First, no one vehicle model fits all people the same, there are just too many variables to account for, that's why there are so many to chose from. However, the list I created should be applicable to any type of vehicle and may help to narrow down a long candidate list. My vehicle priorities listed below are what are most important to me when selecting a vehicle..
My prority list starts with (self preservation) and SAFETY. This information is figured on the crash test results, as provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). I don't pay any attention to the govenment testing, which in my opinion is subpar (like many things in government). The statistics say vehicle accidents are more common than you think. With this in mind, why not prevent a serious injury or death from the begining, by simply choosing a model that will work harder to keep you alive and well. See the ratings for yourself at www.IIHS.org.
The remaining things on the list sometimes shift in their order of importance to me.
UTILITY and RESALE VALUE often work together. This is evident if you ever looked at buying a used 4x4, suv or truck. Pick-up trucks, especially 3/4 and 1 ton 4x4, crew cab trucks- they retain their value very well. You benefit from both utility and resale, so look for utility and you'll likely find better resale to.
RELIABLITY speaks for itself and is obviously something that belongs on most everyone's list. Finding yourself wondering if your car can make a trip from point "A" to point "B" without needing AAA isn't worth any possible trade off, no matter how luxurious the car is. In fact it can be down right dangerous to break down! Yes, I've learned this from personal experience. Ever notice that the extra cash you forked over for a prestige brand works against you when it breaks down on the roadside- Yes, all the more embarassing.
COMFORT rounds off my priority list. This is important, regardless of how much driving you plan to do. What's the point in selecting a car that ends up being a real pain in the neck whenever you travel ?