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Betting on a 'dark horse' car can save buyers money

Certain vehicles consistently top the sales charts, such as Honda's Accord sedan or its Odyssey minivan. These vehicles - the favorites, in horse racing terms - are often the first names that pop into people's minds when they're shopping for a new or used car or truck. Such vehicles are winners for a reason, either because they're best in their class or because of excellent reliability. But many other cars also can get the job done effectively - and for much less money. To continue the racing analogy, these are "dark horse" cars. Dark horse cars don't immediately come to mind. Or they come from brands that aren't selling as well as the segment favorite. This is why you're more likely to get a greater discount or see a larger incentive on dark horse cars and trucks: Their manufacturers have to more aggressively price them to draw your attention away from the favorites. Here are Edmunds' picks for the best dark horse cars of 2017, listed by vehicle type. If you're willing to break with the mainstream choices and place a smart bet on a car that provides a nice combination of quality and value, you may come home a winner in the car-buying derby. A word about pricing: The starting MSRP shown represents the car's base model. Edmunds estimated the savings based on the average prices paid in Santa Monica, California, for both the favorite and the dark horse car. Incentives are based on manufacturer offers for July 2017. You may see different incentives when August rolls around.

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