Edmunds: Best cars for achieving your New Year's resolutions

CAMERON ROGERS of Edmunds
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Behind the Wheel New Years Resolution

This undated photo provided by Kia shows the 2020 Kia Telluride, a new three-row SUV. Most adults will have no problem fitting in the third row of the Telluride, unlike many SUVs in the midsize class. (Kia Motors America via AP)

Today, people across the country will put their New Year's resolutions into practice. These goals represent an honest attempt at self-improvement, but they often fall apart as the year progresses. What if the next car you buy can help you get motivated? A new car to fit a resolution is a huge commitment, but it might just be the thing to (sometimes literally) drive you to your goal.

Here are the cars Edmunds believes will help achieve some of the most popular New Year's resolutions.

LOSE WEIGHT: 2019 MAZDA MX-5 MIATA

Shedding those pesky holiday pounds is a common resolution, and few things inspire losing weight more than a tight fit. That's especially true for cars, which is why we recommend the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata. The Miata is a small roadster that recently underwent a diet of its own. When the engineers designed this Miata generation, they wanted it to weigh the same as the first model that debuted in 1990.

Nimble handling and a peppy engine make the Miata fun to drive, but it's the compact cabin that provides the primary motivation for hitting the gym. The Miata is also well suited for resolvers tackling their weight loss journey with a buddy since the cramped two-seat interior will cause wider passengers to rub shoulders.

Starting price (including destination and handling): $26,650

BE MORE SPONTANEOUS: 2020 JEEP WRANGLER

Those looking to add more off-the-cuff adventure to their lives need a vehicle that is similarly ready to go at a moment's notice. The 2020 Jeep Wrangler embodies that spirit more than any other vehicle on sale today. Even though its on-road manners are unrefined compared to modern crossover SUVs, the Jeep Wrangler offers unsurpassed capability when pavement turns to dirt.

Every Wrangler comes standard with four-wheel drive and plenty of ground clearance to aid with off-road adventure. Specialty models such as the Rubicon are equipped with specialized features to enhance the Wrangler's abilities further. Five passengers can get in on the muddy fun thanks to the four-door Wrangler Unlimited's ample rear legroom.

Starting price (including destination and handling): $29,790

TAKE MORE FAMILY VACATIONS: 2020 KIA TELLURIDE

It can be difficult getting the entire family on the same page for much-needed rest and relaxation. Even then, choosing the right vehicle to shuttle everyone around presents a challenge. Edmunds' suggestion is the 2020 Kia Telluride.

Most adults will have no problem fitting in the third row of the Telluride, unlike many SUVs in the midsize class. There's also room for everyone's luggage because the Telluride offers a useful amount of cargo space, even with the third-row seat deployed.

The Telluride can further incentivize you to head out for a trip thanks to its easy-driving nature. It doesn't feel overly large or bulky, and its V6 engine has no problem with launching you into quick-moving highway traffic. Your new family hauler won't cost an arm and a leg either because the Telluride is less expensive than similarly equipped competitors.

Starting price (including destination and handling): $32,785

TREAT YOURSELF: 2020 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS

Self-care has become a hot topic over the last few years, and if your budget can support it, a luxury car is a way to treat yourself day after day. Edmunds recently named the 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class the top-rated luxury sedan. Mercedes' smallest four-door, which was introduced last year, provides a true luxury experience. The cabin materials are high-quality and rival those found in larger, more expensive sedans.

The A-Class also provides a smooth and controlled ride and quick acceleration when you put your foot down. Even an A-Class loaded up with premium features such as 64-color ambient lighting and premium audio are priced within reason.

Starting price (including destination and handling): $33,795

SAVE MORE MONEY: 2017 HYUNDAI ELANTRA

Reducing expenses is one of the most popular resolutions, and shoppers looking for a new ride can save quite a bit by going with a slightly used car. In general, you can save 30% to 40% by going this route. Small cars, in particular, offer strong value. One of our favorites in the wallet-friendly compact segment is the current-generation Hyundai Elantra, which was introduced for the 2017 model year.

Highlights include an unusually spacious cabin, comfortable seats and a user-friendly infotainment system. The 2017 Hyundai Elantra comes in a number of trims, starting with the SE. High-mileage used Elantras can be had for under $10,000. Models with moderate mileage and the desirable Popular Equipment package list for about $12,000.

You'll save on fuel costs, too, since the standard 2.0-liter engine sips fuel at a rate of 32 mpg in combined city/highway driving, according to the EPA.

EDMUNDS SAYS: Whether you're looking to lose weight, save money or take on new adventures, there are a variety of new and used cars to help you achieve your New Year's resolutions.

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This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds.

Cameron Rogers is a reviews editor at Edmunds. Twitter: @_crogers.

Related links:

—Edmunds Review: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata https://edmu.in/2rYNpoI

—Edmunds Review: 2020 Jeep Wrangler https://edmu.in/2s01e6r

—Edmunds Review: 2020 Kia Telluride https://edmu.in/2Z3NeVp

—Edmunds Review: 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class https://edmu.in/2Q5zSEa

—Edmunds Review: 2017 Hyundai Elantra https://edmu.in/2EvIu1d