independent and essential automotive information and tools. Through the IntelliChoice.com web site (http://www.intellichoice.com), consumers get the help they need to research, compare, configure and price new cars. The site also connects buyers to the buying alternatives of their choice, including vehicle manufacturers and an online car buying guide. Source Interlink Media LLC is a subsidiary of Source Interlink Companies, Inc., a recognized provider of targeted media and marketing services, a leading U.S. distributor of home entertainment products and services and one of the largest publishers of magazines and online content for enthusiast audiences.

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