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KBB Reveals Total Cost of Ownership Winners

Juan Flores, Kelley Blue Book

Kelley Blue Book unveiled the winners of its inaugural Total Cost of Ownership Award program on Wednesday, and taking the top honors were Kia and Audi.

Kia won the overall award among all automakers, while Audi received the award for luxury brands. KBB also honored individual models across 21 segments, as well.

To determine the winners, the company considers the projected KBB Total Cost of Ownership for the initial five-year period.

KBB said Kia stands out from its peers because of its slew of successfully revamped models as well as the brand's "greatly improved quality, superior fuel economy and competitively priced models." Meanwhile, Audi is unique based on the "low depreciation and superior fuel economy" found in its vehicles.

In addition to winning the overall awards, Kia and Audi were also honored in the vehicle categories portion of the awards. The Kia Soul took top honors among compact cars, while the Audi A5 was the top luxury car and the Audi Q7 earned recognition in the luxury sport utility segment.

"Kia has evolved dramatically as a company in the past three years and developed one of the youngest and most acclaimed vehicle lineups in the industry, offering unmatched levels of style, performance and technology," stated Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing and communications at Kia Motors America.

"The award from Kelley Blue Book is further validation of the maturation of the Kia brand and our unique ability to exceed consumer expectations while maintaining our reputation for tremendous value," he added.

Sharing more about its two segment winners, Audi officials said the following in a statement: "The seven-passenger Audi Q7 exceeds driver and passenger expectations for functionality and comfort. Q7 customers have the option of a gasoline turbocharged, fuel-injected 3.0 liter TFSI engine, or a powerful yet fuel efficient V6 turbocharged direct injection TDI clean diesel engine.

"The 2012 Audi A5 is available in Coupe and Cabriolet models and offers drivers and passengers exceptional performance and safety. The A5 is equipped with the award-winning Audi 2.0L TFSI engine, a fuel-sipping, yet torque-laden powerplant that generates 211 hp at 4,300 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm," they added.

Segment Winners

Delving further into the individual vehicle categories, Chevrolet and Lexus tied for the most awards, as each had three of their vehicles represented. Audi, Ford, Hyundai, Mazda and Nissan each won two categories, while Honda, Jeep, Kia, Toyota and Volvo were honored in one segment a piece.

On the hybrid side of the market, KBB discovered that three Honda models topped the chart when it comes to lowest ownership costs among individual models.

"In regard to Total Cost of Ownership, the top three hybrid models are all Honda vehicles," stated Juan Flores, KBB director of vehicle valuation.

"Between the Honda Insight, CR-Z and Civic Hybrid, the Insight provides the best expected five-year costs at $32,884 for the initial ownership period," he continued. "This model offers the lowest Fair Purchase Price, resulting in the lowest depreciation over time."

Automakers Share Reaction

Moving along, leaders from several of the wining automakers reacted to the news and shared their thoughts on taking home the honors.

Starting with one of the double-winners, Mazda North American Operations president and chief executive officer Jim O'Sullivan shared his reaction to the brand earning two awards.

"Mazda is honored to receive these distinctions from Kelley Blue Book, and it means even more to be the first vehicles chosen in the awards' inaugural year," O'Sullivan commented.

"Mazda and performance go hand-in-hand, but to maintain such a high level of vehicle agility and stability requires an even higher level of reliability," he continued. "As these Total Cost of Ownership Awards prove, Mazda achieves that quality quotient that keeps cars on the road and money in customers' pockets."

Next up, Hyundai Motor America director of product planning Scott Margason had this to say about Hyundai's two vehicles on the list: "We're honored that Kelley Blue Book recognized two models with an award that directly influences Hyundai owners.

"The 2012 Santa Fe and Sonata are excellent examples of Hyundai's commitment to delivering quality products that offer exceptional value, fuel efficiency, performance, and standard safety and convenience features," he continued.

Meanwhile, commenting on its model winning a segment award, Volvo said in a statement: "The C30 claimed the top spot in the Entry-Level Luxury Car segment, a testament to its appeal to the young and young at heart with its remarkable value."

The following is the complete list of winners:

2012 TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP (BRAND): Kia
2012 TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP (LUXURY BRAND): Audi

SUBCOMPACT CAR: Nissan Versa
COMPACT CROSSOVER: Nissan JUKE
COMPACT CAR: Kia Soul
CROSSOVER: Hyundai Santa Fe
MID-SIZE CAR: Hyundai Sonata
LUXURY CROSSOVER: Lexus RX 350
FULL-SIZE CAR: Chevrolet Impala
MIDSIZE SPORT UTILITY: Jeep Wrangler
ENTRY-LEVEL LUXURY CAR: Volvo C30
FULL-SIZE SPORT UTILITY: Ford Expedition
LUXURY CAR: Audi A5
LUXURY SPORT UTILITY: Audi Q7
HIGH-END LUXURY CAR: Lexus LS 460
HYBRID UTILITY: Ford Escape
SPORTS CAR: Mazda MX-5 Miata
MIDSIZE PICKUP TRUCK: Toyota Tacoma Regular Cab
HIGH-PERFORMANCE CAR: Lexus IS F
FULL-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab
HYBRID CAR: Honda Insight
MINIVAN: Mazda MAZDA5
ELECTRIC CAR: Chevrolet Volt